Testing NVIDIA OC Scanner on Pascal Based GeForce GTX 1080

Dec 31, 2018
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When the RTX 20 series launched not too long ago NVIDIA released a new feature known as the NVIDIA OC Scanner that allowed for automatic overclocking of the GeForce RTX 2070, 2080, and 2080 Ti without voiding any warranties and such.  This is a welcome feature for those who would love to get just a bit more out of their cards, but are a bit gun shy about doing the work themselves.  While most of us here aren’t too worried about the possible problems, there are a lot of people who are.  This feature is for them and it goes great with Pascal.

NVIDIA did promise support for older cards as well and have now delivered on that promise with Pascal support in the latest MSI Afterburner and EVGA Precision X1.  We’ve already tested OC Scanner with the RTX 2080 Ti and found the results to be more than favorable and coming pretty close to our manual overclocks.  In today’s testing we’re not going into a long drawn out test sequence, but rather just seeing how effective the EVGA Precision X1 is at overclocking a GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition and how it benefits the 1440p crowd.

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Testing With PX1

Testing began with stock results and manual overclocking before moving into letting the NVIDIA OC Scanner do its thing.  We also wanted to compare to a manual overclock where we bumped the memory speed up and set the fan to 75% to reduce thermal impact. We used Superposition in the Stress Test mode for a 5 minute run to gather core clock measurements.  We used Fire Strike Extreme for a Synthetic 1440p run to measure variances.  We wrapped things up with a quick run in Battlefield V that matched our previous PC Performance testing to see how changes were in an actual gaming scenario.

Test Setup

ComponentsZ370
GPUGeForce GTX 1080 FE
CPUi5 8600k @ 5GHz
Memory 16GB Geil EVO X DDR4 3200
MotherboardEVGA Z370 Classified K
StorageAdata SU800 128GB
2TB Seagate SSHD
PSUCooler Master V1200 Platinum

Our Findings

Letting the OC Scanner do its thing was pretty straightforward so long as you remember to move the power limit slider and hit apply before moving on to gaming. The OC Scanner did a pretty bang up job on nearly matching my manual overclock settings for the GPU core for the GTX 1080 but after looking at the results you’ll see where maybe tweaking that memory could prove pretty useful.

Clock Speeds

 StockOC ScannerManual OC
Core Rated Boost1734MHz1879MHz1884MHz
Memory10Gbps10Gbps11Gbps

The first thing we wanted to look at was sustained clock speeds over time so we brought in Superposition’s Stress mode and set the resolution to 1440p with high textures and let it go for an average of 5 minutes.  In the chart over time we see the manual overclock stay quite a bit higher than the OC Scanner, but the OC Scanner came in remarkably stable once it reached equilibrium and stayed a bit higher than the stock configuration.

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We then moved on to a synthetic and picked 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme to measure  theoretical performance variations between the stock, OC Scanner, and manual overclock settings.  The results fell pretty much where expected, nothing earth shattering but a welcome free bump. Having bumped up the memory speed in the manual overclock really shows here with a pretty good boost over just the core clock, resulting in around a 10% improvement over the stock configuration.

After that it was time to see how things shaped up in an actual game, so we went with Battlefield V for no other reason than it was sitting there as the last game I’ve worked with and was practically ready to go.  However, we’ve stuck with the same run as we’ve used in earlier articles for performance measurements and walked away pretty pleased with what the OC Scanner delivered.  A marked improvement over the stock results and the manual OC only resulted in slightly higher averages while not doing a whole lot for the lower end frames.

Conclusion

Using EVGA Precision X1 you can definitely tell that it’s in beta phase still for a reason, since it crashed about 3 times before letting me select the OC Scanner tab, but once I was in it was smooth sailing.  In our recent testing of Radeon Adrenalin 2019’s Auto GPU overclock, that was limited to Vega, we were left underwhelmed with the results.  While overall the feature was welcome, I feel the NVIDIA OC Scanner shows how auto overclocking should work.  It works great, it’s straightforward and shouldn’t be off-putting to new builders who want to squeeze the most out of their systems without fear. It’s good to see the OC Scanner feature now available on Pascal cards and performing a bit better than I had expected. Now, when can we get it on Maxwell? My 980 Ti wouldn’t mind seeing what it can do for it.

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