This may not be the epitome of a "silence" post, but I've discovered something interesting/useful about the current crowd favorite video card - the GTX 750 Ti Twin Frozr. I hope this can still be considered constructive and helpful to those trying to squeeze the most out of their quiet/silent PC.
Having just completed my HTPC build, I got around to playing with my 750 Ti, including some overclocking. Originally, while I found the ability to increase the core and memory clocks significantly, I did not seem to be getting any benefit from it at all, in either framerates or Furmark scores. In fact, my scores occasionally went down when increasing the core clock. I noticed that TDP in Furmark (Power % in Afterburner) often spiked above 100% and then dropped sharply - the card was clearly limiting itself based on power consumption. Unfortunately, 100% power is the maximum slider position in Afterburner.
After doing a bit of digging, I found a post on a data mining website
detailing exactly what I had found - a hard limit on performance based on TDP - and more importantly, a concrete way around it. The article overviews how to copy your card's BIOS, adjust maximum power consumption values using Kepler BiosTweaker, and re-flash the modified BIOS back onto the card. This seemed like a perfect solution - and it is - but the process was much more involved than the article made it out to be, and it took me several hours to successfully flash the modified BIOS back onto my 750 Ti. If there is interest, I can try to make a how-to of the process, with the understanding that you can pretty easily brick your video card if anything gets corrupted or goes awry.
Anywho, after setting my max TDP at 60W from 38.5W, the card was a different animal. Even at stock clocks, the card no longer flirted with 100%+ TDP, and my Furmark score improved. OVerclocking went smoothly, and finally began to improve performance! Happy as a clam, I re-edited the BIOS to the article's maximum recommended 65.5W (0.5W shy of the 66W PCI-E power envelope) and re-flashed it. After a couple hours of overclocking and stability testing, I had improved my Furmark score by nearly 20% over stock. While my temps were higher, they never got close to 90*C, even with the fans manually over-ridden to maintain 900RPM. IF your case and power supply can handle the extra heat and energy, this mod is a major win-win.System specs:
SilverStone GD09 Case
i5 2500K @ stock 2.4GHz
8GB DDR3-1866 CAS11
MSI GTX 750 Ti TF
Seasonic G550 PSU
Sandisk Ultra 128GB SSDStress test:
LinX 2GB x20, 3 cores used
MSI Kombustor Furry Donut v2, 1024x576, 8xMSAAStock BIOS (38.5W TDP), Max stable overclock, ambient 20C:60W BIOS, Mild overclock, Ambient 24C
65.5W BIOS, Mild overclock, Ambient 23C
65.5W BIOS, Max stable overclock, Ambient 21C
If you look very closely, you can see how different the Power % graph is between the stock/conservative runs and the 65.5W runs. Even at the max stable overclock, the Power % varies very little, whereas it shot up and down with a lower TDP limit. Additionally, flashing the BIOS increased Furmark scores by nearly 20 percent on the exact same clocks.
And, of course, the verdict is that even when pushed to the ragged edge, the MSI GTX 750 Ti TF remains silent -it does seem to be an ideal card for an HTPC or a light gaming machine, especially with the BIOS modified.moderator: corrected GTX 570 Ti to GTX 750 Ti