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 Post subject: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm 
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After trying a few different models (Galaxy 470, EVGA 470, Gigabyte 460) of video cards in the nVidia 400 series, I settled on two EVGA 460's in SLI because the other ones I tried were either too loud for my taste, or had other issues. The EVGA GTX (core 720/mem. 1800) 1gb is the quietest 460 card in my opinion. About on par with the Gigabyte card. Unfortunately the Gigabyte cards have a different problem. I bought two of them to use in SLI, and since they don't exhaust heat from the case very well, the card in the lower pci-e slot was basically cooking the top card and causing the top one to overheat and shut off constantly while gaming. Definitely stay away from the Gigabyte cards if you want to run SLI, unless your case has very good ventilation.

Anyways, the default lowest fan speed for the EVGA cards is 30% (or 40% if you have the one with an older bios). At this level of fan speed, the cards are still the loudest component in my computer. I don't care about noise while gaming, but I really hate any noise coming from my case while browsing the web or doing work. So, I took it upon myself to see if I could somehow make the GTX 460s even quieter at idle/2d mode than they already were. After searching for information, it seemed the only way to make the fan any quieter would be to reduce the minimum fan speed through a bios mod. Unfortunately, the only method I could find for doing this was with nVidia Bios Editor made by orbmu2k. Too bad he doesn't freely release this program, so the only way to make use of it is to get someone else on another forum who has the program to mod your bios for you. Also, NiBiTor doesn't have this option yet either. I figured there must be another way.

After comparing bioses available on different forums I figured out how to mod the bios for fan speed with a quick HEX edit. The purpose of my post is to share this information with other people so they can do the mod too, and possibly have a quieter and cooler running card(s) while in 2d mode.

Programs you'll need: a good HEX editor (I recommend UltraEdit v14+), NiBiTor v5.8+ (to create checksum and lower voltages), and nvflash 5.95+ (to save bios and flash your modded bios)

1. Use nvflash to save your bios. I won't go into too much detail in this step because a good tutorial for using nvflash is located here: http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=141631
2. Note: this tutorial is a bit outdated. You do NOT need to create bootable media IF you are using the newest version of nvflash because it does support flashing in 64-bit Windows.
3. Make another copy of your saved bios. One will be for modding, and the other will be useful if something goes wrong.
4. Open up your bios in a HEX editor.
5. Go to line 6600, column f (see picture).
6. If you bios has '1E' at this location it means your min. fan speed is locked at 30%. '28' in hex would mean its 40%. (These are just straight HEX -> DEC conversions).
7. Change '1E' to '14' for 20% fan speed. I don't recommend going below 20% because the pwm fan on the card may not start up at such a low speed, but you can always try if you're brave...
8. Save your edit, and then open the bios in NibiTor.
9. Navigate to Tools -> Fermi Voltage.
10. Change 'Setting 0: 0, and 1' to some lower value (see picture).
11. I used 0.7 volts on my cards, and they work fine. This voltage may or may not work for your cards so it might be best to change this in a step-wise way (i.e. try lower V, flash, test, etc.)
12. 0.6 V is probably the lowest possible setting without having issues, but I haven't tested it so I can't say for sure.
13. Save your modded bios.
14. Disable SLI if you have it on.
15. Use nvflash to flash your modded bios (see tutorial link in step 1.).

So far this mod has been working out quite well for me. My cards are noticeably quieter and produce slightly less heat in 2d mode. Since it is a pwm fan on these cards, they rarely idle at 20% fan speed. It's more like 22%-25%, but that's still good. I hope this mod helps people, but if it doesn't and something goes wrong, I take no responsibility what-so-ever. Use this information at your own risk, and know how to flash back your original bios in case something goes wrong. This procedure should work with other gtx 460 models/brands, but I haven't tested it personally so I can't say for sure.


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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:26 pm 
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this is a very interesting post... i ran hacked bioses on my gtx470, before i destroyed it, and i wondered how to do the editing myself.


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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:53 am 
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Location: San Jose, CA, US
twilothunder
Thank you for sharing this. This is very creative work and I'm glad that the result was successful for you.
As a software developer I admire the research you did for this.
I am thinking of buying 460 but minimum fan speed 30% (or 40% if wrong BIOS) doesn't look good.

I have a question. In your experience, do you think all card models will have fan speed coded at location "line 6600, column f"?
What if some card has some command code at this location that looks reasonable 0x28 but would force card to go to infinite loop and fry it if changed to 0x14?

I'm sure you see how risky it may be.

I personally have no idea how BIOSes for different card models may differ. They could be the same, I don't know, but even EVGA theoretically may release next BIOS version where everything is relocated.

Could you please provide list of safe card models and BIOS versions, the ones that you compared BIOSes for and found that fan speed is coded at 0x660f?
Any clue of what surrounds 0x660f location just to be sure?


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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:58 pm 
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micksh wrote:
twilothunder
Thank you for sharing this. This is very creative work and I'm glad that the result was successful for you.
As a software developer I admire the research you did for this.
I am thinking of buying 460 but minimum fan speed 30% (or 40% if wrong BIOS) doesn't look good.

I have a question. In your experience, do you think all card models will have fan speed coded at location "line 6600, column f"?
What if some card has some command code at this location that looks reasonable 0x28 but would force card to go to infinite loop and fry it if changed to 0x14?

I'm sure you see how risky it may be.

I personally have no idea how BIOSes for different card models may differ. They could be the same, I don't know, but even EVGA theoretically may release next BIOS version where everything is relocated.

Could you please provide list of safe card models and BIOS versions, the ones that you compared BIOSes for and found that fan speed is coded at 0x660f?
Any clue of what surrounds 0x660f location just to be sure?


I can only confirm for sure that this bios mod works with the EVGA GTX 460 1gb version because that's the only one I have personally tested. However, given that NiBiTor voltage mods work with pretty much every GTX 460 it is very unlikely that bioses between the different brands/versions of 460s differ in any major way, as far as memory locations go. I guess, one way to check similarity would be to load the bios up in NiBiTor first and see if that program can read the bios properly. If it does, the fan speed mod is probably going to work as well.

Flashing a video card with modded or third party bios is always going to have some amount of risk associated with it, which is why its handy to have an extra video card on hand to use to load up an OS to flash back the original bios to your card.

Also, there is plenty of information regarding bios voltage/clock speed modding on other forums. The purpose of my post was to mention specifically about the fan speed mod because, as I stated in my first post, I haven't been able to find any applications (such as NBE and NiBiTor) that would do it for me.


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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:10 am 
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Posts: 3
Hello,

I have been a reader of SPCR for a while but have never posted before. I just got an ECS GTX 460 1GB yesterday and the 40% fan speed was way too loud for my tastes. I have no idea what qualifies as "low noise" as apparently the GTX 460 is supposed to be low noise but it is not "low noise" in my book. A google search on how to reduce the fan speed lead me to this post.

Following the directions as posted, I was able to reduce the fan speed down to 20%. The fan still ramps up when needed but idles silently at 20% in normal 2D desktop. This confirms that it works on other video cards other than just the one brand.

I registered to thank you for this post! It really helped me out. I was about to send this video card back because of the annoying fan noise.


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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:00 pm 
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z k wrote:
Hello,

I have been a reader of SPCR for a while but have never posted before. I just got an ECS GTX 460 1GB yesterday and the 40% fan speed was way too loud for my tastes. I have no idea what qualifies as "low noise" as apparently the GTX 460 is supposed to be low noise but it is not "low noise" in my book. A google search on how to reduce the fan speed lead me to this post.

Following the directions as posted, I was able to reduce the fan speed down to 20%. The fan still ramps up when needed but idles silently at 20% in normal 2D desktop. This confirms that it works on other video cards other than just the one brand.

I registered to thank you for this post! It really helped me out. I was about to send this video card back because of the annoying fan noise.


You're welcome. Glad I could help.

Also, wanted to update that I am now using 0.6500 volts for the 2d (Setting 0) voltage, which is working fine.


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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:06 pm 
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I actually didn't change the voltage at all. I just changed the fan speed. Do you think the voltage change is necessary?


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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:18 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:37 am
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Thank you for posting this very useful information. I will definitely try this. Just out of curiosity, why did you set the fan speed to 20% and not 0%. After all the GPU idles under 20W so it should be able to run with passive cooling in 2D mode.


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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:14 am 
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z k wrote:
I actually didn't change the voltage at all. I just changed the fan speed. Do you think the voltage change is necessary?


Not necessarily. I noticed your card does not use the reference cooler design, so I'm guessing the cooler on your card is probably more efficient. However, on the EVGA card, since the fan is temperature controlled, reducing the stock voltage does help reduce the temperature. Without the voltage mod, the fan on my card still idled at 27%-30%. Also, since I am running a SLI setup, an additional card probably increases the ambient temperature inside my case, which also adds to a higher idle fan speed for me. Reducing the voltage is what allowed me to achieve an idle fan speed of around 20%.

So, in your case, I wouldn't worry about it. If your card is already quiet enough for you then there really is no need to reduce the voltage.


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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:24 am 
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Nyark wrote:
Thank you for posting this very useful information. I will definitely try this. Just out of curiosity, why did you set the fan speed to 20% and not 0%. After all the GPU idles under 20W so it should be able to run with passive cooling in 2D mode.


This might be possible in a computer case with very good ventilation, where other fans are tasked with pushing warm air out of the case on behalf of the video card. In my experience, with the video card fans running on 'auto', they would always run at around 20% fan speed anyways, and I actually did try, and am currently using 10% as the minimum fan speed. 17% is about the lowest fan speed I've noticed.

Also, I read somewhere that the reference design for the EVGA GTX 460 calls for a minimum of 30% fan speed, due to the fact that anything lower than that and the fan may not have enough power to start up when required, especially at low speeds. However, this of course depends on the specifications of the specific fan used by each model of card. So, some cards may have issues with a minimum fan speed set too low. I think you'd only be able to find out for sure by testing it out yourself.


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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:11 pm 
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twilothunder wrote:
z k wrote:
I actually didn't change the voltage at all. I just changed the fan speed. Do you think the voltage change is necessary?


Not necessarily. I noticed your card does not use the reference cooler design, so I'm guessing the cooler on your card is probably more efficient. However, on the EVGA card, since the fan is temperature controlled, reducing the stock voltage does help reduce the temperature. Without the voltage mod, the fan on my card still idled at 27%-30%. Also, since I am running a SLI setup, an additional card probably increases the ambient temperature inside my case, which also adds to a higher idle fan speed for me. Reducing the voltage is what allowed me to achieve an idle fan speed of around 20%.

So, in your case, I wouldn't worry about it. If your card is already quiet enough for you then there really is no need to reduce the voltage.


Sounds good! I only have 1 card and it idles at 20% fan speed when doing normal 2D applications. I have a sound card right in front of the video card which blocks the airflow but it still seems ok. During some movies, it'll ramp up to 25% but it is still very quiet. In game play, the fan will spin up to 60% at times and it is loud but it is okay for me as I am not paying attention to the fan sound.

You wouldn't happen to know which bios values to edit for overclocking?


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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:53 pm 
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z k wrote:
twilothunder wrote:
z k wrote:

You wouldn't happen to know which bios values to edit for overclocking?


I don't, but it's probably much easier to use NiBiTor, or EVGA Precision/MSI Afterburner if you don't need to make the changes more permanent in the bios.


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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:32 am 
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I've saved my bios, and made a copy, and now I'm in ultraedit, but cant find line 6600 column f (column f I can see everywhere but how do I know which line is 6600?)
Found it -.-; just a little slow today, harsch cold :)


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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:48 pm 
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Lemme know how it goes.


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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:32 am 
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For some reason I wasnt able to make any changes. :(

Any1 who can make bios for: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 460 1GB OC (GV-N460OC-1GI) with 20% minimum fan speed for me to download?

Would be awesome to be able to sleep with comp on again :)


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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:08 pm 
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Upload your original bios and I'll see if I can do it.


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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 5:28 pm 
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I changed my bios 40% to 20% with NIbitor, here is what difference it made to the bios

I would have changed 28 to 14 following your advice, but there was also something esle changed from 8B to 9F, what it does is unknown.


Last edited by yuu on Tue Dec 07, 2010 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 3:21 am 
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This is great advice and I'll definitely use it if necessary, when I get round to buying a 460.

I was wondering, is it possible to alter when the fan ramps up, so for example to set it to stay at minimum until the temperature is 45c?

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2nd PC: Bach VX, GA-MA780G-UD3H, PhII 720BE @ 3.2Ghz (SI-128SE/Yate Loon fan), 8GB Kingston Hyper-X DDR2 1066MHz, Yate Loon 140mm intake, Nexus 120mm exhaust, HD103UJ, WD6400AAKS, Nexus Value 430W


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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:36 am 
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yuu wrote:
I would have changed 28 to 14 following your advice, but there was also something esle changed from 8B to 9F, what it does is unknown.

In the end of the file? Probably checksum.


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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:54 am 
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Yes of course, it is in fact the end, and it is the checksum:o
Mine stays to 20% upto 60C, then ramps up, to reach 72C and 50%
I guess there could be set less than 80%, for different ramp, whatever logic works.


Last edited by yuu on Tue Dec 07, 2010 2:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:18 pm 
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micksh wrote:
yuu wrote:
I would have changed 28 to 14 following your advice, but there was also something esle changed from 8B to 9F, what it does is unknown.

In the end of the file? Probably checksum.


Yes, that is the checksum at the end of the file. If you use NiBiTor after you do the hex edit it should fix the checksum for you automatically.


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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:25 pm 
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doveman wrote:
This is great advice and I'll definitely use it if necessary, when I get round to buying a 460.

I was wondering, is it possible to alter when the fan ramps up, so for example to set it to stay at minimum until the temperature is 45c?


It's probably possible, but I don't know how to do it.


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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:48 pm 
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Fair enough, it's just I recall being able to adjust this on a Radeon (not that I ever got round to doing it!) so was wondering if there was a similar trick for Nvidia.

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2nd PC: Bach VX, GA-MA780G-UD3H, PhII 720BE @ 3.2Ghz (SI-128SE/Yate Loon fan), 8GB Kingston Hyper-X DDR2 1066MHz, Yate Loon 140mm intake, Nexus 120mm exhaust, HD103UJ, WD6400AAKS, Nexus Value 430W


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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 2:20 pm 
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NiBiTor is able to do what you're looking to do, but only with older nVidia cards. There might be a way to do with with software though. Have you tried Rivatuner? It might have that option...


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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:36 am 
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I haven't bought a 460 yet, so am not able to try anything at the moment I'm afraid.

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2nd PC: Bach VX, GA-MA780G-UD3H, PhII 720BE @ 3.2Ghz (SI-128SE/Yate Loon fan), 8GB Kingston Hyper-X DDR2 1066MHz, Yate Loon 140mm intake, Nexus 120mm exhaust, HD103UJ, WD6400AAKS, Nexus Value 430W


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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Sat Jan 01, 2011 5:52 am 
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Thanks for this. I should try this when I can. 30% fan is pretty good in my Evga 460 SC but it always can be quieter. However I need to first figure out how to kill buzzing cards buzzing without killing the card. I got electric varnish that ends squealing when applied but if I apply it wrong place, my card becomes expensive paper weight.

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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Sat Jan 01, 2011 10:46 am 
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thejamppa wrote:
Thanks for this. I should try this when I can. 30% fan is pretty good in my Evga 460 SC but it always can be quieter. However I need to first figure out how to kill buzzing cards buzzing without killing the card. I got electric varnish that ends squealing when applied but if I apply it wrong place, my card becomes expensive paper weight.


Its strange that your card is squealing. When I had Gigabyte GTX 460s, those ones squealed while folding, but not my current EVGA cards.


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 Post subject: Gigabyte GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:17 pm 
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First of all thanks for the tutorial!

I modded bios for my Gigabyte GTX 460 OC 1GB (v1.0) card. Fans can't spin at 20% and stand still. However the GPU temperature is only 35°C when idle. When playing 1920x1080 mkv video GPU heats up to 45°C leaving the fans at 20% (not spinning). Nevertheless fans do start spinning when needed (the one close to DVI plugs starts at 27% the other one at 30%). They ramp up to 60% when running Fur mark stability test with max GPU temperature being 71°C (as it was before the mod).
It appears that Gigabyte cooler is leaky enough to work as passive when idle and it certainly is quiet enough when playing games. 8)

Those of you with Gigbyte cards can use their VGA Tools for flashing bios (@BIOS) and monitoring (OC Guru)


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 Post subject: Re: Gigabyte GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:07 pm 
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MatH wrote:
First of all thanks for the tutorial!

I modded bios for my Gigabyte GTX 460 OC 1GB (v1.0) card. Fans can't spin at 20% and stand still. However the GPU temperature is only 35°C when idle. When playing 1920x1080 mkv video GPU heats up to 45°C leaving the fans at 20% (not spinning). Nevertheless fans do start spinning when needed (the one close to DVI plugs starts at 27% the other one at 30%). They ramp up to 60% when running Fur mark stability test with max GPU temperature being 71°C (as it was before the mod).
It appears that Gigabyte cooler is leaky enough to work as passive when idle and it certainly is quiet enough when playing games. 8)

Those of you with Gigbyte cards can use their VGA Tools for flashing bios (@BIOS) and monitoring (OC Guru)


You're welcome. Glad I could help.

Could you post some details as to what fan speed you used and/or voltages so other people with Gigabyte cards have an idea of what will work for them?

Thanks.

Ps. Kinda surprised the Gigabyte cards cool well enough passively. What case are you using?


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 Post subject: Re: EVGA GTX 460 Fan/Voltage Bios Mod for a quieter GPU
PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:32 am 
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twilothunder wrote:
Could you post some details as to what fan speed you used and/or voltages so other people with Gigabyte cards have an idea of what will work for them?


I set the minimal fan speed in UltaEdit to 20% (14 in hex) and lowered the two voltages from 0,875 to 0,75. Didn't try anything else because I'm very pleased with results.

twilothunder wrote:
Ps. Kinda surprised the Gigabyte cards cool well enough passively. What case are you using?

Same here. Seeing how cool it runs I was positive the fans are spinning. I'm using Gigabyte GZ-M2 moded for better venting. I cut out the grills on back and front fan mounts and drilled 90 9mm holes in the bottom. Will post some pictures of it.


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