Unlocking the Nvidia Power Limit (all cards!)


Overclocking the graphics card will go hand in hand with an increased power consumption. Both, raising the frequency and/or voltage will lead to a higher power consumption of the GPU. Someone recently asked me on Facebook how to increase the Power Limit of a GTX 970 so I decided to write this small guide for all of you.

Nvidia Boost 1.0 and 2.0

Starting with the GTX 680 (Kepler), all Nvidia graphics cards have been featuring the Nvidia Boost. The first version of the Nvidia Boost was only limited by the TDP (TDP = max. power consumtion). With the GTX 780 series, Nvidia added the temperature limit to the power target.

The result is a graphics card with a stock clock and an estimated boost clock. To explain this feature we will take a look at the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 Gaming G1, which features a stock clock of 1178 MHz with a boost clock of 1329 MHz, which is an increase of about 10 % in total performance.

Current gen GTX 970 cards are rated at 145 W TDP and allow to increase the Power Limit (also called Power Target) by 6 % so about 154 W TDP max. If you have a GTX 970 Gaming G1 from Gigabyte you will notice quite fast that the card can’t keep the boost clock of 1329 MHz on load. After a few seconds on load the graphics card will hit the Power Limit and clock down to stay in the rated TDP of about 145 W. (Note: This is just an example to explain the mod! It could be that your card can hold the clocks without any issues without using this mod. That’s GPU-quality, BIOS and layout dependent).

GTX 980 cards are rated at 165 W TDP and allow a maximum Power Target of 125 % which equals about 207 Watt.

If you overclock your graphics card you can always adjust the Power Target up to the limit of 125 % (GTX 980) and 106 % (GTX 970) by using tools such as MSI Afterburner. At a certain clock you will still hit the Power Limit and you can’t increase the GPU clocks anymore.