What is Undervolting?
Undervolting is the process of lowering the operating voltage of the GPU or CPU. Most of the factory overclocked cards tend to ship with higher voltages. Most of the time these higher voltages are unnecessary and lead to increased power consumption and increased temperature limits.
Undervolting helps us to regulate the voltage limit and maintain a good temperature. In the case of laptops and other mobile devices, where energy comes from a battery, Undervolting helps preserve battery life without putting a dent on performance.
Is Undervolting Safe?
Yes. There won’t be any hardware issues if you do it the right way. I’ll even say It will prolong the lifespan of the GPU or CPU because it is working at a lower temperature and voltage. It is well worth your time.
Should you undervolt your GPU and CPU?
If you have a laptop, I strongly suggest you to undervolt it. There won’t be any downsides and you’ll be able to increase its life span as well.
If you have a small form factor pc case, I’ll suggest you to undervolt because it maintains optimal temperature without any performance issues.
Also, if you’re into graphics-intensive applications like gaming and crypto mining, I suggest you undervolt your CPU and GPU.
Undervolting vs Underclocking
To underclock is to lower the clock speed of the of a GPU. To undervolt is to reduce the operating voltage of the GPU. Undervolting is better than underclocking keeping in mind the performance because decreasing clock speed harms performance than decreasing voltage.
If you can undervolt without underclocking you will save on energy and power without affecting performance. However, you can also underclock, which may allow you to undervolt even more, albeit at the price of lower performance.
My suggestion to you is not to do both. Stick with Undervolting only for better performance.
Pros of Undervolting
- Consumes less power
- Generates less heat
- Increases hardware lifespan
- Generates less noise
- Preserves battery in case of laptops
- Prevents thermal throttling
- No decrease in performance
How to Undervolt your CPU:
1.We’ll be using Throttlestop software for this purpose. Go to this link and download it.
2.Under settings tick the “Speed Shift – EPP” option. This enables Intel’s Speed shift technology which results in smoother performance and better battery life.
3. First, we’ll try to get a base value for our temperatures. Simply press “TS Bench” and start the test. Keep an eye on the temperature values during this test. Now we will begin Undervolting.
4. Click “FIVR”. This opens a menu through which we can undervolt our CPU.
5. First click on “OK – Save voltages immediately”
6. Click on “Unlock Adjustable Voltage” and undervolt the CPU core, CPU Cache and Intel GPU by -100mV initially using Offset Voltage slider and hit apply.
7. If your laptop crashes at -100mV, you need to try with -80mV. Keep on increasing the value by 20mV until you are stable without any crashes. Crashing is a part of the process. The laptop will restart itself. This is nothing to be afraid of.
8. If, on the other hand, your laptop is stable at -100mV, start adding -10mV until you start experiencing system crashes. The last stable setup before you experience any crash will be your undervolt limit. My laptop’s limit was -150mV. Yours will be a different value.
9. Finally, click “Apply” and “OK”
10. You can run a benchmark test with “TS Bench”. Take a look at the temperature values. The undervolted temperature values should be lesser than that of the original vales we noted earlier. Also, if you have any error, simply increase the undervolt value by 10mV and run the benchmark again (If I get any errors, I would change it from -150mV to -140mV and re-test it until I have no errors). Here are my temperature values before and after undervolting.
11. Now I’ll be showing you how to minimize and keep Throttlestop in the notification area rather than Taskbar and also how to launch Throttlestop at start-up so that you don’t have to do it manually every time you start your computer.
12. First, uncheck the “Task Bar” option and click on options. Here, select “Start Minimized” and “Minimize on Close”. Finally, click “OK”.
13. Now whenever you close Throttlestop, It will stay in the notification area rather than the taskbar.
14. Let’s setup Throttlestop for the start-up.
15. Open “Task Scheduler” from the Start menu and click on “Create Basic Task” under the “Actions” bar on the right-hand side.
16. Enter the Name as “Throttlestop” and click on next.
17. For the trigger, select “When I log on” option and click on next.
18. For Action, select “Start a program” and click on next.
19. Select Browse, and select the Throttlestop.exe file which you have downloaded earlier and click open and select “Open the properties dialogue for this task when I click Finish” option.
20. In the properties tab, select “Run with highest privileges” and you’re done.
This is the complete process to undervolt your CPU.
How to Undervolt your Nvidia GPU
Before you undervolt your GPU, let me clarify a few things.
You cannot undervolt your Nvidia card if it is below 10 series. If you couldn’t open the voltage/frequency curve editor in MSI Afterburner, maybe it’s because of this reason.
Also, every card is different. Even if you and I both own the same model GPU from the same manufacturer, our overvolt limit will not be the same.
This is mostly due to silicon lottery (Quality of the silicon chips), different cooling systems, environment temperature. With those points in mind, here is how you do it
1. To Undervolt your GPU you need MSI Afterburner. Download it from here.
2. Here’s the Core idea of Undervolting, we want our GPU to use higher frequencies at a lower voltage set.
3. First, determine the maximum frequency of your specific GPU. You will be able to find this out by using the HWiNFO64 software. Download it from here and run it in Sensors-only mode. This is my max voltage and frequency before gaming
4. Now play a graphic intensive game for sometime and find what your maximum clock frequency is and the voltage it runs at. This is my max voltage and frequency after gaming
5. In MSI Afterburner click “Ctrl + F”. You will be able to see a voltage/frequency curve editor graph. Here is mine.
6. Now find the node corresponding to max frequency point on the graph after gaming (1750MHz on the y-axis) and look at the corresponding voltage (1100mV on the x-axis), and using the mouse pointer, bring the nodes next to it up to the same level(to 1750MHz). Now lower the voltage by 100mV (In my case 1750MHz is the max frequency and 1100mV is the corresponding voltage. I would lower my voltage to 1000mV). Drag all the nodes after 1000mV voltage to 1750MHz in frequency. You have to do it manually. This will take some time.
7. Re-test the configuration by playing games and see if it is stable. Mine was stable so I reduced the voltage by 50mV to 950mV
8. Now drag all the nodes after 950mV to boxes at 1750MHz and test this configuration. If it is stable, try reducing the voltage by 100mv to 850mV and test it again until you face crashes or stuttering. This is how my graph looks.
9. If you’re facing graphic crashes or stutter, increase the voltage in the curve until your performance is stable. This is part of the process and is nothing to be afraid of. Keep tweaking the graph until you find your stable point.
10. Click on the tick button to apply the changes in MSI Afterburner.
11. To save this profile, click on the save and select a slot of your choice. Next time you want to play a game undervolted, simply open MSI afterburner and press the slot you allotted earlier to load the undervolted settings.
This is how you Undervolt your GPU. I’m sure you would see a decrease in temperature, increase in FPS and no throttling issues if you do it as I have shown you. If you have any queries post them in the comments below and we’ll get back to you ASAP.