GPU Clock Throttling

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GPU Clock Throttling

Postposted on Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:41 am

Hi, peeps. I was recently having trouble with my PC. I noticed that games (specifically UT2004) were suddenly becoming choppier than usual (I posted it here under General Hardware > PC Becoming Slow). After much detective work I realized that my GPU (AMD HD5670) wasn't always running at full clock (775MHz) when playing games, but instead, goes back and forth between 157MHz (lowest clock) and 400MHz (intermediate clock). The temps while playing hover around 48C. Fan seems ok. I used GPU-Z to monitor the video card's parameters.

Is anybody else experiencing this? I mean, GPU's are supposed to run at full clock when gaming, don't they ? 48C doesn't seem so high and I do believe the GPU still has some thermal headroom beyond 48C/400MHz. Any thoughts?

For comparison, I swapped in an older HD4670 (talk about a step back), and I noticed the same clocking behavior, albeit the HD4670 seems to play UT2004 much better, in fact, on par with the HD5670 before it became cranky.
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Re: GPU Clock Throttling

Postposted on Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:38 am

Since it doesn't look like thermal throttling it might be that the card doesn't have enough juice. The culprit could be the PSU. Try to either test your system with another PSU or test the card on another compatible system and see if it exhibits the same behaviour. If it's not the PSU, it might be the card itself.....
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Re: GPU Clock Throttling

Postposted on Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:45 pm

Have you updated your GPU drivers recently? Maybe a recent release has a bug that causes the throttling, you may want to consider rolling back to an older version.
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Re: GPU Clock Throttling

Postposted on Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:15 am

Yep. I noticed the behavior when using an old Catalyst version (10.12). I've been using this version for the longest time ever since I got the card and it never exhibited this sort of slowdown.
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Re: GPU Clock Throttling

Postposted on Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:36 am

Oh hai again!

Powertune set too low.
Clockspeeds/Voltage set too high
>>> Faulty PSU <<<
Faulty graphics card.

I actually run the 7850 in my HTPC at 725/1000 instead of the 860/1200 it comes at because clock x voltage = heat, and I want my fans to run queitly even under load.

At stock speeds, raising powertune should do nothing, because the GPU should be able to run at 100% load without exceeding it's stock power budget anyway.
Lowering powertune limits results in rapid dithering between 100% state and the first power-saving state. There are going to be a few of these depending on how the BIOS is set up but as an example it'll look something like this:
  • S1 - 860/1200, 1.15v
  • S2 - 600/1200, 1.09v
  • S3 - 450/800, 1.02v
  • S4 - 150/300, 0.93v
Each state has a different power draw and if it's not getting enough power (or if the power draw exceeds the powertune limit) it will briefly drop down to a lower state before clocking back up to the previous state.
A GPU-Z graph of this behaviour looks "furry" with the state changing hundreds of times a minute.
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