Nvidia squashes high-refresh-rate “power bug” with 372.54 driver

We've been reporting on a power bug of sorts with Nvidia graphics cards for quite some time now. The issue rears its ugly head whenever high-refresh-rate monitors are connected to GeForce cards in certain configurations. At first, the problem showed up with a single high-refresh-rate display connected. Nvidia fixed that clock speed surging with version 361.43 of its drivers, but the behavior didn't go away for folks with multiple high-refresh-rate monitors. A reader tipped us off to that problem in March, and we confirmed it independently on one of our test rigs. We later verified that Pascal cards still exhibited the issue, as well.

With the release of GeForce driver version 372.54, however, us folks with multiple high-resolution displays can enjoy the same relief as our single-monitor brethren. One of the new-feature bullet points for this driver release says that Nvidia "enabled mclk switches on 144 Hz G-SYNC monitors in multi-monitor use cases in order to lower power consumption." While that description is a bit cryptic, the net effect is that GeForce cards now run at the low idle speeds we'd expect with multiple high-refresh-rate displays connected. I've tested this new driver on my multiple-monitor main system, and I can confirm it works as expected. Kudos to Nvidia for getting to the bottom of this issue.

Comments closed
    • moriz
    • 3 years ago

    this driver version didn’t fix anything for me. 2x 1080p, 1x 1600p 73Hz monitor, and my GTX 1080 still idles at 1164 MHz.

      • Bryan H
      • 3 years ago

      980 SLI here. Primary idles at 911 MHz at 144Hz with this driver. 1x 1440p Gsync, 1x 1080p 60Hz monitor.

      Previously had my 1080p HDMI TV connected, but the GPU wouldn’t idle at any setting.

      Moved the TV to intel gpu, and set 120Hz on desktop to get it to downclock.

      • Airmantharp
      • 3 years ago

      Seconded, still broke: 2560×1600 G-Sync (120Hz desktop, 144Hz games) over DP, 2560×1600 60Hz over DP and 1600×900 60Hz over HDMI (but could be DVI).

      Also, sling some hate toward ASUS for removing video connectors on their Z170-AR (the contacts are still there!) versus their Z170-A, which was no longer available new.

      Edit: *on the desktop*, it’s running 1215Mhz Core 1752Mhz Memory for an effective 26% TDP with a load of 6-8% running a pair of 970 FTW cards, with the second card keeping up in terms of clocks and ~10% behind in other measures.

    • DoomGuy64
    • 3 years ago

    So when is the same bug with AMD going to get reported on? Ever since the doom update, my 390 has not lowered memory clocks on the desktop. Full memory speed 24/7.

    Also, if this is a software bug on my end, I’d like to know how to fix it, but it doesn’t appear to be as multiple people have reported having the same problem for months and AMD refuses to even acknowledge it’s existence.

      • namae nanka
      • 3 years ago

      With AMD, it’s a feature.

    • mkk
    • 3 years ago

    Nvidia : Once more unto the breach!

    Orcs: “Grond! Grond!”

    • PhantomTaco
    • 3 years ago

    I dunno, I just installed the new drivers fresh and I’m still seeing relatively high power consumption. I’ve got an Acer Predator XB270HU @ 144, a Qnix at 120, and a 4k display at 60 and my 1070 won’t drop beneath 961 mhz, they exact same it was at prior to this driver update.

    • Voldenuit
    • 3 years ago

    Nice to see this has been put to bed.

    I’ve been running my desktop at 120 Hz anyway, because it syncs nicely with both 24p and 30p video content. Games will automatically take my monitor to 144 Hz if G-sync is enabled. GPU clockspeeds were behaving nicely at those settings (both on a 970 and a 1070).

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    Awesome, they fixed the thing they already fixed twice before and keep breaking through communications failures between different sub-departments of their driver teams.

    Next on the list of “bugs” is going to be to make Nvidia cards use Freesync displays at the correct framerate. I get that adaptive sync won’t work for [i<]*reasons*[/i<] but if a VESA-standard display supports, say 100Hz, Nvidia cards render 100 frames and then send them every 60th of a second, skipping 4 out of every 10 frames. It's like they're going out of their way to hurt Freesync even if it affects Nvidia GPU owners. At first I thought it was my display but I tried two more at work and some web searches turned up this issue with pretty much everyone using an Nvidia GPU on an Freesync display.

      • Voldenuit
      • 3 years ago

      Hm… I wouldn’t put it past nvidia to sabotage Freesync, but some people are also saying that their Freesync monitor stutters on non-Freesync AMD cards as well (such as GCN 1.0 cards).

      Have you tested your nvidia card on non-Freesync high-refresh displays? What if you turn Freesync off on the monitor OSD?

        • Chrispy_
        • 3 years ago

        [quote<]Have you tested your nvidia card on non-Freesync high-refresh displays?[/quote<] [s<]Nope, but those things pretty much don't exist anymore. I almost ordered a Benq XR3051 simply because it supports neither standard but then figured it was way too expensive to have no adaptive sync at all. I can confirm that an AMD card does not frameskip at 75Hz on the same monitor even if Freesync is disabled.[/s<] [i<]Edit: Holy crap, yes - actually. I used to have my DVI korean 1440p screens overclocked, and now I think about it I stopped when I switched to the 970's because I couldn't get the framerate smooth. I remember thinking at the time that it was a problem with the custom resolution tool I was using but didn't care enough about it to try and fix the issue. It never occurred to me that it was the Nvidia drivers causing the problem![/i<] [quote<]What if you turn Freesync off on the monitor OSD?[/quote<] With the Nvidia card? No difference. Natively the 75Hz refresh rate vanishes from the windows dropdown list of refresh rates with Freesync disabled on the monitor, but I can kludge it back in by overclocking the refresh rate the same way I used to with my Korean screens. Still frameskips. [s<]I haven't tried DVI since newer screens (my LG included) don't have it, but I think the issue is specific to Nvidia + High-refresh display + HDMI or DP.[/s<] Probably affects any output whatsoever - on my reference 970 at least, if not other cards.

          • Voldenuit
          • 3 years ago

          [quote<]With the Nvidia card? No difference. Natively the 75Hz refresh rate vanishes from the windows dropdown list of refresh rates with Freesync disabled on the monitor, but I can kludge it back in by overclocking the refresh rate the same way I used to with my Korean screens. Still frameskips.[/quote<] Interesting. What if you create a custom resolution and refresh rate in nvidia control panel?

            • Chrispy_
            • 3 years ago

            That’s how I was doing it with Freesync disabled.

      • tipoo
      • 3 years ago

      Really bugs me. I fully acknowledge that Gsync is superior technologically. But it also adds more to the bill of materials and Freesync is a rebranded open standard. Really wish they supported both, it’s for the good of everyone.

      Now more than ever the two philosophies seem to be
      AMD: Open all the things
      Nvidia: Close all the things

      And I get that Nvidia is better at actually making money, but I wish they’d meet in the middle.

        • DoomGuy64
        • 3 years ago

        “Gsync is superior” Citation needed.

      • morphine
      • 3 years ago

      Care to explain the practical impact and indicate how to check for it?(Honest question)

      I have a NV card on a 144Hz FS monitor but have yet to notice anything amiss.

        • tipoo
        • 3 years ago

        Just microstuttering as it skips frames I think. See if panning around a scene is perfectly smooth.

          • Chrispy_
          • 3 years ago

          Yeah, moving windows on the desktop is what tipped me off. Just didn’t seem as good at 85Hz as it did at 60Hz, which is wrong.

        • Voldenuit
        • 3 years ago

        Use the UFO Test on blurbusters and the motion tests on PixPerAn.

        If it’s dropping frames, you should be able to notice missing animations.

        • Chrispy_
        • 3 years ago

        At 144Hz you probably won’t notice anything if the bug is “multiples of 60” since 120Hz is almost indistinguishable from 144Hz.

        To check, use this tool.
        [url<]http://www.testufo.com/#test=frameskipping[/url<] You don't actually need a camera. I was able to see the flash in each box without issues, so look at each box to check it flashes. In my case loads of boxes didn't flash. If you're frameskipping at 144Hz, expect every 6th box to be dead. I couldn't put my finger on the choppiness at first, looked at all sorts and even went back to the AMD 390X to check it wasn't happening with that. I stumbled across the frameskip issue with Nvidia on a few Google searches and one of the forums pointed me to that tool to confirm it was the Nvidia frameskip bug I was reading about.

          • morphine
          • 3 years ago

          Thanks for the info. Interestingly, I got some sort of “intermediate” result. Monitor = Acer XF270HU 144Hz FreeSync; Card = GTX 970.

          Visually, all the boxes lit up in a row just fine. I then proceeded to take multiple photos of the screen, and only on a single one did I spot a black box between a half-lit one and a fully lit one.

          If I had to make a wild guess, I think that the Overdrive setting in the monitor may have some sort of impact on this. I have mine set to Extreme, which in this particular monitor works absurdly well with barely any motion artifacts, unless the FPS dips really low.

            • Chrispy_
            • 3 years ago

            It sounds like it’s working fine at 144Hz then, the one box might have been a browser error. They don’t do so well at higher refresh rates. I read somewhere that Chrome is unreliable beyond 120Hz

            • Voldenuit
            • 3 years ago

            Try MPC-HC. Ctrl-J would show the display refresh as well as input fps of the source. Be sure the program is set to re-initialize when switching displays (in Options).

      • GTVic
      • 3 years ago

      One of the caveats of FreeSync is that although the price is lower, you have to blink your eyes at the same rate to get the full effect.

      Also, if you have any doubts about whether FreeSync or Gsync is working, look for the sticker that says whether your $199 Taiwanese monitor supports the standard. The stickers are available for purchase separately for manual application in case you are still uncertain.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This