Nvidia’s officially blocked off mobile GPU overclocking

2 min read


After the memory allocation issue and the revelation that the GTX 970 wasn’t quite the card it was sold as, NVidia’s got a lot to do to rebuild its image. It’s not being helped a lot right now, because there’s a new issue, and it’s a big enough one that there’s now an internet petition. Nvidia has blocked off the ability to overclock its mobile GPU’s.

It’s not a new thing; the last trio of driver updates for the mobile GPUs have cordoned off the ability to take the company’s 800 and 900 Maxwell based chips beyond their specification. Nvidia’s has officially confirmed the lock, and as a result, people are pissed.

“Unfortunately GeForce notebooks were not designed to support overclocking. Overclocking is by no means a trivial feature, and depends on thoughtful design of thermal, electrical, and other considerations. By overclocking a notebook, a user risks serious damage to the system that could result in non-functional systems, reduced notebook life, or many other effects,’” the company said on the GeForce forums.

The ability to overclock should never have been there in the first place they say, adding that it was a bug that enabled laptops fitted with their newest mobile chips to be taken to levels they were never designed for.

“There was a bug introduced into our drivers which enabled some systems to overclock. This was fixed in a recent update. Our intent was not to remove features from GeForce notebooks, but rather to safeguard systems from operating outside design limits.”

The Maxwell based chips have quite a bit of headroom thanks to a relatively low TDP so they’re ripe for overclocking – but I have to agree with Nvidia here. There’s far too much risk involved with such small, enclosed spaces as you’d find in laptops; especially when they’re not designed for extra heat. It will, of course, differ from manufacturer to manufacturer and you’d probably find that some laptops would overclock just fine. Is it worth that risk?

Last Updated: February 13, 2015

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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