Can my PC handle a GTX 1080?

Remove the power limit on Nvidia graphics cards

Friedrich Stiemer

With a relatively simple method, it is possible to overclock Geforce GTX graphics cards from Nvidia beyond the limit set by the manufacturer. You don't have to be an overclocking professional to use them. However, you should have disassembled a graphics card before.

EnlargeRemove the power limit on Nvidia graphics cards

Since the GPUs of the Kepler generation (GTX 600 series), an Nvidia graphics card with the Nvidia Boost overclocking technology can increase its clock rate and supply voltage fully automatically if required. In demanding games, for example, it works faster than the standard clock.

The limit for overclocking is set by the so-called power target: It essentially describes the maximum permitted power consumption (TDP) of the graphics card. If the GPU exceeds this limit due to the boost clock, it reduces the clock rate in order to come back below the performance limit. Since the Nvidia GTX 780, the Nvidia Boost also takes the temperature into account. But mostly sustained overclocking attempts fail at the TDP limit. With free tools from graphics card providers, such as EVGA Precision X or MSI Afterburner, the power target can be increased slightly - usually by up to 20 percent: For many overclockers, however, this is not enough to fully exploit the performance of the graphics card.

EnlargeManufacturer tools such as MSI Afterburner allow graphics cards to be overclocked within limits: You can achieve even better results with a hardware mod.

Using a so-called “Power Target Mod”, it is possible to increase the power target further by converting the graphics card hardware accordingly. The presented mod was developed by Roman Hartung, who, under his alias “der8auer”, is one of the best German overclockers. The mod instructions can be used with all Geforce graphics cards from the Kepler generation.

This method is based on bridging the resistors integrated in the graphics card. Since the resistors can of course not be completely removed, the power target is still there - just not so strong that it would restrict overclocking too much.

So that you can now use this mod successfully, you must first remove the cooling system of the graphics card, i.e. the fan, housing, heat sink and heat pipes. mostly all of these parts are related and can be easily detached from the circuit board after you have removed the corresponding screws. Then you have to locate the so-called shunt resistors (also called shunt resistor) on the circuit board of your graphics card. These are low-ohmic resistors that measure electrical currents.

EnlargeResistances on the graphics card can be bridged with liquid metal and the overclocking limits can be circumvented.

To bridge these resistances, apply some liquid metal directly to the components. Liquid metal thermal paste or silver conductive paint is best suited for this. Ideally, you apply the liquid metal with a fine object, such as a cotton swab. If you have a graphics card with more than one resistor, the resistor will steadily drop to the next one. Therefore you have to repeat this process on each resistance. Basically, you have to be very economical with the amount of liquid metal, after all, it is only about bridging the resistance.

It is also essential to ensure that no liquid metal drips onto the circuit board itself or onto other components, since in the worst case this can lead to a short circuit. If so, you should completely remove the liquid metal with a little special gasoline before you supply the graphics card with power again. In this way, you also remove the Power Mod again. However, you must be aware that the manufacturer's guarantee is void and that incorrect assembly or application of the liquid can lead to irreparable defects in the graphics card. Therefore, this type of graphics card tuning is only intended for users who already have experience with tinkering with hardware components.

Tip: Anyone who gets the PC-CPU going can expect a little more performance. But be careful: Too much is unhealthy. We explain what is important in overclocking and how you can tease a few more megahertz out of your computer without overheating.