Need for Speed: Gigabyte Shows Off Graphics Cards with GPU Voltage Increase Capabilities
For several years many graphics cards suppliers offered pre-overclocked graphics adapters, however, no one increased core voltage of graphics processing unit (GPU) itself: even heavily overclocked XFX GeForce 8800 Ultra Extreme graphics board comes with 1.35V core voltage. It looks like the situation is changing, as Gigabyte United has unveiled a technology that allows boosting GPU voltage on its graphics cards using a special software application.
The new Gamer HUD (heads up display) software utility from Gigabyte is designed to allow hardcore gaming enthusiasts to tweak the highest levels of performance from their graphics card. Gigabyte’s Gamer HUD utility features Voltage Gear Overdrive (VGO) feature that allows voltage adjusting purely though software control as well as supports adjusting of GPU clock-speed, shader domain clock-speed and memory frequency settings. With multi-level GPU voltage control settings, users are able to squeeze the highest amount of performance from their graphics cards.
In addition, the company said that Gigabyte’s Gamer HUD provides certain power savings through its auto-optimized 2D/3D GPU frequency switching feature. When enabling 2D applications such as email, web browsing and media playback, the GPU frequency is lowered to 2D mode allowing the graphics card to save power consumption. For more graphics intensive applications such as gaming and 3D rendering, the 3D switch is activated, raising the GPU frequency to allow for the greatest level of performance. In fact, both ATI and Nvidia graphics cards automatically adjust clock-speeds and voltages depending on usage model, but Gigabyte implies that its settings are more aggressive and can allow even more efficient power savings and quietness of operation.
Given that both ATI and Nvidia nowadays provide graphics cards makers clock-speed and voltage ranges of their GPUs, boosting them to a certain degree should not be a considerable problem and will not void warranty. What should be kept in mind is that with higher voltages and clock-speeds life expectancy of chips gets lower. Therefore, those, who plan to get a graphics card that will be used for several years should approach graphics boards with boosted voltages with caution, but gamers, who change graphics adapters every year, will probably welcome almost any performance boosting technology.
Initially the new Gamer HUD software utility with Voltage Gear Overdrive (VGO) technology support will come with new Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT 512MB graphics cards, but eventually Gigabyte is likely to enable other graphics boards with the VGO capability.