M18x GTX 580M SLI Throttle Fix and Software Overclocking - No vBIOS Flashing Required

Discussion in 'Alienware 18 and M18x' started by Mr. Fox, Nov 27, 2011.

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  1. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox BGA Filth-Hating Elitist

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    STANDARD WARNING
    Third party BIOS Modifications, VBIOS Modifications and other system level tweaks (including fan control) can potentially cause damage to your system. Be aware of this before blindly flashing/installing.

    If you brick your system or cause damage, chances are very high that your warranty will be useless. Know what you are doing, you are responsible for your actions.

    -
    All righty then, since nobody wants to step up and provide a comprehensive tutorial, I will...

    Before you start this process, be sure you have the latest GTX 580M vBIOS (version A0170.24.2B.00.06) from Dell/Alienware as the first step in fixing this problem. You can use GPU-Z to check the version you have. You can download it here if you do not already have it installed.

    You can do essentially the same thing as a vBIOS mod only in a less invasive format using NVIDIA Inspector to set the P1 speeds states at the same clock speeds as P0 on each GPU. At stock speeds of 620/1240 your temps should be the same as if you modified nothing. (It worked that way for me.) This is not an overclock... you are simply preventing the GPU speeds from slowing down to a lower power consumption state.

    Using manual fan controls my cards stayed at or below 76°C and no throttle condition occurred with Furmark while clocked to 725/1450. Using a less aggressive benchmark than Furmark, or while gaming, so far I am seeing no issues with GPU temps or throttling at factory maximum defaults. Below are 3DMark11 and Vantage runs at 725/1450 for P0 and P1 on both GPUs using the native M18x fan controls.

    3DMark 11: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M video card benchmark result - Intel Core i7-2760QM Processor,Alienware M18xR1 score: P7002 3DMarks

    Vantage: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M video card benchmark result - Intel Core i7-2760QM Processor,Alienware M18xR1 score: P24978 3DMarks

    3DMark06: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M video card benchmark result - Intel Core i7-2760QM Processor,Alienware M18xR1 score: P23034 3DMarks

    So anyone that wants to give this a shot prior to (or in lieu of) flashing their vBIOS can do it this way...

    1. Download NVIDIA Inspector 1.9.5.5.
    2. Extract to D:\nvidiainspector (place the files in this folder, not in a subfolder, if you want to use my batch file) or another location of your choice.
    3. Launch NVIDIA Inspector, click the "Show Overclocking" button and click OK to the warning.
    4. Select GPU0 in the lower left corner, change the Performance Level (drop down at top right side) to P1 and set the Shader Clock to 1240. This will match your factory default for P0.
    5. Click the Apply Clocks & Voltage button.
    6. Now, switch to GPU1 and repeat the changes.
    7. Enjoy no evidence of throttling! :)

    You can make this process easier in the future by clicking the Create Clocks Shortcut button for each power state for each GPU. (You will end up with 4 shortcuts, P0 for GPU0, P1 for GPU0 and one of each for GPU1.) You can double-click each shortcut to implement the changes next time.

    Or, if you only want to double-click once for both GPUs, you can use a batch file instead of using a shortcut for each GPU. If you used the same path for extraction I did, meaning the nvidiainspector.exe file is located in D:\nvidiainspector (no subdirectory) you can use both of the batch files I have attached.

    If you had a need to extract to another location, edit the code in the batch files using the appropriate syntax for the location of your executable.

    For P0 & P1 to be set at factory maximum defaults (620/1240):
    Code:
    start D:\nvidiaInspector\nvidiaInspector.exe -setShaderClock:0,2,1240 -setMemoryClock:0,2,1500 -setVoltage:0,2,870
    
    start D:\nvidiaInspector\nvidiaInspector.exe -setShaderClock:1,2,1240 -setMemoryClock:1,2,1500 -setVoltage:1,2,870
    
    start D:\nvidiaInspector\nvidiaInspector.exe -setShaderClock:0,3,1240 -setMemoryClock:0,3,1500 -setVoltage:0,3,870 
    
    start D:\nvidiaInspector\nvidiaInspector.exe -setShaderClock:1,3,1240 -setMemoryClock:1,3,1500 -setVoltage:1,3,870 
    
    For a mild overclock to 725/1450 on P0 & P1:
    Code:
    start D:\nvidiaInspector\nvidiaInspector.exe -setShaderClock:0,3,1450 -setMemoryClock:0,3,1500 -setVoltage:0,3,870 
    
    start D:\nvidiaInspector\nvidiaInspector.exe -setShaderClock:1,3,1450 -setMemoryClock:1,3,1500 -setVoltage:1,3,870 
    
    start D:\nvidiaInspector\nvidiaInspector.exe -setShaderClock:0,2,1450 -setMemoryClock:0,2,1500 -setVoltage:0,2,870
    
    start D:\nvidiaInspector\nvidiaInspector.exe -setShaderClock:1,2,1450 -setMemoryClock:1,2,1500 -setVoltage:1,2,870 
    
    Add the batch file of your choice to your Windows Startup folder or schedule a Windows Task to start it automatically after a preset number of seconds or minutes after loading Windows. This would accomplish basically the same end result as tweaking the vBIOS except that flashing would not be required. It would also be quickly and easily undone by removing the batch file from the Startup folder or deleting the Task.

    Update 12/04/2011: For those that want a permanent solution (vBIOS mod) for their M18x, please see this post by Red Line. :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2015
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  2. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox BGA Filth-Hating Elitist

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    OK, I uploaded new batch files because I did not realize that a separate command was required for each power state on each card (a total of 4 with two GPU). This would also be the case with shortcuts created by NVIDIA Inspector... 4 shortcuts would be needed with dual-GPU. So, the value of a batch file becomes clear right away... Launching a single batch file does the work of double-clicking 4 shortcuts, LOL. I edited the instructions above to make that clear as well.

    Here's the really good part... adding the batch file to the Windows Startup folder works perfectly. So, doing this provides no disadvantage over flashing the cards from what I can see. In fact, the advantage to not flashing is that when you delete the shortcut from your Startup folder, your cards work exactly as Dell intends them to without having to re-flash to return them to their previous state. No bootable USB sticks, no flashing, no fuss...

    In further testing, I also ran Furmark without HWiNFO64 winding up the fans and experienced zero overheating or throttling. The GPU temperatures were not reduced using a modified fan profile with HWiNFO64. Letting the native M18x fan controls do their job worked fine. Temperatures remained at or below 76°C.

    WARNING
    Furmark was used in this test to confirm throttling symptoms were completely eradicated in the M18x. Forum members are cautioned against using Furmark for any purpose, including testing. Since this was posted, Mr. Fox is no longer using Furmark for testing. If you choose to use Furmark, do so at your own peril.

    -​
    <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/eAQI3erhvBg?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;rel=0"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/eAQI3erhvBg?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;rel=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width='500' height='380' allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>

    If anyone wants to add to the fix a comprehensive tutorial on a mod to the P1 state involving a vBIOS flash, it would be a welcome addition for those that are interested in taking that route. If we do that, I will update the thread title to reflect that tutorials for both methods are provided. (The tutorial for the M17x R3 is excellent for M17x R3 owners, but not specific enough to address procedural difference for many M18x owners.)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 11, 2015
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  3. reaversedge

    reaversedge Notebook Evangelist

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    whoally! just tried steps 1-7, no more throttling issues! :D nice! fps worked like butter! +1 rep master fox :D
     
  4. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox BGA Filth-Hating Elitist

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    Thanks! Glad you like that, bro. :)

    If you used the same installation directory you can skip steps 3 and beyond and simply double-click the desired batch file. If you find that also works as advertised, you can decide whether or not to put a shortcut in your Startup folder or just run it from your desktop as a shortcut.
     
  5. steviejones133

    steviejones133 Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Excellent work Mr. Fox, as per usual! ....repped for your stellar support and forethought for others....:)
     
  6. skygunner27

    skygunner27 A Genuine Child of Zion

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    Thank you. Nice post!!! +rep when I can.
     
  7. nuroo

    nuroo Notebook Consultant

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    Mr Fox you are the man! This is great, plus easily reversible to boot. +rep.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2015
  8. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox BGA Filth-Hating Elitist

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    Thank you, sir! :)
     
  9. shadowyani

    shadowyani Notebook Deity

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    I flashed my vbios prior to realizing how powerful inspector is. I could have saved myself a heck of a lot of nail biting if this guide was up a week ago when I performed my overclock lol. Good work.

    Also you can just drop all four shortcuts in startup folder no batch file required.
     
  10. DanXbix

    DanXbix Notebook Deity

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    Fantastic Mr Fox I used this all the time with my old 285m SLI. A great app
     
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