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[SOLVED] MSI Afterburner and Unlocking Voltage Control

Jan 22, 2020
Hi all,

So I've been into PC building and gaming for quite some time now (since about 2014), so I feel pretty confident with my computer hardware skills. One avenue that I have more recently been exploring is GPU overclocking. I've definitely gotten the hang of general overclocking and stability testing except for manipulating the voltages on GPUs using Afterburner. I use MSI afterburner, but I know that there really aren't major differences between Afterburner/precision-X because they're all based off of the same platform.

Now, I've done my research and tried different things to unlock voltage control, but none of them seem to work. This extends into my testing on mobile GPUs, and desktop GPUs. I've (of course) tried the check boxes in the settings for "voltage control" and "voltage monitoring" to no avail. I've also tried editing the .cfg file of Afterburner and agreeing to the EULA, and modifying the associated settings. I've tried modifying the .cfg file under the profiles folder, again with not affect. Lastly, I've also tried the beta version of Afterburner too, again, nothing.

Some of the "fixes" that I have described are linked below:



Now on to the "meat and potatoes" of the post..

When I say that these fixes "dont work," I mean that at a hardware level. The fixes listed above do actually unlock the voltage slider in MSI Afterburner, and I am able to change the voltage that supposedly goes to the GPU, but there is no actual change when I apply it. I use HWiNFO64 and Afterburner to track the GPU voltage when I benchmark, and the GPU core voltage is always the same, no matter what value I assign the slider in Afterburner (i.e. If I boost the voltage by +35mV in Afterburner, the core voltage while benchmarking doesn't increase by +35mV, it is at the same voltage as if there was no change).

Also, here's a quick list of GPUs that I've tested this on:

MSI Gaming GTX 770

So essentially I'm just curious if anyone has any thoughts, or more experience with Afterburner/overclocking in general. I know that there are modified vBIOS options out there that could solve the problem, but as far as I'm aware, others have been able to unlock voltage control without modifying their cards. Is modifying the core voltage even possible on most GPUs, or are most locked by Nvidia? Seems kind of pointless to have voltage control options on a tuning utility if most GPUs would be incapable of utilizing them.

Thanks in advance if you made it this far, and let me know if you have any ideas. :)
Well lets say, I have my R9 280 and I cannot change the core voltage unless I flash the bios of it. No matter what.
Some GPUs have to be flashed to be unlocked.

As for mobile GPU's I really do not know if they "Even" can be overvolted, but as I know for mobile its better to use lower voltage for higher frequency (lower TDP on higher clock speed, (ex. 1750mhz 1.25v vs 1750mhz 1.15v) which results better perfomance over the time. (unless its high end laptop)

As for the 1000 series, the core voltage is kinda "Locked" and not worth flashing it (I was asking and they said it is not worth it).
For 1000 series GPUs you have to overclock via Graph Curve to trick GPU running into higher speed.
For example my 1050Ti Gaming X, with regular overclock and core voltage (Even tho it did not change even bit , by regular i mean slider) it would hit 1911Mhz and +1000 memory (samsung memory) but with Graph Curve (I think you hit CTRL+F?) you can change the curve and adjust it,
You have to play A LOT with the Graph Curve to get the best core clock, trust me it took me week to get it right till i've learned it.
I've managed to hit 1974 and unofficially beat Unigine Benchmark (1st place).
And the old GTX 480 I needed to use other tool to boost core voltage a bit, not sure the name of it tho.

Also fun fact, GPUZ on sensor tab says what is your limiting factor at perfcap.
vRel = Reliability. Indicating performance is limited by voltage reliability.
VOp = Operating. Indicating performance is limited by max operating voltage(Hardware Limit).
Pwr = Power. Indicating performance is limited by total power limit.
Thrm = Thermal. Indicating performance is limited by temperature limit.
Util = Utilization. Indicating performance is limited by GPU utilization.

Reactions: SparkyTech934
Jan 22, 2020
Thank you for the extremely detailed response, I appreciate your time. I'm always trying to learn more, so this is helpful. I can't say I understand it completely, but I'll get there.

So anyways, you kind of confirmed what I was thinking as far as some cards needing to have their vBIOS flashed in order to be unlocked. I also believe you are right in assuming that most mobile GPUs aren't unlocked (probably due to their strict power usage specifications), the only reason I brought up mobile GPUs is because I wanted to test this over multiple platforms.

So based off of the information that you supplied, I will definitely be downloading GPU-Z again (I've used it in the past, but have since switched to using HWiNFO as my "one stop") and exploring the perfcap sensor values.

Based on your overclocking experience then, is it very uncommon to be able to actually to modify a GPU's core voltage using the slider on Afterburner with the stock vBIOS? Is it instead realistic to only be able to squeeze as much performance out of a GPU as allowed by the stock voltage? Thanks again for your detailed response, and we'll see if anyone else has any thoughts on the matter.
Sorry Im kinda "Ingrish man". Not my main language.
As far as I experienced Overclocking on my hands.
My first bought GPU R7 250, did not have any vcore adjustments , but with bios modding I've pumped from 1.1V to 1.25V and max TDP of 75W (No PCIE , just from the slot power).
And it basically did overclock better, 1050Mhz to 1300Mhz~, but since the memory was GDDR3 it was kinda +100Mhz at max without any "Crashes".

This was the first GPU I dared to modify bios, I failed couple of times, but its Way easier to re flash the stock bios onto it than lets say laptop if you're into flashing bios.

Before doing any extreme Voltage modifying for GPU, READ Carefully what MAX voltage is recommended!!!!!

When you try yourself this Custom Core Curve, you will get it. Eventually..

Also failed to mention, Overclocking only with memory and core clock will not damage GPU in any way, unless you overvolt your GPU core, only drivers "May" get bugged.
Oct 17, 2020
i was wondering if anyone else has had this problem. Ive been using afterburner fine for years now, until recently (yesterday) i had full control of my core voltage control. Ive included two images in which the first one i move the core voltage slider to +100mv and the second in which i've selected' apply'. I've recently downloaded some new drivers/Geforce experience software and i have seen some who says this disrupted their afterburner. I've also had a windows update too before noticing the core voltage break.

Weirdly i uninstalled afterburner and installed gpu tweaks II and tried using its voltage control with the EXACT same problem. as soon as i apply it seems its being reset to +0mv .
I've currently tried uninstalling all nvidia software and reinstalling older drivers, flashing a new bios, reinstalling afterburner with all conventional .config edits/VEN_10DE edit to activate voltage control. i've been at it for like 3 hours and i'm honestly stuck now. unhelpfully there's millions of reposted articles on activating core voltage control and none on what to do when it just doesn't work. Any help would be really appreciated.

Islam Ghunym

Feb 20, 2019
flashing a new bios
Very bad idea tho. If a new driver have locked voltage control for ya then why the newer vBIOS wouldn't?

Try the older stock vBIOS if you still have a backup of it then you may have to use DDU to clean Nvidia softwares and drivers completely so you can then install your old drivers. Make sure not to let Windows install or update the driver automatically because Windows 10 does that without a notice.

It may help if you open MSIAfterburner.cfg file located in main directory and set unofficial overclocking value from 0 to 1 and use a proper EULA for that. Also you may enable voltage control from there because in some Systems there maybe some security restriction bugs that may not allow checking unlock voltage control box in afterburner settings to do anything.

This post seems to be helpful and detailed:

I assume that you are suffering from security issue which limit afterburner from saving settings so you may consider and start looking into that.
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