It’s not that it’s necessary to overclock the GTX 560M–it will run any current game at reasonable quality settings at its regular clock speed. On the other hand overclocking is fun. That said, we will put in the usual disclaimer here that what you do to your own computer is at your own risk. This article is for entertainment purposes only.
In the last couple of years, Intel has put a damper on the CPU overclocking game by including their own “Turbo Boost” feature that overclocks the CPU on demand. This is quite boring, but it sort of makes sense for laptops–particularly when they are running on battery power. The same is not true for graphics cards of any variety or brand—you can (for the most part) overclock both NVIDIA and AMD cards unless they are locked in the BIOS.
We just published a review of the ASUS G53SX, which is equipped with the GTX 560M as well as an excellent (and heavy) cooling solution, but somewhat unfortunately it is the 2GB version so it only has a 128-bit memory bus. Nevertheless, it has higher stock clock speeds and probably a better overclocking potential than its predecessor the GTX 460M thanks to some power optimizations in the chip.
So, before our G53SX review was halfway through, we had already found (or at least thought we found) the sweet spot for the core, shader and memory clocks of our 128-bit GTX 560M at the following:
- 920MHz for the GPU core (original clock 775MHz)
- Shaders 1840MHz (1550MHz) and the memory
- 1600MHz (1250Mhz)
As it turns out it wasn’t as easy s expected. The thing would run perfectly at these very high clocks (courtesy of MSI Afterburner) in most games and benchmarks; Furmark was stable at 92 degrees C (an uncomfortably high temperature, but Furmark is notorious for this) but it was failing in other benchmarks—most notably 3DMark 11. It could run 3DMark Vantage or Furmark in a loop for hours, but in the second scene of 3DMark 11 it would crash without exception.
These crashes should have nothing to do with temperature—these chips can take high temperatures without any (short-term) adverse effects, so more likely the voltage was too low or the driver was unable to handle whatever the particular challenge was. Turning the memory knob back down to 1550 MHz solved the “problem” and even the troublesome 3DMark 11 would finish without issue.
For the record, the 3DMark 11 score of P2559 is higher than any benchmark we’ve seen so far with the GTX 560M–overclocked or not. The 3D Mark Vantage score is as follows:
In other words there might be some arguments in favor of overclocking the 128-bit GTX 560M, and it could more than even out the differences between this one and the 1.5GB/3GB models with a (triple channel) 192-bit memory bus.On the other hand, the results depend on the individual chips, so saying that “results may vary” is an understatement. Nevertheless, a 10,000+ PCMark Vantage score almost puts this one on par with the much more powerful GTX 570M (although you can of course overclock that one as well).
In 3DMark 06, the result went up from 13,724 to 14,935–a smaller improvement in DX9 as indicated by the review. It seems that the real gains are to be had in DX10 and DX11. The reason is perhaps that the driver support has been improved in the more recent benchmarks compared to the aging, but still relevant, 3DMark 06.
Just to repeat the obvious: this is not necessary. The standard clocks are good enough for any game on the market, but it’s interesting to know that even the 128-bit GTX 560M has quite a bit of room for overclocking.