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Asus, MSI are shipping overclocked GTX 1080 and 1070 GPUs to reviewers, but not customers

Question asked by kingfish on Jun 20, 2016
Latest reply on Jun 25, 2016 by blazek

Here we go again.......


"A few posts on TechPowerUp have highlighted issues with GTX 1080 and 1070 cards from Asus and MSI. Specifically, both vendors have been caught shipping cards to reviewers that were configured for overclocking mode out of the box, while retail cards are shipping at base clocks by default."

Asus responded to PC Perspective’s inquiry on this issue by noting that reviewers and buyers alike can adjust GPU clock speeds via its GPU Tweak II utility, and that “The press samples for the ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 OC and ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1070 OC cards are set to “OC Mode” by default. To save media time and effort, OC mode is enabled by default as we are well aware our graphics cards will be reviewed primarily on maximum performance.”

The truth is, vendors have been pulling tricks like this for well over a decade. In the old days, they’d overclock CPU buses slightly, pushing a 133MHz base clock up to 136MHz. On a 2.13GHz CPU with a 16x base clock, that’s enough for a roughly 2% clock speed increase. Other scenarios have been more egregious — we’ve seen motherboards that would automatically enable optimized CPU overclocking settings when XMP memory profiles were enabled. In this particular case, that meant all CPU cores were set to run at the maximum Turbo frequency normally reserved for a single-threaded scenario. Optimizations like this can impact measured performance by significant amounts, much more than the 2% we mentioned earlier.

Asus claims that these changes are made to “help” reviewers, but that’s a secondary reason at best. Yes, we evaluate cards based on maximum performance, including overclocking performance — but what this is really about is securing top placement on a comparison graph between multiple vendors.