Use “thermal throttling” to your advantage on PC

It’s no secret both, Ryzen 7 5800X and GeForce RTX 3080 are hot boyz. They both love to run really hot no matter how big coolers you bolt on them. And if you cool them better by ramping up fans they’ll just boost even higher. And noise is something I don’t tolerate well. I like my system quiet.

So I did something rather unorthodox this time around that actually doesn’t hurt performance much at all, but makes system sooooo much quieter. And cooler.

Temperature throttling the CPU…

Ryzen 5000 has a setting for thermal throttling in BIOS…

CPU_ThermalThrottle

For a long time I treated this as something I need to avoid and it’s there just to protect CPU from burning out. But then it made me think. I’ve been at those temperatures by allowing it to pump as much power as it wanted and raising its clock limits to 5GHz. And all it did was drop clocks tiny bit and it’s not like it just drops from 4.4GHz on all cores down to 2GHz or something. The curve is rather progressive for it to stay at that temperature. So I dropped the thermal throttle limit down to just 65°C. My fans on AiO are set to run at 100% at 70°C. And behold, system was now so much quieter and observing the CPU temperature curve, it hits 65°C and remains there at all times, so fans never actually went to 100% as a result (I have Silent Wings 3 on my Liquid Freezer II 240mm AiO which are rather quiet until 100% speed).

What changes now is the cores clocks. And to my surprise, those haven’t changed much. In gaming, it runs at 65°C and still hits same clocks of 4.85 GHz. I kid you not. There was no change for games as far as clocks go. Played Necromunda: Hired Gun which is very new game and some Battelfield 1. Older, but still very nice looking game which is still relatively demanding. I also couldn’t tell a difference in gameplay smoothness. Probably something like GTA V would cause clocks to drop some more, but these CPU’s are really fast and they don’t need to max out for great performance. There was some change in Cinebench R23 where my usual unrestricted clock was 4.45 GHz on all cores and now it was around 4.2 GHz. Which is still quite respectable and given I generally don’t do much all core loads it’s still perfectly fine and I only lost few 100 points which is nothing.

Temperature throttling the GPU…

I’m using Palit GeForce RTX 3080 GamingPro which has a rather slim cooler that doesn’t extend past PCI rear bracket. It was only version at the time that I could get for normal price and it’s fine. I was playing Automachef yesterday and it was running full tilt even though game isn’t that demanding, making it quite noisy and pumping out tons of heat just because it was running at locked 144fps (my monitor refresh FreeSynced). And I applied same logic as for CPU. Lets just temperature limit the card…

RTX3080_ThermalT

Fired up MSI Afterburner and only thing I did was unlink power and temperature and gave TEMP LIMIT priority, dropped it to 65°C which is the lowest it can go. If temperature allows, it’ll still go to max clocks. And it sometimes does when not under heavy stress on entire GPU. And just like CPU, it goes up to 65°C and flatlines there. No matter what I do it stays at 65°C. Super quiet and it’s now only 1000 points slower than average RTX 3080 in 3DMark Port Royal test. In Necromunda and Battlefield 1, I couldn’t tell the difference once again. But my god it was quieter and under heavy loads clocks were fluctuating between 1500 and 1900 MHz. Quite lower than before when they were stuck at 1900 MHz and above, but drop in clocks doesn’t seem to affect framerate all that much even though in frequency numbers it’s huge.

Conclusion

Basically I prioritized my entire system on temperature and my choice was 65°C because it’s a good balance in my use case. And results are pretty amazing as performance wasn’t penalized as much as I was expecting, but temperature metrics changed dramatically. You can set any temperature limit you want so you can tailor it to your cooling capacity or noise tolerance that you can still deal with. Pretty useful settings.

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