The Cheapaz Chips Season 2 contest just came a conclusion around a week ago, with OGS (Greece) taking the win and a very nice GALAX GTX 1080 Ti HoF Lab Edition card (catch the full writeup here on OC-ESPORTS). The contest series is all about pushing cheaper graphics cards and in the case of Season 2, focused on pushing NVIDIA GT 1030 cards. Like all 1000 series cards, the GT 1030 and its GP108 graphics processor is based on the Pascal architecture, an architecture that for many overclockers presents a very specific set of challenges. The good news however, is that US overclocker and Cheapaz Chips 4th place finisher niobium615 (US) has put together a really solid guide that specifically deals with pushing Pascal.
niobium615 (US) is a member of the /r/overclocking team on HWBOT, a team with a growing member list of enthusiastic overclockers. In fact the team had two representatives in the top five, a solid sign of their increasing pedigree. The /r/overclocking pages on reddit actually contain some great guides that span beginner to advanced levels. The Pascal guide from niobium615 contains lots of advice regarding things like voltage / frequency curves, throttling issues, the differences you will experience between ambient and extreme overclocking, driver interfaces and a whole lot more. Here’s a taste of what he has to say:
So, Pascal time. First thing to get out of the way; a custom BIOS can solve a lot of OC-related issues that Pascal has. Unfortunately, unless someone figures out how to sign a modified BIOS, that's not happening anytime soon. That leaves the NVAPI as the only other way to control the cards. Is it a bit limited? Yes, but you can still get them to behave much more nicely with the right commands.
One of the new features of Pascal is that clocks can now be set with voltage/frequency curves. In fact, that's the only way that clocks are handled on Pascal. Every card has a "stock" V/F curve defined in the BIOS, as was the case for Maxwell and Kepler, but this curve can now be directly modified from the OS. Offsets are still available, and can be set using the same NVAPI call as previous architectures. I have a feeling that this is for compatibility's sake as much as anything else. An important thing to note is that offsets are applied to the stock frequency curve, as was the case with Maxwell and Kepler, not the currently defined frequency curve. If an offset is applied to the card, the V/F will be reset to stock.
Catch the full Pascal overclocking guide from niobium615 here on reddit.com. A big thanks to mickulty (UK) for bringing this to my attention.