70% GPU load under DirectX but 8% under OpenGL?

By Mugsy · 8 replies
Aug 14, 2014
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  1. Can anyone help me figure this out?

    My new GTX 670 is regularly hitting 88%-99% load when running DirectX based games & benchmarks, causing it to quickly overheat and "emergency shutdown" my (64bit) Win7 PC after about 10 minutes.

    But if I use OpenGL, the GPU load (via "GPU-Z") is closer to about 8% (but doesn't look as good.)

    I discovered I can keep the load below 70% by setting games to "limit the refresh rate to 120MHz", but 70% is still WAAAAY too high.

    Anyone have any idea why DirectX (v11) might be taxing my GPU so badly? Thx
  2. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Because it's supposed to? Nothing is wrong with 70% if temperatures are okay, like 90*C range.
    You can turn up fan speed or cap your framerate until temperatures are decent otherwise.
  3. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

    My GPUs sit at 100% when I'm actually using them most of the time. That's what they're supposed to do.
  4. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 429   +27

    My old Radeon 5850 rarely went over 45% load. And as noted, using OpenGL, the load is typically well under 20%, keeping the card much cooler so I don't crash.

    If Microsoft can't write a version of DirectX that doesn't make the card scream in agony every time I use it, they need to fire their video hardware team. :(
  5. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

    The only way to keep your GPU from running at full throttle is to create some sort of artificial cap. Most people use VSYNC for this where the maximum frame rate is limited to the set refresh rate. In this case the GPU does not work any harder than it has to in order to get the frame rate to match the refresh rate (1 frame generated per display update). If you have this feature enabled it shouldn't matter if you're using DirectX or OpenGL... it should do the same thing. If the games you are running are more demanding than the old games you used to play in OpenGL then that could explain the difference in workload. A few things that drastically affect your workload are resolution, anti-aliasing, shadow quality, and draw distance. Try using a monitoring tool like MSI Afterburner along with a CPU monitor to see what's going on while you play your games.
    Jad Chaar and Mugsy like this.
  6. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 429   +27

    Thanks. This is good info, though I'm not seeing a VSYNC option in any of my games. Limiting the refresh rate to "120MHz" holds things down a bit to around 70% and a fresh/clean reinstall of the drivers seems to have bought me another 5% down to 65%. That should be enough to keep me from overheating.

    A "100% load" being "normal" certainly isn't right... especially on a static menu! A card shouldn't be under that kind of load unless it's being pushed to the max by a scene with lots of polygons and filtering.


    PS: Any chance there's a 3rd Party "vsync" limiter? No setting in the nVidia driver. :(
  7. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    You can enable application specific vsync in the nvidia control panel.
    Or you could turn up your fan speed, so your temperatures stay in the 90*C which would be okay.
  8. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

    BTW - even at a constant 100% GPU usage you shouldn't be hitting 90°C. Most nVidia cards max out around 83-85°C when properly ventilated so there is probably another issue. Have you made sure you've got proper air flow in your case by clearing out dust/carpet/etc.? Even under intense gaming for a period of time I've only seen my GPUs max at 85°C and from what I've read around the interwebs other are experiencing the same.
  9. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 429   +27

    I just discovered that the two exhaust fans on top of my case have gone out (again). Hopefully, getting those fixed will take care of the issue. Thx.

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