The GeForce 456.55 driver that Nvidia has released seems to adjust the v / f curve on the RTX 3080 GPUs. This determines how much voltage is required to maintain a certain clock frequency. For many users, this seems to fix stability issues.
In the releasenotes Nvidia writes of the latest GeForce driver that adjustments have been made to improve the stability of the RTX 30 series GPUs. As usual, the manufacturer does not provide specific details about this. The German site HardwareLuxx noted that the v / f curve is presumably adjusted. A test with the old and the new driver made a difference visible with the Asus TUF Gaming RTX 3080 video card.
Tweakers has reproduced that test with four different RTX 3080 cards: the Gigabyte RTX 3080 Gaming OC, MSI RTX 3080 Gaming X Trio, Asus TUF Gaming RTX 3080 and Nvidia RTX 3080 Founders Edition. All cards show a change in the v / f curve after the driver update, but the effect differs per card and is not unambiguous. The Gigabyte version uses a higher voltage for the low clock speeds after the update and the Asus card does that at the high clock frequencies.
With the MSI and Nvidia cards, the v / f curve is practically identical on both driver versions. The old driver even seems to deliver a little more voltage at the same frequencies. In practice, the course of the v / f curve depends on many factors. This is linked to the GPU temperature, which is determined by the quality of the chip, among other things. Due to variations in chip production, there may also be differences between them. That explains the difference in the v / f curve with the Asus TUF card, which has been tested by both Tweakers and HardwareLuxx. Incidentally, Tweakers did not encounter any stability problems during the testing of the video cards in question, not even with the old driver.
From left to right: the Gigabyte RTX 3080 Gaming OC, MSI RTX 3080 Gaming X Trio, Asus TUF Gaming RTX 3080 and Nvidia RTX 3080 Founders Edition. The gray line is the new GeForce 356.55 driver, the blue line is the previous 356.38 driver.
Changing the v / f curve can, in theory, affect performance. If the video cards require more voltage to reach a certain clock frequency, the power consumption will increase and that can force the card to select a lower ‘step’ in the boost curve. In practice, the differences are so small that the effect is marginal and within the range of our benchmarks.
The driver update seems to fix stability issues for many RTX 3080 owners. It is not known what exactly Nvidia has adapted, but seems to be successful in any case. After the release of the RTX 3080 graphics cards, gamers suffered from crashes, especially when the cards hit high clock speeds. Among other things on the Tweakers forum you can read such experiences.
In recent days a lot of attention has been paid to the use of different capacitors by manufacturers. Not all RTX 3080 cards have the same capacitors and it has been suggested that stability issues could be related to that. Nvidia denies that and states that the number of groupings of different capacitors varies and is not necessarily an indication of quality.