Latest Nvidia GTX 900M drivers remove overclocking support

GTX980M 3Qtr

With their latest three driver updates, Nvidia GTX 900M series mobile graphics cards have lost overclocking capabilities—and they don't look to be coming back. GeForce driver R347 (347.29) doesn't have overclocking tools and disables support for third-party tools as well, and Nvidia says this is intentional.

“Unfortunately GeForce Notebooks were not designed to support overclocking,” wrote Nvidia rep Manuel Guzman on the company's forums. “Overclocking is by no means a trivial feature, and depends on thoughtful design of thermal, electrical, and other considerations. By overclocking a notebook, a user risks serious damage to the system that could result in non-functional systems, reduced notebook life, or many other effects.

There was a bug introduced into our drivers which enabled some systems to overclock. This was fixed in a recent update. Our intent was not to remove features from GeForce notebooks, but rather to safeguard systems from operating outside design limits.”

That's right: overclocking on 900M series cards was a bug, not a feature. And that "bug" has been fixed.

Needless to say, users are not happy. Especially those with high-end laptops sporting a 980M and plenty of thermal overhead. The consensus from those gamers: a warning that overclocking might potentially damage a user's system should suffice, rather than removing the ability entirely.

To be fair, Nvidia never advertised 900M cards as overclock-friendly. But Nvidia's mobile graphics have been overclockable for years, with official driver support. Yes, it's true that gaming laptops aren't designed to handle and dissipate the amount of heat that desktop systems can. But many gaming laptops, especially the beefy, high-end systems that some gamers would want to overclock, are always plugged into the wall and have powerful fans in place.

Overclocking isn't unreasonable for those systems, and has been an option—a feature—for years. Now, apparently, it's a bug.

Bo Moore

As the former head of PC Gamer's hardware coverage, Bo was in charge of helping readers better understand and use PC hardware. He also headed up the buying guides, picking the best peripherals and components to spend your hard-earned money on. He can usually be found playing Overwatch, Apex Legends, or more likely, with his cats. He is now IGN's resident tech editor and PC hardware expert.