How to Tune GPU Performance Using Radeon Wattman

Article Number: DH-020

This document provides information on the options available in Radeon Wattman which enables customization of graphics card (GPU) performance and is organized into the following sections:

Radeon Wattman Overview

Radeon Wattman, which was first introduced in Radeon™ Software Crimson Edition 16.6.2, is a power management utility that controls GPU voltage, core clocks, memory clocks, fan speed and temperature.1   Radeon Wattman provides performance tuning and monitoring of GPU behaviour, enabling the ability to fine tune your gaming experience for different applications.

This document walks you through each step of tuning your GPU using Radeon Wattman.  It is important to note that GPU tuning requires an advanced level of technical knowledge.  For most users, the default hardware settings for the GPU and graphics memory provides the best performance for most applications.

Note! When manually overclocking, it is a best practice to overclock in small increments and then test for stability after each adjustment. This is best done by running your 3D games and applications as you normally would for a few hours. If the system becomes unstable (e.g., you may experience crashes, hangs, and/or graphical corruption), you should return to the last stable settings.

Radeon Wattman Requirements

Radeon Wattman is supported on AMD Radeon R7 260 Graphics Series products and higher. It is recommended to always use the latest compatible driver for your GPU when configuring Radeon Wattman on a Windows based system. 

Windows compatibility is dependent on the GPU. Please check the Product Resources Center for specifications and compatibility information.

Note!  

  1. Radeon Wattman is not supported on APU Graphics and the AMD R7 370 Graphics Series.
  2. For APU Graphics, AMD Radeon R7 370 Graphics and products older than Radeon R7 260, performance tuning is available via AMD Overdrive.
  3. The availability of specific Radeon Wattman features will depend on the GPU being used.

Configuring Radeon Wattman

To access Radeon Wattman, open Radeon Settings by right clicking on your desktop and select Radeon Settings.

Click on the Gaming Tab.

Click on Global Settings.
 

Click on the Global Wattman tab and read the Terms of Use. If you agree to these terms, click Accept to continue.


NOTE! AMD PRODUCT WARRANTY DOES NOT COVER DAMAGES CAUSED BY OVERCLOCKING, EVEN WHEN OVERCLOCKING IS ENABLED VIA AMD HARDWARE AND/OR SOFTWARE.

After accepting the Terms of Use, you can begin customizing Radeon Wattman settings.

Note!

  1. In AMD CrossFire configurations, Radeon Wattman settings must be applied to each GPU in the system.  You can select each GPU by clicking the GPU tabs as highlighted below.
  2. If after configuring the primary GPU the options under the tab(s) for the remaining GPUs are disabled (greyed out), you may need to wake up the GPU(s). This can be done by cycling between the tabs.




The following section describes the options available within Radeon Wattman which allow performance tuning and monitoring of your GPU. These include:

    • Clock Frequency Control
    • Memory Frequency Control
    • Voltage Control
    • Temperature
    • Fan Speed
    • Power Limit
    • Histogram

Note!

    • Global Wattman changes will apply to all 3D applications.
    • If you wish to create an individual Radeon Wattman profile for a specific 3D application(s), please refer to :  How to Configure AMD Radeon Settings to Get the Optimal Gaming Experience.
    • Changes made under Global Wattman or under an application profile will take effect immediately.
    • Any changes made to settings within Radeon Wattman are only saved when you click Apply, located in the upper right corner of the Wattman interface.

Clock Frequency Control

Radeon Wattman allows customization[JJL1] [MR2]  of seven GPU performance clock states, which are defined by unique clock speeds and voltages. Using Clock Frequency Control, you can configure each of these seven states to your own personal preference.

    • Clock State 0 is the lowest power state and cannot be modified.
    • Clock State 7 is the highest GPU clock state and offers the highest performance.

 

Clock Frequency Control can be adjusted in different ways. These include:

    • Simple Frequency Curve Control
    • Dynamic Frequency Curve Control

Default Mode for Frequency Curve Control

The Default Mode allows adjustments to all clock states simultaneously.

Move the Frequency slider to the right or left to increase or decrease GPU frequency respectively. This slider will adjust in the Clock Frequency in increments of 0.5%.

 

Dynamic Mode for GPU Frequency Curve Control

The Dynamic Mode can be adjusted by selecting the Frequency option and changing it to Dynamic. Dynamic Clock Control enables customization of each Clock State, allowing greater control over performance.

Set the desired Frequency and click apply.

In this example, the default Base Clock for State 7 for this GPU is 1266Mhz and has been increased to 1300Mhz.

Note! Increasing the Clock Frequency can impact stability and may require increasing the Voltage to stabilize the system. Voltage Control is covered in the next section of this document.

Memory Frequency Control

Memory Frequency Control only uses one state (State 1). In Default mode, adjust Memory Frequency in increments of 5Mhz using the slider.

Set the desired Frequency and click apply.

Dynamic Clock Control allows a manual input of the desired Frequency.

In this example, the default Base Clock for State 1 for this GPU is 2000Mhz and has been increased to 2100Mhz.

Note! Memory Frequency Control is not supported with AMD Radeon Pro Duo, R9 Fury Series and R9 Nano Series Graphics.

Voltage Control

Voltage control refers to the amount of voltage applied to the GPU at each Clock State.

Voltage Control can help to stabilize the GPU when increasing Clock Frequency. This will require more power and generate more heat, resulting in higher fan speeds and fan noise.

Voltage for GPU Frequency can be adjusted by selecting the Voltage Control option and changing it to Manual.  Manual Voltage Control enables customization of Voltage for each GPU Clock State.

Note!

  • In manual mode, it is a best practice to increase Voltage in small increments and then test for stability. This is best done by running your usual games and 3D applications at your preferred settings.
  • If the adjustments made above causes stability issues, you can restore factory default settings by clicking Reset located in the upper right hand corner.
  • Voltages are not shared between GPU and Memory Clocks; both are set independently.

Set the desired Voltage and click apply.

In this example, the default Voltage for State 7 is 1125 and has been increased to 1150.

Memory Voltage Control only uses one State (State 1).

Voltage for Memory Frequency can be adjusted by selecting the Voltage Control option and changing it to Manual.  Manual Voltage Control enables customization of Voltage for Clock State 1.

Set the desired Voltage and click apply.


In this example, the default Voltage for State 1 is 1000 and has been increased to 1150.

Temperature

Manual temperature allows control over the operating temperatures of the GPU when running a 3D application (under load).

The Max (temperature) slider is the maximum temperature allowed before GPU clocks and voltage are lowered to cool down the GPU. Target is the temperature at which fan speeds will ramp up to cool down the GPU.

Target temperature works in tandem with Fan speed which is covered in the next section of this document.


Fan Speed

Fan speed is measured in RPM (revolutions per minute), the higher the fan speed the more cooling provided, which may lead to an increase in fan noise.

Fan speed is automatically managed by your GPU by default and will ramp up or down to regulate temperature, depending on current work load.

Manual fan speed allows customization over the minimum and target fan speeds, which allows control over GPU temperature and fan noise.

    • Min is the minimum speed the fan can run at.
    • Target is the maximum fan speed the fan will run at if the current temperature level is not above the temperature target.

Note! Some fan speed settings may not be available on some non-AMD reference designs.

Minimum acoustic limit enables the user to set the baseline frequency which the GPU will operate in. If the GPU clock frequency (Mhz) drops below the minimum acoustic limit value set, the fan speed will increase as required to regulate the GPU temperature so that the baseline frequency can be maintained.

Power Limit

Power limit controls the level of power sent to the GPU. Increasing this value can improve GPU performance by allowing the GPU to maintain its highest clock frequency (state 7).

Power Limit can be increased or reduced by +/- 20-100% and should be set to the maximum value when increasing GPU or Memory clock frequency.

Note! Power Limit % range is dependent on which GPU you are using.

Histogram

The Histogram allows monitoring and data capture of current, average and peak GPU activity, temperature, fan speed and GPU clock speeds.

Hover over the graph to view details for a specific point in time as shown below.


Radeon Chill

Radeon Chill is a power-saving feature that dynamically regulates framerate based on your character and camera movements in-game.As your movement decreases, Radeon Chill reduces your gameplay framerate, saves power and lowers GPU temperature.

Radeon Chill can be toggled on and off during gameplay by pressing a Global Hotkey. The Global Hotkey can be changed to a different key by selecting Global Hotkey and then pressing the desired key.

To enable Radeon Chill, set the Global Switch to On.

For more advanced information about Radeon Chill and a list of supported games, please visit the Radeon Chill Technology page.

 

Restoring Default Settings

If you wish to return to default settings, you can restore Global or individual application Wattman Settings to their default values by clicking on the Reset option located in the upper right corner of the Global or individual Wattman menu.


1 Overclocking any AMD processor, including without limitation, altering clock frequencies / multipliers or memory timing / voltage, to operate beyond their stock specifications will void any applicable AMD product warranty, even when such overclocking is enabled via AMD hardware and/or software. This may also void warranties offered by the system manufacturer or retailer. Users assume all risks and liabilities that may arise out of overclocking AMD processors, including, without limitation, failure of or damage to hardware, reduced system performance and/or data loss, corruption or vulnerability.

2 Compatible with Radeon™ consumer graphics products in supported DirectX®9 and DirectX®11 games for Windows®7/8.1/10. For more details and a whitelist of supported games, see http://www.amd.com/en-us/innovations/software-technologies/radeon-software/gaming/radeon-chill.


Footnotes