Optimizing the 2020 MSI GS66
These are all the optimizations I made to the 2020 MSI GS66. While my settings are specifically for the 10980HK and 2080 Super Max-Q model, the instructions can be applied to ANY model of the GS66.
Below, you will find:
How to enable Undervolting
Other BIOS and Windows Registry Tweaks
Fan Curve Settings
*Warning* - You do these mods at your own risk. I am not responsible for any damage or bricking that may happen to your system. Read everything so you understand what you’re getting into. You’ve been warned.
For my full review, click HERE
1. Disable Dragon Center and Nahimic
While Dragon Center has improved, it doesn’t provide enough control over the system for my own use. You can switch between hybrid or discreet graphics in the BIOS (which requires a restart anyway), overclocking isn’t working, and Silent Option can control fan speed. You can disable Dragon Center in the options menu and disable Nahimic from Task Scheduler.
BEFORE you disable Dragon Center, make sure to set to Extreme Performance and to set your max battery charge level. Windows will remember those settings and will apply them even after they're disabled.
2. Undervolt the CPU via ThrottleStop
Undervolting is disabled by default due to the Plundervolt vulnerability in Intel CPUs. Luckily, MSI has kept its hidden “Advanced” menu within the BIOS. To undervolt, you NEED to go into the BIOS and make some changes. To access the hidden “Advanced BIOS” and enable undervolting, use the following key combination and instructions below:
Right-Shift + Right CTRL + Left ALT + F2
Go to Advanced > Overclocking Performance Menu > Enable Overclocking Feature > Enable XTU Interface
Now read the link below, then Download and Install Throttlestop
Here are my "front-page" settings. 1st picture is for the first 3 profiles, last picture is battery only.
Here are my 4 profiles within Throttlestop
The CPU is able to hit 4.3GHz-4.4GHz on all cores and also 5.1GHz-5.3GHz on single core. I would only use this for benchmarking or if I absolutely need as much CPU performance as possible. I would use this with MSI Afterburner Profile 1 and with CoolerBoost enabled.
-15.6mV on core and cache.
The CPU boosts to a rock-solid 3.8GHz on all cores and 5GHz on single core. At this speed, it closely matches (if not already matches) my Max Performance profile when it comes to gaming performance. Temps and fan noise are also greatly reduced to more manageable levels. Use this with Afterburner Profile 2 along with my custom fan curve below.
-45.9mV on core and cache
I further reduce CPU speed to 3.1GHz on all cores and 4.3GHz single core. This profile GREATLY reduces temps and has lower fan speeds with my custom fan curve which reduces noise. I’d use this profile when I need to be as quiet as possible. Along with my custom fan curve, Afterburner Profile 3 should be used with this. Bonus points if you cap FPS at 60FPS for even cooler (and quieter) performance.
-60.5mV on core and cache
Disabled turbo mode which forces the CPU to 2.4GHz on all cores.
-85.9mV on core and cache
Disabled 2 cores in the BIOS and adjusted boost speed to match a 10750H.
-130.9mV on core and cache
On all profiles, Intel GPU and iGPU unsliced are undervolted at -90.8mV
While you can use my clock speed settings, my undervolt setting may not work for you as each CPU is different. With that said, a good place to start is to add +10mV to my undervolt per profile. (Ex: Instead of -15.6mV, it’s now -5.6mV.)
This is how I test for stability:
Enable CoolerBoost to remove/reduce thermal throttling as a variable.
Run TS bench at 16 threads, 1024M 5x in a row to look for errors.
If any errors show up, add a little more voltage to both the core and cache, and repeat the 5x run. (I’ve had errors pop up on the 5th run)
If after 5 runs there are no errors, remove some voltage and rerun the tests until an error shows up. Rinse and repeat until you find a stable voltage with no errors.
Once you find a voltage that shows no errors, run Cinebench R20 multicore 3 times in a row.
If you experience a crash, dial back voltage slightly and try again.
After you successfully complete 3 runs with no crashes, play some games that are CPU intensive (I like to use Shadow of the Tomb Raider because of AVX2 usage in the CPU).
If that passes, you’re done. Congrats!
While you’re doing these tests, keep a lookout for your clock speeds and your scores. Even if you don’t get an error or a crash, lower clock speeds or a big drop in score can show that the undervolt is negatively affecting performance. Good luck!
While you can use my Throttlestop settings above, you’ll NEED to make modifications to the BIOS and registry to fully utilize their performance benefits. I HIGHLY SUGGEST you make these adjustments before you start testing your Throttlestop settings for stability.
You can read about the BIOS settings in the links below:
"How to take full advantage of the 8750H" by Hackness in NotebookReview.com – Click HERE.
"Disable Power Throttling" by Falkentyne in NotebookReview.com – Click HERE then click on the BIOS UNLOCK GUIDE.
Now that you understand what these settings do, here’s my personal settings in the BIOS.
And here’s my Windows Power profile settings to match with my Throttlestop settings and my BIOS settings:
With my simulated 6-core profile, you'll need to readjust "Min Core" and "Max Core" percentages as my numbers are meant for 8-core performance.
3. Driver Install Procedure
You don't have to install drivers this way, this is just how I do it. There have been times when all the extra junk baked into the Nvidia driver resulted in lower performance while doing tests and this helps me gain the extra 3% boost from games and benchmarks. YMMV.
Download the latest driver from Nvidia.
Download Display Driver Uninstall Utility from Guru3D.com HERE
Download CCleaner Free HERE
Download NVSlimmer HERE
Go into airplane mode. This ensures drivers are not downloaded and installed by Windows update once the old drivers are uninstalled
Uninstall your Nvidia/AMD driver in “Apps and Programs”. Do NOT reboot.
Run DDU in Safe Mode (Now you will have to restart in Safe Mode). Uninstall the AMD/Nvidia Driver again. *You don’t HAVE to do the Apps and Programs uninstall when you run DDU in Safe Mode, but I do it anyway just to “be safe”*
Run Custom Clean and Registry in CCleaner until there is no progress in cleaning. You don’t have to do this either, but I like removing any remnants of the old driver.
Restart your computer and install the AMD driver. For Nvidia, use NVSlimmer. Above are the items I check off. After the install(s), restart.
Get out of airplane mode and install "Nvidia Control Panel" in the Microsoft Store (if using DCH drivers).
I know, I go through a lot of steps and some can be redundant. This is what I do to perfectly install drivers and extract maximum performance from all of my machines.
4. Install MSI Afterburner
I use MSI afterburner over Dragon Center because of the ability to use less voltage at the same or higher clock speeds. You can download MSI Afterburner HERE.
Once installed and loaded, press CTRL-F to open up the Voltage/Frequency Curve Editor. From there, I added +100 to the core clock speed and hit apply. You’ll see the curve move up. Now, I create a curve with the profiles below. Keep in mind that any points AFTER the specified frequency are moved to the same row.
Profile 1 – +100 core and +200 memory, no voltage curve edits.
Profile 2 – 1380 core clock at 668mV.
Profile 3 - 1080 core clock at 593mV.
If you’re lazy to drop each point one by one, you can always click on the specific point and press CTRL+L to lock voltage and frequency at that point. The issue with this method is that if you turn on “Apply Overclocking at System Startup”, Optimus breaks and the dGPU will always be used (if you’re in Hybrid graphics mode) which will eat up battery life.
5. Install and configure Silent Option
I use Silent Option to control fan speed. It can be downloaded HERE.
The program will automatically configure the temperature points to what MSI programmed in its firmware. Once again, MSI does not share the actual temperature per fan speed point. Luckily, I did the work for them. Here are the temperature points for both the CPU and GPU, the noise level when both fans are running at the same speed, and my personal settings.
Example of how it works:
For CPU, level one is activated below 49C, level 2 is activated at 55c, etc. With my settings pictured below it, the CPU will be at 0% fan speed at level 1, and 50% fan speed at level 2.
The dB level is what I recorded while testing when BOTH the CPU and GPU are set at the exact same fan speed.
In my opinion, these temperature points are really bad. They should be spread further apart and shifted more to the right for more control, especially because the 10th gen processors run really hot. Also, look at the GPU fan curve. Points 5 and 6 are at 82c and 89c. Really MSI? That’s pretty bad. In fact, during my testing, I couldn’t even reach 89c without the system AUTOMATICALLY FORCING CoolerBoost around 85c to cool everything down. It wouldn’t disable until I restarted the system.
If I had my way, the temperature points would be:
CPU (c) – >55 - 55 - 65 - 70 - 75 - 80
GPU (c) – >55 - 55 - 60 - 65 - 70 - 75
At the very least, they could have copied Asus’ Armoury Crate and allow you to move each temperature point +/- 5c for greater control. MSI should really try to fix this with a firmware update.
These settings are what worked for me, but you can always adjust them to fit your needs.
For my full review, click HERE
I hope this helps and have fun!
-The Everyday Enthusiast
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Disclaimer – I requested a review unit from HIDevolution. I was not compensated in any way and wasn’t persuaded to “speak good things” about this device. All thoughts are my own based on my experience with the GS66 I didn’t even have to reference HIDevolution, but I’ve purchased 2 devices from them in the past 3 years and was met with AMAZING customer service which is why I’m recommending them.