Damien Triolet is a known a well respected GPU reviewer over at Hardware.fr. He was the person that helped unravel the GTX 970 memory allocation problem. He has now discovered that both ASUS and MSI are sending graphics cards to reviewers with modified BIOS’s. This gives these samples more power, which leads to increased frequencies and better results overall.
Optimized BIOS’s are a very common problem in the GPU industry Damien points out. Many manufactures actually encourage GPU reviewers to enable special overclocking presets before attempting to review those cards. Luckily most reviewers do not.
The other option to manufacturers is to supply optimized BIOS’s to the press, so these settings are enabled by default. So reviewers will see a gain of a few MHz, something that will not be seen in a retail sample of the card. For this specific reason Damien asks manufacturers to supply retail BIOS’s with the cards he is reviewing.
Well it looks like some manufactures were not so eager to do so as his samples of the MSI GTX 1080 GAMING X and ASUS GTX 1070 STRIX both came with modified BIOS’s.
Damien Triolet, Hardware.fr:
Obviously, Asus and MSI have made the calculation that getting these small gains brought more benefits than criticism among some troublemakers. Sure, after all, so these bios boost perhaps the performance of the cards by 1%, but that’s no reason to look elsewhere! After 1%, it will be what? 2%? Then 3%? Then widespread cheating contest?
The guys over at TechPowerUp has also confirmed that the same problem is present with their MSI sample:
The cards TechPowerUp has been receiving run at a higher software-defined clock speed profile than what consumers get out of the box. Consumers have access to the higher clock speed profile, too, but only if they install a custom app by the companies, and enable that profile. This, we feel, is not 100% representative of retail cards, and is questionable tactics by the two companies.