When it comes to PC games, we need more and more speed and performance. With time modern games are increasing their performance. So we need more powerful hardware to gain the perfect performance. But upgrading your hardware regularly can be much expensive when you trying to cope with the latest games. If you don’t have the budget for the new gear or just trying to get more from your hardware, overclocking your device is a best option. To boost the performance of your system, you can overclock graphics card, your system memory and Processor. Assuming your PC has a suitable processor and decent memory inside, when it comes to game performance, graphics card has the largest impact.
Interested? Here we’ll show you how to overclock your graphics card easily using some free tools which will work on a huge range of graphics cards. With a little knowledge and some patience, you can easily enjoy the amazing features of an overclocked graphics card.
Before you begin
Your system stability, cooling system, power supply process are the most important things to consider before even making your mind to overclock graphics card.
An overclocked graphics card can run above its main frequency and stock GPU. As a result you will get higher performance, higher power and more heat. Modern graphics cards have effective cooling system with capability to maintain at least some level of overclocking. You may need to add an additional cooling system if your CPU is already overheating.
Now different tools are available to monitor your system temperature. Most motherboard manufacturers have tools available to calculate the temperature of the mother board. And you can use BIOS to see the temperature reports.
We will discuss “GPU” utilities little later that will also inform you “GPU temperature“. What should be the right temperature of a overclock graphics card? The answer of this question varies from card to card. But you always have to keep the temperature below 90°c.
When you overclock a graphics card, it needs more power consumption to run the “Card GPU” and “memory” at high frequency and offer more performance than before. If your “PSU” (Power Supply Unit) is already running its high limits, an overclock graphics card can make your system unstable. Or in worst case, your “PSU” can be damaged. You can easily check the power consumption by using a cheap power meter. Or you can use a virtual power calculator (http://outervision.com/power-supply-calculator) to calculate your approximate power consumption.
Overclock your graphics card when the system is stable and functional. You should not ignore any error of your system even if it occurs occasionally. Because a little system error could be a first sign of a major problem. If you have any fault in your OS (Operating System), you should not overclock graphics card. Because it may ends up with system failure.
You should update your graphics drivers and measure the performance of your graphics card, before overclocking it. Because if your overclocked graphics card can’t reach your expectation but your PC is getting more Lauder and hotter, than you have to give yourself a big thanks. Because you tried. Updating your graphics drivers to latest version can solve various problems with new released games.
At last, you should keep in mind that overclocking your graphics card can shorten its life time. Especially when you force the card’s voltage to its limit to get high frequency. Keeping the temperature in control and not touching card’s voltage can give your overclock graphics card a long life.
Depending on the card’s manufacturer and model, sometimes overclocking can void warranty.
Many graphics card manufacturers and developers has free software to overclock graphics card.
AMD Corporation has an overdrive tool right into their driver suit named “Catalyst”. Which can easily be found in “performance” tab in “Catalyst Control Panel”. “Gigabyte” has a software called “OC Guru Utility”, “EVGA” offers “Precision”, “MSI” has its “After Burner” among others. This software are free and can be used with a large range of cards, not only with its manufacturer’s graphics cards.
Here we are going to use “MSI Afterburner Utility” to overclock graphics cards. The utility is based on “Riva Tuner Engine”. This utility is under development for ages.
Download the tool from MSI’s official website and install it. Basically using “Afterburner Utility” is straight forward and very easy. After launching the application, it will search the system and identify your graphics card. Generally “Afterburner Utility” is comfortable with any AMD or Nvidia made graphics card.
When it’s ready, the software will give you a detailed interface with some sliders for “GPU and memory frequencies“, “fan curves“, “temperature data“, “current clock speed“, “alternating power targets“. There is a by default “disabled voltage slider” to tweak GPU voltage. You have to enable “Afterburner” advanced menu which can be accessed by clicking the icon located in the middle of the interface and checking the boxes to access “Voltage Control and Monitoring”.
For basic, it’s not recommended to mass with GPU voltage. Because too much voltage can damage your overclock graphics card immediately. Generally 1-2 mille voltage are safe but no one can give you any guarantee.
The overclocking process
You should run some benchmark to have a basic information of your unchanged system. There are a lot of benchmark tools available. But you can use “Heaven Benchmark” or “Valley Benchmark” tools.
And if you like you can run some in-game benchmark. You can Search Google to see your Graphics cards in-game benchmark results.
To overclock your graphics card using “Afterburner”, lunch the application and enhance the “Temperature and power consumption” limits. If you are using a “Radeon” graphics card, you may only able to increase the power limit. In most cases, setting the temperature below 90°c and a 10% boost in power target should work. But if you want to avoid any risk, you can leave them unchanged.
During the process of overclocking your graphics card, it’s recommended to alternate your memory and GPU clocks separately to identify any possible issue.
Slowly start increasing the GPU clock speed by 10MHZ at a time. After increasing the speed save the change and use “Haven Bench marking tool” to detect any system or graphical errors such as sparking light, color blobs or other visual artifacts. If you can’t find any problem, then increase the speed another 10MHZ. Now again repeat the process. When you notice any artifacts, turn the clock speed down till the artifacts disappear. Now note the final clock speed and reset the graphics card back to its normal speed.
Now apply the same process for the graphics card’s memory clock speed.
When you have both clock speeds noted, set the GPU and memory both to those speeds and save the change. Now check the stability of your system again. If everything seems ok, you are ready to enjoy your overclocked graphics card. But if you notice any visual artifacts while checking, just turn the frequencies down a few MZ (Mega Harz) and test the stability again.
While overclocked, if your system remains stable but overall performance of the graphics card decreases, reduce the both clock speed till the performance increases along with the clock speed. Now new generation “GeForce GTX” graphics cards need more monitoring then before cards. Because modern “GeForce GTX” graphics card has capability to automatically tune their performance with “Nvidia GPU Boost”. The “GPU boost” increases the clock speed until it comes to a certain temperature.
If you try to edit every variable, overclocking your graphics card can get complicated. In addition to change the “power and GPU temperature” frequency you should use balanced value because of “GPU Boost”. Sometimes increasing clock speed or voltage can be seemed like worked perfectly. But the overall performances decreases as a result of some errors. If you face any problems when overclocking a “Nvidia GeForce graphics card” with “GPU boost”, you just have to use it till it’s (safety) worked out.
Now Radeon graphics card users have the ability to change its power limits. But the adjustments of its clock speed are more perfect.
Here we overclocked two graphics cards and saw a measurable performance from both of them.
The “AMD Radeon” has the largest in-game performance but the “Nvidia GeForce GTX” has the biggest clock speed boost in frequency gain. At “Bundaberg It Solutions” we used a system which had “Intel Core i7” inside, “32GB RAM” and it was running “Windows10 Pro x64”to test the graphics cards. Our graphics drivers were updated and we used high resolution with max quality settings.
Ultimately, we overclock graphics card to gain more performance. Besides higher performance we have to face some overheating issue and the graphics card is going to need more juice then before to give you the high performance.
If you can keep the temperature issue in control then changing your graphics card’s clock speed shouldn’t be an issue. Changing the voltage of your graphics card can reduce its life time. But proper amount of voltage and a comfortable graphics card can give you its best performance. You just have to learn enough about it before starting.
After going through this process, if you’re not sure or don’t want to take any risk about overclocking your graphics card and still having issues with your graphics card, its may be a time to get professional help. The team at “Bundaberg It Solutions” are proud to have the proper resources and well experienced professionals to solve any graphics card problems and keep your PC safe. You just have to contact us. If you want to upgrade/change/fix your graphics card, you can always contact us by clicking here.
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