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Time is cruel to your hardware, especially expensive graphics cards. All glory is fleeting: after a while, even mighty leaders like Nvidia's once unstoppable GTX Titan move from first place to shabby and outdated, making way for the best graphics cards of the next generation.
The upgrade cycle is relentless, but there are alternatives to busting your budget on a new GPU every single generation. You can make your current graphics card faster, and potentially get dramatically better performance out of it, by overclocking. Pushing a CPU to 5GHz yields mostly benchmark bragging rights when it comes to gaming, but a good graphics card overclock delivers more frames per second and does so with less hardware hassle. While these techniques can be used with most current graphics cards, Nvidia's GTX Ti FE was used here to see if a hotrod boost can put yesterday's best back at the front of the pack.
Here's our step-by-step guide to overclocking your graphics card. It's all being made possible by Razerwhich stepped up to support this months-long project. Thanks, Razer! If you're looking to overclock a card you've already installed, then it's probably time to crack the case and clean up in there. Make sure cables are routed clear of fans and don't obstruct case airflow. If the card itself has gotten dusty, carefully blow it clean with a can of compressed air.
If you opt to remove the card for a full clean-up and overhaul, don't forget to release the locking tab at the forward edge of the slot that secures the card to the motherboard.
How to overclock your graphics card
While the case is open, it's also wise to check and make sure the current power supply is up to the task ahead.
Overclocked hardware pulls power beyond normal design specifications and if you're just squeaking by with watts to spare, you'll need to upgrade to handle the additional load or risk hard-to-pinpoint stability problems. But recent hardware generations have largely grown more power efficient, so anything but the bare minimum PSU is likely to give you plenty of headroom for an overclock. In the unlikely event you do need a new, higher-rated PSU, take comfort in the fact that you'd be doing this for almost any serious upgrade or CPU overclock.
After clean-up is done, update the graphics drivers to make sure all the latest bug fixes and stability enhancements are in place. Occasionally, motherboard firmware updates that further improve stability or performance are also available. Consider installing these as well, to give your system a fresh foundation for your overclocking adventures. Good news: overclocking your graphics card is actually really easy, and you don't even need to leave Windows to do it!
Manufacturer-specific overclocking software exists, but most veteran PC enthusiasts stick to a few trusted packages that have been around for a while and work on most graphics cards no matter who makes them.
MSI's venerable Afterburner is the best place to start when it comes to overclocking your graphics card. In addition to a long history of stable releases, Afterburner is simple to use and provides a few extras including a built-in temperature graph along with voltage and real time clock speed monitoring tools. Now it's time to test the hardware and see how well your card currently performs. Find a few reliable, easy to use gaming benchmarks to run before, during, and after overclocking, both for stability testing and performance measurement purposes.
One synthetic and one or two real-world benchmarks should be plenty.Inhowever, overclocking is pretty straightforward. It might seem daunting at first, but advancements in technology have allowed for higher-level and more user-friendly overclocking experiences, making for a beginner-friendly process. Learning how to overclock your CPU and GPU, and how to do it safely, is a great way to gain extra performance from your components completely for free.
Just follow the simple steps below to get up and running. No soldering required.
Or maths. It would be very easy to look at all that and conclude overclocking is something best left to the experts. The business of making your gaming PC even more awesome, that is, starting with how to overclock your graphics card. That ought to either flag up any gremlins lurking in your system or help get rid of them before they become an issue. Next, grab some overclocking software.
As well as the software for enacting any overclock you want to achieve you should get yourself some benchmarking applications too. I suggest downloading the Unigine Heaven benchmark. And it looks kinda purty, too…. You need to get some baseline performance numbers for how your rig currently performs. You could also download the free version of 3DMark and run the basic FireStrike test to get a reliable index score. On a native p screen, run it at xand then, with a p or 4K panel, run the test at x Start shifting the memory slider to the right in MHz increments, hitting the tick button to apply the boost each time.
After each step, check the looping Heaven run for visual artefacts appearing on-screen. Memory glitches will manifest themselves as either solid blocks, blobs of colour, or pin-sharp stars. Keep pushing the memory slider up in small increments until you start to see those telltale signs of failing memory… or until the card or system crashes. Once you get to that stage, dial back the clockspeed by either one or two steps, apply the new memory clock, and leave Heaven running for a longer period to make sure it remains stable at the new speed.
If you see more memory artifacts, drop down another MHz increment, and test again.
How to overclock your AMD processor
Before you start upping the GPU clockspeed, push the power limit slider up to max — allowing the graphics card to deliver more power to the silicon if it can — and also push up the temperature limit a little higher to account for the increased heat generation.
Using the same process we used when overclocking the video memory, push the GPU clockspeed up by MHz increments, checking the game window for artefacts as you apply each step change. Processor artefacts manifest themselves in different ways to memory issues. Keep an eye out for pixel-sized dots of different colours appearing around the screen, random shards of colour, or bright and coloured full-screen flashes.Much like a CPUa graphics card contains chips that with the right tweaks can work harder and faster.
That can mean better benchmark results and higher frames per second in your favorite games. You just need the right tools, the right steps, and plenty of patience. Overclocking anything, be it your CPU, graphics card, or memory, has inherent risks. Overclocking anything involves the process of forcing it to perform at a faster rate than it was manufactured to do so. That means you are pushing it harder and by working faster, it will get hotter and it may become less stable.
That could result in crashes in the short term and over the long term, could reduce the lifespan of your particular hardware. Many manufacturers allow it, as graphics cards will throttle up and down during general usage anyhow. Although we will do our best to guide you along the path to a faster, more powerful graphics card, Digital Trends accepts no liability for any problems you run into with your hardware along the way.We overclocked the GTX 1660Ti... here are the results...
Overclocking a graphics card is also only recommended for desktop PC users. Before you can actually get started overclocking your GPU, you need to get everything ready. To do so, you can take a look at the card itself, or the packaging if you still have it. Although AMD has its own Wattman alternative and there are several other popular third-party tools, Afterburner works for just about every graphics card and offers a full suite of features. If you have any games with built in benchmarks you may want to have those installed and to hand, so that you can see what effect your new overclocks have on performance.
The next step in your overclocking journey is establishing baselines. To find out those figures, close down any applications that are already running and startup MSI Afterburner. If you need to, use the temperature settings to convert readouts to Celsius or Fahrenheit depending on your preference. The graphs on the right-hand side will tell you most of what you need to know at this point.
The other figures to be aware of are core clock and memory clock. Overclocking is most successful when you take your time and take precautions along the way. In the Afterburner window, raise the power limit to its maximum percentage — that lets your GPU draw as much power as it needs for the settings you put into it and avoids any automated throttling.
It will not affect the voltage put through your chips. Make sure Valley is running and return to the Afterburner window. Using either the slider or by typing in the number yourself, raise your clock speed by 10MHz. Repeat that time and again until you see artifacts, or until Valley itself crashes.
If you push things too far, you may see a black screen as your graphics driver crashes or your entire system reboots. Dial things back a couple of steps 20Mhz or so and run Valley again. This time let it run through a couple of loops. Once you have found the limit for your core, note down that value, reset the clock to its default and perform the same process on the memory clock.
Your best bet is to start at the bottom again though and raise both values together. Know what the maximum is and be ready for artifacts and crashes as you approach it. As before, once you find the limit, roll back a step or two and perform longer stability tests. You can then raise one or the other individually if you like, to see if either, in particular, was the cause of the stability issue.
Let the Valley test run through several times in a row, play some games for a few hours — and keep a keen eye out for problems. If you encounter any, scale back the clocks a single step and start again. You now have a permanent GPU overclock. Hopefully, that boost should keep you gaming at your favorite resolution and detail settings for longer.Overclocking GPUs is a fairly simple affair.
You just need a couple of free overclocking tools and a benchmarking application which can be a game or a synthetic like Unigine Heaven or Valley. Overclocking your GPU is a slow and painstaking process. Your part might not overclock at all or you might get lucky and win the silicon lottery. Regardless, here are a few tips to keep in mind while overclocking:.
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It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. Share this: Twitter Facebook. Areej Computer Engineering dropout 3 yearswriter, journalist, and amateur poet. I started Techquila while in college to address my hardware passion. Although largely successful, it suffered from many internal weaknesses. Left and now working on Hardware Times, a site purely dedicated to.
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These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. Necessary Always Enabled. Non-necessary Non-necessary. Close Search for.It is impossible to assemble a gaming computer that would be enough for several years of work with the most productive games and the best of graphics at a more or less reasonable price.
Computer hardware is improving almost every month, and game developers are trying to tap into the power of the most productive graphics cards and graphics processors, creating high-end projects. Buying new hardware for a computer is expensive, and all gamers usually tend to get the most out of the already existing parts installed on their computers. GPU is always the first one to become outdated, but its life cycle can be extended if it is correctly overclocked.
Attention: The process of GPU overclocking is risky, and you should consider a lot of nuances that will be described below. Even with the proper graphics card overclocking there is still a high risk of its quick failure and shortening its service life. Under this concept is usually considered the process of increasing the frequency of the component to much higher values than those specified by the manufacturer. That is, when producing a graphics card on the basis of calculations and tests, the graphics card developer determines which frequency will be the best for its correct operation with the installed cooler under high loads.
At the same time, the chip and memory installed in the graphics card are capable of operating at a frequency higher than the regular one, and when the computer is overclocked, the user outputs them to this very frequency. Since in the process of overclocking a GPU, the frequencies of its operation increase, along with it will come as follows:.
Before you start improving the performance of your GPU, you need to understand the technical details of the process and make sure that your computer can cope with the increased load as it will be a result of overclocking.
In preparation for overloking, you will need:. Recommendation : Before you start oveclocking your computer it is better to install special programs, which will measure the heating of PC components in powerful games.
Also, many of these applications have built-in stress tests that allow you to determine if the graphics card and other computer components overheat in critical mode.
Please note that when overclocking a computer, you cannot immediately increase the frequency to the desired values. If everything works in normal mode, you can continue the acceleration process.
Top 5 GPU Overclocking Utilities
Important note : Deciding to overclock the GPU by reflashing BIOS, you need to make sure that your computer will be connected to an uninterrupted power source.
If your PC will turns off at reflashing time, the graphics card will become dysfunctional and you will not be able to restore it. Below we are going to tell you about the most popular software methods for graphics card overclocking. The first one is designed to monitor graphics card performance and the second one in case you have Nvidia GeForce graphics card acts as an overclocking tool. For a greater overclocking clarity it is recommended that you start the CPU-Z program before starting the procedure.
CPU-Z will display all important parameters of your graphics card, among these parameters you need to memorize or write down indicators in these columns:. In the CPU-Z application, you should be able to clearly see the performance increase checking those parameters that were written down before testing began. If, as a result of all tests, your GPU is showing good results in terms of cooling, you can improve its performance once again in the manner described above. It also requires the CPU-Z diagnostic utility and an overclocking application.
It will help you to choose the appropriate application for your particular graphics card model. Home About us. Search anything and hit enter. On some models of graphics cards, in the process of overlocking, it is possible not only to overclock the active chip and memory, but also to use the computing blocks blocked by the manufacturer, if there are any of those on the board. If the power supply of your computer has enough power, it is recommended to increase the Voltage slightly by 0.
No Ratings Yet. Leave a Comment Cancel reply. Hardware Windows.Overclocking Graphics card was a tough job since day one. An successor to this article has been posted, bring it up to speed on information regarding GPU Overclocking Utilities in Voltage adjustment which itself was one fearsome job is now made easier due to these utilities which allow voltage increment till a safer limit.
However, one should still know that overclocking causes a negative effect on the card's life and more the overclock - higher the temperature will go. This is where the utilities fan speed control feature comes in to save the day, You can automatically adjust the fan speeds when the temps go high or even set adjustable profiles so the fan sets itself to a specified speed when the temperature reaches a certain limit.
You can also set both 2D and 3D profiles through the utility. The utility is bundled with AMD Catalyst drivers which you can download here. However it lacks the advanced fan controls and also the voltage meter seemed to be stuck but its likely to be fixed after an update.
The interface is quite hard to understand but after a couple of usage you'll get used to it. You can also check total GPU watts in numbers along with total power savings since the date you installed the utility. However these features seem to work only with Gigabyte products. The utility also comes with in game screenshots capture and monitoring utility. You can download the latest built of Gigabyte OC Guru here.
The utility offer features such as adjusting fan speeds, core voltages and clock speeds for different occasions such as the utility will maximize performance by overclocking the GPU while gaming and reduce clocks and fan speed to lower noise while watching videos. You can set a maximum of three profiles for different usage under any name.
Being a new utility it still needs to be enhanced more and updates are released after a while for it to add compatibility with latest AMD Radeon Graphic cards. The latest version of Sapphire's TriXX can be downloaded here. The utility offers overclocking for Nvidia Geforce based cards and offers the best overclocking performance out of your card. It also features a system tray monitoring icon and allows you to take screenshots with the In game monitoring option enabled.
The In game monitoring utility shows you Real-Time on-screen display support for ingame temp, framerate, and clock speed. You can even chose different skins for the utility or make your own which is a nice option to make it match your PC's theme. Other than that you can set upto five overclock profiles which would can be activated during startup.
You can change the utilities theme from a variety of colors. The software is bundled with MSI Kombuster which is a great software for letting you know the stability of your card, It can also show if your overclock is stable or higher temperatures are causing artifacts to appear. You can monitor temps, gpu usage, fan speed and voltage from the graphs located on the right side and also through the in game interface along with FPS. A great feature the utility offers is both in game screenshots and video capture for free on supported MSI graphics card.
Video can be captured in both Avi and MPG formats. There's also a tray icon which shows Temps and other specs of the GPU. Latest version of MSI Afterburner can be downloaded from here. By Hassan Mujtaba. Share Tweet Submit. Updated An successor to this article has been posted, bring it up to speed on information regarding GPU Overclocking Utilities in Note -This utility only allows overclocking on Nvidia Cards. Apple Releases Beta 2 of iOS These days, graphics cards are designed to stop the user from causing any serious damage.
How to overclock your CPU and GPU safely
Read through the entire guide to learn the important details about overclocking, find out the software you need, and to know what steps are required to overclock your graphics card to its fullest potential. You may also want to download an optional third program that can monitor your GPU temperature. Essentially, overclocking a GPU increases its performance by boosting the speed that the graphical processor works at. All GPUs are set to run at a certain speed, called the base clock, but different cards usually have the potential to surpass the speed set by the manufacturer.
By overclocking the speed, your GPU will increase in temperature and it will draw more power. Every GPU is different. As a result, you must test your own overclocking speeds to find the sweet spot. First, open up MSI Afterburner. Details for each element have been provided below.
Click the Benchmark button at the top left to start the benchmarking process. Heaven will now run a series of tests. Let the test run through all 26 scenes. This can take roughly 10 minutes. During the test, pay close attention to the stats at the top right of the screen. You will also be given a score and average FPS stats. Make sure to save the results, so that you can refer back to them later. After applying the settings above, click OK.
Click OK. These settings ensure you can get the highest clock speed possible while still staying within a safe temperature range. Next, run Heaven Benchmark 4. Go through the 26 scenes and wait for your test results. You should notice your score improves slightly from last time. As you can see from the image below, our first test improved our average frames and test score slightly. You should also see an improvement, and you may notice a degree increase in temperature during the test.