Overclocking a GPU is a process to increase the clock rate of graphics card so that it can run at a higher speed than it was designed to run. Increasing the clock rate of a GPU means it can perform more operations per second so you can squeeze more performance out of your graphics card. If you are a pro gamer then a good graphics card with overclocking will deliver more frames per second and does so with less hardware hassle. This way you will conveniently get excellent gaming experience.
There are very few people available who know how to overclock a GPU. Moreover, many people think overclocking a GPU can mess up their computer and reduce performance. But, the truth is, overclocking a GPU is a very simple and safe process. If you follow the steps accordingly and take steps slowly then you won’t run into any problem. If you are interested in GPU overclocking then read through this entire guide to know details about overclocking and how you can professionally overclock your GPU!
- 1 Advantages of Overclocking GPU
- 2 What is Required to Overclock a GPU?
- 3 How to Overclock the GPU
- 4 Final Thoughts
Advantages of Overclocking GPU
One of the biggest advantages of overclocking GPU is performance. If you overclock your GPU then you can expect slightly better performance and it will provide you more fps in games than the regular fps. This is why pro gamers and PC enthusiasts overclock a GPU. When you overclock the GPU, it increases the graphics, response time, as well as the benchmarks can identify peak performance for complex software.But while overclocking you have to check if the CPU is providing enough instructions toward the GPU so that the GPU could work at its full potential. If that’s not the case then overclocking the GPU will gain nothing in terms of performance. So if you are planning on overclocking your GPU then here are few things that you should take into consideration:
- At default GPU clocks, eliminate any CPU bottleneck by overclocking CPU, RAM, reducing RAM latency, increasing RAM frequency
- Find the maximum GPU core clock speed where a benchmarking application doesn’t crash anymore, no artifacts should show up on the screen whatsoever
- Find the maximum memory clock speed where the benchmarking application or the game doesn’t crash anymore, no artifacts whatsoever
- Use a GPU benchmarking test that shows scores in terms of performance, not the FPS. Make sure you test with many different combinations of GPU core and GPU memory clock speed to get the accurate result
What is Required to Overclock a GPU?
Overclocking the GPU isnot too difficult or time-consuming compared to the CPU overclocking. Usually, the CPU overclocking takes place on the Motherboard BIOS but the GPU overclocking can be done via desktop software.There is manufacturer-specific overclocking software available but most of the PC experts stick to a few trusted applications that have been around for a while and work on most graphics cards no matter who the manufacturer is.
MSI Afterburner is the best software when it comes to overclocking a GPU. This software has a long history of stable releases as well as it is easy to use, includes a skinnable interface so you can mix it up if you want. The best part of this software is, it continuously releases updates to include the latest GPUs. This software also includes a built-in temperature graph, voltagemonitoring, and real-time clock speed monitoring tools so you can keep track of things in-game. Moreover, this software is free to download and you can use this software on any GPU.
A Benchmark Test Utility
While overclocking a GPU you also require a benchmark test utility tool for stability testing and performance measurement purposes. It is best to use the real-world benchmarks that use engines relevant to the games you like to play.You can pick the Unigine Heaven along with 3DMark’s or Furmarkto cover synthetic testing along with a host of real-world gaming counterparts.Make sure you keep the data of the results so that you can find the perfect blend of performance, temperature, and compatibility from the GPU overclocking.
How to Overclock the GPU
Now that we have gone through the basics of GPU overclocking it’s time to move onto the advanced part of this topic where we will learn how to overclock the GPU. In this process, we will be using the MSI Afterburner software so it is important we get familiarized with the software.
First, install and launch the MSI Afterburner on your computer. When the software opens the main dashboard will display the graphics chip’s current GPU clock and Memory clock. On the right side of the dashboard, you will see the temperature.The temperature differs from PC to PC but you should avoid temperatures above 90°C.These are the different elements in Afterburner that you need to pay attention to. So the basics of overclocking are:
- Core Voltage:Here you will see the voltage level that goes into the graphics cards. Usually, this feature is not available on newer graphics cards.
- Power level: This option allows your card to draw more power from your computer’s power supply unit (PSU). For example, if your card is limited by default to draw 200 watts, you can increase this to 240 watts by setting it to 120. This step is required if you want to overclock your graphics card further. But remember, the more power you draw for your GPU the more it will heat up and it will also increase the temperature. So be cautious and keep an eye on the temperature level while drawing more power to your graphics card.
- Core clock:This is the main speed you’ll be overclocking and here you will specify your desired clock speed for the GPU. You’ll be working a lot with this part of the software.
- Memory clock:You can overclock the Memory clock but it depends on the speed of the core clock.
Step 1 – Benchmark the Current Settings
The very first step of overclocking GPU is to test the benchmark of current settings. You can use the 3DMark or Furmark to check the current performance of your GPU. This test will give you an overview of the current performance, temperature, clock speeds, and FPS of your GPU. Make sure you keep the data on this test. It will help you to compare the difference of the performance before and after the overclocking.
Step 2 – Overclock the GPU Chip
Here we will slowly increase the core clock of the GPU. First, raise the core clock by 5% and see how it reacts. Check if you run into any weird graphical artifacts, glitches, or even crashes. In this stage, you may not see much improvement in the performance but you can quickly check for potential issues.
Step 3 – Overclock the Memory
Memory is a very important part of GPU and they play a significant role in games with gigabytes of textures. First increase the core memory by 10% or 50-100 MHz to see if there are any weird graphical artifacts, glitches, or even crashes.You will get a stable performance anything about or less than 10% of Memory overclocking.Moreover, in this range, you can expect a stable performance from your GPU. However, if you experience computer crashes orweird artifacts at these low overclocks then it means your hardware isn’t designed to be overclocked or you have to increase the temperature limit of your GPU.
Step 4 – Fine-tune the Process
Here we will try to find the best combination for our GPU overclocking. So increase the GPU clock speed by about 10 MHz and check if the system is stable or not. If stable then again increase the GPU clock speed by another 10 MHz and check the system. Repeat this process again and then run a benchmark, stress test, or play a game for a few hours and check for stability issues and also performance improvements.
While repeating the process at some point your computer will freeze or reboot: that’s the limit of your GPU.So go 10-20 MHz below the limit and run another benchmark test to check the stability issues and also performance improvements.Once you have found the stable core clock do the same with the memory clock and find the appropriate Memory clock for the GPU overclocking. Make sure you don’t apply this method for the core clock and the Memory clock at the same time because you won’t be able to identify which one has an issue if something goes wrong.
Step 5 – Increase the Power Limit
If you have reached the limit of your GPU but not happy with the performance then you can crank up the Power Limit and Temperature Limit of your GPU in MSI Afterburner and obtain the performance that you were looking for. After toggling the Power Limit and Temperature Limit start playing a game. You will notice that the fans might get a bit louder and the GPU won’t reduce its clock as fast or as drastically. You can also run a benchmark test to see the improvements in the performance of the GPU. Moreover, when you use a higher power limit and temperature limit with the right overclock speed, you won’t see any throttling and core clock speed drop below the magical 2000 MHz.
Step 6 –Repeat the Fine-tune and Test
Now that you have increased the Power Limit and Temperature Limit of your GPU, you can again upsurge the overclocking speed of your GPU. Repeat step four for a couple of times and then run a benchmark, stress test, or play a game for a few hours and check for stability issues and also performance improvements.You have to be patient because finding the sweet spot can take lots of time. Once you have achieved a stable clock, benchmark your system again, and compare the result with the first benchmark test before the overclocking and see how much performance has improved.
Hopefully, this GPU overclocking guide helps you get the best performance from your graphics card while playing your favorite games. However, while overclocking your GPU keep an eye on overheating and don’tauto-overclock your GPU or it may damage your Graphics card. If you have any questions regarding GPU overclocking leave it in the comment section. Our experts will get to you. Happy gaming!