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 GPU is always the first one to become outdated, but its life cycle can be extended if it is correctly overclocked.
Table of contents: 1. What is overlocking 2. How the GPU is being overclocked 3. GPU overclocking methods 4. How to overclock Nvidia Geforce GPU 5. How to overclock AMD Radeon GPU
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.
What is overlocking
Acceleration of computer hardware is commonly called “overloking”. 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:
- The graphics chip and memory are going to consume more power;
- The elements of the board on the graphics card heat up significantly more;
- Due to the increase in heating, the cooler is forced to operate at a much higher speed;
- Significant increase in the cooler rotation speed leads to increased noise when the graphics card is running.
How the GPU is being overclocked
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:
- Find out the voltage of the power supply unit installed in your computer. Graphics card overclocking implies an increase in voltage on the chip and memory. This leads to increased load on the power supply. It is necessary that the extra power supply potential of your PSU will be at the level of 15-20%.
- Ensure the reliability of the cooling system. If the graphics card overheats in powerful games at a regular frequency, it is prohibited to perform overlocking before installing more powerful coolers or another cooling system into the computer.
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. It is necessary to increase performance step by step, accelerating the video card by 5-10% of the original power, and then measuring the results. To make sure that your hardware works fine at an increased frequency, run a powerful game for half an hour and examine your PC for “artifacts”, picture distortions, lags and other problems. If everything works in normal mode, you can continue the acceleration process.
GPU overclocking methods
There are two ways to oveclock your graphics card:
- Overclocking with the help of special software is well-suited for beginners, since the risks of graphics card failure when using it are minimal. The essence of this method is to install special applications designed to overclock the graphics card, and those applications will do all the work by themselves.
- Reflashing BIOS. This is a more sophisticated way suitable for experienced professionals. It consists in replacing the installed software in the graphics card with a new one, which has been specially revised to work with higher frequencies. For each graphics card model, there is released its own overclocked BIOS, and most often not even one. In some situations, BIOS of the older model in the line of graphics cards is suitable for the latest models too.
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 .
How to overclock Nvidia geforce GPU
Before you start overclocking your GPU, you will need to install two programs on your computer: CPU-Z and NVIDIA Inspector. 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:
- Memory – memory card frequency;
- Shader – shader frequency;
- GPU Clock – graphics chip frequency;
- TextureFillrate – texture rendering speed;
- Bandwidth – bandwidth;
- PixelFillrate – pixel sketching speed.
After overclocking a graphics card, the information in these columns will certainly change.
NVidia GeForce graphics card overclocking using the NVIDIA Inspector program must be performed as follows:
- Launch NVIDIA Inspector;
- In the lower right corner, click on the “Show Overclocking” button to open additional options;
- In the right part of the application window you will be able to see graphics card overclocking tools. Move the “Shader Clock” slider by 5-10% of the available frequency to the right. You will notice that the GPU Clock value will increase with it. Confirm the changes you’ve made by clicking the “Apply Clocks & Voltage” button;
- After that, you need to test the changes. Start a productive game and spend some time playing it (about half an hour). It is necessary to pay attention to the graphics card temperature. If it does not go beyond 90 degrees Celsius, you can continue overclocking;
- Now once again open the overclocking tools column in NVIDIA Inspector and move the MemoryClock slider by the same percentage that the Shader Clock parameter was previously moved. After that, click “Apply Clocks & Voltage” again and test your graphics card in the game.
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.
How to overclock AMD radeon GPU
There are no fundamental differences in the process of AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce overclocking. It also requires the CPU-Z diagnostic utility and an overclocking application. For AMD Radeon GPU, there are many overclocking programs available, for example: MSI Afterburner, AMD GPU Clock Tool, ASUS GPU Tweak and others. You can also use the “native” application, which is installed with the graphics card drivers and is called the AMD Catalyst Control Center.
To overclock an AMD Radeon graphics card using the AMD Catalyst Control Center you will need to:
- Run the program. You can find it through a search or launch it from the quick access panel, since it is constantly running in the background if no restrictions have been set previously;
- Next, in the left menu, select the “Performance” – “AMD Overdrive” items. If the transition to the overclocking options occurs for the first time, you will need to accept an agreement in which AMD is warning its users of possible risks during overclocking;
- After that, click on the “Configure Graphic OverDrive” button;
- The overlocking menu will open, but in this menu, unlike NVIDIA Inspector, there is no possibility to increase the Voltage by your own hand. AMD application is adjusting it automatically;
- To overclock your graphics card, move the slider with the frequency setting of the graphics processor by 5-10% to the right and select “Test user settings”. The testing screen will start immediately and the graphics card will be loaded during its operation. After the test in the program window you will be able to see changes in fan speed and temperature;
- If the cooling performance is acceptable, you may increase the frequency of the high-performance tire by 5-10%, and then re-test. If there are no problems, click “Apply” and exit the application, or start the second step of graphics card overclocking.
Before you start overclocking the AMD Radeon GPU and in case your computer does not have the AMD Catalyst Control Center application, we recommend that you read some online reviews regarding various overclocking software. It will help you to choose the appropriate application for your particular graphics card model.