First of all, you might be confused what is overclock and why does every gamer enthusiast do it?
Basically, overclocking your GPU means boosting your GPU over its factory clock, the normal state it arrives in from your graphic card maker, into an overclocked state. This squeezes 10-15% more performance out of your graphics than it would give normally. For example, if you were getting 100 FPS in Valorant, overclocking will give you 15 FPS more. That’s why overclocking is such a popular option for anyone enthusiastic about gaming. It’s a free way to boost the graphic performance of your system without doing much.
However, it’s important to know that overclocking does have its risks. If you don’t do it carefully and place too much load on your graphic card it may end up permanently damaging it. Also, some companies state that overclocking will void their warranty. So before overclocking make sure your graphic card supplier allows overclocking and then do it at your own risk.
As far as I know, any cards made by EVGA allow overclocking. AMD is lenient with overclocking as long as there is no thermal damage to the GPU because of the overclocking.
Overclocking will get you that extra juice you need out of your system. However, one important thing to know is that while overclocking is a great method to boost performance, it’s not recommended you should do it unless you really need the extra bits of power. Case in point, if you have a RTX 2090, there is honestly no need to overclock.
With that knowledge out of the way, let’s get right into overclocking your GPU into a beast.
What You’ll Need Before Overclocking Your GPU:
- MSI Afterburner – It’s one of the best tools for overclocking and widely reputed across the gaming community. EVGA’s Precision and CAM are other tools you can use for overclocking.
- Unigine Heaven – An excellent benchmark program to check how much your performance improved. MSI’s Kombustor works as well.
- A new PSU if your current one is too old or can barely provide power to your PC components. Overclocking needs extra power and if your PSU can’t provide it then it may malfunction.
- Basic cleaning – It’s necessary to ensure that the one thing keeping you back from greatness is a little bit of dust on your GPU. Make sure you clean your GPU along with its fan with a dryer, rewire it and clean the wires as well.
- Patience, and about an hour of your time.
And that’s it!
The Basics of Overclocking:
Your GPU has two components – A memory clock and a Core clock. What regulates these components is your GPU fan. What you’ll be doing is increasing your Memory clock offset and Core clock offset, and increasing your power limit and fan speed to accommodate this change. As simple as that.
Also, Nvidia already has turbo clock on their graphic cards because of the Pascal architecture. This is a casual overclock that is usable right out of the box. The bad side to the news is, they have also put restrictions on clock speeds, voltage, and other specifications. These are safeguards that don’t allow you to overclock the GPU into a toasted crisp. What this means that you can get only 10-15% more performance from Nvidia graphic cards. Though honestly speaking, it feels good to have an assurance that you won’t destroy your graphic card completely while overclocking.
Overclocking will also need you to increase your fan speed, thus making them noisier. It’s all entirely on you how much you want to increase your fan speed and what noise level you are comfortable with, but increasing it is extremely necessary if you do end up boosting memory and core clocks as otherwise it might overheat your GPU and cause permanent problems. As a rule of thumb, if your GPU gets above 85° then it’s time to notch up the fan speed or decrease the clock speeds.
How to Actually Overclock:
Before you start with the actual overclocking, run Heaven or any game you like and note the FPS down somewhere. This will be your pre-overclocked performance.
Open MSI Afterburner. Note the power limit slider. Max it out to 100 (or 120 in some cases). You just supplied extra power to your GPU for the overclock. Click Apply.
Then note the fan speed slider. The default will be MSI Afterburner’s auto setting which will automatically adjust fan speed as the temperature increases. However, you can do this manually by turning off the ‘Auto’ checkmark below it. Increase it to about 60% for starters, which you can increase later if the temperature won’t lower down and is going into the 80°+ territory. You can go all the way to the max limit if the noise level is comfortable with you. Click Apply.
After you are done with that, run a graphic-intensive application in the background. Any game that pressures your graphic card in high settings will do. I recommend running Heaven in windowed mode.
Now open MSI Afterburner. We start with the memory clock first. Note where the Memory Clock slider is in MSI Afterburner. What you want to do is gradually increase the memory clock in small amounts, such as 25 Mhz, until you begin to see any graphical issues in Heaven. Anything like stutter or glitched pixels is your sign to stop. Keep noting the clock speed as you increase it. If your PC stops working suddenly, don’t worry. Simply restart. The last stable memory clock speed you had before your PC shut down will be your peak memory clock speed. Run the Heaven benchmark on this memory clock speed and if you see any graphical anomalies lower it down by 25 Mhz. Do this until you notice no graphical anomalies. The memory clock speed you’ll get by the end of this will be your stable memory clock speed. Decrease it by 25 Mhz to be on the safer margin of stability. This is a good opportunity to run the benchmark to check the performance boost.
Now, we boost Core clock speed. We follow the same steps as with the memory clock, however, the only difference will be that of increasing the core clock speed in lesser amounts than that of the memory clock – about 10 Mhz. Keep increasing the core clock speed in 10 Mhz until you begin to see signs of stuttering, screen flashing, or soft locks. As with the memory clock speed, if any driver error occurs or your system shuts down completely, simply restart. The core clock speed before the one that made your system crash will be your peak core clock speed. Decrease it by about 15-20 Mhz and check for any stuttering. If issues persist, keep lowering the clock speed till you don’t see any stuttering. This will be your stable core clock speed. Decrease it by 20 Mhz still to be on the safe side.
Now all you need to do is run a benchmark for 10-15 minutes on Heaven. If you see any issues or stuttering, notch down the clock speeds. Also, note the performance and compare it with your pre-overclocked performance.
And that’s it, you are ready to play games with a boosted FPS!