Graphics Card Overclocking: Is It Really Worth It?

By Julio Franco ยท 66 replies
Jan 26, 2012
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  1. lipe123

    lipe123 TS Evangelist Posts: 719   +236

    GPU overclocking is a total bust imo, if your gfx card can deliver 60fps you really are not going to see the diff between 60 and 65 at all.
    Not to mention that these things run way to hot already and you are shortening the life of the gpu by a bunch with the extra heat.

    The only good OC's to be had is radeons that was exactly the same gpu as a higher model that got locked by bios settings. Nvidia cards however does not give you that.
  2. Sarcasm

    Sarcasm TS Guru Posts: 367   +46

    I agree and disagree. Yes if something is over 60fps on a 60hz monitor, it's probably not worth it to OC to try and get anything beyond that. However, I tend use my Overclock profile when trying to attain better MINIMUM frame rates. For example, in BF3 on my GTX 580 on Ultra with 4XMSAA, My FPS is usually around 50-55 depending if its a wide open area. But using my 875mhz OC, it gives me about a 5FPS boost which definitely smoothens out the framerate dips to the point where I don't notice them anymore, and in turn the gameplay experience is improved (for me.)

    So don't discount Overclocking which is going to be worth it for others. Everybody has a different standard of whats playable and whats optimal.

    I would even mention those people with 120hz monitors who swears they see a difference with Quad SLI setups that want to push no less than 120fps in ALL their games.
  3. Sarcasm

    Sarcasm TS Guru Posts: 367   +46

    Overclocking is actually very safe from my experience with both CPU and GPU. After scouring the internet, I notice those with short lived components tend to be the FEW that OVERVOLT their CPU's or GPU's. This is usually because of misinformation or improper overclock settings. An example of this is some folks trying to overclock an i7 2600k who are pushing 1.5v. OF COURSE something like that will shorten the life of the CPU. But those who stay well within range have their components last for years and years.
  4. I would overclock even my mouse but it crash to the desktop :-S
  5. ghasmanjr

    ghasmanjr TS Booster Posts: 363   +86

    I'm extremely surprised that the GTX 460 1gb was not included in this study. For such a cheap card, the overclocks were phenomenal. I achieved 950mhz on air before I switched to stock/sli and finally a trade to an unlocked 6950.
  6. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,045   +680

    I overclock everything because it's fun. And converting avi movies to dvd in ~6mins never gets old.

    3DCGMODELER TS Enthusiast Posts: 307   +18

    so how do u overclock your video card ????
    I have a GTX 560 Ti....
  8. Got to say OCing is worth it.

    CPU... yes. With today's CPU's if the board supports it, you can get a 10-20% out of it just hitting preset values. More yes as well with tweaking can even use less voltage than the presets and get great boosts 30-40% isn't uncommon.

    Now with GPU. Yes most OCing is limited 10-15% tops. If your able to tweak the voltage you might get up to 20-25% if lucky. The big key is getting a card like the AMD 6950 that can be unlocked to a higher end card and function. I got a 6950 that went unlocked, uses less voltage than a 6970 and still can hit higher speeds that a 6970 stock. Not bad for $100 less.

    Each to there own but OCing is a way to get more bang for your buck.
  9. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,978   +15

    To me its just really fun, its like a prize and a mystery all in one. Call it a lottery if you will. It feels like winning lol
  10. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    There are plenty of utilities around for overclocking. MSI's Afterburner and EVGA's Precision come to mind. Depending on what brand of card you are using then it may come bundled with OC'ing/tuning software (Gigabyte's OC Guru, Asus's GPU Tweak, Palit's vTune etc.)

    For the purposes of simplicity I suggest you look at MSI's Afterburner. Check this post:
    Two things to note:
    If your card isn't an MSI, you may have to enable unofficial overclocking. So once downloaded and installed, go to:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\MSI Afterburner and edit the MSIAfterburner.cfg file with notepad or notepad++
    Find "Find UnofficialOverclockingEULA" and add
    And immediately below it, Set "Set UnofficialOverclockingMode" to 1 (usually is set to 0)


    Use the included MSI Kombuster ( a FurMark derivative) for stress testing, or a selection of GPU+VRAM intensive games. Overclocking is an exercise in patience as much as anything else, so small 10MHz (initially) and 5MHz (once the overclock starts building) is definitely the way to go....and of course, when trying to find a stable overclock you should be only increasing core or memory until you've reached a satisfactory OC. I would recommend going with overclocking the core (shaders are bound to the core speed at a ratio of 2:1) for most noticeable results, then look at memory overclocking- although this is likely to being minimal gains in comparison.
    Keep a very close eye on temperatures .Afterburner, Precision etc offer real time GPU temps and the ability for you to choose a custom fan speed profile- I would also strongly recommend having GPU-Z running (click the "sensors" tab)
  11. Most overclocking today is pseudo-overclocking in that manufacturers build cpus/gpus with ample headroom in them,and then provide "O.C." bios options and Windows apps to make it easy to dial a chip up to what it should/could be running at anyway.So it's not true overclocking-it's just Intel,Nvidia,AMD shipping us underclocked parts and charging us more for the "overclockability" of them.
  12. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    I have always over-clocked everything for the fun and challenge of how far it can be pushed. I found a way to OC my HP pocket PC around 2002. I have used copper wires and silver pens to get the job done in the old days. Anyone remember reading this way back when? it's a very interesting article and kind of a time capsule.,15-3.html
  13. Overclocking is a common used practice to gain more performance from a piece of hardware. The graphics cards however, generally overclock 100-200Mhz over the base speed, and the increase in many cases is generally like 15-20%. Think about that: because you cannnot gain more than 15-20% performance from overclocking your GPU, that means that if you had 20FPS in a game, you will never go beyond 25FPS, so not a huge increase. Yeah, if you already have 100FPS, 20% means 20FPS which would be a lot if you could see them.
    The change will come with gpus like the one in the new HD7970, which can overclock like no other before, and you can even gain 30-40% more performance from an overclocking session. Now 40% for a baseline of 20FPS means 8 to 10FPS, and that starts to be a noticeable increase.
  14. The best program to use is MSI afterburner,it allows voltage tweaks,and a user defined fan profile system.Plus a great monitoring tool for temps usage etc.
    My evga 560tis in sli will run at 1015mhz at 1.075 volts for benching, I score about 2100 unique heaven benchmark 2.5 at 1920/1080 4xaa normal tess everything else 950mhz 1.050volts i score 2018,Thats where i run my card gaming as for anything else i run at stock speeds.

    It is well worth it with the right video card,Nvidia 460,470,560ti and 570s seem to get the most,AMD cards as you can see dont get much at all they are close to there limits,except for the 7970 but i think that was planned by amd so they can increase the clocks a lot to battle kelper once they are released.
  15. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    I have found a distinct pattern in OC ability and brand. Asus,MSI, and Sapphire giving better OC's in general.
  16. Overclocking is about the experience.

    True, performance gains is not much (3FPS in nothing), except you get this performance at FPS level where it matters (i.e. have 21FPS than 18 - the game can somehow be playable or at least not nerve-breaking)
  17. PC nerd

    PC nerd TS Booster Posts: 317   +41

    I love over clocking. Even if the performance jump isn't stunning, it's fun.

    I have my Phenom 955 at 3.8GHz @ 1.375V totally stable and idling at 23 degrees with an NH-D14 on it.

    My Sapphire 6850 is at 910MHz core and 4600MHz memory, which takes it close to the 6870.
  18. 9Nails

    9Nails TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,215   +177

    Would I really appreciate overclocking for 15% more performance if my game is running under 60 FPS? Probably not) I get more performance gained by turning down game settings in such a case.

    If a card needs to be overclocked for better game performance, I just buy a newer faster card.
  19. PC nerd

    PC nerd TS Booster Posts: 317   +41

    I've also learned a huge amount about computers through overclocking and getting every bit of performance out of my computer. It has taught me more than any book could have.
  20. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    True dat.
    However, as a user of both AMD and Nvidia I'd add EVGA and Palit (along with PowerColor in non-reference SKU's) to those brands. The other end of the spectrum seems to include Diamond, VisionTek, Club 3D, PNY and Leadtek...luckily the slap-a-high-clock-BIOS-onto-the-damn-thing-and-cross-your-fingers approach pioneered by BFG seems to have died out with the brand.
  21. oveclocking means more refresh...
    and that give more noise...

    i like silence !

    and who care about 4fps more when you eyes just can see 25 in a minute !!!

    overcloking was fun 10 years ago... when it was illegal ^^
  22. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    yup, You forgot POV...LOL
    I think its a comBINation of pick of the bins, and then they by default put beefed up VRM's (sub Volterra for CHL and so forth)
    I remember when Vision Tek was the #1, how times have changed.
  23. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    The binning is likely a by-product of the allotment of GPU's each company get sent. Asus, Gigabyte and MSI (AMD+Nvidia),Sapphire, EVGA and Palit (vendor specific) hold the largest marketshares*, thus have a larger pool to bin from. This probably shows up best when you look at the OC percentages of their top bins (DCII, TFIII, SOC, Toxic, Classified, Sonic Platinum).

    Theoretically, the first launch reference cards should follow the standard distribution curve of overclockability, since they are all the same card, off the same production line (PC Partner or Foxconn), but I wouldn't be overly surprised if the stronger AIB's warrant some pre-distribution binning.

    *Galaxy being the odd one out. They don't seem overly interested in binning for high clocks, and even when they do, have a habit of pricing their top bins (KFA2 Anarchy for example) the same as reference cards. OK cards, but the short warranty is a killer in the resell market.
  24. Relic

    Relic TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,379   +16

    I enjoy overclocking for either the fun of it or to just squeeze out some more performance in demanding games. I really haven't pushed my current Radeon 6850 that much as I've been satisfied with its performance, and my small bumps outside benchmarks isn't really noticeable. However my previous card a Radeon 4770 I pushed quite a lot, and in return saw around a 20% boost which made quite the difference in some games like Bad Company 2.
  25. S!

    I keep my stuff stock. At the moment Intel i5 2500K bundled with AMD 7970HD are more than enough for any games I play at 1920x1080 resolution. Years back did overclock some CPU's but stability issues vs actual gains were again not worth it.

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