If you need a bit extra oomph from your PC’s pics card without spending tons of cash on a new model, overclocking the GPU is a straightforward manner to head about it. And it has indeed become simple, with Windows-based totally PCs as a minimum—even as the process is time-ingesting, it doesn’t require any precise understanding or superior skills. Here’s the way you cross approximately it.
Warning: while the threat is relatively low, there’s nevertheless a risk that overclocking your GPU could harm it or different additives on your pc. Proceed with a warning, and don’t sue us if your tower catches fire or steals your car.
A Windows-based PC: It’s feasible to overclock GPUs on macOS and Linux. However, Windows remains the house of PC gaming through a significant margin, so that’s what we’re going to use on this manual.
A discrete pix card: PCI-Express-based totally computer cards are still the number one method of playing high-end PC games. This guide has paintings for AMD and NVIDIA cell playing cards on laptops. However, we don’t, without a doubt, propose overclocking those because warmness dissipation is a good deal more excellent tough in notebooks. Don’t do this on Intel graphics or different incorporated structures.
A benchmarking device: You’ll need something that pushes your card to the absolute maximum of its strength to test its stability as you overclock. You can use the integrated benchmark in one of your favorite PC games or pass for a separate software designed for benchmarking. We like Unigine Heaven because it presents stats like clock pace and GPU temperature all through the run—very reachable if you most effectively have one display.
MSI Afterburner: This is the Swiss army knife of Windows-based GPU overclocking. Don’t be fooled through the call: although the software program is furnished loose by way of graphics card maker MSI, you don’t need an MSI card—it must include paintings on any NVIDIA or AMD-based totally GPU.
GPU-Z: Another staple of PC overclocking. It’s excellent to keep it open while you’re running to look at your effects in actual time.
Once you have got all your equipment hooked up and prepared to move, let’s get commenced.
Step One: Google Your Card
Every pictures card is unique: in its fundamental design from NVIDIA or AMD, in the customizations added by manufacturers like ASUS or Sapphire, and of a path, inside the tiny versions and imperfections from the producing technique itself. GPUs are fantastically complex machines—we’re now not gambling with Happy Meal toys right here.
The point is that your outcomes from overclocking may be unique for your system and your card. Just because someone else with an ASUS GTX 970 STRIX was given one result doesn’t mean you’ll get that same result—you need to go through the (lengthy) manner yourself to peer what your card can manage.
That stated, it’s best to recognize as tons as feasible about your hardware earlier than diving in. Do a Google search together with your card version and “overclock” to see the results that others are getting just to get a ballpark estimate and study your card’s particular foibles.
For example, my card, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970, has as an alternative famous reminiscence difficulty that makes the last half of-gig of video RAM carry out much poorer than the opposite three.5GB. That doesn’t indeed have an effect on my efforts to overclock the GPU itself, so I’ll go beforehand and continue. A universal look for “GTX 970 overclock” famous lots of threads on Tom’s Hardware and NVIDIA’s reputable forums, a particular full manual on ExtremeTech, or even some YouTube videos. Perusing the consequences earlier than persevering can most effectively be used.
Oh, and even as you’re preparing, it’s a terrific time to check and notice if you’re strolling the present-day version of your pix card’s video motive force.
Step Two: Benchmark Your Stock Configuration
To look at the effects of your paintings, you’ll first need to look at which you’re starting from. So earlier than you do any overclocking, run your benchmark device to get a baseline analysis. Make sure you crank the snapshots settings up excessively—you want every one of those benchmarks to be pushing your GPU to one hundred% of its energy. (Check GPU-Z while going for walks the benchmark or in a while to ensure it drove your card to a hundred%—if it didn’t, crank the portraits settings up to your benchmark software).
I used three extraordinary benchmarks for my tests, so on my stock GTX 970 earlier than any modifications to the Afterburner app, the results have been, therefore:
Shadow of War benchmark: 40.9 typical FPS, 79.Nine most, 24.2 minimum
3-D Mark Sky Diver: 33683 portraits score, 7814 physics score, 16826 blended rating
Heaven: 1381 specific rating, 54.8 standard FPS, 123.6 most, 24.Five minimal
Save your consequences in something format’s available. (Some in-recreation benchmarks don’t have a shop option. However, you can simply write them down.) If you’re using Heaven, be aware that to honestly record a run, you want to click on the “Benchmark” button inside the top-left nook.
Step Three: Use Afterburner to Boost Your GPU Clock and Voltage
The Afterburner overclocking device suffers a bit from the “gamer aesthetic,” the unfortunate tendency for corporations to layout gaming-specific equipment to appear like something out of an alien mothership. But there are variables we’re going to focus on: the GPU clock pace and the voltage. The former is the inner pace at which your GPU’s core processor has set itself to run, and the latter is how lots of energy in volts the card usually is about to take from the PC’s strength supply.
Changing either of those values could make your GPU, and your pc at an entire, unstable. The aim is to gently enhance the clock pace and voltage till you run into balance troubles, then pull back and determine a solid most. Note that within the modern day model of Afterburner, you may need to click on the Settings button (the equipment icon) and allow the “free up voltage manage” option before the slider becomes to be had to you.
Make a word of the stock settings right here (a screenshot may be on hand). You’ll want it in case you make a decision to return to your original configuration.
Change the clock velocity first. Raise it by 10 to 20 MHz, then apply the placing with the test mark button. Resist the urge to bump up the clock by means of large chunks—it’s a fantastic manner to crash your PC absolutely and convey this manner to a screeching halt.
Check GPU-Z to ensure that your GPU is the usage of the new center clock cost. After applying the modifications in Afterburner, GPU-Z needs to display the default “lively” clock and the newly-implemented overclock in the “Default Clock” and “GPU Clock” fields, respectively.