Overclocking your graphics card is a free and effective way to get more performance out of your system. In graphical intensive scenarios such as gaming, you can massively benefit from an overclocked GPU.
With GPU overclocking, it’s a lot more straightforward than CPU overclocking as you can overclock your GPU straight from the operating system with software such as MSI Afterburner.
To answer your question, your in-game FPS has a linear relationship with the clock speed of your graphics card, So if you get 100FPS with a clock speed of 1GHz, overclocking to 1.1GHz should result in 110FPS.
Should I Overclock My GPU?
It is worth overclocking your graphics card for gaming, this is because the performance gains are huge if you understand the relationship between clock speed and FPS.
For gaming, if you overclock the Memory, it means your graphics card will handle higher resolutions better.
So, if gaming at 4K stutters quite a bit, overclocking the VRAM(Memory) to allow efficient handling of graphical data results in less stuttering and interruptions.
FPS is probably the most important metric for gamers, so if you can gain more FPS for free without lowering any settings, then it’s probably a great deal.
So that’s another huge benefit with GPU overclocking, the software to do it is pretty much free to use, and it’s user-friendly.
Is It Safe To Overclock My GPU?
Overclocking your graphics card is relatively safe compared to overclocking the CPU, this is because the software used to overclock your graphics card is able to prevent harmful configs.
Furthermore, if your graphics card is operating too hot due to an overclock, then your graphics card is able to throttle or shut down the PC once it reaches a certain temperature.
This is to prevent any damage inflicted by heat, NVIDIA graphics cards throttle around 70C-85C(158-185 Fahrenheit), and AMD cards throttle around 60C-70C (140-158 Fahrenheit).
If you’re worried about your graphics card becoming too hot due to an overclock, then you’re always able to revert your graphics card back to factory settings.
The best thing to do when overclocking a graphics card is to increase the clock speed in small increments so you find the sweet spot with your graphics card.
However there are always downsides to overclocking, your fans will be forced to work harder hence why the fans can fail quicker due to excessive stress on the bearings.
Also, messing with the voltages will ultimately result in a shorter lifespan, the same thing applies with CPU and RAM overclocking.
Overclocking Won’t Always Increase FPS
Overlocking sometimes won’t increase your frame rate, and this is due to bottlenecks, the biggest being the CPU.
If you have a CPU bound bottleneck, this means the CPU will be running at 100% utilization meaning it cannot process any more frames sent by the GPU.
This has the effect of the GPU not running at 100% meaning you’re not getting the full potential of your graphics card, so overclocking in this scenario will pretty much be useless.
CPU bound bottlenecks occur when the CPU and the GPU combination is lopsided meaning the GPU is too powerful for the CPU.
This happens when you pair a top tier graphics card like an RTX 3090 with a really old CPU like an I7 3770K.
But there are ways to minimize CPU bound bottlenecks, you can do this by increasing the in game resolution, this works because you will be generating less frames overall meaning overclocking could be useful.
Is Overclocking Worth It?
Here is an actual scenario of GPU overclocking when it comes to in-game performance, depending on how far you overclock, can expect up to a 10FPS increase on average.
10FPS is enough to push certain games past the 144Hz mark for extra smoothness in competitive situations, this means if you’re averaging 134FPS in Fortnite, overclocking could push you to 144FPS.
And this can all be done without messing with any voltages which can potentially harm your graphics card in the long run. As long as you stay within proper OC limits you should be able to overclock without increasing voltage.
The only reason you should increase voltage is if the core becomes unstable due to really high overclocks, and you know what you’re doing.
Anyways, looking at the video above, we can see that overclocking helps significantly with 1% lows which means you will be experiencing fewer stutters which can ruin the gaming experience.
In Fortnite, the 1% low for the non OC graphics card was 18FPS, whereas overclocking pushed it to 55FPS, this is clearly due to the overclocking which is why we think overclocking your GPU is definitely worth it.
GTX 1060 (Non OC) Core Clock(1835MHz) Memory Clock(4007MHz)
|Game||Average Frame Rate|
|Rainbow Six Siege||177|
|Assassin’s Creed Odyssey||59|
|Average Frame Rate||117.1666667|
The GTX 1060 with stock clocks achieves an average frame rate of 117 FPS in 6 games, this isn’t bad at all considering you’re higher than 60FPS.
GTX 1060 (OC) Core Clock(2063MHz) Memory Clock(4354MHz)
|Game||Average Frame Rate|
|Rainbow Six Siege||168|
|Assassin’s Creed Odyssey||61|
|Average Frame Rate||126.5|
An overclocked GTX 1060 is able to get an average of 126FPS across 6 games, and this is all done for free. You don’t have to pay a single penny, for an additional 10FPS.
So the evidence is clear, overclocking your GPU will result in higher frame rates across the board, this is because the graphics card is the main component driving the frame rates in games.
Check out Xeon Hacker on YouTube for the original video!
How To Maintain An Overclocked Graphics Card
- Keeping Computer Clean
- Investing An Aftermarket Cooler
- Monitoring Temperatures
- Reapplying Thermal Paste
Keeping the insides of your computer clean is a decent way to decrease temperatures and maintain a decent overclock, this is because dust will actually hold heat, and can potentially fry delicate components.
Investing in an aftermarket cooling solution is the best way to keep thermals low, if you purchase a reference graphics card, you have the option to purchase an aftermarket cooler.
These aftermarket coolers often have beefier heatsinks and fans which will dissipate heat far better than a normal reference cooler. This means your graphics card will be able to handle overclocks better and for longer.
Monitoring your temperatures is a great way to understand how your GPU performs under additional stress due to the overclock. If you notice that your card is running too hot, then you can increase the fan speeds within the software.
If you have a particularly old graphics card, then reapplying thermal paste can massively improve thermals, and allow for much better overclocks. This is because thermal paste will dry overtime and lose its effectiveness.
In conclusion, overclocking your graphics card is worth it if you know what you’re doing, and follow what’s recommended.
Don’t increase the voltage as this can decrease the GPU lifespan, only do this if you know what you’re doing. Just increase the clock or memory clock in small increments to find where your GPU is most stable.
Keeping your computer clean, buying aftermarket coolers, and reapplying thermal paste are all great ways to have better overclocks.