GPU overclocking is a way to get more performance out of your graphics card without having to purchase a new GPU.
Because of this, many users will attempt to overclock their graphics card because they may be lagging in a game they like, or they need the extra performance for other tasks such as hardware encoding.
But many individuals have a negative perspective on overclocking, and may think it can damage your hardware. The truth is that overclocking the GPU is quick, effective, and pretty easy, anyone can pretty much do it.
What Is GPU Overclocking?
GPU overclocking is the act of pushing your graphics cards core clock speed or memory clock speed past their rated limits. This means your graphics card will be working harder, this means it will also run hotter.
There are some software that exist that allow you to easily overclock your graphics card without having to completely shut down your system, most people will use MSI Afterburner to overclock their GPU.
Increasing your GPU Clock Speed means that it will cycle more times per second (MHz), so you can see it as performing more operations per second.
This directly affects the GPUs performance, and has a linear correlation with in-game Frames per second (FPS).
Increasing your GPU Memory Clock Speed means that your VRAM will send and receive data with the GPU core at a faster speed, such data includes terrain, geometric, and graphical data.
Increasing the memory clock means that your graphics card will be able to handle higher resolutions better with less stuttering and crashes. This is because the GPU won’t have to use shared GPU memory which is basically RAM.
Why Would Someone Want To Overclock Their Graphics Card?
- Increased Performance In Games
- Handles Higher Resolutions Better
- Better Performance For Video Encoding
- Overclocking Is Free
- Free And Easy To Use Software Available
Overclocking your graphics card results in higher performance in graphically intensive tasks, so if you’re gaming, you can expect higher frame rates if the game is GPU bound.
So for any given graphics card, the clock speed of such a card will scale linearly with in game frames per second. So, if you’re getting 100 FPS at 1GHz, increasing it to 1.1GHz will result in 110FPS.
Situations where this will be beneficial are if you’re looking to hit a certain FPS threshold. So, if you have a game you want to play at 144Hz but only get so close, overclocking can push the game to run at or higher than 144FPS.
Overclocking your VRAM is also beneficial, this is because it will be more efficient handling graphical data. So this includes handling higher resolutions, and higher graphical settings better.
Overclocking your graphics card is also extremely easy and a free way to get more performance out of your card. Software such as MSI Afterburner make the process easy for everyone, especially if you’re not into overclocking.
What Are The Possible Downsides To Overclocking?
- Increased Power Consumption
- Increased Heat Generation
- Increased Wear And Tear
While overclocking does seem like a win-win, that simply is not the case, there are a few downsides you need to consider.
Overclocking your graphics card can put additional stress on the graphics card’s components, this is due to the increased heat and increased voltages.
Due to the GPU working harder and generating more heat, the fans will have to work harder, this means the fan bearings will wear out faster.
So, overclocking your graphics card can shorten its lifespan if you don’t have sufficient cooling, or you’ve pushed the overclock too far.
But unlike the CPU where you can damage it due to pushing it too far, GPU software such as MSI Afterburner can detect when you are pushing the graphics card too far.
So while you won’t immediately destroy your GPU due to absurd overclocks, you still risk additional risk as the GPU is working beyond its rated limits.
Is Overclocking Worth It?
We definitely think overclocking is worth it only if you meet certain requirements, this is because while anyone can overclock, not everyone will have the same pleasant experience.
If you have sufficient cooling in place to effectively dissipate heat, then you effectively reduce the effects of heat on the graphics card.
If you overclock with slow increments to find where your graphics card is the most stable, then you reduce the chances of the voltage reducing the lifespan.
If you regularly maintain your graphics card by cleaning it from dust, this has an additional effect of maintaining its lifespan.
If you meet these requirements, overclocking can be extremely beneficial by giving you an additional performance boost in pretty much all GPU bound applications.
Overclocking is inherently less risky than overclocking the CPU, so if you feel that you’ve gone ‘too far’ with your overclocks, you can easily revert it back to its factory settings.
Taking the video above into account, we can see overclocking has resulted in higher frame rates almost across the board.
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|
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|
As you can see, there is almost a 10FPS difference between the overclock and the non overclocked GTX 1060, so there’s clearly a lot of performance to be gained from overclocking.
The difference in clock speeds aren’t too significant, a difference of 347MHz should not be too difficult to achieve for a 10 FPS boost.
Along with higher average frame rates, you also benefit from better 1% lows, this means when gaming, you’re going to encounter less stuttering which can ruin the immersive experience.
So, overclocking could mean the difference of you winning or losing a competitive game in CSGO or Valorant, so we definitely think overclocking is worth it.
Check out Xeon Hacker on YouTube for the original video!
In conclusion, it’s very easy, safe, and cost effective to overclock your graphics card once you understand how to do it properly. This means keeping your GPU clean, overclocking in increments, and having decent cooling.