Looking for a way to get more graphics performance out of your PC without spending a single buck? If so then look no further as you have just landed on the right page. We have brought you a beginner’s guide on how to overclock your GPU to squeeze more juice out of it. Overclocking a GPU can give 10 to 25% increase in performance depending on your graphics card. So without further ado, let’s get started.
How Does GPU Overclocking Works?
Overclocking is basically a process of tuning your computer hardware to make it run at higher clock speed than intended by the manufacturers. This will yield a marked increase in gaming performance and benchmarks, the manufacturers restrict the clock speed to a safe level to ensure the stability and to make it last longer even in worst scenarios.
Is GPU Overclocking Safe?
Overclocking your GPU is actually really simple unlike overclocking your CPU where you need to go into your BIOS settings. Most commonly, GPU overclocking is done through an application on your computer so you don’t need to reboot after every overclock which makes it way easier and a lot safer in my opinion.
There is really not that much risk in overclocking your GPU as most modern GPUs feature “Thermal Limits” which automatically kind of down clock if they do start to hit the temperature limit. Sometimes manufacturers sell an overclocked model of their GPU for a higher price tag when basically you can do that overclocking yourself right on your own PC.
Also, you must know that just like CPUs there is kind of a silicon lottery that goes on with your GPU which refers overclocking limits. It basically means that even in same model GPUS, some will just overclock better than others, this is because not all chips are equal born and even small imperfections in the application of silicon can vary the performance. This is why it is known as “silicon lottery”.
There are still some risks of overclocking like it may void your warranty depending on the vendor. You can also end up bricking your GPU if you go too crazy but if you follow our guide carefully you are not going to damage anything and will be able to safely overclock your GPU.
- Step 1:
First, you will need to download and install some third-party programs on to your PC. For overclocking we are going to use MSI Afterburner which is a free piece of software and is most commonly used. There are a lot of benchmark utilities out there, but Valley is our favorite, so that is what we will be using.
Once you have installed both the software on your PC go ahead and fire up the Valley and turn all the settings here to the extreme. Now click on RUN and let it go for about 10 minutes to kind of get your GPU under load for a while. After that just click on benchmark to see what your initial score is before any overclocking is done. It will take few minutes for the benchmark to finish, once it is completed note down the temperature and score.
- Step 2:
Next, launch up MSI Afterburner on your PC and this is where we really get to work. Before changing any of the dials or anything first go ahead and open up the user preferences by clicking on the gear like icon. Here you will find ‘unlock voltage control’ option which will be unchecked by default but you need to check that to be able to change the voltage settings on your core voltage.
Then go to the monitoring tab and turn off all the CPU related settings as we only want to monitor our GPU speeds and temperatures.
- Step 3:
Now you will need to reopen the MSI Afterburner if you want that core voltage option here to be unlocked. So first off we are going to give our GPU 50% more voltage for overclocking, the more voltage it has the more it can o higher on the clock. It is only going to use that voltage if it needs it so you don’t have to worry about frying your chip by throwing a ton of volts at it because basically, GPUs are a little smarter than your CPUs.
- Step 4:
After that move over to the Power Limit dial, by default this option is linked with the Temperature Limit dial and you want to leave it linked because basically, it is going to give it as much power as it needs based on the temperature limit. If your GPU has a decent cooling system you can crank this dial all the way up which will bring the temperature limit to 92 degrees but don’t worry as it will never hit that temperature. However, if your GPU does not have a good airflow you might wanna keep the temperature limit around 80 degrees.
- Step 5:
So now that we have all the power that the GPU needs we can start to overclock on our core. This is going to depend a lot on your GPU that how much overclock you can get. Startup by adding 50 MHz overclock and then click on apply. Now fire up Valley benchmark to stress test the GPU and see if it is running stable, if it is running well you can push it even further like 75 or 100 MHz. But if you see any artifacts or the benchmark stops responding then you will need to dial down the clock.
- Step 6:
Once you have found a sweet spot at which the benchmark runs stably then you can go ahead and overclock the memory if you want. Technically you can add up a little more MHz in memory clock than the Core Clock and it will stay stable. So you will again need to do some benchmark and stress test to find the memory clock at which your GPU is stable.
- Step 7:
If your GPU stays stable for few minutes in the Valley you can o ahead and start the final benchmark to check how much increase in performance you have achieved. You can now save the settings as a profile in MSI Afterburner.
This is how you successfully overclock a GPU. If you still have any queries then make sure to drop down a comment below.