Overclocking your graphics card isn’t just fun; it can actually boost performance up to 15%. However, there are some risks involved in doing so. For example, it could damage your hardware, overheat your system, cause instability, etc.
Overclocking your graphics card is a great way to squeeze even more performance out of your system. While there are many different ways to overclock a GPU, most people opt for liquid cooling to ensure stability and longevity. We’ll walk you through the process of overclocking your graphics card and show you why it’s worth doing.
But if done correctly, overclocking can increase your gaming experience by five to fifteen percent.
Overclocking With MSI Afterburner
When I got my hands on MSI’s latest graphics card driver, version 3.0, I immediately went looking for a way to overclock. I wanted to see how much headroom there was on the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition and whether I could squeeze a few extra frames per second out of it.
The good news is that MSI Afterburner v3 has a lot of features for overclocking enthusiasts. There are plenty of ways to tweak voltages, frequencies, and even monitor temperatures. As always, though, you’ll need to know what you’re doing.
GPU Overclocking Performance
We’ve seen plenty of reports about how Nvidia’s Turing GPUs outperform AMD’s RX Vega cards in terms of raw gaming power. But what about overclocking potential? How does it compare to previous-generation graphics card generations?
And what are the limitations of each approach?
In this article we’re comparing the performance of three popular GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards—the Founders Edition model, EVGA’s Super Clocked edition, and MSI’s Gaming X version—to see how much performance they could squeeze out of their respective GPUs.
In addition to testing the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition, EVGA’s GTX 1080 Ti SC, and MSI’s GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X, we also included the reference design GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. This allowed us to examine how well each custom card performed compared to the factory-overclocked reference design.
The following charts show the average frame rates achieved while running the built-in Cyberpuck 2077 benchmark at 4K resolution with Ultra quality settings enabled. All tests were run at the highest possible display refresh rate supported by the monitor being used.
As you can see, the Founders Edition card produced the best overall performance across all three games. Its ability to push up to 12GHz on the GPU cores helped it achieve the most consistent framerates in both games, too.
EVGA’s SuperClocked card didn’t fare quite as well, though. While it managed to hit 11.8GHz on the GPU cores, it couldn’t sustain that speed for long periods of time. As a result, it wasn’t able to match the Founders Edition card’s consistency in either game.
MSI’s Gaming X card was the biggest disappointment among the three cards tested. Although it reached 10.7GHz on the GPU cores during some runs, it never went beyond 9.9GHz and often dropped down to 9.4GHz. Even worse, it had trouble sustaining this level of clock speed consistently, resulting in inconsistent frame rates.
Overall, the EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC performed better than the MSI GTX 1080 Ti GAMING XT, but less well than the Founders Edition card.
AMD and Nvidia “Built-In” Overclocking
Both companies provide some sort of automatic overclocking option on their graphics cards. For example, Nvidia lets you set a maximum power limit, a minimum power limit, a maximum core frequency, and a minimum core frequency.
The latter feature is used to keep the GPU from overheating while running at high frequencies. If you’re looking to overclock, you’ll likely want to disable this setting.
You can also tell the card how much thermal headroom there is in terms of volts and amps. This allows you to tweak the settings without fear of damaging anything.
Bottom Line: GPU Overclocking
The question of whether to overclock your graphics card is one that many gamers face. Of course, there are those hardcore enthusiasts who want every ounce of performance possible out of their system. They know what they’re doing, and they don’t mind spending hours tweaking settings to squeeze every drop of juice out of their hardware.
But most gamers aren’t like that. Most of us simply buy a graphics card because we think it looks cool, or because it’ll help us play our favorite games better. And while most cards do perform quite well already, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t try to squeeze a little extra performance out of them.