Beginners Guides: Overclocking the Videocard
It's possible to overclock a videocard just as you might
a processor, for quicker speeds and better gaming. In this guide we will explain how to do
just that, step by step. - Version 1.0.0
Overclocking is a subject that PCSTATS deals with every time a new processor,
motherboard, stick of memory or videocard comes in for review, so it's a topic
near and dear to our hearts. As you might expect, after having
experimented with the subject so frequently, we have developed a pretty good
idea of what does and doesn't work in the world of overclocking.
Videocard overclocking can hold many benefits for the gamer or benchmarking
enthusiast. As with processors and system memory, the faster the
videocard's graphics processor and video memory can process information, the
better. Smoother frame rates and higher benchmarks might be just around
In this Beginners Guide, PCSTATS is
going to take a comprehensive look at how to overclock any
modern videocard. From theory to practice, ATI to nVidia, basic overclocking to tips and BIOS
flashing, it's all in this guide! For insight into overclocking a CPU, motherboard and
memory, please see our companion guide on that subject right here.
How Overclocking a Videocard Works
Videocards have three main parameters that affect their performance, the GPU core speed, video memory speed and
the bandwidth of the interface between the videocard and the rest of the
system (ie. AGP or PCI Express x16). There's not much that can be done about
the video interface, but the core and memory speeds can both be changed, just
like a computer's processor and main memory.
The videocards graphics core (or GPU) handles the actual rendering of each 3D video
frame. Overclocking it obviously helps the videocard push out polygons
faster, increasing overall 3D performance.
The video memory acts to the GPU as the computer's main memory does to the
processor, storing video data and feeding it to the core as needed. The
faster the memory goes, the less waiting around the GPU has to do, so
overclocking the VRAM also has a major effect on 3D performance.
As you might have guessed though, the most dramatic gains realized when
overclocking come from pushing the core and memory together, since both facets
compliment each other's performance as their speed increases.
Can Overclocking Damage a Video
Yes it can, but the user would have to try really HARD to
do some damage, and even then it would be unlikely... but not impossible. The
only way to damage a modern video card through overclocking is to set the core
and memory speeds WAY higher than stock and then attempt to run
benchmarks. Since most recent cards from nVidia and ATI use thermal throttling to
protect the GPU from damage, even this is unlikely to hurt a newer card. If the
guidelines in this article are followed, there's no need to worry about damaging