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Beginners Guides: Overclocking the Videocard

Beginners Guides: Overclocking the Videocard - PCSTATS
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Abstract: 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.
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External Mfg. Website: PCstats Sep 08 2006   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCstats

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 the corner.

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 Card?

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 hardware.

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Contents of Article: PCstats
 Pg 1.  — Beginners Guides: Overclocking the Videocard
 Pg 2.  Nvidia vs. ATI and Overclocking
 Pg 3.  Nvidia Overclocking
 Pg 4.  How to overclock nVidia cards with Coolbits
 Pg 5.  Overclocking an nVidia card with RivaTuner
 Pg 6.  Rivatuner Overclocking Continued
 Pg 7.  Nvidia Overclocking Complications: Thermal Throttling
 Pg 8.  ATI Videocard Overclocking
 Pg 9.  ATI Overclocking Continued
 Pg 10.  Low Level Overclocking
 Pg 11.  A Word About Flashing a Videocard's BIOS

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