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Nov 12, 2010

Do It Yourself - Over-clocking your Graphic Cards

[Important: This DIY should not be performed with low end GPU’s which do not support over-clocking as it may damage your Card and some time your whole system. Also Over clocking is not for day to day activities like web surfing and for HTPC systems. Remember that fiddling with your system and over-clocking will void your warranty. So use this DIY at your own risk.]

Did you ever felt like you needed that extra power from your Graphic Card to run your latest and favorite game smoothly? Are you one of those power users who want to have the fastest system in the world (really!)? Or are you one of those benchmark enthusiasts? Then look no further than this article as it provides everything that you need to over-clock your graphic card.
Over clocking a GPU is not a hard thing if you know how to do it. But a little mistake can leave you in dust (literally).  In this DIY we will not delve deep into the BIOS settings but rather use the utility provided by the Graphic Card manufacturers. These tools are easy to use and do the work just fine. So let’s get started, shall we?

  1. First of all, backup all your important data in a portable hard disk. I prefer portable hard disk as it is outside your system and any problem if occurred, will not hamper your data.
  2. Utility that you need are AMD Overdrive for AMD’s cards and Nvidia System Tools for Nvidia’s cards. These tools are bundled with the cards most of the time. If not then you can download them via their manufacturer’s site.
  3. Now we come to the important part which is to increase the GPU clock and Memory clock by small margin one at a time (i.e. 5%-10%). To be on the safe side never change the both the sliders at once. Never increase the slider by a big margin (which I think is a sheer madness).  By doing so you are welcoming the risks by yourself.
  4. After the above step, test your system with some benchmarking tools like 3D Mark Vantage or in real time by doing some graphic intensive work. Also monitor the temperature of your card during these processes.
  5. Repeat step 3 and 4 until you reach a faster yet stable setting for your card. If you fail to get a stable system, decrease the sliders by a small percentage and repeat other steps.
I don’t know about the fastest GPU but you will surely get better performance if you follow these steps carefully. Always remember that over clocking doesn’t mean to take your card to the extreme but to tweak it sensibly to get better performance without losing the stability of the system. Always keep aftermarket GPU cooler and thermal paste handy to tackle the heat produced by the GPU during the process of over-clocking. If needed use them before the process of over clocking. Remember, every card has a limit, never push it beyond that limit.

Although I have tried my best to give accurate procedures, there may be some points that I have missed. Please feel free to comment and provide any suggestion if felt necessary.