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GPU Overclocking Risks?


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#1 zyrolasting

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 06:13 PM

The subject is pretty descriptive as is, but I would like to know if it is really worth it to overclock a GPU on any level.
In my case, I have an EVGA Geforce 9800 GTX+, but I always was in doubt about touching the clock sliders in
EVGA Precision. Can someone clear this up for me?

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#2 Sterling14

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 06:56 PM

I've never damaged a piece of hardware overclocking, but there is always that risk. If you don't overdue it though, you should be fine. If you do overdue it too, normally your system will BSOD or lock up, and once you reboot, it may recover the default clocks, or you may be able to go into safe mode (or load up windows normally) and set them back down yourself.

Just do small adjustments at a time. At first you could probably boost the core by maybe 30-50mhz, then the memory by 75-100mhz. Afterwards, I would just do the core at about 10mhz each time, and the memory maybe 20-25mhz. After an adjustment, test it by playing a game or doing a benchmark. Keep an eye on your temperatures too. I've also noticed bigger improvements by overclocking the memory more than I have seen from the core.

Now, if it is worth it. I've never really seen much of an improvement from overclocking my graphics. I got maybe a couple more FPS in games. I think it's almost better to do it on an aging graphics card, that you just want to squeeze the last bit of performance out of it, before you have to upgrade it. However, some graphics cards are made to overclock very well. I've read that the newer Nvidia gtx260 216 cores can be overclocked to a point where they are as good as, if not better than the gtx 280's!

So give it a try if you feel up to it. If you don't really see much of a performance increase than you may not want to do it.
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#3 Platypus

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 06:57 PM

As with all overclocking, you're likely to see a small performance boost, and whether this is worthwhile depends on how limiting you find the card's results now. If you find yourself thinking a 5 or 10% higher frame rate would make a game really playable, then it could be worth experimenting with. How much extra you can actually achieve only trying it will tell.

Potential downsides of overclocking include increased power consumption and hence heat output (with the chance of causing overheat damage), more chance of glitches like crashing or lockups.

If your PSU is adequately rated to supply good power to the card, and the cooling of card and system is sound (eg card fan and heatsink(s) clean and case well ventilated), overclocking could be satisfactory. Very few manufacturers release a card that is already very close to 100% of its rating, as the return rate in warranty would likely be higher. If the card is still within its warranty period, check the manufacturer's policy regarding overclocking, whether it voids your warranty.

Another thing that may count against overclocking potential, if the card only has basic spec cooling, is that modern video cards can selectively shut down internal functions to reduce power consumption/heat output. If the cooling of the card or the system case isn't adequate to support overclocking, you may find that the performance actually decreases when the card becomes hot after a period of operation.

Heh, Sterling just beat me to it...

Edited by Platypus, 04 December 2008 - 06:59 PM.

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