Introduction To Graphics Card Overclocking
Here at eTeknix we serve a wide range of readers: from casual to hardcore PC users as well as gamers, overclockers and more. As a result our readers have differing levels of technical knowledge about a range of different things: today we are covering the field of graphics card overclocking. This article is aimed at a specific set of people, those who have little or minimal knowledge about graphics card overclocking, but we hope that even more experienced overclockers may be able to pick up a few tips or tricks from this article.
To the seasoned PC enthusiast graphics card overclocking is a self-explanatory term but for the casual PC user it may be an alien term, so what does it actually mean? In its simplest form it is about increasing the clock speed (which is measured in frequency) at which your graphics card operates. By default all graphics will ship with two different clock speeds: a clock speed for the graphics card’s core (or engine) and a clock speed for the memory that the graphics card uses.These default clock speeds are referred to as stock speeds. The process of overclocking entails trying to raise any combination of those clock speeds above their stock level, whether that means the core clock, the memory clock or both. Hence the term overclocking is formed from the presumption that you will be clocking your graphics card over its stock levels.
That is of course a very basic explanation so we will bring more details in as we progress through this guide. The layout of the guide is as follows:
- Firstly, we will answer the question why should I overclock my graphics card? We will present the case for overclocking and what you stand to gain from doing it.
- Secondly, we will explore and elaborate the risks that entail from overclocking as well as ways you can minimise or correct for these risks.
- Thirdly, we will explore some graphics card overclocking software to show you the options for overclocking and how you go about achieving an overclock
- Fourthly, we will discuss how to find the right overclock for you and how you can go about testing whether a selected overclock is stable
- Finally, we will benchmark our test graphics card in overclocked and stock mode to show you what difference overclocking makes
For our overclocking guide we will be using the Gigabyte R9 270 OC 2GB graphics card. This was kindly provided to us by AMD and it makes a great choice for an overclockable graphics card thanks to its large overclocking potential and very competitive price of just $180/£125 (prices accurate at the time of writing). It is also a fairly cool running graphics card that doesn’t consume too much power meaning it should be compatible with a broad range of systems. If you’re new to the ways of graphics card overclocking then the AMD R9 270 is certainly a great place to start.