How to overclock your graphics card

Boost video card performance with these simple overclocking tips

The Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 graphics card has excellent overclocking potential.

The Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 graphics card has excellent overclocking potential.

Combined with some memory overclocking, the tweaked Radeon HD 4890 can get you an extra three or four frames per second in graphics-intensive games like Crysis: Warhead. By contrast, the NVIDIA GTX275 becomes unstable when increasing the core clock speeds by more than 50MHz while using air cooling, and doesn't offer significant performance boost.

Windows_Crashed_Graphics

Should your graphics card become unstable, it isn't the end of the world, but the results can be slightly messy. Overheated or unstable video cards can cause corrupted graphics in games or, as you can see above, a crashed graphics driver. You might even be graced with the glory of the Windows BSOD (Blue Screen of Death). Newer graphics cards should reset themselves to standard clock speeds when this occurs and a quick restart may be all that is needed to solve any problems. If not, booting into Safe Mode in Windows is a last-ditch recovery option for restoring your graphics card's health and your own sanity.

You are likely to experience such problems regularly during the overclocking process, particularly if you are pushing a card to its limits. In order to reduce the possibility of the graphics card becoming unstable, monitor your system's ambient temperature and find some ways to improve airflow in the case, particularly around the graphics card. Upgrading your air intake and venting fans at the front and back (and possibly side) of the chassis and cleaning up cables are both good ways to ensure your system runs cooler. This will allow you to clock the GPU even higher without having to resort to other cooling methods.

Overclocking certainly isn't for everyone but for those who don't know how and want to try it out, it isn't all that hard to get started. If you are looking for the perfect specimen to experiment on, it is best to first read reviews of the graphics cards to determine their overclocking potential. Once you purchase your chosen video card, overclocking becomes a repetitive (but hopefully beneficial and interesting) process of tweak, test and re-test.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags nvidiaatigraphics cardsoverclockingpc components

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Hutchinson

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?