HomeHow ToHow to Overclock GPU and Safely Benchmark Your Graphics Card?

How to Overclock GPU and Safely Benchmark Your Graphics Card?

Overclocking GPU is the number one way to enhance your computer’s graphics on a budget. Of course, you can upgrade to the latest Nvidia or AMD models, but they don’t come cheap. So, to boost your PC performance for an ultimate gaming experience, you must learn how to overclock the GPU.

GPU overclocking has been gaining heat for quite some years now. And why not? The stuttering and lagging of rendering processes, 3D animation, or a new game you’ve been waiting for is frustrating!

What Is GPU Overclocking?

GPUs come with preset settings by a manufacturer that favors durability. In terms of performance, the hardware components on a graphics card can deliver much higher processing speeds than they are limited to. GPU overclocking unlocks that reserved potential.

Overclocking GPU memory or the core clock speed allows you to access that extra speed. And unlike the old days, you can overclock a graphics card with various overclocking software.

That’s probably all about what overclocking is in layman’s terms. But you may still wonder what overclocking GPU does or if should I overclock my GPU in the first place. And for that, we’ve covered every aspect of your concerns in the guide below!

Is Overclocking Safe and Worth it?

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The questions that play with every gamer’s head are how to make games run faster, improve FPS, and optimize a PC. But how far can you enhance your PC’s performance without upgrading the hardware and causing severe harm?

Overclocking GPU is much safer than it used a few years ago. As mentioned above, the old way of using shunt mods and manually removing voltage restrictions was no less than playing with fire. It offered considerably small rewards against pretty high risks.

Even though GPU overclocking is safer and simpler today, you risk losing your hardware warranty. After all, you push your GPU beyond its predetermined limits, which may reduce its life. This is why it is recommended to overclock an older or used GPU.

However, you have room to play around since the newer graphics card relies on many sophisticated fail-safes for modern silicon. To answer your “Should I overclock my GPU?” question, it’s about how much graphical performance you need.

You can boost FPS without making software or hardware changes if you’re a Minecraft enthusiast. You can simply allocate more RAM to the game or download Optifine for an ultimate gaming experience.

Preparing to Overclock Your GPU

Before your excitement carries you away, you must prepare your PC for GPU overclocking to see some solid changes. While overclocking a graphics card is pretty simple, keeping all the necessary tools at a click’s distance is safer.

Firstly, you’ll need three types of GPU overclocking software to lay a stable foundation. Software that lets you adjust GPU memory and clock speed, stress test software, and thermal check software.

If you’re using MSI Afterburner, you’ll find that it has a built-in temperature check utility as per our guide. However, third-party thermal-check software that can be minimized is more reliable when overclocking a GPU.

Here are the tools that you’ll need to overclock GPU:

Overclocking Software (MSI Afterburner)

Image by: Msi

MSI Afterburner is today’s most popular and the best GPU overclocking software. It allows you to adjust GPU core clock speed, memory, and voltage from a single interface. Before you question how to overclock GPU with MSI afterburner, you’ll be delighted to find a dedicated section later in the article.

You can download the software from the MSI Afterburner official website. The interface has an attractive skin and easily accessible mods clustered together. MSI afterburner supports nearly all Nvidia and GeForce graphics cards and has an automatic feature to overclock your GPU, known as OC Scan. (Only available on newer MSI Afterburner versions.)

Stress Test Software

Image by: Wikimedia

While it is all attractive to boost PC performance and FPS for an ultimate gaming experience by simply tweaking your GPU, it is not always stable. The instability of your graphics card is not usually noticeable initially. But you may encounter crashes when you put it under stress by gaming for a couple of hours.

And to avoid system crashes in the middle of games, you’d want to ensure that your GPU can handle the new overclock settings. For that, you need a stress test utility!

The UNiGiNE heaven benchmark test is a recommended option for testing your graphics card. It renders high-definition virtual setups to help you identify a safe GPU temperature and clock speed.


Image by: Pixabay

Whenever you overclock a GPU to optimize your PC for gaming, you abandon the ideal factory settings. And that only means more crashes and reboots. However, you need to find a sweet spot of settings for GPU overclocking, which requires patience!

You must often tamper with the clock speed, GPU temps, memory, and voltage before seeing things fall in place. After every round of alterations, you need to benchmark your PC to ensure it will work.

So, saying that overclocking a GPU is easy is true, but quick? Not quite!

Update System Software and Drivers

Lastly, you must ensure you’re running the latest system software and driver version. Moreover, having the latest motherboard and BIOS settings is a plus when stepping into overclocking a GPU.

Most GPU overclocking software is optimized for the latest hardware and software settings. Running an older version of drivers and system software may limit your modification capacity. Or you’ll have a series of compatibility issues headed your way.

How to Overclock GPU? Guide

With precise tools and precautions, you’re now set to overclock your graphics card. Here is how to overclock GPU using a mix of the tools mentioned above:

Benchmark Graphics Card

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You’ll require the Heaven benchmark tool quite often during GPU overclocking. First, benchmark your computer with stock settings for a ground point to relate later. Write down the information or take a screenshot for reference.

During GPU overclocking, you should take a benchmark test after every alteration you make. This allows you to ensure whether the new suggested settings are stable. Also, it helps you keep GPU temps safe so as not to harm the hardware.

Overclock GPU Chip

Image by: Pixabay

After the benchmark test, with a baseline for comparison, launch the MSI Afterburner and let the magic begin.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the offered control, but you want to break it down into steps. For starters, set the temperature bar at maximum and raise the core clock gradually. A 10% increase in the core clock is usually safe.

Re-run the Heaven benchmark test and see if you spot any glitches or crashes during the rendering. If not, you have room to overclock your GPU even higher. Repeat the process until you start noticing prominent glitches. Then, step down the settings even slower to reach a point of maximum possible performance.

Note: If you don’t spot any changes, you might run an older version of system software and drivers, or your GPU needs upgrading.

Overclock Memory

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The next step in line is to overclock GPU memory. As necessary as it is, it doesn’t usually make a massive difference for games, except when they rely heavily on preloaded structures and packs.

The dialing-up process for GPU memory is the same as the GPU core clock; it is safer to do it with 10% increments. Increase the capacity gradually until you encounter a stopping point, then dial back.

You need to remember that while overlocking GPU memory, it may act differently with different games. It may optimize and boost PC performance for some games, but for others, you’ll have to dial back near the built-in settings.

Adjust Power and Thermal Settings

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If you don’t know how to check GPU temperature, scroll up to the preparations section. You can do it either via third-party software or the built-in feature of MSI Afterburner.

Moreover, you can adjust the thermal capacity and power input to your graphics card. If you’ve reached a stonewall with the above settings and can’t push your GPU further, it’s time to amp up the power and thermal controls.

You need not worry; modern silicon is engineered to withstand high temperatures and has built-in safety mechanisms. You’ll crash and restart the system way before damaging your hardware. Increasing your GPU’s power and heat limit gives you more room to dial up the GPU core clock and memory.

Find the Sweet Spot for Your GPU Overclock

You’re only one step away from improving your FPS and making your games run faster. Well, not precisely one step!

You now need to re-run the above loop over and over again. Dial up the GPU memory, core clock, temperatures, and voltage, and benchmark your computer after every change. However, the key stabilizes one aspect at a time, e.g., GPU memory, core clock, or the heat limit.

Changing one variable at a time makes finding where the problem lies more accessible. Determining whether your new settings are perfectly stable may take hours and even days. Every computer and GPU chip is different at the micro-level, so you can’t just fill in someone else’s settings onto your GPU. You need to find your own!

Jennifer Zilin
Jennifer Zilin
Jennifer is a dynamic contributor at TechDisease.com, simplifying tech guides with a friendly touch. As the founder of GeneralQueen.com and a sought-after collaborator with influential blogs, Jennifer's expertise and passion for writing make her a trusted source for practical guidance in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

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