Graphics Card Overclocking Megathread

TechyInAZ

Titan
Moderator
Welcome community, to this special megathread dedicated to the discussion of graphics card overclocking.



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Guidelines:

1. All graphics card talk is allowed here. But the primary focus should be on overclocking and the results of your overclocks.
2. Sharing FireStrike results is specifically encouraged. If we get enough firestrike scores, we can create an official Tom's Hardware Firestrike Hall Of Fame.
3. Flame Wars, personal attacks and bickering is not tolerated.

P.S. Sharing Superposition scores here are fine aswell, but there is another discussion thread already dedicated to Superposition which includes a hierarchy table of superposition results here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-3536560/tom-superposition-thread.html


Graphics Card Overclocking Guide:
Overclocking your graphics card is one of the easiest ways to gain more performance out of your GPU. It is extremely simple to learn, anyone can do it if you have the patience.

Step 1: Download and install your favorite GPU overclocking tool. If you don’t know what to use, I highly recommend going with MSI Afterburner. Afterburner is arguably the best GPU overclocking tool out there, but what makes it unique is its ability to support almost any graphics card out on the market today (which is why MSI Afterburner is the go to OC tool for the vast majority of users).

MSI Afterburner: https://www.msi.com/page/afterburner


Step 2: Download and Install your prefered GPU stress test/benchmarking utility. I recommend installing a few different stress test utilities so you can make sure your graphics card is stable under a number of different types of workloads. What I use is a combination of Unigine Valley & Superposition, plus 3DMark.

Superposition: https://benchmark.unigine.com/superposition?lang=en
Valley: https://benchmark.unigine.com/valley?lang=en
3dMark: https://www.futuremark.com/support/downloads


Step 3: Open up MSI Afterburner (or whatever tool your using, i’m going to reference msi afterburner as that’s what I use) and make sure you understand the basics of each slider.



Step 4: Now it’s time to prep the card for overclocking. Increase the Power and Temp. limits to their maximum (don’t worry, this is perfectly safe. Your increasing the capabilities of the cards power delivery and increasing the temperature threshold so the card won’t start downclocking).

Next, increase your fan speed, increase the fan speed manually until it’s too loud for your tastes. You can setup a fan curve later.



Step 5: Startup your stress test utility, if you’re going off my recommendations, start with Unigine Valley. Run the benchmark once with the power and temp limits maxed out but without touching the core or memory clocks just yet. Make sure the card is stable thru the test (it should run thru the entire test without crashing, if it does, then something’s wrong with your card).


Step 6: Now it’s time to actually start overclocking. 1st, increase the core clock by 35mhz and run the stress test, if stable, add another 35mhz and see if it’s stable, keep repeating until the card is unstable. Once it goes unstable, go back to the previously stable clock speed and increase the core clock in 10mhz increments.

Each time you change the core clock, run a stress test for 5 minutes. Once you find the sweet spot, run your benchmarking utility for 30 minutes strait.


Step 7: You can also optionally increase the vram clock rate of your video card aswell, this will allow the GPU to access it’s vram quicker allowing for more performance.

For memory it’s a little different, the problem with vram is that it’s hard to tell when it’s actually unstable. In the case of Nvidia Pascal GPUs as an example, the vram might look stable at a certain frequency, but it really isn’t because Pascal is so good at error correction that all you’ll get is a performance drop instead of a crash. It’s still not optimal as the gpu now has to dedicate time to fixing the glitches in the memory because the memory is running too fast.

So for memory, start at a +100mhz offset, and run a stress test for 5 minutes. Then go up by 50mhz increments until the card actually crashes, then go back down to the previous clock rate that was stable. Now when you run your stress test, pay attention to your screen, for 5 minutes to see if there is any artifacting at all. I recommend you also run Superposition and 3dmark to make sure it’s not artifacting in those utilities either.

Now if you want to REALLY get as much oomph out of your vram as possible, try this technique out: Open up your favorite video game and run it in windowed mode, so you can access msi afterburner at the same time. What you want to do is get into a match (preferably not online), and look at your frame rate counter. If you don’t have one, enable MSI’s OSD in the settings menu.

Look at your frame rate VERY closely (FYI it helps if your game runs at over 100fps for more detail). Increase your memory clock speed on the fly UNTIL you see a drop in FPS. Play around until you find the sweet spot.


Step 8: Now that your vram is stable, run both the core and memory clock at their max clock speeds you’ve found to be stable so far and run unigine valley, superposition, and 3dmark for about an hour (dedicate valley to 25ish minutes and superposition to 25ish minutes aswell, then for 3dmark just run it since you can’t loop 3dmark).

Step 9 (optional): You can also unlock the voltage monitoring and voltage control in MSI Afterburner if you want to get as much performance out of your GPU as possible. However, overvolting your GPU can degrade the GPU much faster and can increase temperatures of your GPU, so do this with caution.

I personally am a strong believer in stock voltage overclocking for GPUs. I personally own a GTX 750 Ti, GTX 1060, and GTX 1080, I have overvolted both the 750 TI (BIOS Mod) and the GTX 1060 and found that the extra voltage was not worth while. At stock volts i could get around 2114ish mhz on my gtx 1060 where as with a max overvolt of 1.081 (1.093v get’s worse stability…) i could only get 2150ish mhz. With my GTX 750 Ti I could get 1455mhz with the extra voltage from the bios mod, and 1430ish mhz without the bios mod.

I would share my firestrike results, but I am in the middle of liquid cooling my GTX 1080, so I'll be back next week with a firestrike result for my personal system.
 

Eximo

Titan
Herald
I'll have to run Firestrike when I get home then so you have something to compare to. (I have before, I just don't remember the result)

Currently have my GTX1080 hovering around 2100Mhz core and 10,400Mhz on the memory. An EVGA SC ACX 3.0 with an XSPC Razor full coverage waterblock.
 

TechyInAZ

Titan
Moderator


That's really sweet! Stock voltage?
 

Eximo

Titan
Herald


Power target to max, and temp to max. Then I played with the max offset it could handle. I think 109Mhz over stock is what I settled on, then took it back a notch for increased stability. Only crashed on me maybe twice so far since I got done fiddling. (Out of the box it would run at 2012Mhz regularly)

From what I remember researching higher voltage is actually bad on Pascal. Just heats the chip up locally and makes it unstable. The key is keeping it cool and seeing what the silicon can do.

Given that most air cooled cards can reach 2050Mhz pretty easily, and really good cards can do 2150Mhz on the average. It certainly isn't worth it to water cool, but it is fun to put together. Can't argue with 50C max temps though. With zero throttling you pretty much never see any dips in performance from the GPU.

I never did get around to overclocking my GTX980s, wasn't really a need at the time I was easily hitting 144hz in everything I was playing at the time. One of these days I will get around to rebuilding that rig, probably give hard tubing a try.
 

TechyInAZ

Titan
Moderator
Well in my case i'm hitting 80C at 85-90% fan RPMs so i gota liquid cool.

Agreed, I did a number of tests on my GTX 1060 with overvolting and i got maybe 30 more mhz with a pretty high overvolt.
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
Asus gtx660ti DC2C-2GD5.
Default boost 980MHz
Default memory 6008MHz

Power Target 114%
MinVoltage 1040mv
Boost 1210MHz
Memory 7208MHz

Eco fans Off
Idle @33°C
Max gaming load 62% 65°C (fan curved for quiet)
Max load 99% 82°C fans to Max
 
Apr 24, 2018
5
0
10
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Hi, i need help. I want to overclock my Gigabyte GTX1060 WF2 3GB (Hynix memory).
i never did that before so i need help. From where to start? How much to "push" it? How to test it? What is max GPU temperature that i should cross?
I plan to OC it with MSI Afterburner.
Rest of my PC is: i5 7600 (non K), MSI B250 Bazooka, 8GB DDR4, Corsair CX550 80+ Bronze.
Thanks.

https://i.imgur.com/bRjqP4E.jpg
 

Eximo

Titan
Herald
Pretty much impossible to break Nvidia cards. They are hardware limited to protect themselves.

Set the power limit to maximum, run a benchmark, monitor temperatures and noise. Take note of the maximum clock speed and temperature reached. (If there is a temperature limit you can feel free to adjust that up to your tolerance for fan noise) You can also increase performance by increasing the fan speeds.

I would say Pascal is good to 80C or so, I know some cards come with a throttle point set at 73C, others commonly 83C. Really you want to keep the GPU from getting that warm though.

Once you know the typical boost clock the GPU will reach, you can try increasing the offset a little at a time. When it crashes, you've found the limit.

Then you do the same thing with the memory offset. (You can reset the GPU clock back to default during this to see what the memory can do on its own, or you can just see how fast a combination you can get)

Typically Pascal GPUs will easily do over 2000Mhz, less commonly 2100Mhz. But usually those are binned cards with very good cooling. Maximum memory clock is a little more tricky. GDDR5 8000Mhz or 9000Mhz (effective) depending on the card. I've only really messed with GDDR5X myself, but I've seen a few people reach nearly 10,000Mhz with cards like GTX1070. Just depends on how lucky you got with the chips.
 

davidussvk

Prominent
Jun 5, 2018
13
0
520
1
msi gtx760 2gb
Default boost 1033mhz
Default memory 6009MHz

Power Target 115%
MinVoltage 1040mv
Boost 1351MHz
Memory 7624MHz

Eco fans Off
Idle @40°C
Max gaming load 99% 68°C
Max load 100% 92°C fans to Max
pushed old beast to the limit and it plays games well even bf1 1080p medium above 85fps all the time
wish my gtx 1060 will do same
FIRE STRIKE 1.1 total:7078
Graphics Score 7 743
 

OverclockDaddy

Commendable
Oct 6, 2016
60
0
1,640
1
Hey guys any one kind enough to help?.
i have an old but still reliable Sapphire R9 380 Nitro card 4 gig. We were able to push it to 1100/1500 with +20% limit and stock voltage of 1212mv with AfterBurner. so we want to push it more but we can't . The MSI AB is not able to adjust voltage. (its stuck with 1212 mili volts maxed out default slider) (allowed in settings also added EULA),
GPU tweak also can not manage voltage. Trixx is able to adjust voltage but the software is not working... When we set anything in trixx, press apply, we can see the oc has changed, but in after a few seconds it changes back to stock. We reinstalled drivers (newest, older, also driver ONLY), newest Trixx version, older Trixx version, nothing helped. Is there any way how to adjust the voltage in this GPU??
i saw youtube videos of amd R9 380 cards overclocked with 1.3 milivolts, they can adjust the voltage in AB.
im using latest amd driver - adrenaline 18.9.1

i hope someone can help us with a legit trustworthy solution

thank you guys! God bless!
 
Jun 8, 2018
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What are some good safe numbers to set my GTX 1080 to? I don't really care for all of the stress testing, I just want something that will boost performance without being too extreme. Right now based on a video I have core clock at +205 in afterburner and memory clock at +407, but these numbers are based on somebody using a GTX 1050TI, and I feel like mine has higher capabilities. I don't want to push the limits of reality here. Also, will increasing power and temp limit be safe for me just being casually overclocking? I have noise cancelling headphones, so other than the sound is having fan speed constantly at 100% an issue? It dropped my resting temperature from 50C to 33C, so I do like having it set here. Thanks.
 

TechyInAZ

Titan
Moderator
All GPUs overclock differently. I have a Zotac 1080 AMP! Edition (just as an example), and i get a max of around 30+ offset on the core clock and +100 on the memory (one of the worst overclocking 1080s I've seen), but there are other 1080s (same model too) that easily hit 500+ on memory and 120+ on the core clock.

So for you adam, go as high as you can before instability. However with your vram it's slightly more complicated:

Nvidia vram can run really high and look "stable", however in reality you are not stable. This is due to the vram ECC (error correcting) doing its job really well. It can correct errors from instability up until a point where the instability is so high that it overloads the ECC function...

Fortunately, there is a way to see your real stable memory frequency. ECC memory takes a bit of processing time to correct mistakes, which in turn makes the memory run slower.

So what you do is fire up a game or benchmark that has a high frame rate of preferably 150-1000 FPS, go to a non moving scene, like a wall, and just stay there. Then keep increasing your vram clock until you notice either a dip in FPS or the FPS is not increasing at all.
 
Jun 8, 2018
21
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10
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So if I want to find my limit, I just keep increasing by 35, then running a stress test, and if there's any decrease in FPS from the last time then it's unstable? What stress test should I use? So far I've found Unigine Superposition.
 
Oct 28, 2017
23
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520
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Is it possible to disable GPU boost via MSI Afterburner or Riva Tuner?

I'm thinking about picking up a Asus Strix GTX960 but the problem is that it comes over-clocked from the factory and I really don't want to mess with its BIOS!
 

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