MSI R9 290x Lightening overlooking - did I damage my GPU?

Dec 12, 2017
I have an “MSI R9 290x Lightening” graphic card.
Few days ago I downloaded the latest version of “MSI Afterburner” for the first time to see what overlooking is!
First, as you know, the “MSI R9 290x Lightening” has the following factory clock rates:
Core Clock= 1080 MHz
Memory Clock= 1250 MHz
Also, it won’t allow “Core Voltage” changes in “MSI Afterburner” (grayed out).
So I started the overlooking by setting the “Power Limit” to the maximum possible of 50% and also 1 or 2 times I set both the “Core Clock” and “Memory Clock” to their maximum values as well which of course in both instances as soon as I executed the overlooking operation, the GPU crashed instantly and I had to restart Windows 7.
Then I tried to find the maximum limit by playing with the settings which I think at that time was as follows:
Temp Limit= 94 degrees of Celsius
Power Limit= 50%
Core Clock= 1145 MHz
Memory Clock= 1345 MHz
Note that my computer has strong fans and the environment is cool and also I use a very big separate fan blowing cool air into the inside of the computer case and so I could never have temperatures above 75 degrees of Celsius (it could not simply happen!) so the temperature was always very low.
So I kept these settings for a few hours but I could notice instability issues so I changed them back to their default values and also uninstalled MSI Afterburner (as I didn’t need it anymore) and continued using my GPU as usual.
However now I noticed the situation was not the same as before!
First after a few days, my GPU “Core Clock” dropped by itself to an average of “1050 MHz” which is less than its default values of 1080 MHz and when it occasionally go to anything above this value I could see some random dots appearing on my Windows 7 screen!
Basically with a few more days of using the GPU and the situation deteriorated even further!:
Today I noticed whenever the “Core Clock” gets above 1070 Mhz, it just crashes!
And if it goes above 1050 MHz (I think the driver is intelligent and won tallow it often) I see lots of dots on the screen and then at near 1070 MHz, It crashes instantly for sure!
Basically the overclocking from the default of 1080 MHz to 1145 MHz for a few hours has cost me a permanent underclocking because now I have to use MSI Afterburner again, but this time to keep the clock rate below 1000 MHz so everything works stable and as it was working before of overclocking my GPU on the first day.
Is this a famous and known problem to you and with overlooking?
Does it mean I have damaged my expensive GPU?
Can still there be some hope and that it is only a driver issue or something?
I am “very frustrated” now to see only a few hours of using “MSI Afterburner” so innocently had resulted in this unbelievable mess! So why they make this software at first place?
Dec 12, 2017

Interesting info. Thanks for the professional advice. I do this and see if I can get the same performance from my GPU again.

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