Your graphics card is the heart and soul of your entire gaming rig. Without it, don’t expect to be getting a few more frames, as your iGPU simply won’t be able to churn out the frames you are looking for. With that said, your GPU is a piece of silicon with its limitations and boundaries.
However, to go further beyond a chip’s limitations is the inherent premise of overclocking. With it, you can expect to manipulate or change the course of how your GPU operates. In some cases, you might even be lucky enough to gain a few extra years of performance just because of the drastic increase in FPS you’ll end up accomplishing.
Will Overclocking Damage The GPU?
Overclocking your GPU leads to no harm whatsoever. You will indeed end up raising the temperature of your GPU by a significant margin, but – you will not be permanently damaging your card as multiple checks and balances exist within the circuitry and drivers to ensure that remains a non-issue.
Your GPU is made of silicon. Like any other material on the periodic table, it can sustain a particular amount of temperature before there are actual irreversible changes made to the circuitry. However, due to the failsafe, there’s a high chance that you won’t ever get to that point.
However, there still can be some occasions where you may get dangerously close to the point of harming your GPU. For example, if you remain completely clueless about the amount of heat being generated by your graphics card, you will end up harming your GPU in one way or the other.
Generally, though, we recommend keeping your GPU at 80-90 degrees celsius. While they can sustain hotter temperatures, you might end up causing harm to them over time which isn’t the best practice.
How To Make Sure GPU Is Safe When Overclocking?
Keeping a close look at your temperatures is paramount amongst multiple other factors like ventilation, using the right overclocking tools, ensuring your GPU is pasted properly and that its fans are able to dissipate heat in an efficient manner. Moreover, having an idea of the goal you wish to achieve help.
We’re personal fans of MSI’s Afterburner in terms of great software. If used diligently, it offers a plethora of options and helps you unlock the true potential of your card. Moreover, there’s no other software that is as heavily updated and consumer-focused.
With that out of the way, there are multiple tweaks you can perform in MSI Afterburner to ensure you can maintain a safe overclock that is both productive/useful while also staying in the realm of a recommended overclock:
- Fan Curves
When overclocking, fan curves are your best friend. They help you establish a threshold for each degree of celsius. In essence, you’ll be able to tell your fans to ramp up to a particular RPM depending on what temperature your card is at. You should always have a more aggressive fan curve when overclocking than usual.
You’ll have to amp up the voltage to some degree when overclocking. However, overvolting is one of the few instances of overclocking (that don’t directly fall under its umbrella). You might end up harming your GPU as an excess of current can fry your circuits at the wrong time.
- Keep Your Ambitions In Check
This may sound more motivational than anything, but keep your expectations realistic. It’s a great practice to look at the many overclocks done by seasoned veterans of the scene to help you get a baseline of what you can expect. Treading too far into no man’s land can yield some feisty results.
Will Overclocking Reduce Lifespan?
No, overclocking makes no difference to the longevity of your GPU, and there has been no instance where a GPU has died quicker due to it being overclocked. When practicing a safe overclock, the entire premise of that word is to ensure that your overclock does not harm your GPU in any way. So, don’t worry at all!
The only point that you have to take care of, cognizant of you ending up having to throw your GPU away earlier, is your temperatures. If they’re in check, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. However, there’s a limit to how far you can push an old GPU.
Overclocking is not magic. There still are actual transistor and bandwidth limitations that play a huge role in your overall experience. So don’t expect an overclocked GTX 1080 to be trumping over an RTX 3080 anytime soon. Besides just core frequency, there are many more factors that differentiate a generation of graphics cards from one another.
In essence, though, having a great cooling system or investing in some Noctua fans for your case can help you achieve overclocks that provide you with tons of leeway for games. But unfortunately, we’ve seen that expect a difference of about 10-20% when practicing safe overclocking.
While this may not seem like much, you will ultimately see the benefit once you consider, say, a game that used to run at 50 FPS now runs at 65-70 FPS. So, the title, which you couldn’t play at your native refresh rate and felt choppy, now runs at much better FPS.
Can You Overclock Laptop GPUs?
Yes, all laptop GPUs can be overclocked just like their PC brethren. There are some companies that place soft-locks on overclocking due to fears of customers harming their systems. However, you can bypass them quite easily and overclock to your heart’s content with no real difference.
When you decide to overclock your laptop, be very wary of its temperatures. Laptops aren’t made with amazing thermal dissipation in mind. So, you might just end up significantly affecting your laptop and causing erratic shutdowns amid your gaming session if your core temperature goes beyond a certain degree of celsius.
Therefore, we recommend keeping a tight check of your temperatures and placing arbitrary warnings with the help of programs such as HWMonitor. With it, you’ll be able to identify your temperatures and make sure they don’t go haywire. After you are sure you have done a stable overclock, you won’t need to worry about monitoring your temperatures anymore and can enjoy your games in peace.
Does Overclocking GPU Work?
Yes, it boosts your FPS by a significant margin and breathes new life into your card, thereby giving it a massive change in performance. While your card, of course, remains the same, you will see a major difference in how smooth games feel and the overall responsiveness of your GPU as well, amongst other factors.
In essence, you are boosting your core clock speed and your memory frequency which allows your GPU to generate more heat and, on the other hand, increase its overall power draw, thereby granting you more FPS. So, overclocking is a workable, tangible medium used by PC enthusiasts and casual consumers alike.
It can be very beneficial to overclock your GPU since it greatly improves your FPS and gaming experiences. This is especially true for systems that are not high-end and laptops. As long as you safely and slowly overclock your GPU, you will not damage the components in the process.
Of course, you have to make sure that you have a decent customized cooling system available to compensate for the extra heat produced by the overclocked GPU. Laptops can get hot if their GPUs are overclocked, and their battery life is also drained faster.
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