Here’s How to Overclock Your GPU (the easy way)

April 3rd, 2009

There are two new $250 graphics cards out on the market, one from Nvidia, the other from AMD. While they both have their ups and downs, there’s almost always a way to get an older card to do what you want, albeit risky. I’m talking about overclocking, or forcing the part to work harder than intended, your computer. There’s the real way: getting into your BIOS and figuring out what speeds you need or can handle, but there’s also a lazier way that just gets the job done right, using a freeware product.

The kind I’m going to dive into is RivaTuner, which I use for my Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT. It’s a very simple program that lets you set up your speed right inside Windows. It may not be as powerful or useful as actually digging into your BIOS, but it will definitely get the job done for most of us. Using the product, I was able to overclock the 9600 GT by over 10%, as well as my DDR2 RAM. This is more than enough to get that extra kick of quality, making my time spent a lot more enjoyable.

The key is to figure out how high you’ll be able to go before your card can’t take it anymore and crashes. Slowly increase the clock speeds of your graphics card and memory, by checking with the same game. I knew I was in trouble when green bars started showing up unexpectedly and crashed the game, but your system may end up doing all sorts of things when it’s begging for mercy. Just bring it down a notch, and you’ll notice a far superior product. After you find a speed you’re comfortable with, have Windows launch the program at start-up, just so that you don’t have to worry about opening it every time you want to play a game.

Note that every card has its limits, and eventually you will need to upgrade if you plan to keep playing newer games. This will make the wait to cross that bridge much longer.

Entry Filed under: Device Drivers

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