As most of you know, with most videocards you can apply a simple series of tricks to boost the overall performance a little. You can do this at two levels, namely tweaking by enabling registry or BIOS hacks, or very simply to tamper with Image Quality. And then there is overclocking, which will give you the best possible results by far.
What do we need? One of the best tools for overclocking NVIDIA and ATI videocards is our own AfterBurner which will work with 90% of the graphics cards out there. We can really recommend it, download here.
Where should we go? Overclocking: By increasing the frequency of the videocard's memory and GPU, we can make the videocard increase its calculation clock cycles per second. It sounds hard, but it really can be done in less than a few minutes. I always tend to recommend to novice users and beginners, to not increase the frequency any higher than 5% on the core and memory clock. Example: If your card runs at 600 MHz (which is pretty common these days) then I suggest that you don't increase the frequency any higher than 30 to 50 MHz.
More advanced users push the frequency often way higher. Usually when your 3D graphics start to show artifacts such as white dots ("snow"), you should back down 10-15 MHz and leave it at that. Usually when you are overclocking too hard, it'll start to show artifacts, empty polygons or it will even freeze. Carefully find that limit and then back down at least 20 MHz from the moment you notice an artifact. Look carefully and observe well. I really wouldn't know why you need to overclock today's tested card anyway, but we'll still show it.
All in all... do it at your own risk.
Core Clock: 772MHz
Core Clock: 855MHz
Core Clock: 925MHz
Shader Clock: 1544MHz
Shader Clock: 1710MHz
Shader Clock: 1850MHz
Memory Clock: 4000MHz
Memory Clock: 4400MHz
Overclocking wise the card will allow itself to be clocked to roughly 900~925 MHz on the core without additional voltage tweaking. Voltage tweaking itself is a problem as we could only raise the GPU voltage from 1.050 V to 1.075 V (NVAPI is enabled), which is nor a lot. However 925 MHz as a result is still very impressive.
eVGA is still working on Voltage support for these cards with their own software suite, the software has not been finalized and in fact not even a Beta is available. A real downside for a product like this.
Alternatively you could purchase the EVBot (external overclock pod) which does allow GPU voltage tweaking, but that's another 50 USD right there. Also if you want to flash an EVbot to make the hardware compatible with say today's product, you need an eVGA motherboard before you can even change the firmware.
Fact remains that even with so much raw horsepower under the hood we have been able to overclock at 925 MHz / 4400 MHz on the memory. The differences are measurable.
Above, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, maxed out image quality settings as before with 4xAA 16xAF.
Above, Battlefield Bad Company 2, maxed out image quality settings as before with 8xAA 16xAF.
Above, 3DMark 11 - the Performance test and score. As you can see, an additional bump in this very GPU limited title, lovely.
So then overclocked power consumption went up towards 439W, the heat levels remain to be roughly 70C in a game stress test. The noise level however jumped up a tiny bit to roughly 44/45 DBa.
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