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: 775MHz
Core Clock: 820MHz
Core Clock: 968MHz
Shader Clock: 775MHz
Shader Clock: 968MHz
Memory Clock: 4000MHz
Memory Clock: 4620MHz
Now we increased the fan RPM control to 60% which is not too noise but audible. We reached a very nice additional overclock showing a bump in overall performance.
The temps hardly increase and remained steady at roughly 60 Degrees C only. DBA levels go up towards 42 DBa if you use roughly 60% fan RPM. All very acceptable.
Here's what that does towards overall game performance.
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 we can see 3DMark 11 - the Performance mode is applied here, dark orange for the overclock.
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