MSI R5670 Cyclone 1G review -
Overclocking & Tweaking
Overclocking & Tweaking
As most of you with most videocards know, 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 simple, 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 tool for overclocking NVIDIA and ATI videocards is our own Rivatuner that you can download here. If you own an ATI or NVIDIA graphics card then the manufacturer actually has very nice built in options for you that can be found in the display driver properties. Based on Rivatuner you can alternatively use MSI AfterBurner which will work with 90% of the graphics cards out there. We can recommend it very much, 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 not to increase the frequency any higher then 5% of the core and memory clock. Example: If your card runs at 600 MHz (which is pretty common these days) then I suggest 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.
Now then -- with this board and driver ATI defines a maximum allowed clock in the BIOS and signs that area with a digital key, which we so much would like to see put to a halt really. To bypass ATI's restrictions we have a tweak available in MSI Afterburner. Now let me address that MSI does not support this feature officially.
Here's what you do. Once you've installed MSI AfterBurner just edit the AfterBurner.cfg file located in the installation directory, here we can now bypass the clock frequency limits set by ATI.
In the .cfg file seek EnableUnofficialOverclocking and set it to 1 like so:
|Original Reference||This card||Overclocked with AfterBurner|
|Core Clock: 775MHz||Core Clock: 775MHz||Core Clock: 1029MHz|
|Shader Clock: 775MHz||Shader Clock: 775MHz||Shader Clock: 1029MHz|
|Memory Clock: 4040MHz||Memory Clock: 4040MHz||Memory Clock: 4544MHz|
Now here's the thing. By enforcing this tweak you will loose PowerPlay, that could open a new can of worms (because ATI really doesn't support these undocumented overclocking interfaces), there can be different (negative) side effects. Your call to make, if you run into problems... it's not Afterburner causing it, so please do not complain.
- We now force the fan RPM towards 55% for a little extra cooling
- We increase GPU Voltage with another 99 mV
The end result -- we got another 254(!) MHz out of the GPU which is awesome really, the memory overclock was stable at 1136 MHz (QDR).
As you can see, that is just a massive overall tweak, we'll be showing the effect of this overclock in all our benchmarks today.
We test the MSI R5670 Cyclone 1G. a sub 100 USD graphics card that certainly is not a card with a lot of muscle, but for low-level and not too demanding gaming, it can suffice. MSI decided to redesign the board a little bit, slapped a Cyclone cooler on the GPU, ditched their high-end 'military class' components on it, equipped it with some faster memory and bam... you've got yourself a product that can be tweaked into the stratosphere. 1Ghz? Not an issue my kind Sir.