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: 607MHz
Core Clock: 607MHz
Core Clock: 675MHz
Shader Clock: 1215MHz
Shader Clock: 1215MHz
Shader Clock: 1350MHz
Memory Clock: 3414MHz
Memory Clock: 3700MHz
Overclocking wise the GTX 590 will allow itself to be clocked to roughly 650~675 MHz on the core without voltage tweaking.
We have not yet tried voltage tweaking but there's no doubt that 700~800 MHz is possible thanks to the good cooling. We might address that in a later article.
Fact remains that with so much raw horsepower under the hood, the differences will be measurable -- but small. You also need to question yourself whether or not to overclock at all, I mean what's the point if everything is already running silky smooth?
Above, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 - 4xAA 16xAF all settings at HIGH.
Above, Metro all maxed out at AAA + 16xAF with the very same image quality settings as before.
Above, Battlefield Bad Company 2, maxed out image quality settings as before with 8xAA 16xAF. Here, up-to 1920x1200 we run into massive CPU limitation. Once you are freed from that, performance boosts upwards alright.
Above, 3DMark 11 - the Performance test and score. As you can see, a nice additional bump in this very GPU limited title, lovely.
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