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.
Overclocked - GPU 1.25V
Core Clock: 900 MHz
Core Clock: 975 MHz
Core Clock: 1030 MHz
Shader Clock: 900 MHz
Shader Clock: 975 MHz
Shader Clock: 1030 MHz
Memory Clock: 4200 MHz
Memory Clock: 4600 MHz
Memory Clock: 4800 MHz
Now we left the fan RPM control at default in all circumstances. We reached a very decent overclock guaranteeing better results. Voltage tweaking is an option. With AfterBurner (download here) our stable end result was 1030 MHz on the core and 4800 MHz on the memory. 1.25V was applied to the GPU. The temps did not change very much, dBA levels remain very silent. You can also try and go a little higher by increasing fan RPM of course, your call to make.
Above, we have Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, maxed out image quality settings as before with 4xAA 16xAF
Above, we have 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. Oh and please do compare back and forth to a reference clocked R6870 as well, quite important.
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