GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB (PLUS) review

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11 - 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.

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 tested cards anyway, but we'll still show it ;)

All in all... do it at your own risk.

Check this out:

As you can see, the result is again a notably faster performing card. The game you are looking at is Mass Effect with maximum in-game quality settings enabled. Everything is maxed out, no AA though (not supported in-game), the noise filter however is enabled.

You can expect to push another 10%-15 additional performance out of the card, completely free. This will yield you some really good results. We got the core to 860 MHz, the Shaders to 2133 MHZ and the memory over 2490 MHz. Which really is just a grand overclock.

Don't over-do your tweaks though, and be careful.

Overclocking results typically result into slightly more heat build-up in the GPU as well, but not with this cooler. Heavily stressed the core temperature rose towards ~78 degrees C. Though pretty hot, still nothing to worry about here as the GPU can certainly take it, and thanks to the cooler heat is exhausted outside the PC.

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