Author: Adam Wilson
- Intro & MSI Afterburner
- EVGA Precision X
EVGA Precision X
Similar to MSI Afterburner, EVGA Precision X is a nifty tool with, yet again, a small memory footprint. Capable of everything MSI Afterburner is, however designed solely for nVidia GeForce graphics cards. It’s designed like a speedometer, and gives you the “go faster” vibe when using it.
Straight “out of the box,” EVGA allows voltage tweaking on select graphics cards, like the nVidia GeForce GTX 680. EVGA’s voltage control works a little differently, and actually represents the total amount of mV going into the core. Again, as my 680 has a locked voltage, I can’t overvolt my GPU to any kind of damaging levels. But you should always check that you’re not putting too much voltage into your core to prevent damage. Cards like the MSI Lightning Series have a custom BIOS with unlocked voltage; be very careful. You’d not like a $600 paperweight, I’m sure.
Open up the TDP (represented as Power Target) to allow more headroom when requesting more power.
Next up is overclocking:
One at a time. Do not increase both memory and core clock at the same time. If you do, it makes troubleshooting any issues a lot more complicated. Get a stable clock on one before you do the other.
I’m going to start with Core clock, but feel free to do this in any order you prefer. Start by dragging the slider to the right to increase the speed of the core. I recommend going in small increments of 25 Mhz or so. Use a GPU-stressing application of your choice to verify stability. I like to use 3DMark11, or, Unigine Heaven (fully maxed out.) Keep going until you get a lockup, a driver crash, or artifacts. Artifacts can be easily described as something that shouldn’t be there. Weird colors flying around the screen, screen tears, etc. Below this section, I’ll leave you a picture of some. Once one of these issues crops up, you’ve pushed the clock too far. Scale it back a bit.
Time for memory! Make sure your memory blocks and VRMs have adequate cooling. Memory that gets too hot can cook. If you don’t have temperature monitors on your memory, I wouldn’t recommend going TOO far, even if it’s stable. Same concept however. Gradually increase your memory clock speed until you get artifacts, lockups, or driver crashes. When that happens, pull it back.
Once again, here’s what artifacts look like:
Things to Remember
As a final word on this article, I’m just going to list a few points of things that you should always keep in mind when overclocking a video card.
- Make sure you have adequate cooling. Without it, your core and memory might heat too much and you risk damaging your very expensive piece of equipment.
- Verify the maximum amount of volts your core can take before you start throwing crazy voltage levels at it. If you overvolt too far, frazzle.
- Overclock core and memory independent from each other. Doing both at the same time will make troubleshooting difficult.
- Getting artifacts, lockups or driver crashes means you’re going too hard. Either increase voltage (see above), or scale your overclock back a bit.
Hopefully this guide has been helpful to you.
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