If you’re a gamer, then the most important component in your computer is pretty much the graphics card. The GPU provides all the graphical horsepower that you’ll need to play the latest and greatest games on your computer. The performance you get on each of these games depends on how powerful your graphics card is. That being said, some people are not happy with the stock performance and want to squeeze out every last bit of performance that’s possible from their cards. If you’re one of them and you’re looking forward to know how to do that, then you’ve come to the right place. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at how to overclock GPU for better gaming performance:
Download And Install MSI Afterburner
Afterburner is a third party software developed by MSI (Micro-Star International) which is primarily aimed at tweaking the graphics cards and get better performance out of it. You can simply download MSI Afterburner for free directly from the company’s website.
Once downloaded, simply extract the RAR file and run the EXE file to install the software. By default, MSI Afterburner comes with RivaTuner Statistics Server, which lets you monitor the temperatures and usage of various components in your system. If you don’t want it, simply uncheck the box during installation.
Tweaking The GPU With MSI Afterburner
Tweaking your GPU is not even close to hard and it’s much easier than overclocking a CPU or RAM. The entire process barely takes a few minutes. So, please make sure to follow the steps in order to avoid any unnecessary confusion:
Note: I personally tested this utility on my Alienware 15 R3 laptop. That being said, overclocking your GPU might reduce its longevity, due to high temperatures and I will not be held responsible for any damage that you may cause to your system in this process. So, proceed at your own risk.
- Before we head straight to the overclocking process, we need to ensure a couple of things that should help you out during the process. Once the MSI Afterburner software has been opened, you’ll be able to see sliders beside “Power Limit” and “Temperature Limit” options in the middle of the utility. Please note that these sliders are locked on some systems and unlocked on some systems. It completely depends on the GPU you’re having. Considering mine is a laptop GPU, it’s pretty much locked unfortunately, so I’ll not be able to move it. However, if you’re able to slide it, move the Power limit slider to the extreme right and move the Temperature limit slider based on your preference. Do note that this slider will determine the maximum temperature of your GPU.
- Now, it’s the important part which you’ve all been waiting for. Yes, we’re squeezing out every bit of performance from your GPU in this step. Can you see the sliders for “Core Clock” and “Memory Clock” right below the Temperature Limit option? Yes, we’re going to play with the sliders here. If this is your first time overclocking, make sure to increase the sliders for your Core Clock in steps of 50 MHz and Memory Clock in steps of 100 MHz.
- Once done, go ahead and play some graphically intensive games on it, while monitoring your GPU temperature on MSI Afterburner at the same time. As long as the temperature is below 85 degree Celsius, you should be fine. Also make sure that the games don’t crash or you don’t notice artifacts on your screen to ensure that your overclock is stable.
- Well, if you feel like the temperatures are too hot for you, the fan speed can be cranked up, as per your preference. Similar to Power and Temperature limit sliders, this slider might be locked depending on your hardware. If you’re using a laptop like me, it would most likely be locked. Once you’ve completed configuring, you can save your configuration profile by clicking on the box indicated by a tick. You can also enable this configuration once your Windows boots up by simply clicking on the Windows icon right below Startup, at the bottom-left of the Afterburner utility.
Well, that’s pretty much how you squeeze every last bit of performance out of your computer’s GPU to enhance the smoothness of your gameplay.
Enable High Performance Power Plan On Windows
Even if overclocking does improve your GPU’s performance, there are couple more steps that you need to check, in order to ensure that the GPU is performing at the full potential and not affected by the Power plan of your operating system. By default, all of the computers running Windows utilize the Balanced Power plan. So, you will have to change it to “High Performance” power plan.
In order to do so on Windows 10, simply head to Control Panel->Hardware and Sound-?Power Options and click on High performance. Well, that barely took a few seconds, didn’t it?
Prefer Maximum Performance In NVIDIA Control Panel
Users having an NVIDIA graphics card on your system will have to go through an additional setting to make sure that their cards are not being throttled due to NVIDIA Control Panel’s Power management mode. By default, it’s set to Optimal Power. You can simply change it by opening NVIDIA Control Panel and then, going to “Manage 3D Settings” and in the “Power management mode” option, select “Prefer maximum performance”. By changing this, your GPU usage will mostly be above 90% while you’re playing some graphically intense games on your PC, thereby unleashing the full potential of your GPU.
Overclock GPU to Boost Gaming Performance
As you might have noticed from the steps above, the process was far from hard and complicated. Even a person with barely any technical knowledge can overclock the GPU if the steps that we’ve mentioned are followed correctly. The performance improvement in games are quite noticeable if you monitor it. So, are you ready to try MSI Afterburner out for yourself and experience better gaming performance out of your system? Do let us know in the comments section below as we’d like to know your thoughts on this whole process.