Should I Overclock My GPU? Is Overclocking Worth It?

Overclocking your GPU is a thing, but it also requires additional work that’s potentially risky. By now, you’ve probably asked yourself if it is even worth it.

Well, we’re here to help you understand the idea and clear up some misconceptions about it.

Before getting into the discussion of GPU overclocking, let’s see what are some of the advantages and disadvantages of overclocking.

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What Is GPU Overclocking?

Overclocking

In short, overclocking means adjusting your GPU to work at a higher clock, hence the name. When the GPU works at a higher clock, that means that it performs more operations in a given period of time, which in this case means that you’ll get more frames per second.

A part of this performance boost is seen via VRAM overclocking, which is most often considered part of the overclocking process and not specifically referenced, so we’ll stick to simply calling the entire process GPU overclocking.

What overclocking VRAM does is allow a faster data transfer between itself and the GPU which in turn leads to higher-quality images being processed.

Of course, another part of the overclocking process is adjusting the cooling. Making the GPU run at a higher speed than what the manufacturer assigned will make it run hotter, thus producing a higher need for cooling. More often than not, this will mean adjusting the fan speed as that’s how the majority of the graphics cards are made.

The Pros And Cons Of GPU Overclocking

How To Overclock GPU

On paper, overclocking your GPU seems like a win-win scenario, right?

Well, the truth is actually a bit further from that because there are some downsides to the process.

The Pros

A higher clock means better performance and this is by far the biggest reason why anyone would overclock their GPU. Although it may not seem like a lot, a 10% performance boost can make the game you’re playing enjoyable or at least playable, depending on its previous state.

If you’re struggling to stay consistently at 30 FPS, you’ll be thrilled to get it without getting new hardware. The same can be said for 60 FPS or whatever your desired FPS is.

The FPS boost isn’t the only great thing about increasing the GPU clock. It can also have an effect on the quality of images and offer you better-looking graphics.

Oftentimes, when adjusting the resolution and texture quality, you’ll have to patiently fiddle with the settings to get them just right. Even then, it’ll be hard to get the actual result you’re looking for.

Overclocking your GPU means that you’ll have access to a finer approach when looking to get the best-looking and most optimized performance.

Although the list of pros is quite short, we believe that that one detail is good enough to be fairly measured with every con that the overclocking process might have.

The Cons

Before getting into the few cons of overclocking a GPU, we need to state that, as technology moves forward, the entire process has gotten a lot simpler and risks have substantiated.

What we would point out as the biggest detractor of the overclocking process is the increased voltage. You need to do this because both the GPU itself and VRAM will require more power to keep up with the demand for a higher clock speed. Likewise, the fans will also have to pull their weight as the increase in performance leads to more heat being produced.

A huge byproduct of the increased voltage is the shortened lifespan of circuits. Although this used to be a much bigger problem in the past, it’s still a stumbling stone when thinking about overclocking. Both companies have improved immensely in making their circuits more durable, but it’s still a significant downside.

Another reason why overclocking is labeled as an unstable process is the increase in heat that it brings. This is a contributing factor in any possible damage to your PC. Truthfully, most modern GPUs have really good cooling solutions that can deal with an increase in temperature, but you’ll still have to be careful.

In some situations, more often in the past, you would need to acquire a third-party cooler in order to ensure completely safe performance.

The best way to combat the increase in heat is to simply increase the fans’ RPM. However, this will produce additional noise, which can be quite distracting, especially if you set the fans to automatically adjust their speed according to the temperature needs. This can mean that the fans will get a boost during a graphically intensive scene while slowing down when there’s no need to.

Is GPU Overclocking Worth It?

MSI Afterburner Screenshot Overclocking
You can use MSI Afterburner to overclock your GPU with ease

In the end, this is what it all comes down to. Weighing in the pros and cons, you might feel a little confused, but the matter is rather simple. The worth of overclocking your GPU is determined by how much you need the additional performance boost.

We briefly mentioned earlier that the overclocking process has gotten simpler. One of the great results of this is that, largely thanks to great tools such as MSI Afterburner, you’re able to save multiple overclocking profiles and simply switch between them depending on how graphically intensive the game you’re wanting to play is.

With the way graphics card companies have improved their manufacturing standards, it’s safe to say that overclocking has become a lot less riskier process than it was before. By now, it’s clear that we’re heading in the direction of almost fully risk-free overclocking.

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Aleksandar Cosic
Aleksandar Cosic

Alex is a Computer Science student and a former game designer. That has enabled him to develop skills in critical thinking and fair analysis. As a CS student, Aleksandar has very in-depth technical knowledge about computers, and he also likes to stay current with new technologies.