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Overclocking Made Easy: Drivers

Roundup: The Best Overclocking Software
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Unlocking frequencies with Catalyst

Now it’s time to talk about your graphics card, a component that can generally be overclocked through software, even though you can also do it via the card’s BIOS. On this particular topic, we recommended that you take a look at the article we published on the subject earlier this year: (How To Overclock Your Graphics Card).

The Simplest Way: AMD Drivers

The simplest way to overclock a graphics card is to use the drivers. With AMD, that’s easy, as there’s an OverDrive panel that’s accessible directly in the vendor’s Catalyst driver. The downside is that there’s a limit to the frequencies that are accessible, since AMD obviously doesn’t want to open up frequencies that’d likely cause heat and stability issues, flooding tech support lines with frustrated gamers.

If you’re looking for the latest drivers for your AMD card, you’ll find those here.

Tip: The Auto-Tune function takes care of everything—it automatically checks to see that overclocking settings are stable, then uses the new frequencies automatically. It’s less effective than manual overclocking, but it’s simpler.

ForceWare + nTune

Nvidia: ForceWare + nTune

At Nvidia, overclocking isn’t built into the standard ForceWare drivers, but you can activate it with nTune. As with AMD’s drivers, this method limits the frequencies available. Note that to use nTune with a graphics card, you don’t necessarily need an nForce chipset.

Nvidia makes its latest drivers available on this page.

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  • -2 Hide
    mi1ez , 6 November 2008 15:36
    My favourite overclocking "software" is the BIOS...
  • 0 Hide
    waxdart , 6 November 2008 16:10
    I've always built my own systems; but I've never gone with a pimped out case.

    Fear of melting my newly made system stops me from overclocking?

    Every post on this site leads me to think that everyone is overclocking everything all day long.

    Is it that big of a deal?
    /On the outside looking in.
  • 0 Hide
    kyzarvs , 6 November 2008 16:52
    Not a big fan of O/C either myself - everything I've clocked the past (5700ultra w/Zalman flower cooler, 7900GT GPU, various CPUS) has suffered reduced life expectancy - even with extensive temperature monitoring. I'm sure there's something I probably did wrong, but I like my stuff to last more than warranty perdiod + 2 days :D 

    I just don't believe you get something for nothing. I realise that for some it's pushing the boundaries of what is possible and that is interesting to read about - but for the average punter, why spend say £60 on a CPU and £45 on a cooler so it can be clocked? I'd rather just spend the £105 on a faster CPU and stick to stock :D 

    But then I'm an IT manager so stability > everything else and I guess that position has leaked through to my home machines as well.
  • 0 Hide
    Flakes , 6 November 2008 21:33
    kind of true, but there are plenty of over-clocks that are safe, and wont deteriote your system life a perfect example of this was the X2 939 series of CPUs from AMD, each one could be over clocked a small amount of 200fsb to make it as fast as the next model up. there are also revisions of graphics cards that can be overclocked safely simply because they were underclocked in the first place.
  • 0 Hide
    karnak , 7 November 2008 23:16
    waxdartI've always built my own systems; but I've never gone with a pimped out case.Fear of melting my newly made system stops me from overclocking?Every post on this site leads me to think that everyone is overclocking everything all day long.Is it that big of a deal?/On the outside looking in.


    Head yourself on over to overclock.net, any time of day avg 1000+ people online on the forum.
  • 0 Hide
    wild9 , 8 November 2008 22:59
    Quote:
    I just don't believe you get something for nothing.


    S939 Athlon64 3200+ 'Venice' Core. Stock voltage and retail cooler. 1 year clocked from 2.0GHz to 2.6GHz with no stability or cooling issues. Gained extra fps in games, as well as lower transcoding times.
  • 0 Hide
    wild9 , 8 November 2008 23:09
    Quote:
    Is it that big of a deal?


    It is if you can't afford faster processors, and you actually put the extra speed to good use rather than use it as bragging rights. I have been clocking chips since the days of the Socket 7 Cyrix processors, mainly for gaming and video transcoding. One of the best experiences I had was being able to get the AMD K6-III+ CPU and clock it from 450 to 600MHz..yes I know it's not great today, but then the fastest Intel one you could get for Socket 7 was a 266MHz Pentium MMX. I do use the extra speed gained, and if the process of overclocking reduces the life of a component well then it's generally not going to reduce it to the point where it dies before the socket technology is made redundent. Only really stupid overlocks can permanently damage a CPU.
  • 0 Hide
    wild9 , 8 November 2008 23:13
    For AMD rigs I always use ClockGent to alter the base frequency, and CrystalCPUID to alter the Vcore and multiplier. Works a treat on older, cheaper boards like the one's with the Geforce 6100 IGP chipset that have no such option in the BIOS. You can be clocking the CPU up in a matter of seconds..a world away from the old days where you'd have to get under the hood and alter jumper settings, each time having to power the machine down.
  • 0 Hide
    campdude , 10 November 2008 07:44
    QUOTE:
    kind of true, but there are plenty of over-clocks that are safe, and wont deteriote your system life a perfect example of this was the X2 939 series of CPUs from AMD, each one could be over clocked a small amount of 200fsb to make it as fast as the next model up. there are also revisions of graphics cards that can be overclocked safely simply because they were underclocked in the first place.
    end quote

    are you saying a an overclock of 200mhz in the fbs... are u crazy?
    the x2 939 already is at 200mhz (400mhz DDR 1=200x2)

    what type of ram do you have? 800mhz DDR 1? what the heck?

    on top of that not all boards have asynchronous ram speed and fbs speed.
    i dont recommend frying your ram to find out if your board can support asynchronous speeds.

    i once had a sempron 3000 (socket A). it only supported DDR at 333mhz.
    but i knew my MoBo was asyncronous so it was safe running ram at 400mhz and it did not overclocking the cpu at all.

    YOU NEED TO BE 100% SURE YOU WONT FRY ANYTHING WITH YOUR OVERCLOCK.
    anywayz amd says there is a degraded preformance with non sync. fbs and ram speeds but oh well.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 10 November 2008 17:42
    I think you took that way to literally, he means a little over the normal 200mhz lol