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Can overclocking break a graphics card?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I am having a discussion on a different forum regarding whether overclocking can break a graphics card.

I said that raising the memory and core speeds really high won't damage card, but instead will make it unstable. To physically damage a card, you would have to raise the voltage incredibly high.

Amirite?
post #2 of 18
I'm a newb, but don't raising memory and core speeds also increases the temperature and in the end damage the card no matter what the voltage is set at???
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post #3 of 18
Raising the temperatures and speeds increases the wear on the components quicker, which will lead to premature card failure, so, yes. Overclocking will damage your graphics card.
That's why it is not covered under any warranty.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Okay. Cool.

Does it raise temps considerably?
post #5 of 18
Are you kidding? Yes (sorry for bluntness) If you don't properly cool your cards they will overheat and shut down. I run 65C Max at stock on my 9800GTX and running overclocked around 135 MHz Core and 255 MHz Memory, i run around 40C higher. Granted i may have a defective card, but it will raise you card heat maybe 10 -15 C depending on how much overclocking you apply.
    
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post #6 of 18
Just overclocking alone will not damage the card. If you OC a card to the point of instability (where leakthrough or electromigration is happening) and continue to run it at that point, it will damage the card.

In general, as long as your OC is completely stable and your temps are well under control, OC'ing will only marginally reduce its life.
post #7 of 18
Heat is indeed the issue.
From my own knowledge (and I could be wrong) overclocking very high should not alone damage a GPU. However with overclocking comes heat and you will hit a brick wall on stock voltage. Memory is very sensitive to heat and is rather tricky to cool, so usually is the most susceptible to failure. The core is much like a CPU, an unstable overclock should not kill it, but you will only get so far with normal voltage, once the voltage goes up so does the risk of permanent damage.

Finally its important to consider the power circuitry - If we overclock a card we increase its power consumption drastically - if we had a theoretical card that had no overclocking limits, eventually the VRMs would crap out from being over-loaded (again these can be cooled, but there will be a failure point even with great cooling).
Edited by coffeejunky - 3/20/09 at 11:26am
post #8 of 18
I dare anyone to find a gfx card that wasn't already bad out of the box that failed after a simple gpu and memory overclock, without a volt-mod/increase.

No, I can confidently say you're not going to damage or break a properly-functioning gfx card by simply overclocking the gpu/memory/shaders.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iandh View Post
Just overclocking alone will not damage the card. If you OC a card to the point of instability (where leakthrough or electromigration is happening) and continue to run it at that point, it will damage the card.

In general, as long as your OC is completely stable and your temps are well under control, OC'ing will only marginally reduce its life.
Even at that, I'd say instabilities leading to artifacting will still not really damage the card since most of the time, the artifacting/improper functioning is not a result of temperatures being too high, but rather the card not getting enough voltage to run the clocks that it's set at. Though that's just my gut feeling. I will agree with your last part--of course any sort of oc'ing will in theory lessen the usable lifetime of the item.

OP--it's very synonymous with overclocking a CPU with stock volts. You're not going to break it.
    
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post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by [Teh Root] View Post
Are you kidding? Yes (sorry for bluntness) If you don't properly cool your cards they will overheat and shut down. I run 65C Max at stock on my 9800GTX and running overclocked around 135 MHz Core and 255 MHz Memory, i run around 40C higher. Granted i may have a defective card, but it will raise you card heat maybe 10 -15 C depending on how much overclocking you apply.
you mean it's OC'd 135 above the stock spec? or you have a horribly underclocked card that can barely play diabo2?
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post #10 of 18
Higher clocks do indeed cause more heat, but not to the extent voltage does. As far as I know, the only way to damage a card by OCing is high volts, high heat. Neither of these things is caused by clock speed.
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