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How To Overclock Your Graphics Card

I notice the common question of "How do I overclock my graphics card?", shows up lots. In this thread I will tell you not only how to overclock you card, but what drivers to use, and the tools to get your overclock.

Overclocking your graphics card is not nearly as hard as it sounds. First, you need to determine what type of card you have. (Usualy either ATI or NVidia.)
This will show us what program we need to use to overclock our card.

Overclocking Programs:

Any-Chipset Tools:
Powerstrip

Also, there are ATI only tools like:
RadLinker
ATI Tool (Usefull for artifact-checking)
RadClocker (A slimmed-down version of RadLinker)

And some NVidia Only tools:
CoolBits NVTweak
NV Max

After you download and install that, we can get to the overclocking. Here is how I do it. Take the core speed up in 20 mhz blocks, and then scan for artifacts. (To scan for artifacts run any 3D game or application, and look for pixels that turn random colors.) Do that untill you get artifacts, then back down untill they go away.

Then do the same for the memory, only in 5mhz blocks because memory is much more sensitive.

Now, after you have a nice overclock, write down what your speeds are, so that we can come back to them later. The next step to getting the most out of your graphics card is new drivers. The drivers that come from the chip maker are good, but they are made more for extreme stability, not the best performance possible.
The two drivers that I reccomend are the
Omega Drivers, for both NVidia and ATI, or the DNA Drivers, also for both NVidia and ATI. Once you install these drivers, you will need to re-apply your overclock. That's why we wrote them down before. Congrats, you're done! You should get improved performance out of you graphics card!

If you want/need more driver options, here are some other note-worthy contenders:
FireCat (for Nvidia)
Extreme G (Nvidia Only)

(If you find more, let me know)

Troubleshooting

Problem: My graphics card locks up after I overclock it.
Solution: The problem you have is called thermal throtoling. What this basicly means is that the card is drawing more power than the motherboard is giving it, and so the card locks up. If you find the card is locking up, then increase the AGP voltage in your BIOS by just ONE TENGTH (i.e. form 16 to 1.7). More voltage is not always better! You can stop lockups this way, but too much will fry your card.

Problem: I am still clueless.
Solution: PM me. I'll help you out.

I hope this post helps you, and if it does, could ya' drop a rep my way? Thanks!

-Chipp
 

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well first the best drivers are not the omegas. the best ones up to date are the two gods of drivers for me. only for (NVIDIA) GEFORCE FX AND 6 SERIES ONLY. well these preform the best for me and most ppl that use them about an extra 100+ points in 3DMARK05 from the previous 71.20's. they are the 71.20b's. also since the geforce fx users missed out on the 71.20's tremendous leep in preformance they have made ones exactly for u guys !!!
here are the links
GEFORCE FX USERS
http://downloads.guru3d.com/download.php?det=947
SERIES 6 USERS
http://downloads.guru3d.com/download.php?det=948
NOTE: if you are a geforce fx user you should feel really fortunant to get the experience of the 71.xx series. the best drivers to date. DONT WAIT GET THEM NOW!!! yeah dont use the plain coolbits use coolbits 3d and with all the series six extreme 6 drivers you get the whole registry hack BUILT INTO IT!! so go with these drivers they are rlly nice make your card run cooler and boost speed and image quality
well my pick until a new driver comes out lol!!!
 

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You will have to add links to the different OCing tools because just what you use isn't always the best. Like ATI Tool and RIVATUNER and RADLINKER for ATI cards ect. Also the different drivers, cause some drivers work better on different cards/different systems. Good idea tho, it may become a sticky yet
 
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Discussion Starter #4
I'll fix those, thanks for the input.
 

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o GOD YOU GUYS STILL USE THE NORMAL COOLBITS WHEN THE COOLBITS3D AUTOMATICALY DOES THE THE REGISTRY HACK AND UNLOCKS WAY MORE STUFF
USE THIS LINK IF YOU DONT WANT TO MESS YOUR REGISTRY UP http://www.majorgeeks.com/download4375.html
 

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I have always used Coolbits 3D. But since I reformatted the drive and reinstalled everything, I changed my driver to 77.20 optimized for NV3x cards. The coolbit hack is integrated. I wish I remember the site where I found it.

My new numbers are 491/989
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Anyone have ideas of how to make this better?
 

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could always mention how with increased performance/voltage comes increased heat, coincidentally the increased need for a heat dissipating device. and give a few general examples of cooling methods. maybe a couple links to the best performing and most cost efficient coolers. both air, water, and fanless. *shrug* i realize this isn't the "how to cool your card" thread. just thought it could be added in there. oh... one more thing. might wanna mention how people can keep tabs on their temps.
, and where they might find some average temps for cards, or if you know them off the top of your head. ANYWHO, just a couple ideas.
 
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