How to overclock a GPU in 2024

How to overclock a GPU in 2024
Rory Greig Updated on by

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If you want to maximise your gaming performance, you’re going to want to know how to overclock your GPU. If done correctly, this has the potential to increase performance significantly. While overclocking is generally safe, you do need to take certain precautions to avoid causing potential damage to your GPU or the other internal components inside your gaming PC or laptop. If you play your cards right, and follow our step by step guide, you’ll be able to easily avoid these and reach a smoother gaming experience risk-free. Let’s get into it.

What is overclocking?

Clock speed tells you how many computing cycles a device such as GPU to CPU is completing per second. Overclocking means increasing this clock speed above the maximum enforced by the manufacturer. This is perfectly safe if done correctly and with precautions. The increase in the number of cycles completed per second increases the overall amount of calculations the card can complete, and thus ups performances. This opens up the possibility of increased frame rates, resolution or gaming on higher graphics settings.

Before you start

Before you follow the steps below, you’ll want to make sure your gaming PC is fully optimized. That means ensuring your GPU drivers are up to date and you’ve recently performed a disk clean-up. You also need to ensure your PSU is up to the task. To do this plug your system specs into a PSU calculator then add around 100W to the number it provides you, to account for the extra power draw that overclocking brings. If your supply is not powerful enough check out our list of the best PSUs for gaming.

You also need to download two programs to successfully overclock. One to keep track of your GPUs performance and another to perform the overclocking. We recommend using MSI Afterburner and MSI Kombustor.

Step by step

  1. In MSI Afterburner set the power and temperature limit sliders for your GPU to maximum.
  2. Increase the Core Clock(MHz) in increments of 20. After each increase, look in Kombustor to see how the changes are affecting performance. It is possible that you will see no change at all. If this is the case, unfortunately, it means your GPU is not able to be overclocked. If you are seeing improvements, keep increasing in these small increments until your system crashes. This might sound risky but shouldn’t cause any damage to your hardware.
  3. Reboot your system and subtract 30 or 40 MHz from the speed that caused the crash. This will ensure you have some wiggle room and that you avoid your games constantly crashing.
  4. Follow the same process for Memory Clock (MHz).

Top tips

In MSI Kombustor you can see a ton of live information about how your GPU is operating. We are interested in three of these: GPU temp, speed, and GPU load. Throughout the overclocking process keep an eye on these settings. If your GPU temp exceeds 85°, it will start to impact performance and possibly even damage your card with prolonged use. When this happens lower the clock speeds and / or increase the fan speed to bring the temperature back down. Another way to bring temperatures down is to ensure you know how to apply thermal paste. If you want other ways to improve your hardware performance, our friends over at WePC have a great guide on how to overclock your CPU.

Frequency asked questions

Overclocking can be a slightly daunting task but, in reality, it is a fairly simple affair. To make things as simple as possible, we’ve answered a few common questions right here.

Can I save my overclock settings?

Yes, in MSI Afterburner you can save your overclocking configuration to one of the slots on the right-hand side. After you have done this, you also press the Windows logo button to apply the settings at Window’s start-up, meaning that these settings will automatically be applied upon you’re computer powering up.

Should I always have overclocking enabled?

No, when you are not gaming it is a good idea to have overclocking turned off. You can do this easily on MSI Afterburner, simply have one slot saved with overclocking turned off and slot one with it enabled. Then you can just click between the two. Our advice would be to enable overclocking only when gaming, or doing other GPU-intensive tasks such as video rendering.