What is Overclocking GPU? Benefits, Risks & More

What is Overclocking GPU?

Overclocking the graphics card is a process in which the clock speed of the GPU is increased gradually to make the cores run faster and deliver faster results.

In simple words, overclocking GPU is actually related to the clock frequency of the cores which is made to run at a speed higher than that set by the manufacturer.


  • Overclocking the GPU will allow squeezing out a bit more from the cores of the graphics card when lower frame rates are experienced while playing a game or consuming multimedia.
  • Overclocking the GPU does not simply involve increasing the clock speeds but also making adjustments in the cooling and ensuring that the silicon can handle such increments.
  • The requirements for overclocking a GPU are an overclocking tool and a stress testing utility to test stability, frame rates, clock speeds and temperature.
  • Following the right steps for overclocking GPU is very important to prevent damage which includes increasing the GPU clock, memory, power limit and temperature.
  • Though overclocking will enable the GPU to deliver the images much faster, it will also cause it to overheat. So make sure you also take care of the cooling aspect.

Understanding Overclocking GPU

What is Overclocking GPU

Overclocking a GPU refers to enhancing the performance of the graphics card much over and above the level permitted according to its default factory settings.

In general terms, overclocking a component typically signifies an increment in its clock speed.

This will surely allow you to squeeze out more performance from the component but if you want to overclock ideally, the clock speed is not the only thing that you need to make adjustments with.

However, overclocking the graphics card is not to be taken very lightly, whether you are new to PC gaming or a veteran.

When it comes to overclocking a GPU, it is usually done to speed up your games.

However, you must reckon that it is a force and it should be properly measured and adequate.

With an overclock, all GPU-based computing tasks get some significant benefits which even includes multimedia rendering.

This is done mostly by the graphics card since it can perform more operations in any given period of time and therefore you can see more Frames per Second.

Different Aspects of Overclocking

Overclocking a graphics card can be done by increasing the frequency of the clock so that the GPU can perform more operations per second but you should make sure that the silicon itself is capable enough to handle such an increase in frequencies.

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If it can, then at any rate, you can surely expect to have a boost in the performance.

When you overclock the graphics card, you can crank up the visual details.

Depending on the type of game you want to play, this can even help you to play the game at 4K resolution and 60 FPS and enjoy the vivid details of the gaming scenes.

The boost in performance of a graphics card due to overclocking is not only due to the increase in the clock speed alone, as said earlier.

It is also seen through VRAM or Video Random Access Memory overclocking.

This is surely an element of the overclocking process but it is not referenced specifically.

Ideally, when the VRAM is overclocked, it facilitates faster transfer of data between it and the graphics processor.

This eventually results in processing images of much higher quality.

Another significant aspect of the overclocking procedure is making adjustments in the cooling.

This may sound strange but, ideally, when you make the graphics card run at a higher speed than what the manufacturer intended, it will become hotter quite quickly.

This means that it will need more cooling. In most situations, this will involve making adjustments in the fan speed because that is how most GPUs are made.

Requirements for Overclocking

There are some specific requirements that you should make sure of if you want to set your computer and your games on fire (Well, do not take it literally though). These are:

  • An overclocking tool, which you will get easily online to download and
  • A GPU stress testing utility to test the settings and the baseline of the frame rate, clock speeds, stability and temperatures of the graphics card.

Also, you should keep the default performance of the graphics card as your benchmark before you start overclocking your GPU.

Overclocking Process

Due to the progress in technology, overclocking a GPU is quite easy. However, if you do not follow the right steps for overclocking, it may be dangerous for your system.

Here are the specific steps to follow:

  • Launch the overclocking tool
  • Overclock the GPU clock
  • Overclock the memory and
  • Increase the temperature and power limit.

Though it sounds simple, you should follow the instructions of the overclocking tool precisely.

Is Overclocking Safe?

Yes, comparatively overclocking is pretty safe these days, thanks to the design of the modern graphics card.

However, there still are some risks in it though these are less prevalent and discussed below.

Most graphics cards available today are usually overclockable.

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However, there may be a few incompatibility issues with some graphics cards especially if it is a laptop GPU or an Intel HD graphics processor.

Otherwise, overclocking GPUs will work flawlessly though you may hit thermal limits, especially in the laptops.

Ideally, if by any chance something goes wrong, your computer or laptop will show visual artifacts which is a sign that your system, and with it, the game, is about to crash.

Even if it does, there is a very slim chance that the hardware of your computer will be damaged.

However, your graphics card may be damaged if you try to remove the voltage regulations by using shunts mods or LN2 in order to feed in more power to the GPU.

This is quite risky and will not be sustainable even if it gives you a marginal benefit. Most importantly, all it will do is void the guarantee.

Also, make sure that before you overclock the graphics card your computer is optimized already on the software level.

This will ensure additional safety or else it will negate the improvements that you have made by overclocking.

Apart from that, you should also use a cleaner to make sure that there is no impact on your computer due to third-party processes.

Since overclocking is a hardware based process, it will pay off well if both hardware and software of your computer is fully optimized.

Therefore, you should be cautious while overclocking your GPU even though it is safe. This is especially required if you are using a laptop.

This is because a laptop is much smaller in size than a desktop computer and also comes with high power parts inside the tiny chassis.

This limits overclocking in the laptops.

There may be limited airflow within and therefore overclocking the GPU may result in an increase in heat.

This is because the graphics card will perform more operations per second thereby increasing the temperature.

If you are not cautious, your laptop will become hot quickly as it will reach the thermal limits faster during your gaming sessions.

The system will reboot and even turn off frequently.

Therefore, you may have to update the GPU drivers and overclock the CPU as well for the safety of your laptop and for extra boost in its performance.


The most significant benefit of overclocking the GPU is that you will have a much better and faster performance.

Though the increase in performance may not be as great as CPU overclocking, it will surely be worthwhile.

You will also save some money potentially because you will get more performance from even a cheaper variant.

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Therefore, you will not have to change your GPU with a more expensive model.

Apart from the increase in the FPS, overclocking will also have a positive impact on the images by improving its quality with much better looking graphics.


Just as every coin has two faces, so do overclocking graphics cards.

As for the downsides of overclocking a GPU, one of the most significant disadvantages of it is higher temperature.

This is however unavoidable since the graphics card has to work more to handle more operations per second.

This means that you will need to make additional investment in a more efficient cooling set up to keep your system and the graphics card functioning properly.

Overclocking your GPU may also reduce the lifespan potentially. This is especially risky when overclocking is unstable.

Due to constant fluctuations in the temperature, it may burn out when you push it to extreme limits.

Instability due to overclocking is another major concern. This may happen even if overclocking is stable.

It may cause a system or program crash.

Increase in voltage may also be considered as a risk separately because the GPU as well as the Video RAM both will need additional power to meet up the demands for a high clock speed.

Add to that the fans will also work more and draw more power in the process.

Therefore, to ensure that you have overclocked your graphics card properly and it is offering the benefits as desired, it goes without saying that you will need to be cautious not to allow things to go horribly wrong.

You must also test it in gradual steps both upward and downward when you feel that the system is unstable or may crash.


So, coming to the end of this article, now you surely know a lot more about overclocking GPUs than before.

As you can see, it is a very good way to increase the performance of your system and have a better gaming experience.

About Dominic Cooper

Dominic CooperDominic Cooper, a TTU graduate is a computer hardware expert. His only passion is to find out the nitty gritty of all computers since childhood. He has over 12 years of experience in writing, computer testing, and research. He is not very fond of social media. Follow Him at Linkedin