gpu overclocking guide for beginners; prt1

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In this post I’m going to walk you through my notebook gpu overclocking guide for beginners. You can follow along whether on your desktop or your laptop. It’s possible to re-write the VGA BIOS of your graphics card, such that regardless of what OS you’re running or what programs you use, the card itself will default to your specified settings. I’ll show you how to do just that, in this guide.

This can be helpful for if you’re looking to sell your GPU on EBAY because now you can tell prospective buyer’s that the GPU is already overclocked, so technophobic users can enjoy the benefits without having to overclock it themselves.

WARNING:
I assume absolutely no responsibility whatsoever, for any damage done to your computer, whether by following this guide or otherwise.

In this guide, we’ll need a couple of tools, and I’ll be making a couple of assumptions.

What I have;

Here are the specs that I have and what I’ve tested this guide on;
Laptop; Acer Aspire 8930G
GPU; Nvidia 9700m GT DDR3
Windows 7 Ultimate x64

I will assume;
You have a PC running Windows (XP to 7) – If you have 8, you can try and follow along and let me know if this works for you.
You have an Nvidia GPU

You’ll need;
nvflash
NiBitor
GPU-Z
Overclocking Software (You can use Nvidia Settings for this)
Benchmark Software (I use FurMark)

–> As a quick note, there are many different ways to do what I’m about to do. Rather than cover every possible way to do the exact same thing, I’ll cover a single, relatively simple method.

Overclocking your GPU Clock/Mem/Shader:
Fire up GPU-Z as an administrator

You’ll see here, your default GPU clocks listed, as well as the current clock settings.
Next to the listed driver version is a little green arrow –> Click it.
This lets you save the VGA BIOS. Save two copies, list one of them as a backup and the other as a modified bios (names need not be exact).

Now open NiBitor and open the editable BIOS.

There are a lot of options and settings in this software, and you need to be extremely careful with what you change. NiBitor shows you a little green circle if it thinks your BIOS is okay to flash; if that circle turns any other color, don’t flash the BIOS, instead, go back to GPU-Z and overwrite your editable BIOS with a fresh BIOS.

Before we can change our BIOS settings, we need to know what we can change them to.
In your overclocker, slowly increment your GPU clocks.
When raising the Core clock, you must increase the shader clock from that number by multiplying it with 2.5.

Example:
Core: 500

Memory: 700
Shader: 1250

So the shader is: (Core * 2.5) = Shader
Let’s increase the core by 50, and the memory by a factor of 10 every time.

So:
Core: 550
Memory: 710
Shader: 1375

Now apply the setting in your overclocker (but don’t make the setting permanent in case you lock up your computer).

After you apply the setting, fire-up furmark and choose some settings. Your settings should be set to reflect the types of graphics your games have, here are mine:

click for full size

Now hit burn and, well… watch your monitor burst into flames test your new GPU settings.

There are two temps you need to be aware of for your GPU. The idle temp, and the temp under-load.

When your GPU is idle, that is, when you are doing absolutely nothing on your computer and staring mindlessly at the monitor like a zombie on cornbread and your GPU is not running anything, the temperature should not be above 47 C.

(In the computer world, we use Celsius; yes, even us Americans. Fahrenheit is for the weak.)
When you are playing an intense videogame, and your GPU is serving the almighty commander-in-frag, that is when your GPU is ‘under-load’. I don’t recommend letting your under-load temps get above 70C and 80C should be the highest they ever get. Anything beyond that is just slowly damaging your card.

Different people will have different opinions on what your temp should be, both idle and, ‘under-load’, what I’ve given you are simply my own suggestions.

Getting back to furmark, as you let the burn process run, you’ll see your GPU temp displayed in a graph over the 3d image in furmark. Your current temp should be shown in yellow. Watch the graph slowly make an arc, and see when it levels out. Once it levels out let it sit for a moment to make sure the temperature really has leveled out and then hit ESC.
If your temps hit a dangerously high C before even leveling out, just hit ESC, go back to your overclocker and lower your clock/mem/shader speeds.

click for full size

If your GPU doesn’t get above say 69C, then, if you so choose, you can raise your clocks a little higher.

So:
Core: 600
Memory: 720
Shader: 1600

Again, apply the settings for the moment, but don’t make them permanent. Your overclocker may ask you after you set a speed if you’d like to load that speed at boot; say no.

Now go back and run furmark and see how high your C gets.

Now if, while running the benchmark, you see any artifacts or basically the image isn’t being rendered correctly, say some blocks or squares of different psychedelic colors start showing up, then you’ve OD’ed on OC set your Core/Shader too high, and you need to lower them.

If you set your memory too high your computer may just lock up and you’ll have to restart. Good thing you didn’t make that setting permanent, after restarting you should be fine.

Continue this process until you find a clock setting that works. Then write those clocks down so you can remember them for the BIOS setting step.

 

Well, I hope you’re enjoying my gpu overclocking guide for beginners. If I see some positive responses in the comments section, I’ll be getting prt 2 up soon.

Continued in prt2