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I'm nervous about damaging my card with overclocking. Can someone please clear a few things up for a newbie? [7950]

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September 19, 2013 8:46:42 AM

Hello. Last night I installed my HD Radeon 7950 and 600W Corsair PSU to my rig as I swapped out my old 400W and 7770. I noticed some of my games are still lagging when they shouldn't be, so I'm considering overclocking. Based on what I read on these forums (I tried to solve this all myself, but I am still very nervous), you should increase the GPU/Memory Clock Settings by 25 MHz at a time until my game starts ... crashing? Or is it stuttering? I'm not sure. Also, what should my Power Control settings be? I hear people say you should automatically crank it up to 20% instead of the default 0, but can that harm my system? Should I do that? What about fan control speed, should I switch that to manual?

I guess my main question is, should I increase my Power Control Settings to 20 right off the bat? Should I do incrementally with the GPU/Memory clock settings? Also, what temperature should I be looking at when not gaming and gaming?

Thank you SO much for any input! I apologize for the questions but I've been dreaming of this day and getting a nice video card for years, I would hate to ruin it due to ignorance. Thank you very much for your time.

P.S: If it matters, my default settings are 925 MHz High Performance GPU clock, and 1250 MHz Memory Clock.

EDIT: I forgot to mention, when searching around these forums I heard people using programs to overclock. I'm not sure what those are; I am using the Control Center provided with the card. Thank you.
September 19, 2013 9:01:06 AM

first of all, what CPU do you have?
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a b K Overclocking
September 19, 2013 9:10:50 AM

To begin with, what CPU do you have? On topic, you won't get the most out of your card using AMD overdrive, but you certainly won't damage it. Damage caused when overclocking is usually a result of setting the voltage too high, as overdrive doesn't have a voltage setting, the worst that will happen is your PC will crash and you'll need to lower the settings.

When overclocking the GPU and the memory, you only do one at a time. I usually start with a jump of 100mhz to save time, then once I've gauged if that's stable, increase by 25mhz at a time. Obviously if a 100mhz jump isn't stable then you'll need to reduce it slightly, however, I'd be very surprised if you can't increase the GPU and mem by at least 100mhz.

The power control setting by itself doesn't actually change anything initially, what it does is allow the graphics card to draw more power (according to the percentage) if it needs it. There's no problems with sticking it straight to 20%.

As for fan speeds, I'd set it reasonably high on manual while stress testing just to make sure the card stays cool. Once you've obtained a stable overclock you can try lowering the manual speed or even putting it back on automatic. If your setup doesn't run too hot, I would imagine you could leave it on automatic as it's voltage that increases temperature and as you're using AMD overdrive, you won't be increasing that. As for temperatures, the card is rated at 100 or 105c, however, I'd try and keep the maximum load temperatures under 80c.

To stress test, use a benchmark program like Heaven Valley (http://unigine.com/products/valley/), it's free and certainly puts GPU's through their paces. What you're looking for as far as stability goes, is any weird glitches (artifacts), like black squares or black tears across the screen or just large slabs of out of place blackness! Alternatively, if your PC freezes or crashes, that's an indication that your overclock isn't stable. As you're increasing the speeds, I'd just give it 15 minutes or so on the benchmark while keeping an eye on it for any problems, if it's ok then increase it some more and run the benchmark again.

When you want to finalise your overclock, if you can run it for an hour or so and the temperature stays under 80c and there are no artifacts or crashes, then you're good! However, as there's no fool proof way of knowing if an overclock is stable, you may find that a game just randomly crashes or displays the artifacts I mentioned, if that's the case then you need to start reducing speeds gradually until it goes away.

I reckon that's everything to get you started, but if you need more help just let me know.
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September 19, 2013 9:20:31 AM


chromic said:
first of all, what CPU do you have?


I am upgrading a pre-built PC, and the one it came with is a AMD Fx 6100 Six-Core processor at 3.3 Ghz.
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September 19, 2013 9:22:22 AM

benjii said:
To begin with, what CPU do you have? On topic, you won't get the most out of your card using AMD overdrive, but you certainly won't damage it. Damage caused when overclocking is usually a result of setting the voltage too high, as overdrive doesn't have a voltage setting, the worst that will happen is your PC will crash and you'll need to lower the settings.

When overclocking the GPU and the memory, you only do one at a time. I usually start with a jump of 100mhz to save time, then once I've gauged if that's stable, increase by 25mhz at a time. Obviously if a 100mhz jump isn't stable then you'll need to reduce it slightly, however, I'd be very surprised if you can't increase the GPU and mem by at least 100mhz.

The power control setting by itself doesn't actually change anything initially, what it does is allow the graphics card to draw more power (according to the percentage) if it needs it. There's no problems with sticking it straight to 20%.

As for fan speeds, I'd set it reasonably high on manual while stress testing just to make sure the card stays cool. Once you've obtained a stable overclock you can try lowering the manual speed or even putting it back on automatic. If your setup doesn't run too hot, I would imagine you could leave it on automatic as it's voltage that increases temperature and as you're using AMD overdrive, you won't be increasing that. As for temperatures, the card is rated at 100 or 105c, however, I'd try and keep the maximum load temperatures under 80c.

To stress test, use a benchmark program like Heaven Valley (http://unigine.com/products/valley/), it's free and certainly puts GPU's through their paces. What you're looking for as far as stability goes, is any weird glitches (artifacts), like black squares or black tears across the screen or just large slabs of out of place blackness! Alternatively, if your PC freezes or crashes, that's an indication that your overclock isn't stable. As you're increasing the speeds, I'd just give it 15 minutes or so on the benchmark while keeping an eye on it for any problems, if it's ok then increase it some more and run the benchmark again.

When you want to finalise your overclock, if you can run it for an hour or so and the temperature stays under 80c and there are no artifacts or crashes, then you're good! However, as there's no fool proof way of knowing if an overclock is stable, you may find that a game just randomly crashes or displays the artifacts I mentioned, if that's the case then you need to start reducing speeds gradually until it goes away.

I reckon that's everything to get you started, but if you need more help just let me know.


CPU is a AMD 6600 six core 3.3 Ghz. I guess ill try this out, thank you! :) 
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a b K Overclocking
September 19, 2013 9:23:38 AM

TheHistorian said:

chromic said:
first of all, what CPU do you have?


I am upgrading a pre-built PC, and the one it came with is a AMD Fx 6100 Six-Core processor at 3.3 Ghz.


That's not too bad, I doubt there will be much of an issue with bottlenecking. With regards to your fps issues, I have a 7970 and still have issues keeping 60fps on max settings with the latest games. So maybe you just need to try lowering the settings a little.

If it's been a help, don't forget to use the "pick as the solution" button! :) 
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