a. GPU - Graphics Processing Unit
b. CPU - Central Processing Unit.
Should you overclock your Graphics card ? You can if you ant to and depending on what model you have and what your getting for FPS there may be a reason to do so.
If your playing a game and the FPS that your getting is around 30 fps then there is certainly a reason to overclock as you do want to get as close to 60 fps as possible to have the best gameplay and best display quality of the game.
less then 30 fps --------- very limited gameplay
30 fps to 40 fps ---------- average yet playable gameplay
40 fps to 60 fps ---------- good gameplay
60fps on up ------------ best possible gameplay
1. When you have less the 30 fps in a game then the game is very choppy and not very enjoyable , when you have 30 fps to 40 fps then yes the game is playable but when there is a lot of action and large servers you can have some choppiness and stuttering and these two situations are what will cause you to seek an overclock on your graphics card.
2. Starting at 40fps and up to 60 fps you get smoother gameplay and the ability to weather the intense action and larger servers and an overclock becomes an option that you can choose to do but is not necessarily a must have.
3. Over 60 fps an overclock is not needed and there is no noticeable difference that you can see with the naked eye and can only be noticed by a FPS application which on some games you can choose to enable that in the options menu.
Choosing to overclock your graphics card , what is needed and how to do it.
1. First thing you need is an overclocking program because unlike a CPU you cannot overclock the Graphics Card in the motherboards bios, some of the better programs are;
a. MSI Afterburner
b. Evga's Precision X
2. Next you want to find out what the base clock is of your card and what the base voltage is, you may want to download GPU-Z which is a program that reads your card and shows you what all the settings are.
You would also want to do a little research on the capabilities of the card are and what others have overclocked it to.
3.Now that you have your cards info you can start by increasing the core clock a bit and the amount of increase will be determined by what you've learned about your cards overclock limits, so you don't go right to the limit instead you have to work your way up and maintain a balance between clock increases and voltage increase. If using Afterburner then you can go to the web page of Afterburner to see how it's used and all the options available.
4. After raising the clock for the first time and lets say it's by a 100mhz you test the stability by running any one of the stress testing programs that are available. If using MSI Afterburner then you can also use MSI Kombuster as the testing app.
5. If the card passes then raise the clock again and test again and you would continue to do this same sequence until the card fails to pass the testing and at that point you would raise the voltage a bit and with a combination of testing and raising the voltage you get to the point where the card passes. Then you raise the clock again and follow the pattern of testing and clock increase and if necessary a voltage increase.
6. Fan speed and heat management will become important with the overclocking and the Afterburner program will also allow you to adjust and set the fan speed so that the heat does not become a problem.
After you have increased the card about half of what it's capable of you would need to launch one of your games to see what you are getting for FPS. This whole process is a balancing act as you have to gain clock speed and add voltage which will increase heat production and then to dissipate the heat increase the fan speed. Along with all this is the noise level from the fan speed increase as the fans will have to run faster to deal with the added heat and that means more noise so you have to decide what is worth dealing with.
MSI Afterburner will also allow you to save your settings as a profile so that you can choose when to use that profile and as a saved profile you won't have to go through the process again.
There are several other testing programs that can be used to test and do a final burn in.
1. 3D Mark Vantage
3. Unigine Benchmark
5. SiSoft Sandra Lite
It's best to read through this tutorial from start to finish to be prepared for your overclock and if you have overclocked your CPU then doing your video card will be similar and as with the CPU it is important to only raise voltage as necessary and even though someone else has a similar card and has overclocked to a high setting doesn't mean that you will get the same overclock , all GPUs are not made equal and there will be minor differences that will lead to a higher or lower overclock.