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Graphics Card Decision w/ Overclocking in Mind...

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 23, 2007 3:27:32 AM

Hey everyone!

Long time reader, first time poster. Glad to actually start having a voice on the forums.

I have a couple questions about overclocking GPUs.

They aren't very hard, in my opinion, and shouldn't be too much of a bother to anyone.

I am getting an 8800gts. I have been reading the 640 will last longer because of the higher memory capacity. My only question now is, should I get the pre-overclocked ones, or get a base model and overclock it myself? What are the differences? Are there any added features to the pre-OC'd cards from say EVGA or PNY, etc.?

Once that question is answered, here is my second one:

If I buy a base model, how hard is it to overclock the 8800GTS640 and where do I get started on educating myself on the process?

I've searched on the TH forums and I can't find the exact answers I am looking for, so as much help/opinion would be marvelous!!

Thanks everyone!!
July 23, 2007 4:35:35 AM

Doesnt really matter. but just get the stock version and have fun oc,ing it yourself.
I would go for the 640 version myself.
July 23, 2007 4:46:08 AM

There is no advantage to the overclocked ones if you don't mind doing them yourself. Save the 50 bucks and buy a stock one.

There are four overclocking utilities that I know of for GPUs: Rivatuner, Coolbits, nTune and ATitool. I personally have used Coolbits (easy to use but no artifact testing) and ATitool (slightly more complicated IMO but it tests for artifacts). I have heard that Rivatuner is an excellent OC'ing utility.

It is easy to overclock. MOst utilities will have an option that will detect the optimal settings for the card and tests the card at each step to make sure it's working properly. Select that option and let the utility do its thing (easiest method IMO) or you can do the slider method which is just bumping up the speed by small increments and making sure the card works after each one.
Related resources
July 23, 2007 5:07:27 AM

Thanks for the great input!! I will start looking into those proggies!
July 23, 2007 5:11:40 AM

Who told you that the 640mb cards lasted longer? I highly doubt that is true. If in the short time these cards have been out somebody has fried one, let me tell you it wasn't because of the amount of memory, or it had to of been a faulty card.

640mb or 320mb, that hardware should easily last you 5 years unless you absolutely torture it with heavy overclocking and overheat it constantly. Basically, don't even take lifespan into consideration when buying, its not an issue.

Here is some good info, that I just learned when I was making the same decision you are a few weeks back. I almost went and bought the evga vanilla 640mb 8800gts.
But then I started seeing benchmarks.
Turned out that if you play games at like 1680x1050 resolution (or roughly that equivalent) or less then you really won't be needing more than 320mb of RAM as even the most demanding games right now will rarely, if at all in some cases, make full use of even the 320mb you have.

So, since I was considering shelling out a little more $$ for the 640mb, after learning about this I figured the most logical thing to do would be to get the best, fastest, and coolest (literally) 320mb card there is, which is still cheaper than even the vanilla 640mb. Not just cheaper, but will outperform it any day.

Yeah, I got the evga 320mb 8800gts KO card, its doing everything I just mentioned. It is true, if you pay attention and read benchmarks and take into account all your hardware, sometimes you can pay less and actually get more.

And while yes, depending on your cooling, you might get a good OC on the vanilla cards. However, this KO card, despite its already high factory OC, still OC's even further just as well as a vanilla card! I don't have the link, but you should see some of the OC's some people got with the KO card.
I got a good OC just with OK cooling, but some of these guys just with good air cooling got the memory well past 2000mhz and the core clock to 700mhz. Now those aren't your momma's clock speeds!

Its kind of funny, when you can get a good OC on the KO card, all of a sudden not having a 640mb card is the last thing you worry about!

Anyhow, obviously I'm excited about the KO card I got. And you got a tutorial on how to choose a card and maybe learned some new things. Just remember, if you play at above 1680x1050 or 1600x1200, then that might be where you want to consider 640mb since it sounds like you can spare the cash. But if you play at what I stated or below those resolutions, get better performance for even less $$.

And of course, the best vendor is EVGA. I doubt many people will argue that. Their support, warranties, and step up program make them great to deal with, plus their products are simply the best in quality and performance. My last 2 cards were evga, don't regret a thing. You pay a few $$ more, but its worth it.
Out of curiosity now, what resolution do you play at?

I know I'm babbling a bit here, but I've seen too many times people that, for example, might play at 1280x960 resolution or something like that buying the 640mb cards without researching, they just assume that the more expensive card is best for them. So its good that you are doing some research.
July 23, 2007 5:45:39 AM

ddwaldon said:
Doesnt really matter. but just get the stock version and have fun oc,ing it yourself.
I would go for the 640 version myself.


Why would you suggest the 640 when you don't even know what resolution he playes games at? Obviously that is a huge factor in what card is best.
And of course there is no guarantee (especially not knowing his cooling situation) that he can OC to KO speeds, or even the superclocked speeds, plus if he is interested in fastest clock speeds, he can do better yet by getting a factory OC'ed card and OC'ing that further, as I and many can attest that they do seem to OC just as well as vanilla cards, if not better due to the better cooling. So I think that if you really don't need 640mb (which many people don't ATM), then save some money and get the most blazing fast card around with a bonus ACS cooler that drops you a good 5c (and keeps my NB cooler than ever), then why not do that?

With these cards, for many people, even with decent cooling, they run hot just at factory speeds to the point where it isn't quite as "fun" to OC anymore without better cooling, especially once you see your load temps on a good OC. Yeah, there are exceptions, but we can't assume that this guy with his first post will have proper enough cooling to get decent OC's with a vanilla card. Or he could simply get a vanilla card that doesn't OC well, which does happen.
Given that he doesn't even know how to OC a graphics card, I don't think the best advice to give an OC noob is to "just buy the 640mb and OC it", especially when we don't know his playing res. We want to possibly save the guy some $$ and get him better performance at the same time if he is set up for something like the KO card.

July 23, 2007 5:58:24 AM

1440 x 900 / 75 Hz is my resolution that my monitor is at, and what I TRY to play most games at.

In reference to the 640Mb lasting longer, I meant that not as durability, but longevity as a contender in the GPU market. The only reason I thought that was because of two things:
1. I have read that once the 340 fills up its 340mbs of memory, it hits a "brick wall"
2. Games coming out in the next 18 months will have larger texture sizes (mbs not dimensions) and will need more room to work with.
July 23, 2007 6:05:56 AM

Here is a little about my rig I am building and myself.

I am currently a programming student. My P4 3.0 Ghz with X1300 512 AGP GPU isn't cutting it. I program specifically games and simulations and compiling code is taking forever even with 2gigs of ram.

So what did I do? I started researching about 3 weeks ago on buying a new computer and building it myself. (just like I did the last)

July 23, 2007 6:08:13 AM

Here is what I have so far:

Enermax Chakra Case with 1-250mm fan, 2-120mm fans
http://youtube.com/watch?v=y9l951DDWVc (Review)
OCZ 700W Powersupply with Quiet feature and 120mm fan
Gigabyte P35C Motherboard
2 1gb PC8500 OCZ Sticks of Memory

and I am going to get the E6750 (1333MHz FSB) as soon as Newegg or ClubIT brings it out for the $183 price point that everyone has been buzzing over.

So I have everything I need but the Video Card. I am a huge noob when it comes to GPU OC'ing, but I know how to do my homework before getting fidgety hands.
July 23, 2007 6:25:37 AM

I also plan on using this card to run Crysis, UT3, BioShock, and anything else in the next-gen of gaming for PC's. So preparing for the future is what I am trying to do the most...

Yes I understand that having patience and waiting for the next gpu's to come out would be ideal, but right now I don't have a choice. My productivity is suffering because I need this new rig now.
July 23, 2007 3:56:35 PM

Yes waiting would be the best choice because right now the 8 series and the 2900s have trouble pushing acceptable framerates in DX10 demos. What you could do is buy all of your core components and buy a cheap but good graphics card. You could buy an X1950pro or XT now(which will push that res) and save for the next gen cards.

The only problem with future proofing is that current cards are struggling. The GTX and Ultra are about the only cards that can do o.k. in DX10 games. The GTS 320 would be fine for your res and even if you get the stock version, these cards overclock like crazy. Now you don't even need to get the KO edition to get a new cooler. I believe that eVGA remade the cooler on the stock and oc versions.(correct me if I'm wrong).
July 23, 2007 8:04:53 PM

I don't suggest waiting. From what I heard, all they are doing at the end of the year (and it may even be into next year) is releasing the 8900 card which might cost you $1000. They are NOT releasing any kind of 9 series card and so I don't forsee any major price drops out of the ordinary. Even if there was a big price drop, you still need to wait 6 months or so, which is too long, IMHO!

Can't say I'll be in line for that one!
Hey, antigravity, you'll be fine with the 8800gts 320mb at your resolution, in fact it is the perfect card for you, you don't need more than 320mb. You won't hit a memory wall. And if you can throw $40 more at it, then I think you should definitely go with the KO.
Those high factory clocks will help you out big time and you can still OC it further if you like.

Which means you just can't buy another card that will match those clocks, no matter what, since you can push the KO as well as any other (possibly better since it runs cooler).
Which of course means that even a good OC on the vanilla card won't be nearly as fast as a good OC on the KO card, nor will the vanilla run as cool. Know what I mean?

Am I the only one thinking I make sense? My logic here is that since you obviously have the $$ to get a 640mb card and were considering it, then I know you can easily afford the 320mb KO card.

Then, for less $$ than the vanilla 640mb, the KO 320mb is simply hands down the best peforming GTS card you can buy. That is absolutely true and don't let anybody tell you otherwise.

I bought the KO a few weeks ago and was all over the evga site, I read nothing about improvements to the stock cooler. But if they did make improvements, then they would make the same improvement to the KO card as well.

Why? Because the KO card has the same cooler on the front side as all the stock coolers. The difference with the ACS is that it has a heatsink on the backside, that is basically it. Nothing fancy, but it does keep the card cooler and it will likely keep your NB cooler as well, not to mention your case, cpu, and other components will also be cooler, if only a little.

EVGA's selling point with the KO card is that it does run cooler than the stock cards, they take a lot of pride in that, maybe more so than the card also being the highest clocked GTS out there since ACS is their own patent.
Does anybody really think that they would make the stock coolers somehow run as cool as the KO cards and thus taking away the benefit of the ACS cooling system which of course is their pride and joy patent and thus lose the credibility of their most expensive line of cards? Heck NO!

So if they did make improvements to the cooler, they did the same thing to the KO card as all cards have the same front cooler. And the KO card still has the back heatsink while the others don't. So let's shut the lid on that conspiracy.
EVGA is far from stupid. Not saying they aren't or wouldn't make a fix to the cooler, but if they did they would do it to all the cards since they all have the same front cooler design.

I already said what I think, obviously a bit too much! I just happen to be one of the people who got this card and couldn't be happier. See the raving reviews for yourself of others who will say that this thing is the fastest, coolest running card out there for people not running at extreme resolutions and yet is still very OC'able. It is amazing bang for your buck.

Anyhow, you have no reason to wait 6 months for the 8900 card unless you have probably $1000 ready to spend.
I think some people are too paranoid that whatever they have isn't good enough.

The truth is that the "Ultra High Requirements" have been released for Crysis. And guess what? Any 8800GTS meets that Ultra High Requirement!
And given that I have the fastest GTS card out there, I'm not much concerned at all about games coming out in the next couple years. I'll be just fine here.

So all GTS owners and waiting owners, you can relax. Focus on meeting the other ultra requirements if you can afford to, which are also important if you don't have them.
Spend the money you can save by buying a card that suits you and your resolution on 2 gigs of memory if you don't have it.

Then the Ultra requirement for cpu is just an e6600! Perfect for me, I have an e6600 OC'ed to 3.2ghz. And I say "just" because you can buy a lesser C2D and of course OC it and that will turn your lesser C2D into at least as powerful as a stock e6600.

Even XP with DX9 falls under the Ultra requirements. And that is it! Most of us have dual core or a PD, many of us have 2 gigs of RAM, if not you can buy it cheap these days. So as long as you can afford just a vanilla 320mb GTS, you are in good shape there.

Obviously many people can't afford that. But remember that even the 7800GT falls under the Recommended requirements, so don't sweat it too much. Even with that you should be able to crank a few settings up.
I didn't spend a fortune, I didn't know the Ultra Crysis requirements until today, I just bought the right stuff at good prices kind of guessing a few weeks ago about what I would need for games like Crysis, and now without being in debt I still meet Ultra requirements!

Sorry for writing so much. I feel like I had to. There is so much $$ on the line when trying to buy the right stuff to play games like Crysis, and I think more people need to know about all this stuff.
July 23, 2007 8:21:41 PM

I just bought the vanilla 340GTS. I was under the impression that nothing was different with KO other than the 75Mhz to the core clock.

Was there something else that I missed other than cooling? IF there is something huge, I will call Newegg and have them charge me for the upgrade. But I need to know quick...
July 23, 2007 8:36:52 PM

No there isn't.
July 23, 2007 8:41:09 PM

The KO has a slightly better cooler. IF you get the plain one and you OC it and the temps are higher than you like, you can just buy an after market cooler. It will end up costing about the same as the price difference between the two cards, so the choice is yours.

@robx46: I understand what you are saying and I'm glad that you are very happy with your card.There is just one thing to keep in mind with GPUs. Everyone is different and just because guy x got incredible clock speeds on his already OC'ed card doesn't mean that guy y will get the same result. You should also change your post to say that you have the fastest GTS 320mb not just GTS. The only reason I say that is because there is the KO version of the 640mb card that is the same thing. People may assume that an overclocked 320 will beat an overclocked 640. Anyway, congrats on the OCing of your card. May you frag many into oblivion.
July 23, 2007 8:43:04 PM

I can't wait to get this card and start learning how to OC it. If you look back at my posts in this thread, you'll see my case and how it cools. I dont think cooling will be much of a problem. ;-)
July 23, 2007 8:58:27 PM

640mb WILL last longer and do a lot better in future DX10 games, because they will use a LOT more memory than the DX9 games to run them.

Overclocking youreself is quite easy. Unfortunatly I dont think nvidia made their own overclocker like ATI's overdrive which is pretty nifty.
July 23, 2007 9:19:09 PM

"The truth is that the "Ultra High Requirements" have been released for Crysis." where robx? where?
!