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Worth paying extra for an overclocked grpahics card?

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December 17, 2007 8:32:28 AM

I'm upgrading my graphics card soon, and I was wondering what changes manufacturers make to the 'overclocked' versions.
Is the only thing they change the bios clock speed (i mean, i could do that in 10 minutes :s)

More specifically, I was looking at either a MSI 8800gts OC 512mb (at 730mhz) or an eVGA one for cheaper at stock speeds (that I could then OC to 730mhz or more.)

Is anything changed except the bios clock speed?
December 17, 2007 9:30:01 AM

As far as I know its usually the GPU and memory speeds that are the only thing changed. The bundle that it comes with may be slightly changed too. You aren't jsut paying the premium for the speeds changes though as the warranty of the card would cover these overclocks also. Although EVGA allows you to do your own and it still covers it. As far as I know it's probably best to buy them at stock speeds and do it yourself. unless you are lazy like me :p 
December 17, 2007 9:31:24 AM

I overclocked my stock clocked 8800GTX to 651MHz core, 1525MHz Shader and Memory 2006MHz. If you pay for an OC card you most likely want be able to take it any higher.


By systemlord at 2007-12-11
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December 17, 2007 10:02:52 AM

will an OC card allow me to overclock higher? or is it just warranty issues?
December 17, 2007 10:57:21 AM

With an OC card you are guaranteed your overclock, whereas with a stock card you are not.

So it's all about paying more money for (perhaps) a little more performance and a little less hassle.
December 17, 2007 11:14:06 AM

You can overclocked your card yourself to the same speed as the overclocked one, without paying the price. But if you are looking for a 8800GT, since it is really hard to find, if you do find one not too much overpriced, buy it without concerns to the factory overclocked or not or you won't be able to have one.
December 17, 2007 2:41:49 PM

The only possible reason (In my eyes) for buying an overclocked card is if it has faster rated memory than the reference design.
December 17, 2007 3:32:18 PM

2 friends of mine wanted to get the 8800GT when they came out. i was lucky to get mine shipped the second day after release. My friends had to search for a while to find some and when they did it would have cost more for the stock 8800GT. In a case like that its easy to make the decision to get the "cheaper" factory overclocked card, but in their case it was fluke that the stock card was more expensive. Sometimes the market does crazy things when demand sky rockets.
December 17, 2007 3:48:19 PM

I've bought both stock and "factory OC'ed" cards. In no circumstance, have I ever had a stock card that can't OC to "Factory OC" levels or farther. Moreover, I've had some stock cards that have higher headroom than OC'd cards: my 7900 GT stock OC'd much farther than my XFX Xtreme OC 7900 GT for example; my (Dell?) 6800 GT stock OC'd farther than my BFG 6800 GT OC.

I'd say stick with stock. Unless, of course, you can find an OC'd version for less.
December 17, 2007 4:43:30 PM

Overclock you stock card it dies, your SOL for 200-300$. Buy a factor OC card and it dies you RMA it and get a new one. Are you willing to take the risk for 30-50$ in price difference? That's your decision. I bought stock myself, I built a system for my friend with the same card but factory OC. I overclocked mine we get about the same benchmark scores... so far I've saved myself 50$ but if mine dies then I look like the fool. So it comes down to what risk you want to take, as a hardware enthusiast in a forum of most people who custom build their own systems I would imagine you are a risk taker.
December 17, 2007 5:09:07 PM

You MIGHT get a better cooler...and there is the warranty issue. Other than that, it just saves you some work. Taking two to three hours to OC and run cooling and stability checks isn't worth $30 to me. It is worth $50...so what is your time worth?
a b U Graphics card
December 17, 2007 5:26:30 PM

systemlord,

what did you use to overclock the shader? Did you use coolbits for core and memory oc?
December 17, 2007 5:42:11 PM

Well I also noticed something that not one person in the forum listed,
with almost all newer graphics cards on the market today there are actually 3 adjustable clocks the core, the memory, and the shader clock. With the generalized overclocking software that is available ie( riva tuner and NTune through the NVIDIA control panel, it is possible to overclock your graphics cards memory and GPU core, but not the shader clock. However on the opposite side, to get correct overclocking results the shader must be overclocked as well. Now youll notice on every factory overclocked graphics card that the shader comes pre-over clocked along with the memory and GPU. So this is a plus. Not to mention you will have a full warranty available on that overclocked card. The down side is yes, you could buy a cheaper card
and yes typically you could over clock it to whatever your little overclocking heart desires, just remember everything has its limits and with power comes great responsibility,(quote from spider man). If you overclock you must also overcool, to stop the overheat. And in most cases will not have a warranty backing you up. So this is a classic case of risk vs. investment vs. reward. Is the overclock worth losing your hard earned money??

As A "SIDE NOTE": Most CPU's and GPU's have a standard rated life cycle of 10 years, and it is estimated that Overclocking any processor of any type reduces that life span pretty sharply. But at the same time how many of us are planning on keeping the same system for 10 years??

Example: My system utilizes (2) 8800GT OC's from BFG in SLI. They are rated at 625/900 in NVIDIA NTUNE, I however overclock them to 700/950 giving me a rating numbers wise actually much higher than an 8800GTX. In practice this however is not the case, because with that overclock comes greater heat development, and faster slow down. So you must weigh your options carefully and provide adequate cooling for your machine. ( My case is open and I have one 80mm fan blowing on each card and I use a 10 inch table fan to blow hot air completely out of the case.. Works great for those 6-8 hour gaming runs.
December 17, 2007 8:23:33 PM

japps2 said:
systemlord,

what did you use to overclock the shader? Did you use coolbits for core and memory oc?


I used RivaTuner, it has Core, Shader and Memory for your selection. You can choose to link or unlink Core and Shader. I used ATItool to OC the first time and it doesn't OC as good as RivaTuner plus it has no Shader selections for overclocking.
December 17, 2007 8:28:05 PM

deathblooms2k1 said:
Overclock you stock card it dies, your SOL for 200-300$. Buy a factor OC card and it dies you RMA it and get a new one. Are you willing to take the risk for 30-50$ in price difference?


You have to be a smart overclocker to get a stable OC, I slowly overclocked my card until I got to where my card froze then backed off 20MHz. During my OC not once did my idle/load temp go up at all, I credit that to my Silverstone TJ09 case aka wind tunnel. As long as you pay attention to the temperatures your fine.
December 17, 2007 8:41:40 PM

dragoncyber said:
Well I also noticed something that not one person in the forum listed,
with almost all newer graphics cards on the market today there are actually 3 adjustable clocks the core, the memory, and the shader clock. With the generalized overclocking software that is available ie( riva tuner and NTune through the NVIDIA control panel, it is possible to overclock your graphics cards memory and GPU core, but not the shader clock. However on the opposite side, to get correct overclocking results the shader must be overclocked as well.


You say, "there are actually 3 adjustable clocks", then you say, "but not the shader clock." So which is it?


By systemlord at 2007-12-17
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