Is OC'ing worth it?

I have an ATI 5850 with the cooling means to overclock it quite a bit.

The highest load temp I've ever seen is 43C, so I've got a while to go.
I have VRM cooling, so I don't need to worry about that either.
I'm using the thermalright shaman + vrm r5, and it kicks ass.

Is it worth overclocking or am I just killing my card?

I haven't done any overclocking yet because I hear there's hardly a performance increase.

I mean I could probably get to 1400 core, 1500 memory or so.
19 answers Last reply
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  1. AMD cards don't have much overclocking headroom and don't scale very well when overclocked (compared to nvidia). It's worth it if you need the 5-10% performance boost.
  2. I always overclock my graphics. I enjoy overclocking and I enjoy playing games with higher settings. I think it's always worth it to overclock. That said...

    Do YOU think it's worth it to overclock? I can't answer that for you.
  3. Yeah im similar to the above poster, i just enjoy overclocking the stock specs up slightly and then seeing what i can benchmark on programs like unigine. :) Its a nice feeling to get a stock card, run things maxed out and bench only like 20 fps, then start OC'ing/Tweaking CPU and GPU and then benchmark like 30 fps :)
  4. I'll say this since no one else has, 43c is frickin chilly on any card, especially that one.
  5. Yeah, it's awesome.
    I had no idea what I would get with $100 of aftermarket cooling.
  6. So if I overclocked my gpu from 775/1000 to 1300/1400 (~50% oc), would I get a 50% increase in performance, or closer to 30?
  7. It would heavily depend on your memory overclock. As far as I can tell, memory overclocks seem to do more than core overclocks.

    Also, you won't get it to go from 775/1000 to 1300/1400--not stably. Most overclocks with the insanely overclockable GTX 460 (and 560Ti and some others) only go about 25%. The most I've gotten is 40% boosts (hand picked 9600GSO from a couple).

    Make sure you familiarize yourself with the artifacts caused by overclocking too high/overheating. RAM artifacts, I've heard, can permanently damage your card. So you'd want to kill whatever burn-in test you're using if you see those. "Snowing" core (not shader) artifacts aren't nearly as dangerous.

    Basically, your card is just fine on temps peaking into the 80C range (on Furmark, since it won't hit that gaming). You probably don't want to run it that hot all the time, but to be clear--43C is really chilly, as Cuecuemore said. It won't hurt to push it up past 60C. Do you have voltage control? Don't overvoltage--just go up to the high end within specs since cooling's not an issue.

    What OC'ing programs do you use? MSI Afterburner with Kombustor [Furmark] is great.
  8. A more realistic overclock from 775/1000 would be something like 900/1200, but it depends on the card itself. Some can go to and beyond 1GHz core, but it's not likely with stock cooling solutions. Even with aftermarket cooling, it would require voltage modding.

    The answer to your actual question here is that it's not always "worth it" to overclock a card. Sometimes the card isn't the component that's limiting performance within a game. That can also be caused by the CPU, available RAM, and display resolution.

    Honestly, it depends on the whole setup whether overclocking is worthwhile or not.
  9. Voltage modding? Could you explain what you mean by that?

    I've just been using (or looking at, I haven't done anything yet) MSI Afterburner, unlocked (voltage control, and unlocked core and memory).
  10. No. Using a different BIOS so you can use a higher than specified voltage will give you very littler performance increase and has a much greater risk of killing your PCB.
  11. Don't mess with voltages if you're new to it--that's the only place where you can really kill your card without putting a lot of effort into killing it.

    What is your current system? CPU & CPU speed? RAM?

    I've had graphics cards that can only do a 5% overclock (factory overclocked already). Those aren't nearly as worth overclocking manually.
  12. My current system is:
    i5 2500k @ 4.6
    6g RAM @1333 (not oc'd) EDIT: 2000
    650w PSU
    ati radeon 5850 @stock

    Can't think of anything else that's relevant.
  13. I was just curious if it was fast enough to handle a 5850--let alone an OC'd 5850. It's much better than necessary for that though.

    Your that 3x2GB? If so, it would probably run faster at 2x2GB. The extra 2GB of RAM would only be useful with graphics work, virtual machines, or some other selective workloads. If your RAM is 1333 CL7, it will do better in applications at 1600 CL9 with Sandy Bridge's architecture, if it can hit 1600 CL9.

    Anyways...your computer is better than mine. Nice.
  14. Yes, it's 3x2GB.
    Oh, wow, I am embarrassed.

    It's DDR3 2000.

    CPU-Z said 686 so I assumed it was 1333.

    I forgot I have ddr3 ram, so it's tripled, not doubled.

    God I'd hate to be wrong twice in a row.

  15. haha...don't worry about it. It's technically octupled, I think. (DDR = double, DDR2 = quadruple, DDR3 = octuple) or something like that. That's why 1:1 ratio on a 133MHz bus is 1066Mhz for DDR3 (8x133=1066)...but that's not how they show speeds. Remember that computers like factors of 2 much better than 3 for most stuff so you can assume stuff will go to 2x, 4x, 8x, 16x, etc. before 3x or 6x (except for X58 memory channels, but forget about that).

    CPU-z shows what the DDR2 speed would be, which is confusing...but you were right about the 1333MHz.

    If CPU-z shows 686, double that to get 1372MHz and that's what your RAM is currently running at. On another tab on CPU-z, it will show your memory info read off of the sticks--what the manufacturer specs are. You were most likely looking at the first tab that showed the speed the mobo's currently running it at.

    Anyways, if you bought DDR3 2000MHz RAM, run it at a fast speed because of these benchmarks:
  16. Could you suggest a guide for RAM overclocking?
  17. You raise BCLK and that's mostly it for overclocking RAM... For example, I got an i7-950 and with a BCLK of 181 and got 1814MHz... So I lowered the BCLK to 167 and got 2009MHz so i choose the 2009MHz with the timing from 9-9-9-24 to 9-10-9-24 for stable... YOu should get the point of RAM overclocking, I Overclocked 200MHz from 1800MHz to 2009MHz...
  18. high end processors dont REALLY need OC'd for most any games. If you want to see higher scores on benchmarks though, yes.

    OCing GPU I find well worth it as long as yu dont touch voltages or touch them very little since the more you raise voltages the less life the card will have.

    Memory, once again you OC it and it will be faster, but not noticeably faster. You will most likely notice nothing but your scores will be higher.
  19. @LegendKiller--If you scroll up you'll see he's using an i5-2500K. The Sandy Bridge chipsets do VERY poorly with increased base clock/front side bus (bclk/fsb), that's why the overclocking CPUs have unlocked multipliers.

    @qwerty--don't worry too much about a specific overclock target for your RAM (like 2000MHz over 1800MHz) since the timings will be about the same. Just get something kinda fast without too slow of timings.

    But the gist of it is this:
    With Sandy Bridge you just change your RAM multiplier to OC it. So it's probably got various settings that will target 1066, 1333, 1600, and 1866 RAM speeds, maybe faster. Set the RAM timings to Auto (if there's an MCH strap, set it to Auto as well for now). So pick 1866 or 2000 or so and run Memtest86+ from a flashstick on boot-up to see if it's stable. Tighten some timings (Auto timings to faster speeds like 1333 or 1600 might be fine) and run Memtest86+ to test if it's stable. Make sure your RAM's at the voltage setting on the stick (probably 1.65V) and other voltages are adjusted as necessary.

    With Nehalem, the CPU VTT needs to be at minimum 0.5V less than the RAM Voltage (so 1.15V). I don't know if anything like this occurs with Sandy Bridge (SB) because I don't have it.
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