What's the difference between overclocking a gpu on msi afterburner ot buying an overclocked gpu. And why do so many companies makes the same card? Are there any performance differences between a nvidia gtx 680 or a EVGA 680
well when a card is being released it comes with stock or recommended frequencies .people believe the factory overclocked cards are cherry picked meaning little better quality and the manufacturer modifies the card's bios to have the raised core and memory speeds once you power the pc on....if you buy a stock card with stock clocks you can still overclock it with msi afterburner for example in windows...the difference is you pay more for the card to be overclocked from the factory so you dont have to overclock it but people will still push their factory oced cards even higher. people say factory overclocked cards will overclock higher but i call that bs. I can overclock my stock 7970 to what other people are being able to. one thing that might hold you back is more expensive cards might come with a ncie heatsink so the oced card will sit at lower temps helping you oc it higher
When you overclock by yourself, you will probably make the warranty on that card become invalid. So, if you GPU dies because you pushed it too far, you don't get a replacement. Also, when you buy a card that is factory overclocked, you are sure that it will run and be stable at those speeds.
Then again, if you get a factory overclocked card you are basically paying more money for the same piece of hardware only at different speeds which you can achieve by overclocking a non factory-OC card. I don't know about factory overclocked cards having better cooling.