New to overclocking cant find answer to issue with speed

I got a 7870 xt so I thought I would try some overclocking because this card is apparently good for it from what I have read. The default clock speed is 975 so I boosted it to 1200 which is the speed they used for an overclocking review I read. I used MSI afterburner to monitor my speed, temps, etc. and the speed keeps jumping from the default to what I have set over and over. Is this normal? Is it supposed to stay set to 1200? I am using amd overdrive to overclock. I tried googling for an answer and couldnt find anything.
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  1. oh and I have an i7 2600k at 4.4 ghz and 16 gigs of ram at 1830 so that shouldnt be a bottleneck I dont think
  2. Thank you very much for the detailed response. So why is AMD overdrive a terrible program? I use my BIOS to overclock my CPU and ram because my menu makes it really easy. I am no computer expert but I know enough to get by. The only games I tested with overclocking my GPU were Metro 2033 and Far Cry 3. I noticed maybe a few frames increase in Metro (OC to 1150 and 1600) but I noticed no difference in Far Cry. When I saw the speeds were jumping back and forth I thought maybe that was the issue but if that is normal then never mind. I heard that this card is great to overclock so I guess I am just disappointed so far with the results.
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