This is a pretty basic question but i am quite new to computers, i have been looking into graphics cards with the thought of buying a new one for my desktop. I was wondering is there any point in spending the extra money on a card that has been pre overclocked, or can you do it yourself, and how difficult is this? also i see that the coolers seem to differ, are they that much better on the altered cards?
Since you are new to computers, i assume that you won't like fiddling with the overclocking settings yet. Buying the factory overclocked versions saved you the effort of overclocking your card and also provides better cooling solution. So IMO, factory overclocked cards are also worth it.
Still, you have to read reviews on the specific video card. There are a lot of articles/benchmarks that provides information on different factory overclocked cards.
I would suggest MSI/Asus/Gigabyte because these companies most of the time provides the best overclocks and cooling solutions.
Overclocking your video card is as easy as moving two sliders and clicking save settings. That's it.
Factory overclocked cards usually have better cooling. But I've had factory overclocked cards that were only minor overclocked and they wouldn't allow any further overclocking, where as the stock clocked card I have now allows me to overclock it to the Catalyst Control Center maximum in 2 seconds. I run my fan at 60% when gaming and it only reaches about 70c in the summer. When it's idle I run the fan at 40% and it runs around 35c.
I could likely overclock it much further using Afterburner or something but I have no desire to.
So I would go for a non factory overclocked card with good (non reference) cooling or a highly overclocked from the factory card with good cooling.