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What to Do in Case of Problems

How To Overclock Your Graphics Card

During our tests, we didn’t run into any particular problems. But you can’t always be lucky, and it’s good to know how to react when you run afoul of Murphy’s Law.

Software overclocking: Security!

If you use software overclocking, there’s not much risk. If your overclocking causes crashes, all you need to do is remove life support from the brain-dead application via the Windows Task Manager and readjust to lower frequencies. Sometimes you might have to reboot. At the worst, if the overclocking utilities or the drivers refuse to return to a normal state, uninstalling and then reinstalling them should clear up the problem. That’s the great advantage of software overclocking – everything is easily reversible.

Hardware Overclocking: Cold Sweat Time

Conversely, hardware overclocking – modifying the BIOS – can generate problems that are a little more... exciting. First of all, the frequencies you had decided were stable after a few minutes of testing can prove to be problematic in time. In a case like this, you need to re-flash the BIOS with less ambitious settings.

But that presupposes your graphics card is operating normally. If, for one reason or another, you’ve asked it to run at frequencies that are really beyond its capabilities, then the card may not display anything at all, even during boot-up! In such a case, there are several ways to save the farm. First, have a second graphics card handy. Then all you do is plug it in, and it will handle the display chores while you do a re-flash on the main card. Happy owners of SLI or CrossFire motherboards can use a PCI Express graphics card; the rest of us will have to use a PCI card.

Another solution is to flash “blind.” When you boot to the diskette or USB key to be used for flashing, the sequence is always the same, and after a few seconds you can be sure that the computer is waiting for you to enter a command at the MS-DOS prompt. So all you need to do is enter the same command line as for the first flashing, but with the name of the original BIOS file. (That’s why we made a point of urging you to put that file on the key or diskette along with the modified BIOS file.)

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