If you’ve read one of my graphics card reviews, my disclaimer will be familiar. Our results should not be used as anything but an example; every GPU is slightly different. And try not to make drastic changes to the GPU or memory clocks. Small increments are key.
The first thing I do when I overclock a GPU is max out its power limit. In the case of the GTX 950, this setting can be boosted to 111%, which also increases the temperature limit from 80 to 95 degrees. Before modifying anything else, a baseline test was run using 3DMark Fire Strike. The same test was run with the power limit red-lined to ensure the extra power didn’t introduce any issues.
I like to start with 10MHz increments on the core and move down to 5MHz if I manage to surpass a 100MHz overclock. With this card, I was a little bit braver and started with 25MHz changes. My justification came from Nvidia’s reviewer’s guide: in internal testing, it found that most samples will hit 1400MHz without any voltage adjustments or extreme cooling. Nvidia actively encouraged reviewers to push their samples to see what they can do.
Nvidia's statement gave me the courage to try more aggressive increments. In the end, that sped up the process considerably because the peak overclock ended up being 145MHz over the stock clock rate. Once I hit +125MHz, the increments were lowered to 5MHz. Using this method, the GPU proved to be stable up to 1300MHz, which increased up to 1500MHz via GPU Boost.
After finding the maximum stable GPU overclock, I moved on to adjusting the memory. Tuning in 10MHz increments ended up being a wise choice. This particular sample wasn’t happy with data rates beyond its stock setting. I wasn't particularly surprised since Asus already uses an aggressive clock rate. The most I could get out of it and still maintain stability was +60MHz or 1710MHz, which is effectively 6840 MT/s. Considering higher-end GPUs are paired with 7010 MT/s memory, the best-binned memory chips are likely reserved for those cards.
In almost all tests, the adjusted GPU and memory clock rates yielded decent gains over the stock configuration. Occasionally, the results land Nvidia's GeForce GTX 950 in line with the higher-end GTX 960.