How to Overclock a Video Card

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

A video card, just like a computer processor, can be overclocked in order to achieve faster speed and better performance in terms of gaming, video rendering, and other similar graphics intensive processes handled by a Personal Computer system. In this context, the faster the graphics processor and video memory, the quicker and better the processing of graphics data can be handled with smoother frame rates as well as comparatively higher benchmarks. Essentially, the interface bandwidth, video memory speed, and the GPU core speed are three parameters which affect the overall performance of the video graphics adapter card which when overclocked also carries the inherent danger of being burned due to the extreme heat it may generate during the overclocking process. Among the three determining parameters, only the core speed and the memory speed can be manipulated with virtually no available reconfiguration for the interface unless probably a newer motherboard interface slot with bigger bandwidth can be installed.

Materials Needed:
- Windows-based computer
- NVIDIA or ATI video card
- Web browser
- Internet connection
- Riva Tuner utility
- Regedit tool
Step 1
There are basically two types of graphics engines that power video graphics adapters in the computer industry today: ATI and NVIDIA. To overclock an ATI video card, move to Step 22.
Step 2
NVIDIA manufactured video graphics adapters can be overclocked in a variety of ways. The most basic will be tackled here. This is the use of the Coolbits registry tweak built into the card driver itself. To set up this tweak, click on the 'Start' button, and choose the 'Run' option.
Step 3
In the Open box, type in 'regedit' (omit the quotation marks) and click on the 'OK' button. This should open the Registry Editor window.
Step 4
Navigate to the 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\NVIDIA Corporation\Global\NVTweak location. If the Coolbits value is present, go to Step 6.
Step 5
Right click on an empty area of the registry window (right panel) and select the option 'New' and click on the DWORD value to create the Coolbits registry key.
Step 6
Double click on the Coolbits registry key and replace its current value with the number 3.
Step 7
Close the registry editor by clicking on the 'File' menu and selecting the 'Exit' option.
Step 8
Right click on any blank part of the desktop and select the 'Properties' option to bring up the Display Properties window.
Step 9
Click on the 'Settings' tab and select the 'Advanced' button.
Step 10
Click the tab with the NVIDIA logo to reach the video card control applet.
Step 11
Select the 'Clock Frequency' option from the menu and modify the 'Settings to Performance' (3D) in the dropdown box. This displays the default memory and core speed of the video card during the 3D mode.
Step 12
Use the sliders to increase the memory and core speeds (make sure to stay within 3MHz increments only) and click on the 'Test Settings' button to check if the new values are acceptable.
Step 13
Once the new settings have been affirmed, the video card will adopt the increased speeds. The 'Auto-Detect' button can be clicked to automatically implement overclocking within safe margins. Never click on this button if the sliders have already been altered. Click on the 'Default Settings' button first to restore the original values.
Step 14
Make sure to click on the 'Apply Settings' at 'Startup' button to load the overclocked values at boot up.