Much like your CPU and other components of your PC, you can also choose to overclock your GPU, speeding up its performance by adjusting the clock rate. This allows you to give your GPU a boost if it’s struggling to play some high-end games or manually increase frames per second — without the need to replace your card entirely. Overclocking software makes the process a lot easier with precise clock information, stylish interfaces, and the ability to make the exact adjustments you want. Here are our top picks!
Note: It’s common to wonder how overclocking will affect the health of your PC components. There is the possibility of increased wear and tear or a greater chance of overheating if you overclock — it’s not an enormous concern, but it can happen. If you’re worried, look for software that includes options to adjust fan speeds and settings, as well as monitoring software to keep an eye on internal temperatures. Once you’re done overclocking your GPU, it’s a good idea to benchmark it, too. We also have a guide to help with that!
One of the easiest options for overclocking is the software that the immensely popular manufacturers AMD and Nvidia offer themselves for any users that want to overclock their graphics cards. These apps are free, specifically designed for their GPU brands, and include a variety of helpful options for managing performance. Unless you really want to spend time tweaking exactly how your GPU runs, this is probably the best option to start with.
You can download AMD’s Radeon Performance Tuning app here. In addition to overclocking capabilities, it also allows you to adjust fan speeds. There are also a number of one-click presets that are an excellent option for those new to overclocking.
For Nvidia, you can download the GeForce Experience app. While it started as a game streaming app, Nvidia has added a wide variety of other features to experience over time, including overclocking tools (you may need to enable Experimental Features to download all the latest updates). Like Radeon Performance Tuning, it also offers a one-click tuning option that gamers may find useful.
When it comes to third-party tools, MSI Afterburner is the ideal choice for most overclockers. The software allows for in-depth customization of GPU settings that are presented in an easy-to-understand manner. Gamers can use it to adjust clock frequency, voltage, and fan speed while monitoring key GPU performance indicators to watch for any problems.
Those monitoring ongoing results will especially enjoy the on-screen display, which provides small on-screen bars showing real-time GPU performance so you can watch for problems depending on what you’re playing or doing in a game. And if you’re not really sure where to begin, there is a one-click overclocking tool that will analyze your GPU and pick overclocking settings to help optimize the card without crashing it.
Asus also brings a powerful overclocking app to the table. The UI for the GPU Tweak II is particularly friendly, dividing choices between an overclock mode, gaming mode, silent mode (for music and video performance without noisy fan), and a My Profile section for saving all your customizations.
The overclock mode is very easy to use, simply showing your VRAM, GPU clock speed, and GPU temperature while allowing you to make any changes you want. There’s an automatic Gaming Booster if you don’t want to think too much about optimization, and a Professional Mode if you prefer to be a lot more hands-on.
Evga’s Precision X1 is an impressively complete package and very effective at monitoring multiple aspects of GPU performance at once. The primary screen gives a valuable snapshot of clock rate, temperature, VRAM usage, target levels, and detailed fan performance, allowing you to make any changes you want and save your customization as a GPU profile to use later. The app also includes stress tests to see how your configuration performs and even the ability to control the RGB lighting that your GPU may be using. If you’ve invested a lot of time in your gaming station and graphics card, Precision X1 could be just what you’re looking for to take your GPU performance to the next level.
Rivaturner offers a host of monitoring and optimization options for those who like to tweak not only how their GPU operates but also how the optimization app itself works and what it does. It can record frame rates for in-game benchmarking, too, and supports real-time video capture for recording your results. You can also create your own skins, so you can find a variety of different looks for the software.
Designed specifically for Sapphire Nitro+ and Pulse graphics cards, TriXX is an all-in-one GPU solution that allows you to monitor clock speeds and set new targets. It includes the Toxic Boost mode for more automated optimization, as well as monitoring software to keep an eye on how components are running. The fan settings section lets you test current fan performance, while the Nitro Glow section is for controlling your RGB lighting on compatible hardware. While the UI isn’t quite as flashy as other options, there’s still a lot to appreciate here, and owners of Sapphire cards should certainly take a look.