What You Need
When overclocking your video card, there are necessarily only a few things you will need. The first being, of course, a video card. Depending on what type of video card you have and who manufactured it, the success of your overclocking will vary. In our tests, we used a Creative TNT2 Ultra as a test model, which isn’t the highest clocked TNT2 card on the market, but it will give you a good idea of the performance increase to be expected when overclocking.
To overclock your card, you will need to download Powerstrip from Entech, which will allow you to adjust both the core and memory clock speeds independently. Also, check your video settings as some video card manufacturers of TNT2 cards provide tools to change memory and core speeds in their bundled drivers. However, for the majority of tags, you will need to use Powerstrip to overclock your video card.
Essentially Powerstrip is the only tool you need to overclock your video card. However, it is wise to have some cooling solution attached to your card to reduce heat production. As with all overclocking, the colder the chip, the faster it will perform. So, if you smack on some severe cooling to your video card, you can expect some serious results. Some cards come bundled with fans built onto the card. However, for those without fans, we suggest you attach one for increased stability when overclocking. Most cards come with a 486 CPU sized heatsink, except for the Voodoo 3 3000, built onto the core chip, which will require a 486 CPU sized fan for attachment. You can pick up a 486 sized fan from any local computer store, or purchase specific video cooling units from online vendors such as 3dfxcool.com. In our tests we had a 486 fan attacked to the heatsink of our TNT2 and a “Voodoo Cooler” from 3dfxcool which hangs above the video card, blowing air down onto it.
Now that you have Powerstrip, or your overclocking capable drivers up and running, you can proceed to overclock that baby of yours. In Powerstrip, you’re going to:
1. Right-click on the monitor icon in the system tray.
2. Select Advanced Options > Performance. Once here, you should see this screen:
From here you’re going to take your factory default settings and bump them up a little. We suggest using 5 MHz increments when overclocking your card, do not try the 175/220 setting we have shown in the screenshot above. The settings that Powerstrip loads with are the default settings, increase both the memory and core clock by 5 MHz and play some Quake or your favourite graphic intensive game for testing. If the game stalls within the first five minutes, you know that either the memory or core setting is set too high. If the game plays smoothly for more than 15-30 minutes, it’s safe to assume that your card works great at the new settings. You can now go back into Powerstrip and have some more fun by increasing the memory and core clock settings even more. Keep doing this until your card begins to stall within the first 15 minutes of gameplay, then go down to the previous “stable” setting.
It may take more than a few test runs to find your cards optimal clock settings, but in the end, it may be well worth your efforts. Let’s take a look at the results we achieved with our Creative TNT2 Ultra card.
Contents: Introduction What You Need Results Conclusion