Whether you are a novice or an advanced user of computers, you must’ve heard about the term “overclock”. Basically, Overclocking is the act of raising a PC component’s clock rate (Mhz or GHz), operating it at a higher speed than it was intended to run. This ordinarily applies to the processor or the graphics card of a computer. Overclocking is widely known and most of the PC enthusiasts have overclocked their computers once in their lives because its a fun way to get free performance gains out of your new/used PC parts.
However, while overclocking is pretty much common amongst every above-average PC user, the opposite of overclocking which is “underclocking” is often overlooked. Surprisingly, underclocking your CPU or GPU offers the same significance as overclocking. And mostly people are unaware of the term “Underclocking”, luckily for you, today we’re going to address the benefits of underclocking your GPU. But, there are some scenarios and protocols that are to be discussed before you jump in the underclocking hype-train. So without further ado, let us quickly explain these scenarios and protocols below.
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Should You Downclock Your GPU?
If you’re a person who’s looking to prolong the life of your GPU or lower the total power usage of your laptop/notebook then you should be interested in underclocking your GPU. On the other hand if your GPU is overheating(If your GPU fan is dead/broken), underclocking can help reduce high-temps as well. Lastly, in some cases if a GPU is dying, underclocking can help squeeze some more life out of it. If you’re a person who’s not interested in any of the stuff we’ve said above then steer away from underclocking.
1. Longer GPU Life
If you’re a person who’ve had a faulty GPU ever in your life, you might want to make sure everything is being done in order to prolong the life of your newly bought GPU(If you’ve bought one). Programs like MSI Afterburner help in controlling the core/memory clocks of your GPU. You can set various types of profiles for gaming and work purposes. You can even set aggressive fan curves to help lower temperatures even further. Generally, lowest clocks should be used for when you’re not utilizing the sheer power of your GPU, and higher/aggressive clocks should be used for gaming purposes. In MSI Afterburner you can switch the profiles within seconds.
2. Fixing a faulty GPU with underclocking
In some cases underclocking helps in fixing a faulty GPU because underclocking aids in reducing the overall capability of the GPU, underclocking the memory speed and core-clocks can help reduce artifacting (most common signs of a dying GPU) and glitches in most cases. So if you are dealing with a faulty GPU, try bottlenecking its power through underclocking. Give it some room to breathe.
3. Helps in reducing the temperature of an overheating GPU
As I’ve mentioned above, when you perform downclocking, the overall capability of your GPU gets limited. Downclocking also limits the total power (TDP) of your GPU essentially reducing the temperatures at the same time. So if you’ve got a laptop that has an overheating GPU, try downclocking it and it might help in normalizing the whole overheating fiasco.
Fun Fact: Not just CPU and GPUs are meant to be overclocked/downclocked. If you own an enthusiast grade NVME SSD, keep an eye on its temperatures, as these fast SSDs do get hot in most cases. On the contrary, if you’re in the market to purchase a new enthusiast grade SSD then checkout this buying guide of the Best Fast NVME Drives of this era!
4. Helps in increasing battery life of your portable computer
This benefit is mostly for portable PCs i.e laptops/notebooks. If you are looking to increase the battery life of your laptop then underclocking the CPU and GPU both will help significantly. But know that it comes with downsides as well, sometimes downclocking can severely hinder the performance of your PC, making it useless in most cases. Incremental downclocking can help fight this issue, in this way you’ll know what’s the right and perfect balance for your machine without causing abnormal performance behaviors.