Is it possible for you to underclock your GPU?
An interesting question in a world where OC is king. If you’re looking for ways to safely underclock your GPU, then you are in the right place! Here, we talk about the benefits of underclocking a GPU and a detailed step-by-step process on how to do it right – More of this later.
Before we go to the actual process, let’s check whether or not you need an underclocked GPU
Most gamers overclock their rig (both CPU and GPU) to get a performance boost. Underclocking your GPU basically lowers the clock speeds of your GPU.
If you use your computer mostly to browse the internet or only do mild gaming, underclocking your GPU is fine. This should reflect lower electricity bills without sacrificing any drop in performance.
There are other reasons why people need to underclock their graphics card. If you live in the Western countries, the summer season is a great time to do underclocking.
Temperatures during this season could rise to as high as 5C-10C. Other factors that contribute to such increase in temperature include having a poorly airflow optimized. It could also be that you need to replace your thermal paste.
Now the real question sparks:
What’s the benefit?
It’s like a domino effect. Let’s talk about it in detail.
- Lower power consumption – lowering the clock speeds of your GPU leads to running the hardware at a slower pace – this means it consumes lesser power.
- Cooler GPU – Since your hardware is running at lower speeds, the hardware is not forced to produce more output. Fewer usage results in cooler temperatures.
- A more silent fan – With lower temperatures, you hear lesser noise from the fans. A GPU that is overclocked requires higher fan RPMs to keep up with the usage while cooling the hardware at the same time.
If you are certain you will benefit by underclocking your graphics card, then proceed to the steps below.
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Is Underclocking Same As Undervolting?
They are both different from each other.
Underclocking is the process of lowering the clock speeds of your GPU.
Undervolting, on the other hand, is the process of lowering the amount of power the GPU consumes based on the set frequency.
IMPORTANT: Unless you know what you are doing, under-volting a GPU is not advised as this leads to an unstable GPU and possibly damaging it.
Will Underclocking GPU Reduce Heat?
Underclocking your GPU is the best way to reduce buildups of heat and prevent throttling. The amount of heat your GPU emits is directly related to the amount of power it draws. When it’s running with clock speeds at full capacity, it’s using more power, and thus becomes quite hot.
By manually reducing the thermal output of your GPU with some nifty underclocking, you can ensure stability in hot climates when those sweltering summer months come around. It can also help you get by if you don’t have a suitable thermal solution in your case yet, not to mention the fact that your GPU will run way quieter than normal and save you some pennies on the energy bill too.
Is Undervolting Your GPU Safe?
Undervolting seems like a fairly safe practice on the surface, especially compared to increasing the voltage output, which we all know can have adverse effects on our hardware. In some ways; however, undervolting can be problematic.
The important thing to remember is that stability is key. Much like when we feed our GPU too much juice, cutting out too much power will create an unstable system, after all, an electrical component needs a certain amount of power to run consistently. Reduce the voltage output by too much, and you’re going to encounter some problems.
The good news is that unlike boosting the voltage, going too far in the other direction with severe undervolting won’t cause your GPU any damage; however, it’s best to try and get it right.
For a successful undervolt, you should decrease the voltage in very small increments whilst keeping track of your GPU’s temperature under load. Once you’ve reached your desired thermal rate, stop undervolting, and give your GPU a few tasks to test its performance.
Does Underclocking Reduce FPS?
Unfortunately, yes, underclocking either your GPU or CPU will reduce your frames per second during gameplay. That’s the price you pay for a cool, highly stable system. How many frames you drop depends on the game you’re playing and how drastically underclocked your hardware is.
Generally speaking, when underclocking your GPU, you can expect the lost frames to match the percentage drop in clock speeds give or take 5%. So, for example, if your GPU pushes 60fps at 1000MHz, dropping the clockspeed to 750Mhz (¼ or 25%) that means your frames may drop between 20-30%.
We’d recommend trying to hold a 50-60fps average for fluid gameplay, so our hypothetical 60fps GPU wouldn’t be the best unit to underclock. It’s also important to note, that as GPUs are complex bits of gear, underclocking can be quite unpredictable. You shouldn’t expect the same performance reductions across a range of titles and tasks.
Is it Safe to Underclock CPU?
We’re happy to report that just like with your GPU, underclocking your CPU is completely, 100% safe! Not only is it electrically impossible to damage your CPU by slightly reducing clock speeds, it’s a great way to keep temperatures down and increase system stability.
When you’re done gaming for the day, and you wish to use your computer in a more general fashion, say, for browsing the web or typing up a few documents, underclocking your CPU is a fantastic idea. These minimal tasks simply don’t require maximum clock speeds.
Does Underclocking GPU Void Warranty?
On the contrary, underclocking your GPU is seen as something that will extend the life of your GPU, so it does not void your warranty. In fact, undervolting is normally a standard option in your GPU’s software. If that’s not the company’s express consent to give it a go, we don’t know what is. Having said that, we can’t vouch for every GPU out there, so it’s always best to do your own research before engaging in any tinkering.
What Happens if I Undervolt too Much?
Although undervolting is safe, it’s not completely problem-free. Gradually undervolting your components won’t just cause a steady performative slow down until you hit zero volts. They have a minimum energy requirement. Once the voltage drops below this base threshold, the device isn’t fully supported. Consequences of starving your GPU or CPU of power may range from slightly laggy gameplay to sluggish loading times to full-blown crashes.
Not everyone needs an overclocked GPU. There are users who use only a little or enough memory from how much memory their graphics card can deliver.
If you are certain that you don’t need too much of your GPU’s capacity, follow the steps indicated above and adjust your settings respective to your needs.
Underclocking should give you the benefit of reduced energy bills and still get the same gaming experience without any reduction in performance.