Is there a downside to buying an overclocked videocard?

mrkma

Weaksauce
Joined
May 28, 2014
Messages
75
Looking at gtx 970's. I know there is a thread dedicated to gtx 970, but this is regarding video card overclocking in general.
I have never owned an overclocked video card before. Is there a downside to it? Hardware stability? software/game stability? I like the aftermarket coolers but don't really care too much about the overclocking that much (yah, I know). Is it possible to buy the OC card, and run it at reference card speeds without any negative affects from doing so? Wish they had 970's with stock speeds and aftermarket coolers.
 

Liger88

2[H]4U
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
2,657
First off. Yes, you can easily buy any video card and clock it back down to stock speeds. Takes 5 seconds to do. Secondly, the manufacturers put the cards through rigorous testing to find a common clock rate that will work across the board. The overclocks are nothing impressive most of the time. The extra price they charge for those "pre-OC'ed" cards is almost insulting, actually it is.

I've never ran into an issue myself. I think this only became a trend starting with the GTX 600 Series where they ran cool, silent, and sucked little power. The potential was there for the taking and they all ran with it. Usually the aftermarket coolers at stock settings start to come out down the road (at least with EVGA if not Day 1). I can say this in all cases, but I think the consensus will be the same. Cards that are pre-OC'ed even higher than other pre-OC'ed cards are usually the best of the best during the manufacturing/binning process.
 

Dayaks

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Feb 22, 2012
Messages
9,010
The cards with better coolers generally come pre-OC'd. Like mentioned above it's a mild OC.

Many like the Gigabyte card below that comes with a 3 yr warranty. They have the cards pretty sophisticated anymore where they throttle before you can do real damage if you're messing with clocks since they want the cards to live past the warranty.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125684&FM=1
 

Hooy

Limp Gawd
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Jun 17, 2013
Messages
435
The pre OC'd cards are 100% safe as they are WAY lower than what the card can actually do. They wouldn't sell a product that is pushing itself to the limit or anywhere close.
 

naticus

[H]ard|Gawd
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Feb 6, 2011
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1,962
The pre OC'd cards are 100% safe as they are WAY lower than what the card can actually do. They wouldn't sell a product that is pushing itself to the limit or anywhere close.

This. Even when messing with the GPU BIOS and voltage tables, PCIE, PSU rail power you are going to get a fail safe before any harm will come to your card in either throttling/downclocking/undervolting or hard crash. Cards now are for the most part pretty durable especially Maxwell.
 

xorbe

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Sep 26, 2008
Messages
6,029
The pre OC'd cards are 100% safe as they are WAY lower than what the card can actually do. They wouldn't sell a product that is pushing itself to the limit or anywhere close.

History disagrees ... but, sounds like 970/980 are a safer bet this time around. Well, I took safe to mean "won't crash". It's not like a pre-OC card is going to have a melt down.
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2014
Messages
601
My first evga GTX 780 couldn't hold stable clocks on its stock boost overclock (around 1096MHz) and would flicker and get a nvidia device dismounted message after games crashed. It was only stable if I down-clocked to around 990-1010MHz. So not all cards can hold their stock OC.
 

dr/owned

Gawd
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Feb 21, 2012
Messages
577
My first evga GTX 780 couldn't hold stable clocks on its stock boost overclock (around 1096MHz) and would flicker and get a nvidia device dismounted message after games crashed. It was only stable if I down-clocked to around 990-1010MHz. So not all cards can hold their stock OC.

That's what a warranty is for. If it's crashing out of the box, send it back and get another one.

@OP For the 900 series it doesn't seem like there's much reason to spend extra on a pre-OCed card. Seems like even the runts of the litter will be able to overclock to the same levels as the factory overclocked cards.
 

melk

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 21, 2014
Messages
1,074
I dunno. I'd consider my PNY to be the 'runt' of the 970 litter. I do get 8000 out of the memory but top out at 'only' 1440 core. Some games not even that is stable. Stock boost is 1228.
 
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