Tech Talk: An Alternative to Better Graphics.

 

Adam Poliquin

Computer Technology Senior Seminar

 

1440p. 120 FPS. Some of you reading this look at that jumble of characters and see gibberish. Others see performance they merely dream of attaining. There are others still, I’m sure, that look at those numbers and laugh pitiably at the peasants. This article is not for you.

As a PC gamer myself, I understand the plight of trying to keep up with the ever-improving requirements for playing games at an acceptable level. Especially when that acceptable level seems to be climbing higher and higher out of reach. New equipment for your gaming machine that can keep up with this demand (graphics cards in particularly) can be prohibitively expensive. I’m here to tell you that there may be another way to squeeze out some higher numbers without thinning out that bank account.

Overclocking is a term I’m sure most, if not all, of you reading this have heard before. It is the process of changing some settings on your hardware to force them into running faster; and, it might just be what you need to not drop five hundred dollars on that brand new piece of tech. But is it the right choice for you?

It wasn’t too long ago that overclocking any component of your computer came with a great deal of risk. It isn’t unheard of that someone tries to get more performance out of their machine and ends up burning out their processor, memory, video card, and/or anything else they messed with. Even melting it beyond recognition in the most extreme cases. During that time, overclocking anything on your computer would immediately void the warranty, and was left to hobbyists or power-gamers more than anything else.

Times have changed. Overclocking is nowhere near as dangerous or frowned upon as it was not even five years ago. Nowadays, manufacturers have put safeties in place to prevent you from cooking anything important beyond the point of no return. In fact, the biggest names in the video card industry (Nvidia and AMD) have produced GPUs that are built for doing just that, and they have also provided the tools and utilities necessary for you to accomplish this feat. The tools for accomplishing this are can be found for AMD in the “AMD Overdrive” section of their Catalyst Control Center software. For an Nvidia card, you will need to download and install their System Tools utility and modify your card’s performance through the GeForce drivers.

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