How to Overclock Your Laptop's Graphics Card

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Introduction: How to Overclock Your Laptop's Graphics Card

About: I'm a geek with a passion for computers dating back to the stone ages. My first PC was a 286 with Windows 2.11 and I still love to build and tweak computers and other gadgets.

If you're at all into gaming, there's plenty to be gained by overclocking your graphics card (GPU). With some luck you can boost gaming performance and frame rates by 20 % or more, making a previously unplayable game playable or allowing you to turn up the details in demanding titles. There is usually little risk involved, but you have to be aware that by tweaking the hardware settings you are stressing the components beyond their specifications. Consider this a fair warning and follow these steps at your own risk!

Step 1:

Prerequisites

What you need to overclock your laptop's GPU is first of all a laptop with a dedicated graphics card. Don't bother trying to overclock a laptop with an integrated graphics chip from Intel such as "Intel HD graphics", "GMA 4500mhd" or anything of that nature. Only dedicated chips from AMD or Nvidia are eligible for overclocking.

Different tools are at your disposal for overclocking, and it can (usually) all be done with software solutions. The exception is when the manufacturer has made the unfortunate choice of locking down the card in the BIOS to prevent overclocking. You can use most of the same tools for laptops as those you would use for overclocking a desktop graphics card. You have to keep in mind, however, that the space inside a laptop is restricted and a laptop GPU is likely to overheat faster than a full-size graphics card in a roomy desktop computer chassis.

Step 2:

Upping Those Clocks

As for the aforementioned overclocking tools, there are several good ones--even official varieties from AMD and NVIDIA. If you want to browse around, visit Guru3D for a more or less complete list of downloadable software (most of which are freeware). For the sake of this demonstration we will use eVGA's Precision software, which is very easy to use. It's branded and created by eVGA for use with the manufacturer's own graphics cards, but works equally well with other cards and even laptop GPUs.

The simplicity of this tool is admirable; you can adjust the core clock, shader clock and memory clock separately, with an option to link the shader and core clocks (recommended). In most laptops, the fan speed is controlled by the BIOS (the computer's firmware), so this option will be grayed out.

Now you are free to start adjusting those clock speeds, but be careful! Raising the bar to high will cause your system to hang and/or overheat. It's highly recommended that you raise the clocks in small increments and test the system for stability in between the clock increases. You can probably safely raise the clocks by a larger amount, say 50MHz, the first time around, and then up them by 10MHz at a time, testing for system stability between each increase.

Step 3:

Testing and Some More Testing

Just increasing the clock frequencies of your laptop's graphics card and see whether it hangs or not won't do you any good. Unless you have tried it "for real" you have no way of knowing if it works at all in actual games, and perhaps more importantly if it is a stable overclock, i.e., that it works consistently when gaming for hours on end without crashing or overheating.

A couple of good programs that are specifically designed to stress test your system are Furmark and Futuremark's 3D Mark benchmarks (see Guru3D for these downloads as well). Furmark is freeware and very simple--as the name implies it animates some "fur", which is apparently a tough task for any graphics card.

3DMark on the other hand, is not freeware but available in shareware versions. This is arguably an even better option as it simulates the workings of a real game. It can also be run on a loop, so if your gaming laptop manages to run one of Futuremark's tests for several hours without any issues you have a stable overclock.

You don't just want to know if it works at all or just hangs--you should also watch for artifacts on the screen (strange lines or other quirks in the rendered video), which would signify that your GPU has passed the limits of its ability.

Example

To get an overview of how gaming laptop overclocking works in practice, have a look at this Alienware M14x overclock . This laptop uses the NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M, which is a rather common graphics cards in current laptops. As it turns out, it is possible to push the GT 555M to provide a 20 to 30 per cent performance improvement--one that is clearly noticeable in your games.

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    28 Comments

    Do you know anything about eGPUs? I'm trying to find out how much (minimum) it's going to cost me to set one up

    Hi i buy this: HP ProBook 470 G4 (17.30", Full HD, Intel Core i7-7500U, 8GB, SSD, HDD) Geforce 930MX
    Is allowed do overclocking on this ?

    9 replies

    i have an acer aspire e5 575g 369a, with i6 6100u and geforce 940MX (512 shaders version), i added 135mhz on core (max availlable) and gained about 15% performances in unigine heaven benchmark

    i use a cooling stand for my laptop, to keep is fresh

    can you overclock asus rog strix GL753VD which has an i7 7700HQ gtx 1050 4GB and 16gb DDR4? I will use this thing too https://www.amazon.com/Cooling-Tree-New-Bee-TNB-K0033/dp/B01MV85KBM/ref=pd_sim_147_2?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B01MV85KBM&pd_rd_r=KDXPBYWDVW51870KGSZH&pd_rd_w=q1FmL&pd_rd_wg=jrQV0&psc=1&refRID=KDXPBYWDVW51870KGSZH so I keep it cool and nice pls tell me

    ofc you can

    just be careful about the temperature

    Good tip. I have the older 840M in an Asus, which is also overclockable with the maximum 135 MHz with no issues, which should put it on par with the newer 940M (not MX). The VRAM (DDR3) is considerably more sensitive though. I can reach a relatively meaningless 100 MHz above stock. How about you guys with the 9X0MX GPUs?

    i added 600MHz on vram (gddr5), and i think i can add more, but not enough time to add+test

    you sure 940mx can be overclocking? and how much the limit to overclocking and what app to use it? i'm new to this thing

    i use msi afterburner

    i oced it to the max availlable

    just go by step of 10MHz, then if you have problems go 20MHz backward
    what is your laptop?

    i have acer aspire e5-475g Intel i5 7200u

    this laptop i used to play games, and usually in 3 or 4 hours of play hahaha...

    and i'm curious to overclock it hahaha...

    I fear this laptop scorched, so i want to know the limit for overcloked it

    you can oc the gpu
    just be careful, if you see artifacts or something wrong, stop
    and don't forget to keep it cool

    Please remove the part about 'Intel HD not being able to play demanding 3D games'. I have a Toshiba Satellite with an i5 (HD Graphics 4000) and no further GPU, and I am able to play Skyrim at over 30 FPS on med-high settings, well over 40 on med. Just thought I'd share this. Bet some people are let down by step 1 ;-)

    8 replies

    Hey that's not fair, i have a radeon 6470m and a intel i7 2620m and i get 30fps on minecraft with 50+ mods installed!

    the 6000 series radeon graphics cards were never very powerfull to begin with any way...

    Yah I've got an old satelite with an old integrated graphics card and they are 100% overclockable :o i can play a game like kerbal space program 40 fps easy or war thunder with like 80.

    Really?? I have a satellite with a 5th gen i7,12 gigs of ram and the same card as you yet I can't play skyrim hardly at all. Low settings only without excessive stuttering

    Try to play fifa 14 while using the integrated gpu, it is not a good idea.. i have i5-3210 with nvidia 7670m

    I totally agree, I'll remove that part. Thanks for pointing it out! In my defense, it was written when Intel IGPs were mostly useless :)

    30-40 is too poor for a decent game experience 60 fps is what everyone hopes and most of the time you wont get that with intel's integrated graphics, not to mention that if you like a bit of old and good games like rise of nations or arcanum many of those intel graphics wont be recognized as valid external graphic card and wont run.