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AMD - How To Overclock The Official Way Using Afterburner + Step By Step Overclocking Guide + Comple

Discussion in 'Graphics Cards' started by AMDMatt, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. AMDMatt

    AMD Rep

    Joined: Jul 12, 2007

    Posts: 29,779

    Location: United Kingdom

    A short guide on how to overclock the Official way using AMD's powerplay tables but without the restricted clock limits you encounter with CCC whilst using msi afterburner. This guide will also show you how to completely sweep your system of AMD driver files, including registry entries which can be very handy if you're experiencing crashes or instability.

    Overclock Preparation

    1. Download the Latest AMD Drivers (Latest caps always included with the latest Beta)
    http://www2.ati.com/drivers/13-12_win7_win8_64_dd_ccc_whql.exe - Currently 13.12 WHQL

    2. Download & install Driver Fusion. Check the contents of the rar file closely. Look for the README file.
    http://www.sendspace.com/file/d4hcii

    3. Download the latest version of afterburner. (Currently Beta 18)
    http://www.guru3d.com/files_get/msi_afterburner_beta_download,20.html

    4. Un-install any other versions of Afterburner, Trixxx, GPU Tweak etc. Don't want other apps interfering. Do not keep user settings, delete everything.

    5. Uninstall the AMD drivers+Caps via Add/Remove Programs.

    6. Restart your pc. Once back into windows run Driver Fusion. Analyse amd and then delete all entries. Restart.

    7. Now you can install the new drivers. Use the express install option unless you have a specific reason not to. Follow the prompt and after installing the drivers, install the caps file. Restart your pc.

    8. Once booted back into windows, install afterburner. If it prompts you to restart, restart your pc.

    9. Take note of these settings. Crossfire users should definitely tick to disable ULPS if they wish to overclock xfire.

    [​IMG]

    10. Go to settings in afterburner and use the settings from step 9. Click ok to apply settings, restart if prompted.

    11. Do not unlock overdrive in CCC. You should now be able to overclock the official way without the clock limits imposed by AMD.

    12. Crossfire users ensure disable ULPS is ticked in afterburner settings if you wish to overclock your gpu's. If you don't you won't be able to monitor the temps of your second card and gpu-z may report incorrect values. Overclocking may also be restricted or problematic with it enabled. You will also struggle to get full gpu usage on both gpu's unless you disable ULPS in my experience. Note that if you disable ULPS then zerocore will no longer function. You will need to restart after disabling ULPS before the changes take effect.

    Overclocking Preparation Continued



    Now that you've updated your drivers and installed afterburner you're ready to begin overclocking your AMD card. You will need the following.

    Unigine Valley - http://www.techpowerup.com/downloads/2208/Unigine_Valley_Benchmark_1.0.html

    GPU-Z - http://www.techpowerup.com/downloads/SysInfo/GPU-Z/


    You should also make sure that you're using an aggressive fan profile so that high gpu temps do not restrict your overclock. You can either create a custom profile in afterburner under the Fan tab.

    [​IMG]

    Or you can just set it manually to 100% or however loud you can tolerate during this overclock. At this point you should set the power limit to +20% (or +50% on 270X/280X/290X cards) so that the card does not attempt to throttle while overclocking. Throttle will show itself as the core clock dropping lower than its set value. This can also show up as a decreased benchmark score.

    [​IMG]

    Next we need to find out if your GPU is voltage locked. If you don't see an option to change the voltage in afterburner like in the picture below and you have ticked 'Unlock voltage control & monitoring' in afterburner then your card is voltage locked. Or afterburner is unable to change the voltage on your card.

    [​IMG]

    One other way to check if your card is voltage locked, and a much more reliable way is to use GPU-Z which we downloaded earlier. Simply run GPU-Z, go to the sensors tab at the top. At the bottom you should some voltages. The main one to look for is VDDC, this is the main core voltage for your card. MVDDC relates to memory voltage.

    [​IMG]

    Your card should be running in a low clock powerplay state, so the clocks and voltage will be low. What we need to do is trigger 3d clocks to ensure you can make a change to the voltage in afterburner and then see if the voltage bumps shows up in the GPU-Z sensors tab. If it doesn't then you're voltage locked. To do this we will use the Basic Preset on Unigine Valley.

    [​IMG]

    With Unigine Valley running in the background go into afterburner and increase your voltage to 1.3v. Now go back to GPU-Z and see if your voltage has increased above its stock value. For me that was 1.112v. Here is what mine looks like with 1.3 volts applied through it.

    [​IMG]

    Ok so now you should know whether or not you can change voltage. If you can great the force is strong with this one. If you can't lets hope you still have enough headroom at stock voltage to do some overclocking.


    The Overclocking Guide - The Core

    Put everything back to stock settings. Voltage, core and memory. Run Unigine Valley, use the extreme preset.

    [​IMG]

    Crossfire users should put a tick in the Disable ULPS box while overclocking. You can always enable it again once you've finished. ULPS will shut the second card off while the pc is idle. For now though we want energy saving features disabled.

    [​IMG]

    Start Valley and press F9 to initiate the full benchmark procedure. Assuming you complete the benchmark safely and get to the final screen and get your score, exit the benchmark. Go back into afterburner and bump your core speed 25mhz.

    [​IMG]

    Now run the benchmark again. If you pass the next benchmarking run successfully with no crashes or anything, bump another 25mhz and do it again.

    [​IMG]

    At some point you will reach a stage where your overclock tops out. You suddenly start getting crashes, error messages, black screens, driver stopped responding messages. At this point you have two options. Back out and settle for what you've got or carry on but start adding voltage. If you're voltage locked and have to back out, reduce the core speed by 25mhz and go play some games. Generally games require slightly lower clocks than benchmarks to be stable, so backing off 25mhz should be enough to see you fully game stable.

    Those of us with voltage unlocked cards may continue. Assuming you reached a stage where by the benchmark froze, crashed, black screened or you have a driver stopped responding message, immediately restart your pc. Once back into windows apply your overclock settings and this time bump the voltage up a notch. I say a notch, its actually 6 clicks to the right of the voltage tab as seen in this picture below. Note my default voltage was 1.112v.

    [​IMG]

    So with my voltage now bumped up a notch i complete the next benchmarking run successfully. I then rinse and repeat and bump my clocks another 25mhz.

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately this time the benchmark freezes and i get a black screen. So i immediately restart my pc, get back into windows apply my clock settings + fan settings and give the voltage another bump.

    [​IMG]

    Now keep going until you reach a limit you're happy with. Or until you get to a stage where despite how much voltage you add the card will not remain stable or you get white dots or a black checker board on the screen. Your card might artifact at high core speeds if it does not like them, or if its getting too hot. Generally the higher you go on the core, the more you need to keep temps in check. Try to stay at or below 75c for heavy overclocking. Ideally 70c or below is best for large overclocks. If the card gets too hot it will cause a driver crash. Some cards handle heat better than others so it really is suck it and see. If you're doing all you can to keep your card cool and you still get artifacts you need to back down the core clock until they go away.

    Once you're happy with your final core speed and voltage settings, give it one extra bump of voltage to help ensure 100% stability when gaming. You might find you even need two extra bumps of voltage to be fully game stable. Get playing some demanding games to find out.

    So this is the limit i reached on my card. Any higher and i struggle to keep the temps under control. I'm happy with this and this will be my maximum core overclock.

    [​IMG]



    The Overclocking Guide - The Memory


    Now we will use the same procedure to overclock the memory. So we start with the memory at stock, we add 25mhz onto the memory and run unigine. Providing we complete the benchmark safely then we add another 25mhz onto the memory. Keep going until you get a crash, freeze, pc hang, or some weird stripes down the screen, or a decreased or lower benchmark score.

    Sometimes memory has error correction built in so if you see your typical benchmark score lower, or you see reduced fps on the screen you will know your memory either needs more voltage or to be down clocked slightly.

    Not all cards have memory voltage. If yours does you need to click this arrow button in afterburner.

    [​IMG]

    So we use the same method as before. Adding 25mhz onto the memory until we get stability problems. Then you can either add another notch of voltage like so. Note its also 6 notches to the right.

    [​IMG]

    Or you can back off the memory speed 25mhz and get on to some game testing if you don't have memory voltage control or you're happy with the speed you've reached.

    As i pushed my memory up to 1750 i had a weird crash, with stripey lines on my screen.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    That means my memory has reached its maximum stable speed and exceeded it. So i bump the memory a notch, and another notch after that. After some more benchmarks, clock increases and voltage bumps i finally decide to settle on final clocks and voltage of 1825mhz and a memory voltage of 1.625v.

    [​IMG]

    As before the same rules apply. I will probably need an extra notch of voltage on the memory to be fully game stable so i bump the memory voltage up to 1.631v and go off to test some games. If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask. :cool:



    Custom Fan Profiles - Based on a reference 7970 cooler


    Silent - Stock

    [​IMG]


    Quiet - Light overclock

    [​IMG]


    Normal - Decent overclock

    [​IMG]


    Balanced - Performance version of normal, no increase in sound level but better, quicker cooling.

    [​IMG]


    Performance - For Large Overclocks

    [​IMG]


    Performance Extreme - Extreme version of performance with no increase in sound level but better, quicker cooling.

    [​IMG]


    Benchmark - For extreme overclocks to bench

    [​IMG]




    Benchmark Extreme - Extreme version of benchmark with no increase in sound level but better, quicker cooling.

    [​IMG]

    Credits

    Thanks to the creator of afterburner - Alexey Nicolaychuk for this great overclocking tool which makes AMD cards so enjoyable to use.
    Guru3D forum where i sourced some of this information in the OP from.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2014
  2. Feyy

    Associate

    Joined: Jul 18, 2012

    Posts: 45

    I presume this method will work with all 7xxx series cards?

    Either way, many thanks for the helpful information! :)
     
  3. Roverno

    Wise Guy

    Joined: May 24, 2011

    Posts: 1,751

    Location: West Sussex

    Very interesting. Mainly because i'm not too sure why there is an issue :p I have had my 7970 overclocked using afterburner and i get the voltage control up to 1.3v and im not too sure what exactly the benefit is to your method?

    I dont play huge numbers of game and i am watercooled so maybe im just lucky not to get or notice the flicker.

    Does what your doing unlock higer voltage control or are you doing it using the power management percentage where you go to a maximum 120% maximum power or something like that?

    Im confused, please explain :confused:
     
  4. borley

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Mar 16, 2012

    Posts: 1,479

    Location: Chelmsford,Essex,UK

    Yeah i get the flicker and lines when i apply overclocks when i unlock afterburner so may give that a try.
    regards
     
  5. AMDMatt

    AMD Rep

    Joined: Jul 12, 2007

    Posts: 29,779

    Location: United Kingdom

    Yep. It definitely works for 7xxx cards, it may even work for older cards.

    This will give you cooler idle temps than using the old un-official overclock method as power play and clock changes are unaffected. Using the old method i used to see higher idle temps as sometimes the card wouldnt clock down when idle after applying an overclock profile in afterburner.

    Yes, this is the main fix (no more flicker when applying different afterburner profiles) along with the resolved issue of the cards not clocking down.

    Bottom line this is overclocking the cards as AMD designed it. So everything works properly rather than the unofficial afterburner way where it works but it messes some other stuff up. (flicker, flash problems, powerplay problems ULPS problems.)
     
  6. kharma45

    Gangster

    Joined: Apr 27, 2012

    Posts: 105

    Location: Northern Ireland

    So this is a better option than using Trixx for my MSI TF3 7850?
     
  7. AMDMatt

    AMD Rep

    Joined: Jul 12, 2007

    Posts: 29,779

    Location: United Kingdom

    Yes.
     
  8. kharma45

    Gangster

    Joined: Apr 27, 2012

    Posts: 105

    Location: Northern Ireland

    Sweet, must give it a try tomorrow then.
     
  9. AMDMatt

    AMD Rep

    Joined: Jul 12, 2007

    Posts: 29,779

    Location: United Kingdom

    Please provide some feedback guys, its been working well for me.
     
  10. borley

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Mar 16, 2012

    Posts: 1,479

    Location: Chelmsford,Essex,UK

    Yeah will do, sounds good as I have to unlock afterburner for benchmarking then I have to uninstall and reinstall afterburner for my 24/7 clocks, if I don't I still get a flicker/lines even under the 1200mhz stock max settings.
    Regards
     
  11. carlazai

    Mobster

    Joined: Feb 16, 2007

    Posts: 2,596

    LtMatt: when i add the /xcl to the shortcut it wont open the shortcut. Any ideas whats causing that?
     
  12. borley

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Mar 16, 2012

    Posts: 1,479

    Location: Chelmsford,Essex,UK

    same here
     
  13. Lord_ZED

    Mobster

    Joined: Oct 15, 2011

    Posts: 2,663

    Location: Nottingham Carlton

    seems 2 be working. I am not sure if it is cos i had my AB unlocked unofficial way. Just deleted cfg file. But it did say CCC limits have been increased. so it should be good.
     
  14. carlazai

    Mobster

    Joined: Feb 16, 2007

    Posts: 2,596

    No message, just wont start.
     
  15. borley

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Mar 16, 2012

    Posts: 1,479

    Location: Chelmsford,Essex,UK

    Tried again still not working, deleted afterburner cfg file stll nothing
     
  16. carlazai

    Mobster

    Joined: Feb 16, 2007

    Posts: 2,596

    So happy that i am not the only one having problems. Will try unlocking in CCC

    EDIT: no dice on the ccc unlock
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2012
  17. AMDMatt

    AMD Rep

    Joined: Jul 12, 2007

    Posts: 29,779

    Location: United Kingdom

    No idea tbh.

    Are you creating a shortcut and adding it to that

    Maybe try enabling unofficial overclocking first in afterburner config and then trying it?

    It worked first time for me. I uninstalled afterburner, made sure all files were deleted (and i didnt click yes to save profiles when uninstalling). Then i re-downloaded it, installled it, run it & it then prompts a restart, restart pc, run it and then follow the guide.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2012
  18. AMDMatt

    AMD Rep

    Joined: Jul 12, 2007

    Posts: 29,779

    Location: United Kingdom

    I've figured out the problem i forgot to add this part.

    I've edited the first post.

    Basically after installing afterburner you need to install these clock control files.

    http://www.sendspace.com/file/r7jys0

    That's why the /xcl command was not working for some people. Apologies.
     
  19. borley

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Mar 16, 2012

    Posts: 1,479

    Location: Chelmsford,Essex,UK

    Hi even with these files it doesn't work this isn't a very good tutorial, sure who haven't missed other files out as well?
    regards
     
  20. AMDMatt

    AMD Rep

    Joined: Jul 12, 2007

    Posts: 29,779

    Location: United Kingdom

    Hmmm. Well only three people have posted, one said it worked, two said it didnt. Not sure why it wouldn't work tbh, all i know is it solved all my problems.

    Here is the original post, from another forum that i got this from.

    Install AB. In general you will need to install the above linked clock control files. RC11 does not need these files.

    On your desktop is the shortcut of AB, make a copy of it to edit. Add /xcl to the end of the target box after right clicking it/properties. Click ok to close the window. Make sure to close AB before running this newly edited shortcut.

    After AB's prompt, reboot and save this shortcut and rename it so you have it for safe keeping. You will need to re-run if it you change drivers again.

    For some background on the xcl process. The -xcl switch is just to tell AB to create new modified Powerplay Tables in the registry. All it does is unlock the overclock limits of Overdrive. Note you won't be using Overdrive at all. You'll instead be using AB but using AB just as default with only the check marks for unlocking voltage. Don't do anything in AB's config file, that method is for "unofficial method" whereas you'll be using "official method."
    When you add -xcl to the AB shortcut, it doesn't run, it merely imports the Powerplay Tables as mentioned above. Once that's done, you have to then remove the -xcl you added, and reboot. Upon reboot, you can open up AB and overclock like normal.
    **There are a couple caveats with the -xcl method. The most annoying is that AB cannot edit the Powerplay Tables of more than 1 card. And that 1 card is only the active card so if you have crossfire you will have to jump thru some hurdles. There's a trick to add all the Powerplay Tables for ppl in crossfire in that link.
    **The other annoyance is that you will have to redo the -xcl method after each driver install.
    **Also, you will need the clock control files.
    It's also a good idea if you are crossfired, to do this on a cleaned registry so you know which Radeon folder to edit.Thus the bottom line is we use AB to overclock without enabling UOM and without disabling ULPS. When you set your overclock in AB, this gets passed to Overdrive and you stay inside AMD's Powersaving tech. For voltage control, we use AB as we normally would.
     


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