Wondering what superclocking is and how it compares to standard overclocking?
Unfortunately, superclocking is a myth that promises something that does not exist. Anything labeled as “superclocked” is simply overclocked to a significant degree. However misleading the term may be, there are actually some decent products lableled this way.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about superclocking. From performance to safety, we cut through the marketing to get to the bottom of things. We’ll even show you how to tune your own superclocked graphics card.
For the sake of context, we’ll continue to use the term “superclock” in this guide. Just remember that this means nothing more than “extra overclocked”.
What is Superclocking?
Superclocking is unfortunately a complete lie. There is no secret, hidden level above overclocking. The myth that companies try to sell with superclocking is that it’s something that you can’t do on your own and that the only way you can reach this epic form of GPU superiority is by purchasing a superclocked card.
Okay. Rant over. The truth is that superclocking is just a really overclocked card! While it’s probably not the smart route to go on your own (unless you’re savvy), it is doable and plenty of people have managed to “superclock” cards on their own to varying results.
While it is true that the already superclocked cards can save you some headache, the actual term is just a fancy way to say it’s a card that been doing double time on the overclock track.
P.S. – We have a guide to determining whether or not your CPU can be overclocked as well. It also covers how to determine if your CPU is already being actively overclocked.
Is Superclocking Worth It?
In general, a superclocked card can actually be a great thing for your system’s performance. Your programs will run a bit faster and when it comes to gaming, you might get a few more lag-free frames per second while playing.
The benefits can be noticeable, but vary depending on your needs. For example, if you’re running a normal graphics card while playing a demanding game like Red Dead Redemption 2, sometimes, the ultra-settings simply aren’t playable without an expensive, top-of-the-line graphics cards.
But, when it comes to the games like that that just beg for the most ideal visual experience to be had, overclocking might be able to push your little-engine-that-could GPU into the next realm in order to handle such a thing.
If you’re not confident in your abilities to safely overclock your GPU without going overboard and accidentally frying your system (a real possibility), you can buy a pre-overclocked card in the form of superclocked cards to (usually) prevent this from happening. The increase in speed in this case is already baked into the initial card, so any further increases are simply an embarrassment of riches.
The other big enhancement a superclocked card has is the ability to stay at a safe temp because of a built-in cooler that comes with the GPU. It makes the process a bit less painless because, if you just go about it recklessly on your own, you have a good chance destroying your hardware.
Overheating can cause some serious GPU problems, including irreversible damage to your VRAM.
It might cost a bit more, but if you feel the apprehensiveness that many feel when tinkering with equipment beyond their means, the best option may be to simply buy a preset card. Take a look at our Guide to GPU Lifespan for some tips on card health and how to spot a dying card.
Can You Overclock a Superclocked Card?
The answer is a resounding yes and not only can you, but if you’re searching for the ideal boost in graphics, you really should. The reason is that (despite the dramatic “superclocked” naming) the reality is just a slight increase in speed and maybe a couple frames more without stutter.
A superclocked card isn’t going to jump you from high settings to ultra on its own, so, once you have your shiny new superclocked GPU, it’s time to push it to a higher limit and see if that fancy name can live up to the promise of extra GPU power.
How Much do Superclocked Cards Cost?
You would think that with a name like that, it might significantly enhance the GPU that its associated with. However, the pricing isn’t all that different from a normal card. Depending on the card you get, the superclocked cards are only a little bit more expensive than the standard cards. Reason being that there’s not that much change.
When shopping for a new GPU, the superclocked designation doesn’t matter that much, as that option really only ends up being $30 or so more than the regular option. If something was all that impactful, would it be such a bargain?
Veteran PC users all know that if something has special abilities, you’re going to pay a pretty penny for it, so be conscious of this when deciding. When it comes to buying the superclocked versions though, it’s really not a risk at all and with the small price difference between the two, there is no reason not to take a shot at one of these cards and see if the result is worthwhile for you.
How to Superclock
To start, you’re going to need an overclocking tool. MSI Afterburner is the most popular option here, and you don’t have to worry about installing anything physically as this is all just a program we’re going to use to test with.
Then, we’re going to use a tool to test your current settings, so we can use it again to test your settings once you’ve overclocked it. The tool we need here is 3D Mark.
It’s time to engage. The overclocking all happens manually as you are going to be toying with a bunch of sliders. The sliders at play here are Core Voltage, which deals with the voltage level in your graphics card, Power Level, which lets your card get more power from your power supply, Core Clock, which specifies your desired clock setting, and Memory Clock, which deals with your GPU memory.
It’s also common to run into GPU artifacting at some point when overclocking. We’ve got a standalone guide to GPU Artifacts that’ll give you the rundown on that specifically.
Important: Superclock or overclock your hardware at your own risk. While it’s typically a safe process to test, there are risks, including hardware failure, voided warranties, etc.
Time needed: 1 hour.
How to Superclock (Extra Overclock) Your GPU
- Step 1
Test your current settings using 3D Mark
- Step 2
Start slowly moving the sliders up, starting with the GPU chip. Go slowly, raise in tiny increments as if you go too fast, you can cause all kinds of crashes. Go by 5% at a time and see how your computer responds.
- Step 3
Time to slide the memory slider go to 10% to start, which equates to a 50-100 MHz boost. Don’t go above this for now.
- Step 4
Increase the GPU slider by 10 MHz and run the benchmark in 3D Mark yet again. Keep doing this and monitor the results. Are you freezing? Is it restarting? You’re too high, so go 10 MHz lower until that stops happening. You don’t want to push it this far, as it will cause game crashes after a while of playing and potentially get dangerously hot. Move on to the memory clock and do the same test, carefully monitoring as you go. Do these separately so you know which one is affecting which.
- Step 5
You can increase the power limit and temperature limit to go a step further if you’d like, but at this point you should have something close to your ideal effect from overclocking.
- Step 6
Check it again. This is all about changing and testing, so you’re going to be going through it again and again. You might crash at some point, but don’t be discouraged, you’re not going to break anything in the testing phase if you do things correctly.
How to Stay Safe While Superclocking
You need to follow strict instructions here as well as you can, and as long as you go incrementally, no problems should occur. Most modern GPUs come prepared with measures to survive overclocking as well as PCs that might come with cooling mechanisms as well.
Elsewhere, make sure you should only overclock for the games that need it. Red Dead Redemption 2, Cyberpunk 2077, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, these are games that are going to utilize Overclocking properly.
Games that don’t need it? Go back to normal, don’t leave your PC overclocked when it doesn’t need to be. That’s a recipe for unnecessary problems.
So you now know how to overclock and how to buy superclocked GPU’s. It’s still advisable that you don’t shoot above your hardware. Older GPUs will not be able to rise to the level of todays no matter how high you overclock them, so temp your expectations and you should have an optimal experience whether you overclock a normal GPU as well as a superclocked GPU.