Overclocking a Gaming Laptops GPU: Is It Worth It?

It is pretty common for gamers out there to squeeze their hardware for it to be able to deliver its maximum performance. Sometimes, we go beyond the manufacturer’s stock design by overclocking the hardware just to get every bit of power left in it.

Overclocking the hardware may be beneficial, but it is also risky. Not only is the speed difference not that much, but it can also produces more heat to your parts which could then result in a shortened lifespan.

a gamer gaming on his laptop

 

Although some hardware that you buy is already factory-overclocked, particularly the GPU, it doesn’t always mean that it is safe.

Overclocking this component requires skill and lots of patience. If you are trying to overclock your laptop’s GPU without any background knowledge, I would recommend that you avoid it.

So, is overclocking a gaming laptop’s GPU safe and worth it? Yes and No. It is safe to overclock a laptop’s GPU,  but doing so can lead to overheating issues which could then throttle the overall laptop’s performance or even cause system failure. Not to mention you will only get minimal improvements.

So you must decide whether a small improvement in performance is worth a potentially shorter lifespan.

What is GPU Overclocking?

It is similar to CPU overclocking, GPU overclocking is a process in which a user tries to go beyond the designed power of a GPU by modifying its stock’s core clock and memory clock. The sole purpose of this is to boost the GPU’s performance, exceeding the raw power set by manufacturers.

Will Overclocking Help in Gaming?

It will, but not by much. Since the main job of the GPU is to deliver good performance when gaming, overclocking your GPU will surely help in gaming in some circumstances.

Higher GPU core clock and memory clock speeds will result in faster rendering of images and processing of graphical information, which in return, will result in smoother gameplay.

a shot from GTA V on PC

But always keep in mind that not all GPUs are designed to be overclocked.  The difference between a stock GPU and overclocked GPU is barely noticeable when it comes to gaming. So in the end, it really comes down to whether you are really up for it or not.

Does Overclocking the GPU Increase FPS (Frames Per Second)?

Normally, overclocking a GPU should give you an additional 10% FPS roughly, but this does vary.

If your system can maintain 60fps for a certain game, expect that after the overclock, your system could maintain an FPS of 65-66.

If this is something that can make you happy, something you can brag with your gaming buddies about, maybe you could give it a try. But I suggest you read some guides first before you go deep into overclocking.

Is it Safe to Overclock a Gaming Laptop GPU?

Overclocking a GPU is generally safe even for a gaming laptop. Pushing the voltage higher than what is set by manufacturers wouldn’t burn your GPU, but it can cause some issues, particularly overheating.

When the GPU overheats, it will affect the overall temperature of the entire laptop, since all the parts are confined to a very tight space which restricts its airflow.

Will it Damage My GPU?

No. Overclocking your GPU will not cause any damage as you cannot truly push voltages high enough to cause harm to the GPU.

The worst-case scenario is that your system may encounter system crashes from time to time, but this should not result in any serious damage. To prevent this from happening, always keep an eye on your GPU temperature.

a laptop motherboard showing all of the parts inside

Does Overclocking Shorten the Laptop’s GPU Lifespan?

Short answer: Yes. When you overclock a GPU, it means that you put a lot of stress on the unit itself, which would then result in a shorter lifespan. By pushing the GPU voltage, it will also produce more heat, which is one of the main reasons why the GPU won’t last as long.

However, there are some measures that you can take in order to maintain the lifespan of a GPU, one of which is to keep the temperature as low as possible.

Keeping the temperature to the lowest possible is one of the basics when it comes to overclocking.

Is Overclocking a Laptop GPU Worth the Risk?

No. Overclocking a laptop GPU is definitely not worth the risk.

When buying a product, one thing that we consider the most is the longevity. Since overclocking can put your GPU under stress, it will also shorten its lifespan. I wouldn’t sacrifice the condition of my GPU just for a minimal increase in performance.

Is Overclocking Illegal?

No. Overclocking is perfectly fine and 100% legal.

a team a overclocking champions posing with the winners cheque and trophy

There are events such as MSI’s Overclockers Olympics and Overclocking World Championship where the best overclockers in the world gather to compete against each other in an attempt to see who is the best in the business.

This proves that overclocking is an accepted method in boosting a computer’s performance.

But as soon as you overclock your system, you better say goodbye to warranties. Overclocking is against the manufacturer’s policy and doing so will automatically void the warranty.

What are the Potential Problems of Overclocking a Laptop GPU?

System Crashes/Failures

Since overclocking also means your GPU is performing beyond the manufacturer’s specifications, it is also common for some users to encounter system failures. It is usually in the form of BSOD or Blue Screen of Death.

Overheating

Just like what we have discussed in the previous sections, in order to achieve a stable overclock, you must push the voltage accordingly to compensate for the increase of GPU’s memory clock and core clock.

Therefore, the GPU will also produce more heat. The problems you may usually encounter when your laptop overheats is throttling, and in some cases, automatic shut down.

Instability

System instability is a known rookie mistake when it comes to overclocking. This usually happens when the GPU voltage cannot keep up with the increase of memory clock and core clock.

However, this problem can easily be fixed by adjusting the GPU voltage until full system stability is achieved.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it Safer to Overclock a Desktop GPU Compared to a Laptop GPU?

Yes. Overclocking a desktop GPU is safer and much easier compared to a laptop GPU.

Most mid-range to high-end desktop GPUs today are designed to deliver maximum cooling solutions. Also, a desktop GPU comes with a variety of dedicated fans.

There are GPUs with double and triple fans, these are enough to cool down the device significantly faster than a laptop GPU.

You can also set the fan curve using third-party software. Desktop GPUs also have better airflow inside a computer chassis, ensuring a lower temperature.

Good airflow plays a huge role when it comes to overclocking, which clearly gives the advantage to desktops rather than gaming laptops.

Are Some GPUs Better for Overclocking Than Others?

Of course. Some GPUs are designed to withstand heavy overclocking and some aren’t.

A good example of this is Nvidia’s GeForce® RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition, compared to Asus’ ROG Strix GeForce® RTX 2080 Ti OC.

Although both graphics cards have the same graphics engine, the ROG clearly has the advantage in terms of overclocking. This is due to the customized heatsinks and larger fans, which provide thermal headroom for some serious overclocking.

Since you are interested in overclocking your laptop GPU, why not read our article on how to optimize your gaming laptop here.

You can read about the best gaming laptops under $900 here.

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