All about AMD OverDrive Technology

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AMD OverDrive technology is an overclocking feature that lets you customize the performance level of graphics processors and/or CPUs that are installed in your system. The type of settings that are available vary between systems:

  • Settings for overclocking the CPU are available for systems installed with a Black Edition AMD processor.
  • Settings for overclocking the graphics processor are available for systems installed with at least one AMD graphics card that supports GPU overclocking.

If your system supports only one setting type, the settings appear in the AMD OverDrive page.

If your system supports both types of settings, the settings are divided between the CPU OverDrive and Graphics OverDrive pages. Settings for both pages can be enabled and disabled through a master control on the AMD OverDrive page.

Note: Before you can overclock a CPU or graphics processor, you must first review and accept the AMD OverDrive technology license agreement. You should also make sure that you are using high-quality system components to ensure maximum system stability.

Managing AMD OverDrive Features

The settings in the AMD OverDrive page varies depending on the type of overclocking features that are available for your system.

The following procedure describes how to use the page to control which AMD OverDrive technology settings are enabled for systems that support CPU and graphics overclocking.

  1. Navigate to the AMD OverDrive page using the following groups:
    • Standard View—Performance > Clock Controls.
    • Advanced View—Performance.
  2. To enable or disable overclocking features, use the on/off buttons as appropriate and click Apply:
    • AMD OverDrive—Simultaneously enables or disables all overclocking settings.
    • CPU OverDrive—Enables or disables only settings for overclocking the CPU.
    • Graphics OverDrive—Enables or disables only settings for overclocking the graphics processor.
  3. To configure overclocking features, click the appropriate link:
    • Configure CPU OverDrive—Opens the CPU OverDrive page, which contains settings for controlling the performance level of CPUs.
    • Configure Graphics OverDrive—Opens the Graphics OverDrive page, which contains settings for controlling the performance level of graphics processors.

Overclocking Graphics Processors (GPUs)

If your system is installed with an AMD graphics card that supports GPU overclocking, you can use AMD OverDrive™ technology to adjust the GPU and memory clock settings of your graphics processor to maximize the capabilities and performance of your graphics card, especially when using a custom cooling solution.

Settings for graphics overclocking can be found in either the AMD OverDrive or Graphics OverDrive page. The availability of pages vary depending on the AMD OverDrive technology settings that are available for your system.

When overclocking the graphics processor, use the various gauges and indicators on the page to assess the system stability. They are provided to help you optimize the graphics processor without overheating or overworking it.

Viewing GPU Performance Settings

When adjusting GPU settings, use the GPU speed, temperature, activity, and other indicators to assess the current state of your graphics processor.

CAUTION: If a GPU is being used at or close to its maximum capabilities, or if the card is running close to 110ºC, do not increase the GPU or memory clock speeds.
  1. If your system supports only graphics overclocking, navigate to the AMD OverDrive page using the following groups. If your system supports both CPU and graphics overclocking, navigate to the Graphics OverDrive page instead:
    • Standard View—Performance > Clock Controls or Gaming > Gaming Performance.
    • Advanced View—Performance.

    Alternatively, click the Configure Graphics OverDrive link, if available, on the AMD OverDrive page.

  2. If your system contains more than one GPU, use the GPU selection menu at the top of the page to select the desktop associated with the GPU that you want to configure.

The current performance settings of the GPU is shown on the page.

If your system is not a notebook that is running solely on battery, the maximum GPU and memory clock settings for your graphics processor are also shown on the page.

Enabling/Disabling GPU Performance Settings

You can enable and disable custom GPU performance settings as the need arises.

Note: GPU performance settings are available only for systems installed with at least one graphics processor that supports GPU overclocking.
  1. If your system supports only graphics overclocking, navigate to the AMD OverDrive page using the following groups. If your system supports both CPU and graphics overclocking, navigate to the Graphics OverDrive page instead:
    • Standard View—Performance > Clock Controls or Gaming > Gaming Performance.
    • Advanced View—Performance.

    Alternatively, click the Configure Graphics OverDrive link, if available, on the AMD OverDrive page.

  2. Select or clear the Enable AMD OverDrive or Enable Graphics OverDrive check box as appropriate.
  3. Click Apply.

If the settings are enabled, the selected performance settings are automatically applied to the GPU. If the settings are disabled, the GPU uses default factory performance settings.

Adjusting the GPU Power Limit

You can adjust the power limits of your GPU as the need arises. A higher power limit allows for higher engine/memory speeds, which may provide greater GPU performance. A lower power limit allows for a cooler and quieter running system but may reduce GPU performance. Note that performance and power vary between applications.

Note: This slider is not available for all graphics cards.
  1. If your system supports only graphics overclocking, navigate to the AMD OverDrive page using the following groups. If your system supports both CPU and graphics overclocking, navigate to the Graphics OverDrive page instead:
    • Standard View—Performance > Clock Controls or Gaming > Gaming Performance.
    • Advanced View—Performance.

    Alternatively, click the Configure Graphics OverDrive link, if available, on the AMD OverDrive page.

  2. If your system contains more than one GPU, use the GPU selection menu at the top of the page to select the desktop associated with the GPU that you want to configure.If the selected GPU is the Display GPU in an AMD CrossFire™ configuration, the Select GPU to configure list becomes available. From the list, select the desired displaying or rendering graphics card.
  3. Make sure that Graphics OverDrive or AMD OverDrive™ Technology settings have been enabled as appropriate.
  4. Specify the desired power limit value using the heat map or the Power limit settings field.The heat map is a graphical representation of GPU clock speed versus GPU power limit. Clock speeds are shown on the y-axis and range between the slowest and highest clock speeds that are supported by your graphics processor. Power limit settings are shown on the x-axis and range between -20% to +20% of the default power limit of your graphics processor.
  5. Click Apply.

Adjusting GPU Clock Speeds

Use the following procedure to adjust custom GPU clock speeds as the need arises. You may be able to optimize the performance of your graphics processor by running it at a higher clock speed.

Note: Custom clock speeds are not available for notebooks running solely on battery power.
CAUTION: If a GPU is being used at or close to its maximum capabilities, or if the card is running close to 110ºC, do not increase the GPU or memory clock speeds.
  1. If your system supports only graphics overclocking, navigate to the AMD OverDrive page using the following groups. If your system supports both CPU and graphics overclocking, navigate to the Graphics OverDrive page instead:
    • Standard View—Performance > Clock Controls or Gaming > Gaming Performance.
    • Advanced View—Performance.

    Alternatively, click the Configure Graphics OverDrive link, if available, on the AMD OverDrive page.

  2. If your system contains more than one GPU, use the GPU selection menu at the top of the page to select the desktop associated with the GPU that you want to configure.If the selected GPU is the Display GPU in an AMD CrossFire™ configuration, the Select GPU to configure list becomes available. From the list, select the desired displaying or rendering graphics card.
  3. Make sure that Graphics OverDrive or AMD OverDrive™ Technology settings have been enabled as appropriate.
  4. Specify the desired GPU clock speed using the heat map or the GPU clock settings field.The heat map is a graphical representation of GPU clock speed versus GPU power limit. Clock speeds are shown on the y-axis and range between the slowest and highest clock speeds that are supported by your graphics processor. Power limit settings are shown on the x-axis and range between -20% to +20% of the default power limit of your graphics processor.
    Note: Take extra caution when increasing the GPU clock speed, as higher speeds result in higher temperatures and may cause the graphics card to fail.
  5. Click Apply to accept the new clock settings.

Adjusting Graphics Memory Clock Speeds

Use the following procedure to enable or disable custom graphics memory clock speeds for your GPU as the need arises.

Note: Custom clock speeds are not available for notebooks running solely on battery power.
CAUTION: If a GPU is being used at or close to its maximum capabilities, or if the card is running close to 110ºC, do not increase the GPU or memory clock speeds.
  1. If your system supports only graphics overclocking, navigate to the AMD OverDrive page using the following groups. If your system supports both CPU and graphics overclocking, navigate to the Graphics OverDrive page instead:
    • Standard View—Performance > Clock Controls or Gaming > Gaming Performance.
    • Advanced View—Performance.

    Alternatively, click the Configure Graphics OverDrive link, if available, on the AMD OverDrive page.

  2. If your system contains more than one GPU, use the GPU selection menu at the top of the page to select the desktop associated with the GPU that you want to configure.If the selected GPU is the Display GPU in an AMD CrossFire™ configuration, the Select GPU to configure list becomes available. From the list, select the desired displaying or rendering graphics card.
  3. Make sure that Graphics OverDrive or AMD OverDrive™ Technology settings have been enabled as appropriate.
  4. Move the High Performance memory clock settings slider to the desired setting.
    Note: The lower limit is the lowest speed that can be supported by the GPU. The upper limit is the highest speed that can be set for the GPU. Take extra caution when increasing the speed, as higher speeds result in higher temperatures and may cause the graphics card to fail.
  5. Click Apply to accept the new clock settings.

Adjusting the Target GPU Temperature

The default target GPU temperature is the maximum allowed 95℃ and can be reduced to increase the DPM (dynamic power management) states.

This setting is not available for all graphics cards.

  1. If your system supports only graphics overclocking, navigate to the AMD OverDrive page using the following groups. If your system supports both CPU and graphics overclocking, navigate to the Graphics OverDrive page instead:
    • Standard View—Performance > Clock Controls or Gaming > Gaming Performance.
    • Advanced View—Performance.

    Alternatively, click the Configure Graphics OverDrive link, if available, on the AMD OverDrive page.

  2. If your system contains more than one GPU, use the GPU selection menu at the top of the page to select the desktop associated with the GPU that you want to configure.If the selected GPU is the Display GPU in an AMD CrossFire™ configuration, the Select GPU to configure list becomes available. From the list, select the desired displaying or rendering graphics card.
  3. Make sure that Graphics OverDrive or AMD OverDrive™ Technology settings have been enabled as appropriate.
  4. Move the Target GPU Temperature slider, if available, to the desired setting. The graphics card will dynamically change the performance and fan speed to maintain your selected temperature.
  5. Click Apply.

Adjusting the Fan Speed

By default, the fan speed for your GPU is automatically adjusted to an optimal level to avoid overheating. However, you can manually change the fan speed if the need arises. To keep the GPU as cool as possible when clocks are at their highest level, raise the fan speed; to reduce noise, lower the fan speed.

When adjusting the fan speed, use the temperature indicator on the AMD OverDrive page to monitor the temperature of the GPU.

Note: This feature is available only for graphics cards that have variable speed fans. It is not available for AMD Mobility Radeon™ graphics cards.
  1. If your system supports only graphics overclocking, navigate to the AMD OverDrive page using the following groups. If your system supports both CPU and graphics overclocking, navigate to the Graphics OverDrive page instead:
    • Standard View—Performance > Clock Controls or Gaming > Gaming Performance.
    • Advanced View—Performance.

    Alternatively, click the Configure Graphics OverDrive link, if available, on the AMD OverDrive page.

  2. If your system contains more than one GPU, use the GPU selection menu at the top of the page to select the desktop associated with the GPU that you want to configure.If the selected GPU is the Display GPU in an AMD CrossFire™ configuration, the Select GPU to configure list becomes available. From the list, select the desired displaying or rendering graphics card.
  3. Make sure that Graphics OverDrive or AMD OverDrive™ Technology settings have been enabled as appropriate.
  4. Move the Fan Speed slider to the desired setting.
    CAUTION: Adjusting the fan speed may reduce the lifespan of the graphics processor fan.
    Note: If the GPU gets too hot at the speed selected, the fan is automatically raised to a higher speed until the GPU reaches a safe temperature. Once a safe temperature is reached, the fan speed reverts to the speed selected.
  5. If a warning message dialog box appears, click OK to accept the new fan speed.
  6. Click Apply.

The Fan Speed indicator shows the current fan speed, which is typically the speed selected unless the fan speed is automatically raised to cool the GPU.

Restoring Default GPU Performance Settings

You can restore factory default GPU clock settings by deleting or temporarily disabling custom GPU clock settings.
  1. If your system supports only graphics overclocking, navigate to the AMD OverDrive page using the following groups. If your system supports both CPU and graphics overclocking, navigate to the Graphics OverDrive page instead:
    • Standard View—Performance > Clock Controls or Gaming > Gaming Performance.
    • Advanced View—Performance.

    Alternatively, click the Configure Graphics OverDrive link, if available, on the AMD OverDrive page.

  2. If your system contains more than one GPU, use the GPU selection menu at the top of the page to select the desktop associated with the GPU that you want to configure.If the selected GPU is the Display GPU in an AMD CrossFire™ configuration, the Select GPU to configure list becomes available. From the list, select the desired displaying or rendering graphics card.
  3. To restore default clock settings for the selected GPU, do one of the following:
    • Clear Enable Graphics OverDrive or Enable AMD OverDrive as appropriate—Restores default clock settings while preserving custom clock settings.
      Note: This option is not available for notebooks running solely on battery.
    • Click the Defaults button—Restores default GPU clock settings and deletes custom GPU clock settings.
  4. Repeat this procedure as many times as necessary for each GPU that you want to reset.

Forcing Maximum GPU Performance Clock Speeds

2D applications and 3D applications operating in windowed mode run at 2D clock speeds, which are typically lower than the clock speeds used for full-screen 3D applications. Using the Force Maximum Performance Clocks option, you can force all applications to run at current 3D clock speeds in order to maximize graphics performance.

Note: The availability of this feature varies between graphics cards.
Right-click the Control Center system tray icon in the Windows® system tray (taskbar notification area), point to 3D Settings > Force Maximum Performance Clocks, and then select one of the following:

  • Disabled—Allows applications to run at custom 2D GPU and memory clock speeds, if needed.
  • Enabled—Allows all applications to run at 3D clock GPU and memory clock speeds.

Overclocking CPUs

If your system is installed with a Black Edition AMD processor, you can test different CPU performance levels to determine which ones can be used to overclock your CPU. Once performance levels have been determined, you can manually set your CPU to the one that best suits your needs.

A performance level is a combination of the CPU clock speed, core voltage, and multiplier.

When done correctly, overclocking can help you maximize the capabilities and increase the performance of your CPU.

Settings for CPU overclocking can be found in either the AMD OverDrive or CPU OverDrive page. The availability of pages vary depending on the AMD OverDrive™ technology settings that are available for your system.

Finding CPU Performance Levels using Auto-Tune

Before you can overclock a CPU using AMD OverDrive™/CPU OverDrive technology, you must first run Auto-Tune to test and determine which performance levels can be used.

Auto-Tune is a test tool that finds performance levels by gradually increasing the clock speed and core voltage of the CPU and testing for system stability.

If at least one acceptable performance level is found, you can manually set your CPU to any of the levels. If no performance levels are found or if Auto-Tune cannot complete, no overclocking changes are made.

Use the AMD OverDrive or CPU OverDrive page as appropriate to run Auto-Tune. The availability of settings in the page varies depending on results from Auto-Tune.

  1. If your system supports only CPU overclocking, navigate to the AMD OverDrive page using one of the following groups. If your system supports both CPU and graphics overclocking, navigate to the CPU OverDrive page instead:
    • Standard View—Performance > Clock Controls.
    • Advanced View—Performance.

    Alternatively, click the Configure CPU OverDrive link, if available, on the AMD OverDrive page.

  2. Select the Override existing CPU settings check box.Selecting the check box allows you to ignore the CPU settings that are currently used by your system when you run Auto-Tune.
  3. Click Auto-Tune.
  4. In the Testing CPU dialog box that opens, click Start to begin detecting performance levels. If needed, review the warning that appears and click OK to continue.The clock speed and voltage currently being tested are shown in the dialog box, along with the progress of the test and the number of performance levels found.
    Tip: To stop the test, click Stop.
  5. Restart your system.

If Auto-Tune completes and more than one performance level is found, the highest level is shown, and you are prompted to restart your computer. You must restart your system before the performance levels become available for selection on the page.

If Auto-Tune cannot complete or only one performance level is found, a message appears notifying you of the test result, and you are prompted to restart your system. No overclocking changes are made to the CPU.

Enabling/Disabling CPU Performance Levels

Enable the CPU overclocking settings to access the performance levels found through Auto-Tune or disable them to use factory default CPU performance levels.

Note: CPU overclocking settings are available only for systems installed with a Black Edition AMD processor.
  1. If your system supports only CPU overclocking, navigate to the AMD OverDrive page using one of the following groups. If your system supports both CPU and graphics overclocking, navigate to the CPU OverDrive page instead:
    • Standard View—Performance > Clock Controls.
    • Advanced View—Performance.

    Alternatively, click the Configure CPU OverDrive link, if available, on the AMD OverDrive page.

  2. Use the on/off button to enable or disable the CPU overclocking settings as appropriate.If your system supports both CPU and graphics overclocking settings, you can also enable/disable the settings using the buttons in the AMD OverDrive page.
  3. Click Apply.

If the settings are enabled, the selected performance level is automatically applied to the CPU. If the settings are disabled, the CPU is returned to the default factory performance level.

Manually Adjusting CPU Performance Levels

You can manually overclock a CPU by setting it to a particular performance level.

  1. If your system supports only CPU overclocking, navigate to the AMD OverDrive page using one of the following groups. If your system supports both CPU and graphics overclocking, navigate to the CPU OverDrive page instead:
    • Standard View—Performance > Clock Controls.
    • Advanced View—Performance.

    Alternatively, click the Configure CPU OverDrive link, if available, on the AMD OverDrive page.

  2. Select the appropriate performance level.If more than one performance level is available, use the on/off button to enable the settings and use the slider to select the appropriate performance level. Typically, the higher performance level, the greater the CPU performance.

    If there is only one performance level available, use the check box to select the level.

  3. Click Apply.

The CPU clock speed, multiplier, and core voltage are adjusted according to the selected performance level.

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