Overclocking increases performance right, so why am I stuttering?
Stuttering in games can occur when overclocking your GPU because of thermal or voltage constraints.
Why Would Overclocking GPU Cause Stuttering?
Without wasting time
Overclocking can cause instabilities that derive from voltage constraints which causes stuttering. It also increases heat which can contribute.
In my experience, GPU can cause stuttering because:
- Core instability (lack of voltage input)
- Thermal constraints (overclocking will increase heat)
- Power delivery issues
- System bottlenecks (CPU or RAM)
Just purely overclocking naturally causes instabilities with how the chip functions, this is because higher clock speeds will require higher voltages to keep everything running stable.
Voltage Constraint Induced Stuttering
Voltage constraint induced stuttering is caused because the graphics card has too little voltage running through it.
What this does is it causes the card to underperform which mainly causes stuttering and other graphical anomalies.
This is because the GPU isn’t receiving enough power to keep up with the clock speed demands imposed by the overclock.
The best solution for this type of stuttering is to reduce the overclock or increase the voltage.
Remember to do everything in small increments, so if you choose to increase the voltage, do it gradually and pay close attention to how the GPU performs
Same thing with reducing the overclock, do it gradually till the GPU starts performing smoothly without any stutters.
Thermal Induced Stuttered
Thermal induced stuttering occurs when the GPU overheats causing the card to downclock itself. This is counterproductive especially when you’ve just overclocked for more performance.
When the GPU overheats and trottles itself, the sudden drop in performance can manifest as stuttering and lag in game.
You’ll notice this more with graphically intensive games that pushes your GPU to its limits.
The best solution for this is to either improve your PCs cooling, underclocking, or undervolting.
Yes, undervolting can help in this scenario since the cause of the stuttering isn’t because of a lack of voltage rather it’s due to the GPU’s inability to dissipate the heat generated.
Is Overclocking GPU Worth It For Gaming?
But if you insist on overclocking even though it can be seen as a pointless endeavor for gaming, there’s a sweet spot where you’re able to push the core clock whilst reducing the voltage. Here you will find the most performance without driving up the power consumption, and heat generated.
Here you will find that the system will run stable, but if you’re encountering stuttering, it could simply mean you haven’t found this equilibrium yet, just give it more time and tweaking.
But if you have an older graphics card that doesn’t have boosting capabilities, then overclocking may be a great way to get extra life out of the GPU.
Just follow the standard practices, and you’ll be fine, e.g., ensure that you increment the clock speed in 5-10 MHz increments to avoid running directly into instability issues.
GPU Usage Drops Stutter
Have you noticed that your game stutters when your GPU usage drops?
Frustrating, but this isn’t an issue caused by overclocking, rather it has origins in a mix of software and hardware issues.
The most common cause for this is a CPU bottleneck where the GPU outclasses the CPU in terms of performance
Now this can happen for many reasons, the most common reason is that you simply mismatched your hardware during the setup ie pairing a high-end GPU with a older CPU.
Another cause for a CPU bottleneck is that the CPU for some reason is throttled, this can occur due to overheating.
How To Fix Stuttering In Games?
If none of the solutions above worked, then the stuttering is not overclock induced.
Best solutions include:
- Closing unnecessary applications using up RAM
- Optimizing in-game settings
- Ensuring power settings is on high performance mode
First solution I’d recommend is checking task manager and analyzing your RAM usage. High RAM usage can cause stuttering because it forces the system to use your HDD or SSD as RAM.
The second solution would be to optimize in-game settings, starting by lowering texture quality, anti-aliasing, and shadow detail.
This is more specific to laptop users, but your power settings may not be on high performance, and in my experience, this causes significant performance issues especially in games
Conclusion – Does Overclocking GPU Cause Stuttering?
Yes. Overclocking your GPU can cause stuttering if done incorrectly. You’ll most likely run into overclock-induced stuttering if you’re overclocking without testing and small increments.
Otherwise, if your GPU starts stuttering out of the blue, it could be many problems such as driver issues, cooling issues, or hardware failure.
For example, my motherboard’s VRMs started failing which was limiting my CPUs capacity to process data in return caused a CPU bottleneck that caused stuttering.