Tweaking your VR PC – Includes how to overclock your computer for virtual reality

Posted on: March 3rd, 2017 by Jason Hawken
This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Virtual Reality Beginners Guide

fan for overclocked processor on VR computer for virtual reality

If you have been following so far, you now have a state of the art PC ready for everything the VR can throw at it. Once you manage to hide all the receipts from your partner, you may want to fine tune your system for maximum power. As mentioned earlier, overclocking is rather simple and effective nowadays, and who doesn’t like to get something for free? We won’t go into too much detail here as there are plenty of great guides out there already. But here’s the basic idea.

How to overclock your CPU

This is mostly done in the BIOS. Decent gaming motherboards have simple built in overclocking profiles, just select the lowest profile and see if your computer starts up. If that works, and you are feeling adventurous, then you can keep moving up the list until your computer wont boot anymore. If this happens you may need to reset the BIOS, check the link for more details. Once you have a working overclock you will want to do some stress testing to make sure it’s stable and runs within the safe temperature range. Here are some extended guides.

Intel Overclocking Guide

AMD Overclocking Guide

How to overclock your graphics card

Overclocking your GPU can have a dramatic effect. It’s also fairly quick and easy as you can do it in Windows without any pesky restarting. Simply grab one of the many free tools available such as MSI Afterburner and start pushing the MHz up. A general rule with overclocking is you can’t do much damage unless you start pushing the voltage. For NVIDIA cards 105% power limit is usually enough to achieve a decent OC and won’t endanger your precious parts much. Move up in increments of 20-50 MHz and then stress test with apps like Heaven Bench. When stress testing GPUs you need to keep an eye out for signs of trouble. Artifacts (strange graphical glitches), static or “snow”, a reduction in performance or crashes and freezes are all bad signs. When this happens you need to drop back a notch and stress test for an extended period of time. Check these links for more info.

NVIDIA Overclocking Guide

AMD Overclocking Guide

msi afterurner overclocking specs for VR virtual reality computer

Tips for overclocking

  • Remember that overclocking may or may not be covered under warranty depending on the manufacturer.
  • Increasing the voltage will reduce the lifespan of any chip. At worst this usually means a reduction from 10 years down to 2 or 3 in extreme cases. And most gamers expect to replace their parts every 2-3 years.
  • Overclocking is temperature dependent, any chip will start to fail if it exceeds the safe range. So the better cooling you have, the more headroom you have.
  • Luck is a big factor as not all chips are created equal. Some chips will handle an extra 800MHz with a small voltage bump while others will fail at 100MHz no matter how much power you feed them.
  • Use programs like Intel XTU or Prime 95 for stress testing CPUs, and Heaven Bench for GPUs
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