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How To Underclock GPU? (A Thorough Guide)

How To Underclock GPU Complete Guide

In ideal situations, our GPUs are running on factory clocks or slightly higher overclocks. Of course, the better the stability and silicone lottery, the higher you can go with overclocks.

But unless you are working for every single frame, you do not really need to go that high, in the first place, and you can do really well with stock clocks.

If for some reason, however, you feel like you want to do some underclocking and have been wondering how to underclock GPU, then this post is for you because it will allow you to go ahead and do just that.

This is not as complicated as it might seem, so you can just go ahead and have a look at how this can be done.

What Is GPU Underclocking?

Honestly, understanding the term GPU underclocking is not at all complicated. It is a lot easier than you might think, but still, we are going to talk a bit more about it and how you can have a better understanding of it.

Image of a gaming pc with asus tuf rtx 3070 inside
Credits: Jose Ortega

GPU underclocking basically refers to the process of lowering the clock speeds of your GPU from what the factory clocks are. So, if your base clock is 1,855 MHz, you lower it to 1,800 MHz.

While some people might be baffled as to why this happens, in the first place, there are a number of reasons behind that, and well, we are going to take a look at a few of them in this post.

So, let’s not waste time and start having a look, shall we?

What Are the Pros and Cons of GPU Underclocking?

Now that we are done understanding what underclocking is, the next step is to start looking at the pros and cons of GPU underclocking, which I believe are important, especially if you are looking to make a decision.

Let’s start with the pros of GPU underclocking listed below.

  • Reduces power consumption
  • Good for reducing heat generation
  • Improves the lifespan
  • Can provide better stability

The pros are convincing enough, but what about the cons? Are those just as convincing? Let’s have a look at those below.

  • Possible negative impact on the performance
  • Crashes and instability issues.

Now that you know about the pros of cons of underclocking your GPU, the choice is entirely yours as to whether you want to take part in it.

If you are really convinced about it, I would highly advise that you start with increments and see if that works for you because that would help you more, and you can just find the sweet spot of underclocking where the effects are not as drastic.

How to Underclock a GPU By Using MSI Afterburner software?

Underclocking the process is not as difficult as it might seem, to be honest. You do need some understanding of how these things work, and on top of that, you need to have the right software, but aside from that, there is nothing that can come in the way, and you can underclock with ease.

We are going to use MSI Afterburner, the ever-trusted software that is excellent for GPU monitoring, overclocking, underclocking, and even over or undervolting.

showing how to lower core clock in afterburner

All you have to do is launch MSI Afterburner or your preferred software of choice and start lowering the core clock from the position it is in.

I would suggest you start the lowering process by 10 increments, just to be on the safer side, because it will help you have a better control, and you can avoid any issues.

Keep going lower until you find the right value and save the settings. From there, you do not have to worry about repeating the process again and again, and you will be good to go. I do understand it might not be easy for everyone, but hey, the option is there.

What Is the Difference Between Undervolting and Underclocking?

This is a common one, to be honest. A lot of times, people confuse undervolting and underclocking and consider it to be the same thing, but that is not the case. Simply put, underclocking and undervolting are two different terms.

Underclocking means lowering the base clock speed of your GPU to your desired value. Whereas, undervolting means lowering the amount of voltage that is being delivered to your GPU.

Both might work in tandem, but they don’t have a direct relationship with each other. If you do want to undervolt, then we have a separate guide for that.

Is It Safe to Underclock Your GPU?

This is a question that gets asked around a lot, and honestly, there is nothing wrong with underclocking your GPU. In most cases, it is as safe as it could be.

Image of a pc with rtx 3080 founders edition
Credits: Brad Starkey

However, the one, really important thing that you have to keep in mind is that when you are going for underclocking, you might encounter reduced performance in games, and on top of that, you might also encounter issues such as crashes or other stability-related issues.

Therefore, the more you pay attention to this, the better. Other than that, I do not think you will have any issues with underclocking, in the first place.

Is Underclocking GPU Good For Gaming?

Ideally, underclocking really should not cause any issues when you are going for gaming, to be honest. However, there are cases when underclocking GPU can actually go ahead and enjoy your games without any issues.

However, there are cases where you can run into some performance issues or reduced frame rate and even crashes.

That is because the GPU is simply not getting enough clock speed it needs to process everything that the game requires.

For lightweight games, it should not be a problem, but for highly GPU-dependent games, this can be an issue.

Will Underclocking GPU Reduce Heat?

This is another concern for anyone who is looking forward to underclocking their GPU. The simplest answer is yes, it does reduce the heat, but I have to tell you that this process is not as simple as you might think.

You see, the difference you will be getting by underclocking is going to be marginal at best, and this is one thing that most people normally don’t want to go with.

However, if your GPU is going through overheating, then in that case, you might want to underclock it to reduce the heat.

Can Underclocking Increase FPS?

Not particularly. You cannot really go ahead and increase FPS in games simply by using underclocking. It seems like a plausible thing, but it is not as simple and might not work, either.

Image of a gaming setup from left side
Credits: Result Kaya

Therefore, it is better that you are keeping this in mind. I do understand that this is not for everyone, but hey, there’s no rocket science involved here, so you are good to go.

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– My Final Verdict:

I do understand that underclocking a GPU is a complicated process for anyone who has not done something like this for the first time, but if you have been trying to get a better understanding.

The guide is here to make it clear to you that underclocking is only good if your GPU is desperately in need of it.

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Furqan Shahid

Furqan Shahid

Reader, writer, and gamer. I started my gaming journey with NES and back then, it was the greatest thing that I had ever put my hands on.

For me, it was the best thing in the world. However, as I progressed into the world of gaming, it soon dawned on me how this rabbit hole is a never-ending one and soon gaming turned from my passion to my profession. I have been gaming for 24 years and have extensive knowledge about not just platforms, but building computers as well.

My Expertise is in Computer hardware, PC Gaming, Video Games, Software and Apps, Computers, and Laptops.

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