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When gaming, the GPU clock speed plays a crucial role on how well the game actually plays, this is because it influences the FPS in a linear fashion.
So, as your GPU core clock speed increases, so will the FPS in a linear fashion, this means you can get a lot of performance from a small clock speed increase.
So yes, the GPU clock speed absolutely matters for gaming, it’s the most important metric which the user has control over.
Why The GPU Clock Speed Matters In Gaming
For gaming, the FPS is an indicator to how well and smooth the video game plays, the higher the FPS, the better usually.
And the GPU clock speed has a direct linear relationship with the in game FPS, this means if you’re getting 50FPS at 1GHz, increasing the clock speed to 1.1GHz should yield a 5FPS improvement, or roughly 10%.
However due to bottlenecks which all computer systems suffer from, it won’t be an exact 10% improvement in FPS as every other component such as the CPU, and the VRAM will have to work harder.
So the improvement in FPS would likely be around 7% better if you were to increase the clock speed from 1GHz to 1.1GHz.
Also Read: What Is A Good MHz For GPU
Is Higher GPU Clock Speed Better For FPS?
Yes, higher GPU clock speeds are absolutely better, but that’s only true when keeping every other aspect of the GPU the same.
So that means keeping mostly the GPU architecture the same as that negates any architectural improvements from influencing the test.
That usually means comparing RTX 40 series cards with other RTX 40 series cards, and not comparing an RTX 40 series GPU with an RTX 30 series GPU.
The same thing applies to AMD GPUs, you can’t compare an AMD 7000 series GPU with an AMD 5000 series GPU when comparing clock speeds.
The GPU cores are responsible for processing graphical data which is important in video games, and it does this each clock cycle.
Higher clock speeds mean the GPU is able to perform more tasks per second, this is because the clock speed refers to how many times the GPU cores cycle per second.
Best GPU Clock Speed for Gaming
Giving a number for the best clock speed is extremely difficult because GPUs have other factors that contribute to performance such as core count.
So, you can have a GPU with a large amount of cores, but a low clock speed, and perform better than a GPU with a higher clock speed and fewer cores.
It pretty much depends on the GPU and how you play your games, for example, the strongest performing graphics cards get their power from their core count, not their clock speeds.
|Graphics Card||Core Clock Speed||Core Count||Recommended Resolution|
|NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090||1395 MHz base/1695 MHz boost||10496||4K/8K|
|AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT||1825 MHz base/2250 MHz boost||5120||4K/8K|
|NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080||1440 MHz base/1710 MHz boost||8704||4K|
|AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT||1825 MHz base/2015 MHz||4608||4K|
|NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070||1500 MHz base/1725 MHz boost||5888||2K/4K|
|NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060||1320 MHz base/1777 MHz boost||3584||2K|
|AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT||1968 MHz base/2359 MHz boost||2048||2K|
The RTX 3090 has 10496 cores, and a clock speed of 1395 MHz base/1695 MHz boost, this particular GPU is best at 4K resolutions.
The RTX 3070 has 5888 cores, and a clock speed of 1500 MHz base/1725 MHz boost, this GPU is best at 2K resolutions.
The RTX 3070 has almost half as many cores, but a slightly higher clock speed, this should show that clock speed doesn’t isn’t everything when it comes to gaming performance.
Is Boost Clock Important For Gaming
When a graphics card boosts its clock speed, it’s usually because a graphically intensive application is running, and it can use some extra performance.
So you may notice that your clock speed jumps from its base clock to its boost clock when loading up your favourite game.
Although the jump is usually by a few hundred MHz, the difference in FPS is usually huge due to the clock speed and the FPS having a linear correlation.
So, yes a boost clock speed is definitely important for gaming as it massively boosts the amount of FPS you’d normally get.
But the GPU will only boost when certain requirements are met, you need to ensure that your GPU is cool enough, when a GPU is boosting, it can get very hot.
Ensuring that your computer has enough cooling, and the airflow is properly exhausting warm air is the best way to maximize the GPU boosting effect.
Why Is My GPU Clock Speed Fluctuating In Game?
Have you noticed that your GPU clock speed is fluctuating a lot, no need to worry because this is perfectly normal.
Many graphics cards have a power management setting which monitors the GPUs power, and conserves it by reducing the clock speed when maximum power isn’t required.
If your GPU was running at max speed 100% of the time, then your system would get extremely hot and use an absurd amount of power.
Also, the GPU will boost its clock speed according to how hot your graphics card is, if the GPU is cool, then it will boost higher, if the GPU is hot, then it wont boost as high.
However, fluctuating can rarely be an issue, but when it is, it’s usually because of poor cooling.
To fix poor cooling, there’s a few things you can do such as – improving airflow, adjusting GPU fan speed curves, using compressed air to remove dust
- Improving airflow
- Adjusting fan speed curves in the BIOS
- Unblocking any clogged vents using compressed air
- Reapplying thermal paste
How To Fix Low GPU Clock Speed In Game?
If you notice that your GPU clock speed isn’t performing as well as it should on the box, then there’s a few things you should consider.
Firstly, if you notice that your GPU clock speed is low, it may be the cause of a bottleneck where the CPU is limiting how much the GPU can actually do.
In this case, the GPU is not running at 100%, and the CPU is running at 100%, to fix this, you need to improve on single-core performance by either picking up a better CPU or overclocking.
Secondly, you may be using a frame rate limiter, this will very likely lower the GPUs clock speed in game, but it isn’t a bad thing.
If you’d normally get 100FPS in game, but you limit the FPS to 60 FPS, then the GPU won’t have to work as hard and lower the GPU clock speeds.
Yes, the GPU clock speed is very important for gaming, it has a massive influence on frame rates due to the linear relationship with it.
However, the GPU clock speed isn’t the only metric when it comes to understanding how well the GPU performs in games, the core count is also important.