Overclocking is always returns a mixed bag of results. Someone with an “identical” card may get 10% higher than you, no matter what you do to the voltages. However, that is a debate for another day. I want to go through my experiences with this card.
Whilst the keen-eyed amongst you may have noticed that this card is stated to have a 850MHz base clock and a 925MHz boosted clock, that isn’t strictly true. My sample came with a 950MHz clock on the core as standard. Increased performance for free; can’t be bad, can it? No, it certainly isn’t in my eyes.
Now, it’s time to fire up MSI Afterburner and let the clocking begin! I began overclocking with fairly high expectations in mind as this is a beasty cooler and it is meant to be a core that is capable of some serious MHz overclocking. I originally aimed for at least 1200MHz on the core as that is what I’ve seen done by plenty of other 7950s in the past. However, I was soon sadly let down when it wouldn’t hit those clocks. I had to settle for a maximum overclock of 1150MHz on the core. I played around with many core voltage configurations, but none of them granted me the 1200MHz I was after. I think I may have gotten unlucky in the silicone lottery this time.
I also had high expectations for the memory as I know that this GDDR5 used generally loves to fly but it wasn’t even able to hit 1500MHz. However, it is still a noticeable improvement over the stock clock speeds. It’s 1250MHz at stock and I was able to settle for a 1450MHz clock speed when I was done with it. Now, here’s the interesting part. This card is a reference design and you do have control over the VRAM voltage. However, increasing it just leads to more problems than it is worth. VRAM generally does not scale too well with more voltage so I’d advise leaving it well alone.
Whilst the card did not overclock as high as I was expecting, it certainly was no slouch. Let’s see how power hungry the card is and how hot it runs before jumping into the testing.