Every computer has a GPU, which stands for Graphics Processing Unit or graphics card. It frees up the GPU by performing quicker and shorter calculations so that the CPU can perform heavier processes. 

The GPU comes with a set clock speed, which can be overclocked or underclocked depending on what you need your computer for. Most gamers choose to overclock their GPU to make the computer run quicker. On the other hand, you can underclock your PC if you don’t need the GPU to run at full capacity all of the time. 

One consideration to keep in the back of your mind is that if the process isn’t done correctly, it can prove to be catastrophic on your PC, making it unable to function. It can also void any warranty you may have on it. If you’re still interested in underclocking yoru GPU, then continue on. 

Why Underclock Your GPU?

Underclocking is performed if you are only using your PC for minimal activities such as web browsing, mild internet games, etc. If you are using your PC for hardcore gaming, this is not for you. Underclocking can help save money on your electric bill and lower your PC’s internal temperature. 

Reduction in Power Consumption

Underclocking your GPU leads to a decrease in power consumption. Your computer hardware will not use as much power to run as it did while overclocked. A decrease in energy consumption means a decrease in your power bill. 

Fans Are Quieter

Lowering the clock speed of your GPU will reduce fan speeds. This will result in a cooler GPU because it will be operating at a lower temperature. When the GPU gets warm, the fans have to operate faster and harder to keep everything cool. When the fans run faster, they also get louder. Underclocking will reduce the noise and heat. 

It’s important to take airflow and outside temperatures into consideration. Airflow can increase the temperature of the GPU and cause it to overheat, as can the outside temperature. If you reside in an area where the temperatures are fluctuating with the seasons, you can become subject to overheating issues. If you are anticipating warm weather, underclocking your GPU can help. 

No More Overheating

When your GPU is overclocked, your fans are going to work harder, as will your GPU. This could potentially cause your PC to overheat, which can burn out the motherboard or other important components. Underclocking your GPU will allow the GPU to run at lower temperatures, significantly reducing the chances of the system overheating. 

Underclock VS Undervolt

These two processes are very different, but some may not realize it. Underclocking will use less power due to lowering the clocks. On the other hand, undervolting lowers the voltage going into the computer. It will have no effect on the core and memory of the card clock. Sure, you could undervolt, but can make it so that your system is extremely unstable. 

Is Underclocking Necessary?

Underclocking may seem like an ideal option for those who are looking to reduce their computers’ core temperature and increase their overall GPU functioning. It’s a quick fix that may solve many of your PC problems, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be done. It’s essential to take your individual needs into consideration 

If you need your GPU to run at full force all the time, then underclocking is a great option. It saves power, money, and decreases temperatures that could potentially lead to a full system meltdown. If your system has been overheating for a while and nothing else has worked for you, then underclocking is a solution to consider. 

Is Underclocking Safe?

Many PC users prefer to overclock their system to make it run faster to give them better gaming performance. However, this requires significant knowledge of the slide in the chip to achieve increased hourly rates. Underclocking reverses this process and it’s a fantastic method for minimalizing temperatures and control utilization. When it comes to gaming, it can provide users with increased proficiency per watt.

So to answer the question, yes, underclocking is completely safe, much safer than overclocking. There are little to no risks of underclocking, but it should still be performed with caution. 

How To Underclock Your PC Through BIOS

Before the development of automatic underclocking programs, users would have to enter BIOS and alter the settings through there. This was a dangerous way to underclock the GPU because if just one setting was improperly tweaked, the whole system was subject to failure. 

If you’re old school and still prefer to go through BIOS or for some reason your PC fails to run an underclocking software program, here’s how to alter it in BIOS. 

  1. Access your PC’s BIOS settings page. Each PC or laptop has its own key combination for entering BIOS. Check the user manual or on the website to find out which combination it is
  2. Once in, scroll through the BIOS screens by using PgDn and PgUp or the arrow keys to navigate to the section that allows you to change the variables
  3. Scroll down to locate CPU Frequency/Voltage Control and press enter
  4. Use the left and right arrows to adjust the values
  5. Lower the clock speed by using the arrows to adjust the variables
  6. Lower the vCore next. A 10% decrease in voltage will require around a 10% decrease in clock speed
  7. Save the settings once complete
  8. If you suspect you have made a mistake, press the ESC key without saving

Underclocking With MSI

If you don’t want to risk using BIOS to underclock your computer, then we will turn to the MSI  Afterburner. This is the easiest and most reliable underclocking software on the market.

You will need to download the software here and use the setup wizard to set it up just as you would with any other software. Before proceeding, ensure that your graphic card is detected. 

Once the program has been installed, there are several actions that you can take. 

Lowering The Clock Speed

Once the MSI Afterburner has been set up, you will be presented with a couple of options. Take note of the original position of the slider. These are the default graphic card values. You can also utilize the reset button if you forget what you were changing. 

Lowering the clock speed involves moving the clock slider to the left. The more to the left you move it, the lower the clock speed. After you have found the speed you want to use, apply the settings. 

Underclocking The Memory Clock 

This step should be taken only if you have already overclocked the memory clock. If you only changed the settings for the core clock or only want to lower the speed, then leave the memory clock as is.  Underclocking the memory isn’t recommended as it can cause instability. 

Adjusting The Voltage

The voltage setting is generally only dictated through VBIOS and firmware and can’t be altered in most cases. If the option is there, though, you can use the slider and go to the left to turn it down. Lowering the voltage of the GPU is called “undervolting” and when done in unison with underclocking, it has maximum potency. 

Fan Curve Adjustment

When underclocking a GPU, the card should be much cooler, but it’s not always as cool as you want it to be. You can alter this by setting a custom fan curve. Click on the gear icon under the slider for fan speed to go to the settings. Once in there, click on the fan tab. A 1:1 curve is aggressive and may produce more sound than users would like. You can alter the ratio to make it acquire the best thermal/audible balance. 

Underclock Stress Testing

Underclocking can and will alter the way your PC performs. You can certainly underclock it too much. This is why utilizing a stress testing tool can keep tabs on how your PC is functioning.

One of these programs is called 3DMark. It checks on the stability of your PC by placing a high load on your system for long periods of time. This helps bring stability and reliability issues to the surface. Additionally, it exposes faulty hardware and lets you know if additional cooling is required. 

After the test is completed, you will be presented with your system’s frame rate stability score. If the score is high, it means that your performance under load is consistent and reliable. Your system needs a frame rate stability of at least 97% with all loops completed. 

Conclusion

Underclocking your GPU definitely has its advantages. It’s a safe process to perform with the help of the MSI Afterburner program. It has all of the essential tools you could ever need for cooling down your GPU and lowering fan speeds. 

If you are positive that you don’t need all of your GPU’s power, then you would certainly benefit from underclocking. It results in lower energy bills and you will still have the same gaming experience without performance reduction.