NVIDIA claimed that the GeForce GTX 680 had some serious headroom for overclocking, so we fired up a beta release of EVGA’s excellent Precision performance tuning utility, which supports the GTX 680, to see just how much additional performance we could wring from the card.
During some conversations we had with a few representatives from NVIDIA, we were told that most GeForce GTX 680 cards would likely be able to hit GPU frequencies around 1.2GHz, with stock cooling. Our testing proved that to be true.
By cranking up the power target by 20% and increasing the GPU Clock Offset by 100MHz, our GeForce GTX 680 would consistently boost to about 1.19GHz with perfect stability and zero visual artifacts. For giggles, we also cranked the memory clock up by another 60MHz for an additional performance boost.
When all was said and done, we were able to raise the GeForce GTX 680’s peak GPU clock by 184MHz, an increase of about 18.4%. And we’re sure there would be even more performance under the hood with a further increase to the power target and GPU voltage.
With that said, while we had the card overclocked, we fired up a couple of benchmarks to see how performance was affected. Ultimately we saw a mild increase in performance in Alien vs. Predator, which is very sensitive to memory bandwidth. Metro 2033 showed a much larger increase in performance, however. In that test, overclocking the GeForce GTX 680 allowed it to pull ahead of the GeForce GTX 590, whereas the stock card could not.