Curious about overclocking, looking for safe guidance

Hi all. I built a new pc this year for both work and play and I am very happy with it’s performance in FS, but I’m also curious to see if I can make it work any better. Specs are: i7 11700k with a Corsair AIO 240mm cooler on a Gigabyte z590 Aorus Pro AX motherboard, 32GB of Vengeance 3600 RAM, 1TB Corsair M2 NVME ssd for the OS and FS, plus a 2TB Samsung SATA SSD for anything else. The GPU is a Gigabyte RTX 3060 Gaming OC and the PSU is a Seasonic Prime 750w gold, all sitting in a Be Quiet Pure Base 500DX case with 6 Be Quiet fans, including 2 on the cooler.

As I said, I am very happy with performance overall, and in FS I generally get at least 45-50 fps in Ultra settings at 1080p on my 75hz monitor. It’s smooth and jitter free and has excellent visuals with all the hardware in standard factory trim.

Purely out of curiosity, I was interested to see if it is possible to overclock the CPU or the GPU or both, and if this might have any meaningful and reliable performance benefits.

First I tried using the Gigabyte ‘Easy Tune’ software. This can allegedly overclock the CPU up to 5.2 GHZ on all cores, but on the several occasions I have tried that setting it results in a CTD while loading the flight every time. Reverting to standard settings fixes the problem.

Next I tried the Intel XTU and I didn’t really know what I was doing with this but even a mild tweaking had the same result with a CTD every time. Uninstalling it and reverting to standard setting again fixed the issue.

I tried the Gigabyte Aorus Engine software to OC the GPU using it’s automatic scan and boost feature with the same results, CTD evey time I tried to load a flight.

Finally I tried the well regarded MSI afterburner app and found it a bit of a nightmare - whether using the automatic or manual settings, and OC caused FS to crash every time. I uninstalled it, but the OC settings remained applied to the GPU and eventually I had to uninstall the Nvidia drivers completely and start again to be rid of the afterburner settings and have it all work properly again.

As I said, I don’t desperately need to OC this pc, but there are some decent bits of kit and a good PSU in there, so I would hope a stable and effective overclock is possible. Is there an app I haven’t tried, or a guide to making this work successfully with FS anywhere?

Thanks for any suggestions,
Grahame.

I absolutely and completely fail to see why on earth you’d want to attempt to over-clock a system like yours.

My advice is to leave it alone.

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If it ain’t broke, break it! :pensive:

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For starters, what does Intel XPU show for your processor frequency without any attempted overclocking when running MSFS? Also what is the multiplier range for the cores?

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I second that!

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There are numerous CPU over clocking guides online, google your kit and follow one. The worst thing that can happen is you blow your CPU and have to buy another. It’s more of an extension to your hobby than a must have, you’ll get all excited about how many hours of Prime you ran for - it’s a bit like FPS watching.

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I’ve been playing around with OCs ever since you had to manually solder a bridge shut (or connect it by pencil) on the board of the CPU to even get the thing to OC. And at some time during the process I found out it was just for kicks, not for the actual performance.

From my experience with OC vs. MSFS, I would also recommend leaving it alone. MSFS is very finicky with OC’ed systems and even the slightest instability - which won’t faze any other application or game you have - can produce a CTD. I can’t even run my RAM at D.O.C.P / XMP values and have them run 200 MHz below max. CPU isn’t overclocked at all and running on AUTO. Same goes for the GPU.

Also: the performance increase you can get with OC vs AUTO often isn’t that great since modern CPUs increase frequency and voltage themselves. Sure you can measure the difference with benchmark programs and see it ingame on the FPS counter, but what good does it actually do you?

Since all systems are basically unique it’s also hard to give specific advice apart from the basics. Basics are: for every bit of performance you will also have to optimise power supply, airflow and cooling.
So if it’s just the personal challenge to tweak your system to the highest performance without any MSFS CTDs, just go ahead and play around until you get it.

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I’d avoid EasyTune. The RTX series GPUs can be OC’d by Nvidia apps or others, but just maintain a watch over CPU and GPU temps and use common sense, too much without hardware temp mitigation can lead you into watching thousands of dollars literally smoke. Be happy with where you are, I think…

Very simply put, MSFS does not like much in the way of overclocking. You are inviting continuous headaches.

If you are convinced this is something you want to try, start very small and test the hell out of MSFS before going further. Then test again. Do not rely on benchmarking or stress software to decide if MSFS will run stable. USE MSFS.

I can tell you that there have been a number of users, myself included that have done a ton of O/C testing with MSFS and the general consensus is, don’t bother. The gains, when measurable, are negligible and in many cases, although things ran fine for a while, CTD became more frequent after an add-on or update was introduced.

Your system is more than capable of providing very satisfactory performance and O/C’ing it may in fact reduce the sims performance while leaving you with that uneasy feeling, waiting for the shoe to drop.

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That is sensible advice, thank you. I merely asked because surely we’d all like to know if our pc’s are doing their best, or if there is an essentially free upgrade available in there somewhere.

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I really won’t. I worked and saved hard to buy the parts for my pc. Some of them are just the best I could find here in the UK given availability and budget. I have absolutely no intention of letting any of it go pop.

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Thank you all for your thoughts and mostly positive contributions. I will leave it as is, enjoy the experience in MSFS and everything else the pc does well, and forget about overclocking or any other radical changes.

So far nothing has worked or given an improvement, so I’m happy to leave it all alone until one day when can afford and find a better GPU.

Kind regards,
Grahame.

Yes just leave it as it is. I think 11700k sync all cores to 4.6ghz and single core to 5ghz ( but i think for light usage). Your crashes possibly caused from overheating.
i have 11900k + corsair H150i /360mm with Adaptive Boost enabled i reach 85C on Cinebech R23 ( multi stress)

I overclock an older 8700k up to 4.9Ghz and my memory from 3200Mhz to 3300Mhz very succesfully with no CTD so it can be done. Whether the benefits are worth it in MFS I am not too sure. I don’t OC purely for MFS and haven’t tested, but my whole machine feels more snappy and responsive at 4.9Ghz. Just make sure you keep an eye on the temps - my tower does the secondary job of a heater in winter. Not so good in summer though…

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I do agree with you with the performance he is getting it’s probably not worth it.
But as someone who has oc’d the CPU and GPU since release I have had few CTD’s.
The issue is people trying to push things to far for their hardware.

I found the I9-9900k was fine at 4.8 ghz but at 5 it would cause occasional crashes so stuck with 4.8
As for rtx 2070 able to push the core clock to 220mhz any higher sim will ctd. Also boosted the memory clock by 1000mhz you can supposedly push NVidia cards up to +10,000 MHz but I didn’t see much improvement going any further.

@MagicQuasar1176 When you used afterburner did you run the scan and let it complete?
I have been using the afterburner recommended oc but slightly upped a few settings.

I did also find running the scan in the performance tab on GeForce experience worked well, but was more cautious than the afterburner scan results came back with.

For me I gained around 5ps and because I’m pushing 4k albeit with 80 render scaling in sim it is necessary to oc for better experience. Gave up looking for a 30 series GPU.

(I should add I have left the voltages at default settings.)

I am running a 2060 super at 1080 16:9 stock. Got a whack of Ultra mixed at 200 LODs. I have smooth 50 fps throughout with 35 around LAX and London. All this with an i5 8400 at stock. I have 55-60% CPU and 90% +/- on the GPU. When I tried a small O/C boost it all went in the toilet. I think a lot has to be said about running the hardware at speeds it was designed for and comfortable temps.

It’s like chipping your new truck. Goes like a scalded cat until something blows up.

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The thing is, at this point Intel is milking everything it can from its chips, so you do have an overclocked CPU right out of the box. You could get it to 5Ghz stable on all cores, perhaps 5.1Ghz, but then, as people mentioned, you do have to OC it manually and test it to make it stable.

I got my i5-9600K to 5Ghz on all cores and it ran MSFS fine. Never had a CTD. You just have to do it right. There is no mystery in OCing your chip, especially nowadays. Tons of YouTube tutorials. You might even find the right tutorial for your motherboard. I had a good chip as well, I think running at 1.28V. Not the best, not the worst. Now I have an i7-9700K and I don’t see any needs to OC it for now.

And auto overclocking is bad. These apps sets the voltage too high. Either you do it manually or you just live it alone. The same thing with Windows power boost and that sort of BS in Power Management. Leave it alone. Let the CPU do its thing.

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Yeah myself I have left the voltages at default and in afterburner unless you enable it the voltage slider is usually not in use for adjustment.
Unless you adjust voltages or you have temperature issue’s it’s unlikely to do any damage to hardware worse thing that will happen is it will crash.

I actually use the ai overclocker that comes with the Asus ROG MAXIMUS XII HERO (WI-FI) but stopped it from adjusting the oc once it found a stable oc which is at 4.8ghz.

@MagicQuasar1176 just do some research and watch some video’s on how to oc it’s really not as big and scary as it first seems.

Dear OP: I think it’s cool that you want to learn about this. I have a suspicion that your motivation may be more about learning than upping the performance of MSFS becuase with your current set up won’t result in any visible improvement.

Before making any more adjustments, I would humbly recommend both ensuring you have all your important data backed up and also, make a Windows Restore Point. Also ensure you know how to get your computer back to factory setup if need be.

Although youtube videos, etc. will be educational, one thing I would, again, humbly, would be to give GigaByte tech support a ring. It’s possible you might find a friendly rep that can give you some awesome recommendations. They may even be able to discuss memory and gpu options.

Good luck and congrats on your new system.

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Depending on the overclock, you can see improvements but you don’t mention VR. VR is different because just a little performance increase can yield big rewards if your system is reprojecting frames. If you are near the edge, a slight overclock can turn lots of missed and reprojected frames into good primary frames.

On a monitor it’s less important but any extra performance, even if it’s not needed for hitting frame rate targets at current settings , means you can add more detail, etc, to make things look better.

For me, it’s never been a “don’t bother” kind of thing. There’s a fair amount of variability across a CPU production run and some good chips can overclock really well. There aren’t many sleeper chips but they are there. You may have some untapped performance available.

Best thing is to check frame rates in developer mode. If you are GPU limited mostly, overclocking your CPU may not get you much. But if your settings have made you CPU limited, every bit of performance you can get by overclocking will help that and give better performance.

There’s lots to know about overclocking. I wouldn’t touch voltages until you really know what you are doing because there is potential to do damage with higher voltages. But lower voltages can also help overclocks in certain circumstances. If you do look at overclocking, have good cooling. Higher clocks increase heat and these chips are already being pushed. That’s why undervolting - it reduces heat. But with all the overclocking you are likely pushing your system closer to instability and that can lead to data corruption. I wouldn’t recommend it on systems where you do serious things like banking and such.

There’s a lot to know and you need to learn the details before diving in. You need to have good cooling and you need to keep an eye on things unless you just go for small, really stable, boosts. But it could give you even more performance.

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