It’s a pretty powerful, robust system, but there are places we can trim down to get it more in the realm of what’s reasonable. For stock settings, I disabled SLI and ran with just a single GeForce GTX 760 enabled, then downclocked the RAM to DDR3-1600 CAS 9, which is more in line with what the average user will have. These are the stock clocks we’re working with:
To give you a feel for how much performance you stand to get from overclocking, I benchmarked the system at stock speeds, each component overclocked individually, and then everything overclocked together. These are the modest overclocks I was able to achieve:
The CPU and RAM overclocks are pretty modest, and I was disappointed that I couldn’t quite hit 1.3GHz on the GeForce GTX 760. Overall, though, these are reasonable gains in raw clocks that you’re getting essentially for “free.” So how do these translate in practice?
Our memory overclock shows a minor but consistent performance improvement, spiking in Cinebench’s OpenGL test; without that, we’re averaging about a 1-1.5% performance boost. Under normal circumstances that’s not especially compelling, but it is free. Bumping the CPU clock nets decent gains across the board until you get into the gaming tests, where it’s more modest. Finally, bumping the GPU clock gets you big gains in gaming but virtually nothing anywhere else.
If you’re going to overclock a single component, it pays to figure out what your system’s focus is going to be. The memory should essentially be overclocked to bolster your CPU overclock, but you have to decide if you want the CPU or GPU.
However, if you overclock everything, gains are more substantial across the board. The CPU gets more room to move its legs from the memory overclock, and the GPU gets more headroom from the CPU and memory overclocks. Everything works together. Remember these overclocks are pretty modest, and this performance is basically “free;” all you’re spending is a little time to tune everything. With rare exception you get about a 10% boost in system performance across the board, and that’s nothing to sneeze at.