Nvidia’s recently released GTX 680 has been one of the world’s most popular video cards over the last few weeks. Since it was released with a fairly limited supply, many tech stores across North America have been out of stock since release day, and any new shipments that they received are quickly scooped up by those looking to speed up their computer’s gaming performance.

Nvidia’s GTX 680 became even more popular over the weekend when news broke about an overclocker named Kingpin pushing the card to 1957MHz, nearly breaking the 2GHz limit. Very few overclockers have been able to come close to that limit with any card, especially without permanently damaging the hardware within their PCs.

What does a 2GHz clock speed mean? Well, video cards have something called ‘core clock speed’ which dictates how fast the graphics card is actually running. The higher the clock speed, the better your performance will be. Keep in mind that core clock speed isn’t the only quality to look at when speeding up your PC with a good video card. You should also consider the card’s memory, pipelines, and shaders, for example.

However, the primary way of overclocking a graphics card is to increase the card’s clock speed using a combination of third-party software, external hardware modifications, and the card’s built-in software drivers. Video cards are fixed at a certain clock speed for a reason: if you exceed that clock speed, the video card will overheat if you’re using stock cooling devices (like the fans on your case or video card).

A good overclocker knows how to safely increase the clock speed without damaging the PC’s hardware or overheating the graphics card. This takes time, dedication, and even a little bit of luck.

To push a video card to the 2GHz barrier – even a powerful card like the GTX 680 – requires a commitment to cooling and the willingness to push your card to the limit. Here’s the setup that Kingpin used to do it:

Video card: EVGA GTX 680

CPU: Intel Core i7-3930K (overclocked to 5605MHz)


Cooling: Liquid Nitrogen Cooling System

While Kingpin had initially promised to break the 2GHZ barrier on the GTX 680, he managed to ‘only’ get it up to 1958MHz for a core clock speed and 3734MHz for the memory clock speed. These speeds allowed him to achieve an amazing P15731 score in 3DMark 11.

To read more about Kingpin’s journey to 2GHz and the rig he built to do it, head over to this thread.

For the average PC user, overclocking can be dangerous. You can overheat your PC and permanently damage the hardware inside, which turns your PC into a useless brick of metal and plastic.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that the average PC user can’t speed up their PC. Using software like PC Cleaner Pro 2012, you can easily double or even triple the speed of your PC. Whether you use your PC for gaming, work applications, or HD video, we can all appreciate an extra speed boost.

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