How To's

How to Overclock Radeon RX 580 GPU: A Step-by-Step Guide

11 Mins read

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DISCLAIMER: Use overclocking at your own risk! This will void the warranty of your graphics card, and may even destroy it, or damage its components. ViCadia.com does not take any responsibilities related to overclocking or performing any adjustments to your computer. You have been warned!

Even though our disclaimer might discourage you from overclocking your graphics card, in reality this process isn’t so scary or complicated as it may seem. In this guide we’ll show you how to overclock your AMD Radeon RX 580 graphics card. Whether you are just a gamer looking to get some extra FPS, or a professional cryptocurrency miner trying to squeeze out the best hashrate possible out of your GPU, this guide will help you increase the performance of your graphics card, and hopefully deliver better gaming and computing results.

Before we delve deep into the procedure of overclocking your AMD Radeon RX 580, here is a few things worth clearing up. Overclocking your AMD graphics card is a fairly safe procedure, provided that you use the official AMD software, and that you know what you are doing. Most GPUs nowadays come with built-in fail-safe systems (such as power limiters) that prevent you from frying your card, and can only be bypassed by flashing a modified BIOS. This means there is a very low possibility of destroying your card if you only use software to overclock it. In fact, software-based overclocking is considered to be the safest way of overclocking any PC component, however, things can always go south if you don’t pay close attention to what you’re doing.

Now that we resolved this matter, let’s get back to overclocking your AMD Radeon RX 580 graphics card. Despite being officially released in 2017, the Radeon RX 580 is still a fantastic GPU. Numerous driver updates by AMD allowed this GPU to surpass GeForce GTX 1060 in gaming, and also become a cryptocurrency mining star thanks to its impressively high mining hashrate. Some models of RX 580 can even reach RX 590 gaming performance levels, which is an amazing feat for such an old card. However, since there are numerous AIB models of the RX 580, not all of them are able to achieve same overclocking results. In this guide we’ll focus on overclocking the SAPPHIRE PULSE Radeon RX 580 8G G5 whose specifications you can check out here.

SAPPHIRE PULSE Radeon RX 580 8G

1. Prepare for overclocking

If you’ve already overclocked a few GPUs in your life, then feel free to skip this step. Otherwise, keep on reading. If you want to achieve the best overclocking results possible, you’ll need to make sure that you have a reliable PSU. Overclocking your GPU will increase its power consumption, so head to this link, and calculate your approximate power consumption in order to determine whether you need to upgrade your PSU or not.

It is also recommended to clean your GPU coolers before conducting any overclocking procedures. Not only will this make your GPU run cooler, but will also relieve stress from fan motors that have to deal with the weight of accumulated dust.

2. Download the necessary software

Before you overclock your Radeon RX 580 graphics card, be sure to download the necessary software to do that. Down below we’ve separated all the necessary software you’ll need in a few categories. Here they are.

3. Run benchmarks to obtain reference data

Many inexperienced overclockers tend to skip this step. However, benchmarking your GPU’s performance is very important to do if you want to objectively asses your overclocking results. In the previous step we’ve mentioned a few synthetic benchmarks you should download before you start doing any serious overclocking.

3DMark’s Time Spy and UNIGINE’s Heaven benchmarks are widely popular among overclockers thanks to their large database of publicly available benchmark data. However, to properly determine the real-world gaming performance of your GPU, we also recommend installing and running a few games with built-in benchmarks, such as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Grand Theft Auto V, Horizon Zero Dawn, Shadow of The Tomb Raider, or Metro Exodus. The data you obtain running these benchmarks will greatly help you evaluate your overclocking results.

Last but not least, you should also run the OCCT stability and stress test tool with your GPU’s default settings in order to measure your card’s power consumption under full load. A typical Radeon RX 580 will consume around 130-155 watts of power under full load.

4. Enable software overclocking within AMD Radeon Software

Now it’s time to start overclocking. If you have any utilities running in the background that alter the GPU’s performance (such as MSI Afterburner), be sure to disable them or close them. You don’t want them to interfere with AMD’s Radeon Software settings, as this may cause some serious issues. If you have any custom made fan curves enabled via MSI Afterburner, save them and disable them. There will be time when you’ll be able to enable them again.

To enable software overclocking follow these steps:

  • Go to your desktop, right click in an empty space, and select AMD Radeon Software from the drop-down menu.
  • Within AMD Radeon Software’s interface select Performance tab.
  • Within Performance tab select Tuning tab.
  • Select Global Tuning from the drop-down menu if you want to apply your overclocked settings to all situations. At the right you can click Add Game to create custom performance profiles for each specific game.
  • In the Tuning Control section select Manual to enable manual overclocking.
  • Four new sub-sections will appear (GPU Tuning, VRAM Tuning, Fan Tuning, and Power Tuning). Set all of them to Enabled by toggling the button near the title of each section.
  • Set all Advanced sub-sections to Enabled as well.

5. Increasing the power limit

When it comes to overclocking your AMD Radeon RX 580 graphics cards, the most important thing is setting the power limit within the Power Tuning section. Depending on the card’s BIOS, different models of the RX 580 feature different power limits. High-end models of Radeon RX 580 can have their power limit set to 50%. In case of SAPPHIRE PULSE Radeon RX 580 8G G5, the power limit can be set to maximally 30%.

Move the slider as far as possible to the right to increase the card’s power limit. Increasing the power limit doesn’t necessarily mean your GPU will consume 30% or 50% more power. This only allows the card to draw more power if you put it under load. If you increase your GPU’s core frequencies and voltages, but don’t increase the power limit, the card may throttle. This will cause the clocks to go up and down, since your GPU won’t be able to draw enough power to maintain the desired core clocks. Of course, increasing the power limit will increase your GPU’s power consumption, so be sure to have enough powerful PSU.

Click image to zoom

If you only modify the power limit setting, and nothing else, your GPU will still perform better than with stock settings, as it will be able to draw more power, and thus deliver slightly better performance overall.

6. Adjusting the core voltage and frequency

Next step is to increase the GPUs core clocks, and adjust the operating voltage. AMD Radeon Software allows you to modify these values for all the 7 working states, however, you only need to increase frequency for State7 if you plan to overclock your card for gaming. From our personal experience with Radeon RX 580 graphics cards, the 1,400 MHz is the “sweet spot” frequency for performing mild and stable overclock.

At this frequency, most custom variants of Radeon RX 580 will need voltage of 1060 to 1090 mV. Depending on the model, some cards may need more voltage to operate without problems. This means that some cards may perform better if they run at voltages from 1100 to 1120 mV. In our case, the 1075 mV was the perfect voltage for our SAPPHRIE PULSE Radeon RX 580.

If you are not sure which voltage is best for your card, simply enter the values, run a game or benchmark test, see if there are any issues, and if there are – increase the voltage for 5 to 10 mV. Don’t be afraid to go with voltage of 1100 mV, or 1110 mV. Even 1120 mV is fine. As long as your voltage is below 1150 mV mark, you’ll be good, as this is the default operating voltage for Radeon RX 580 GPU.

Once you set new voltage and frequency values for State7, now you have to adjust voltage for all the lower states. This is fairly simple procedure. Just enter the voltage that is a bit lower compared to the voltage for a higher state. Our practice is to deduce 20 mV from the voltage for a higher state, so if the voltage for your State7 is, say, 1075 mV, then voltage for State6 should be 1055 mV. Repeat this same procedure for all the states until State3. This state usually has a voltage of 995 mV, and as such doesn’t have to be decreased any further.

If you did everything correctly, your settings in AMD Radeon Software should look something like this:

Click image to zoom

If you paid close attention to what we were doing, then you might have figured out by now that we undervolted our card. This means that we decreased its default operating voltage from 1150 mV to 1075 mV, despite the fact that we increased the core’s frequency by 34 MHz. Strangely enough, this is how AMD’s Polaris cards work, since most of them come factory overvolted and as such consume more power, and generate more heat than it’s necessary. By applying these settings, we actually improved our card’s performance, and decreased its overall thermal output and power consumption. In short, it’s a win-win situation.

7. Increasing VRAM frequency and voltage

Last but not least, there is VRAM tuning. Increasing the VRAM speed is very important if you want to achieve better gaming performance. By overclocking VRAM, you also increase your card’s memory bandwidth, which allows your GPU to process all those textures and data stored in VRAM much quicker. Cards with more VRAM (e.g. 8GB) generally profit more with VRAM overclocking.

Overclocking VRAM on Radeon RX 580 is quite important, since Polaris-based GPUs are “bandwidth starved”. The 4GB variants of RX 580 usually feature 1,750 MHz VRAM clocks, while the 8GB variants usually come with 2,000 MHz VRAM clocks. Overclocking VRAM on the 4GB variant may not be as beneficial as on the 8GB variant, since memory timings usually get more loose, which in turn causes increased latency. It is also worth to mention that cards featuring Samsung’s memory modules overclock better than cards featuring Hynix’s or Micron’s memory modules.

To properly overclock your Radeon RX 580 with 8GB of VRAM, first enable VRAM tuning. Once you do that, change the default 2,000 MHz value to 2,100 MHz. Be sure also to set the voltage to 950 mV. If the card runs fine with these settings, feel free to increase memory frequency up to 2,200 MHz, and memory voltage up to 970 mV.

Increasing the voltage in the VRAM tuning tab will not actually increase the operating voltage of VRAM, but the voltage of a memory controller. The true VRAM voltage can’t be modified via AMD Radeon Software, as this could seriously mess things up and even set your card’s VRAM on fire. Of course, modifying the VRAM voltage is possible by editing and flashing a custom BIOS, however, we strongly recommend to avoid doing that.

Once you apply custom VRAM voltage and frequency, be sure to run multiple benchmark tests to see if there are any issues such as texture flickering, artifacts, etc. We recommend using HWiNFO64 to monitor GPU memory errors, which you can find in the GPU sensors tab. Here, your main goal is to achieve as little memory errors as possible, preferably zero. Now, even if you get some memory errors, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep your VRAM overclocked. Even at default settings, some cards may get memory errors. The problem arises if you get thousands, or millions of errors per minute. Couple of dozen errors isn’t a big problem, however, keep in mind that GPUs always try to correct these errors, so if you get many of them, you may experience severe performance losses.

If you’ve done everything correctly, then your VRAM tuning tab should look something like this:

Click image to zoom

You can also adjust memory timings for your VRAM, however, we recommend keeping this at default settings. If you have an extremely stable system, then use Memory Timing Level2, as you’ll probably achieve much better performance. Don’t use Memory Timing Level1, since this will apply the slowest memory timing settings to your VRAM. Overall, just keep it on Automatic for now.

8. Run some benchmarks & stress test your GPU

Once you’ve applied overclocked settings to your graphics card, now it’s time to run some benchmarks. Even though you might have done that already, running the same benchmarks multiple times is extremely important when it comes to overclocking your GPU. The main goal of repeating this same process is to make sure that your card can work properly for hours, and that there are no instability issues.

We recommend running the 3DMark Time Spy and UNIGINE Superposition benchmarks as many times as possible to make sure your card performs good with overclocked settings. However, synthetic benchmarks aren’t enough to make sure if the card works properly. Playing the games, and running in-game benchmarks is equally important, as these workloads differ a lot compared to running synthetic benchmarks.

After performing a successful overclock, one of the most important things is to run a GPU stress test tool, such as the OCCT. This is by far one of the most popular all-in-one stability test tools that is able to generate heavy loads on your components and push them to their limits. To stress test your overclocked GPU with OCCT tool, do this:

  1. Open OCCT stress test tool
  2. In the Test schedule tab select 3D, and make sure that Error Detection is enabled
  3. Run the test for at least 30 minutes
  4. Closely monitor GPU temperatures and error readings
Click image to zoom

There is no real limit how long should you stress test your card. However, the longer you do it, the better. Be sure to closely monitor your GPU’s core and memory temperatures during the stress test. You card may hit a throttling threshold temperature, so keep an eye to stop the test once this occurs. If the card succeeds in running the test for at least 30 minutes without any errors, and without any throttling, then you may safely say that you achieved a stable overclock.

9. Compare your benchmark results

Keeping notes, and logging you benchmark data is one of the most important things when performing GPU overclocks. This allows you to objectively and empirically measure and evaluate the performance of your graphics cards, as well as to determine whether overclocking your GPU is worth your time or not.

In this guide we’ve showed you how to overclock the SAPPHIRE PULSE Radeon RX 580 graphics cards, which we used to write this comprehensive overclocking guide. In the table below below you can see our overclocking results:

Benchmark (1080p)RX 580 Stock
(1366/2000)
RX 580 O.C.
(1400/2100)
UNIGINE Superposition (Medium)84238678
3DMark Time Spy42994430
Final Fantasy XV (Standard)61 FPS64 FPS
Tom Clancy's The Division (DX12)63 FPS67 FPS
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (Ultra)64 FPS66 FPS
Red Dead Redemption 2 (VULKAN)59 FPS61 FPS

As you can see, the performance improvement from overclocking our card was quite modest, however, we were able to achieve around 5% higher FPS on average compared to the stock settings.

10. Overclock your card further (optional)

If you aren’t satisfied with your overclocking results, but still have a fairly stable GPU, then you can continue overclocking your card further. The path that lies ahead of you is actually quite simple, and it involves entering the so-called “overclocker’s loop”. This process consists of the following steps:

  1. Increase your GPU’s core clocks as much as possible without increasing the core voltage.
  2. Run benchmark tests to check for stability issues.
  3. If your system crashes, then increase your GPU core voltage by 5 to 10 mV. If not, repeat step 1.
  4. Once you are satisfied with your GPU’s core clocks and voltage, overclock your VRAM the same way you overclocked your GPU core.

Conclusion

And there you have it! Now you know everything about overclocking your AMD Radeon RX 580 graphics card. If you followed our steps closely you should now see some performance gains. Besides that, your card should now also produce less heat, and consume less power since we undervolted it.

As you can see, overclocking your GPU is nowadays a fairly safe procedure. Even if your system crashes, don’t worry. The AMD Radeon Software will automatically reset all of your GPU clocks and voltages to stock settings on next system boot. This means you can freely experiment with different settings, and even achieve better overclock than we’ve shown you in this guide. We hope you found our guide useful, and if you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comment section below.

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About author
Before he joined ViCadia, Nicholas worked as a journalist for several tech magazines. Over the years he gained a lot of knowledge about computers. His main area of interest are processors, motherboards, and operating systems.
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