Nvidia RTX 4080 GPU hits a huge 3.6GHz overclock – but does anyone care?

An Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 on a wooden desk in front of a white panel
(Image credit: Future)

Nvidia’s RTX 4080 is now the focus of overclocking experts, with seriously fast clock speeds being reached by the GPU (after seeing huge overclocks achieved by the RTX 4090 already, as you may recall).

Tom’s Hardware spotted that the Galax OC team used the firm’s own RTX 4080 SG 1-Click OC graphics card (the SG stands for ‘Serious Gamer’), and managed to crank it up to 3.615GHz for a new record as the fastest 4080 we’ve seen.

That’s over 1GHz higher than the factory default boost for the SG, which is 2.565GHz by the way, with the 1-click overclock mode the graphics card is named after notching that up to 2.58GHz to give you an idea of a more typical slight overclock.

As Galax observes, the 3.615GHz overclock is actually 40% faster than the 1-click overclock, and it’s an impressive achievement.

Sadly, no other info is shared on the overclock, although we can safely assume that it used liquid nitrogen cooling (or some other exotic method), as these kinds of speeds can’t be reached using any conventional cooler.

Analysis: A seriously impressive feat, but it’s unlikely to move consumers

The RTX 4080 has launched to flak from reviewers and gamers alike, due to its shaky overall value proposition – Nvidia has certainly pushed the price tag as hard as it can with this GPU. The reality is that with the RTX 4080’s price point, in some cases custom third-party boards cost nearly as much as the RTX 4090 – which is a considerably faster graphics card (and a ridiculous situation, for sure).

Given that, you may not want to hear about the RTX 4080 hitting record speeds, or care much at all about it, and we get where you’re coming from. But it’s still interesting to see how far these Lovelace GPUs can be pushed when overclocking, with plenty of headroom available.

The RTX 4090 has previously attained a boost speed of 3.825GHz, but remember this was the ‘HOF’ (Hall Of Fame) edition of the Galax 4090, a board which is specially designed to do well with overclocking (an expensive limited edition proposition for expert overclockers, basically).

The RTX 4080 card used here is just a plain Galax board aimed at consumers, so to see it reach only 200MHz shy of the seriously customized HOF version of the 4090 is actually very impressive. It points to the GPU having some beefy overclocking chops, but that’s unlikely to persuade potential RTX 4080 buyers to take the plunge, mind you – instead, we reckon a price drop might help to do the trick there.

If Galax made a HOF version of the RTX 4080, then it’d obviously be capable of going a good deal faster, but whether that’ll happen, who knows? While HOF variants of the RTX 3080 and 2080 (Super) were produced by Galax, given the situation with the 4080 and its current popularity – or lack of it – we don’t foresee one arriving in anything like the near future, let’s put it this way.

The best recent news we’ve heard about the RTX 4080, frankly, is the way the graphics card is teaching scalpers a well-deserved lesson.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).