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In order to compete against themselves and against products based on ATI Radeon graphics processing units (GPUs), makers of video boards powered Nvidia Corp.’s GeForce chips increase performance of their products by overclocking them beyond levels recommended by the GPU developer. As a result, the companies have to admit that certain number of such cards may not work properly.

An article over web-site [H]ard|OCP web-site claims that the failure rate of pre-overclocked GeForce 7900-series graphics cards, which were shipped by BFG Technology, EVGA and XFX, is higher than the companies have on average and that many people, who got those boards, experienced issues with them. The information raises question, whether pre-overclocked graphics cards, which are sold industry-wide, can be as stable and reliable as those produced strictly according to specifications by the graphics chip developer.

Several companies, including BFG Technology, EVGA, Gainward, XFX and some others, supply graphics cards based on the GeForce 7900 GT and GTX graphics processors that come with increased clock-speeds. The improvement may be significant, or may be not, however, according to the report, which does not list any concrete models of products, pre-overclocked graphics cards from BFG, EVGA and XFX may fail when used by gamers or computer enthusiasts in real-world games.

According to some users, pre-overclocked GeForce 7900-series based graphics cards randomly freeze or produce artifacts, the web-site reports.

All the three manufacturers, BFG, EVGA and XFX have confirmed existence of the problem and said that they would try to tackle the issues with the pre-overclocked boards by improving quality control. Nvidia Corp. reportedly said it had not “worked closely enough with the board builders in explaining how overclocking domains have changed on the [GeForce] 7900 series” and also indicating that they would “be correcting that”.

ATI Technologies has a policy to allow manufacturers to overclock graphics processors to certain levels without losing ATI’s warranty. It is unknown, whether Nvidia has a similar policy, as the company did not return to emails and phone calls seeking for comments.

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