Overclocking is not a new phenomenon, and it is usually a system's processor that is the main candidate for tweaking. However, the CPU is not the only piece of hardware which can be pushed harder and made to perform beyond its advertised speed. There are obvious risks associated with overclocking, but if you take things easy, it is a great way to gain an extra performance boost free of charge.
RivaTuner is a free program that can be used to overclock NVIDIA GeForce and ATI Radeon graphics cards. Overclocking can be performed on a per application basis or for the entire system. This means that games can be accelerated as they will benefit from it the most, but the strain can be taken off the graphics card when other programs are in use.
There are various options available such as boosting the performance of the core clock, shader clock and memory clock. You can also take control of fan settings to help conpensate for any extra heat that may be generated by the extra power.
Hardware overclocking is not something that should be undertaken lightly, but RivaTuner makes the process as simple as possible so even the uninitiated can try their hand at this form of tweaking. Used with care, RivaTuner can help you to get more power from your machine without having to upgrade hardware, and this is something that few people are likely to turn their noses up at.