Overclocking basics: Is it for you?


There are a lot of questions about overclocking. Is it for me? How do I do it? What is the safe limit? Will I hurt anything? What are the pros and cons?

Well today we are going to ask and answer those questions, and tell you how to do it in the process. Now first me must ask, what is overclocking? Well overclocking is the process of taking something and making it faster. In CPU’s and video cards you have a set clock speed, Let’s say it’s 3.0 GHz (gigahertz) in overclocking you take that stock clock speed and turn it up to make it faster. Now the effects of that are debatable and will be discussed later. Now that we have the basics, let’s dig farther into this.

Now I said you overclock to make stuff faster right? A lot of people ask why do I need to make it faster? Well I guess one reason is because we can. Another is because a FREE performance boost. Yes I said FREE. So think of it this way, you can buy a slower CPU with the SAME technologies, same about of cache, but a lower clock speed that may cost way less then a higher clock speed processor. And you can overclock for free to make it the same or higher clock speed.

Now overclocking isn’t for everyone. If you don’t have an unlocked multiplier it can get a little scary to adjust your all your frequencies, mainly your Front Side Bus frequencies. Which affect everything, northbridge, southbridge, processor and other things. The thing to remember is not to set it too high because you could damage other parts of your board. But don’t let this stop you! Motherboards have protections to keep this stuff from happening.

Now overclocking on Intel processors and AMD processors are different. On AMD processors all you have to do is turn up the CPU bus frequencies. Now doing this will also increase your HyperTransport speed and your memory speed. so if your aiming for a really high overclock it is best to turn these down first as they may cause the computer not to POST. Now AMD has Turbo Core, which is an overclock on certain cores when doing lite loads. If you get your base clock really high you may damage your processor if you keep this on. On my system I keep it on because I have a better CPU cooler. Which leads me to another point. Heat.

In overclocking you increase the heat, depending on how much you overclock you can increase the heat a little, or a lot. It is always better to have a better CPU cooler then the one your processor came with. I use the Thermaltake Frio CPU cooler. Now I use an AMD Phenom II T1055. Which isn’t a “Black edition” processor. That means it doesn’t have an unlocked CPU multiplier. So I had to mess with the CPU bus frequency. So remember when you overclock make sure you can cool the processor properly.

Overclocking on Intel is a little hit harder, you have to mess with the FSB. Just like in AMD boards, messing with this will effect your memory speeds and other things. So remember to turn them down some if your aiming for a high clock speed. Otherwise it will not post.

The next thing we will talk about is voltage. I turned up to the maximum safe voltages. My advice would be to do some google searching to find out what other people are using. Remember messing with these can cause SERIOUS damage to your hardware.

Alright now covering all this lets recap. Overclocking makes things faster, at the same time increasing heat. overclocking can do serious damage so be careful. I am NOT liable for ANY damage you do to your system. This is an article to show you how to do it.

Now with that done, do you overclock?