View Full Version : Overclocking

Jae Onasi
12-01-2007, 11:53 AM
OK, Jae needs some education on overclocking, because I have vague ideas on what it does, when it's used, and some of the hazards. However, I'd like to have more than just a vague idea, especially as we in the Jae/Jimbo household contemplate building our own computer perhaps next spring with gaming in mind.

What does overclocking do?
What does overclocking not do?
How does one overclock?
What are things to avoid when overclocking?
What can happen if it's done improperly?
When and why to do this?
Other things you think are important to know but I'm not asking?

12-01-2007, 01:12 PM
Overclocking allows you to increase the clock rate of your CPU. For example, when you buy something like an Intel Core 2 Duo E6600, it's clocked at 2.4GHz. Overclocking would be raising that to 3GHz, which is effectively a 25% performance gain.

You overclock by finding a guide relevant to your CPU and following it. With a good motherboard a lot of the work is done for you (ASUS ones are good for this), and will advise with red text and whatnot in the BIOS if it thinks what you're doing is going too far. Here (http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/240001-29-howto-overclock-quads-duals-guide) is a good guide for overclocking Intel Core 2 Duo/Quad CPUs, especially if you have an Asus (P5B-Deluxe) motherboard. :) More can be found via Google ('overclock q6600 guide', etc)

When overclocking you must avoid feeding too much voltage into the CPU. While modern CPUs are designed to shut themselves down when they get too hot and are overclocked too far, sometimes you must adjust the voltage as the clock you're going for needs more power; it's almost always only a minimal raise needed, and going too far can overload it with electricity before it has chance to shut itself down. This is pretty much the only way to cause irreparable damage.

If overclocking is done improperly you end up with an unusable, non-returnable CPU.

Overclocking is best done when you feel that your processor is reaching the end of its life, and things are noticably slower than you desire. The most risk-free time to do it is once your processor is considered old, and thus there's little value to be gained from selling or keeping it. However, many enthusiasts do it on newer processors as there is performance from models that cost 200 higher to be had.

If overclocking, it's important to know that while there is risk, if you pay attention to a good guide (especially if it's written for your CPU and motherboard), there's very little room for going wrong. Long guides may look daunting, but in all honesty they are a doddle to follow and I successfully did my first overclock in just 45 minutes a few months ago (although testing obviously took a bit longer).

You may find that the cooler your CPU comes with (the big fan that goes on top of it) isn't very good, and benefit from spending about 15 on one that can take the heat away from the processor better. This is much less necessary with Core 2 Duo CPUs than it has been in the past.

One final thing to be aware of is that certain processors have a lot more overclocking capacity than others. More efficient processors tend to run cooler and thus have more overclocking potential before they get too hot,

For the record, I run an Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4GHz, which after overclocking is now happily running at 3GHz and ripping my applications a new one. :)

12-02-2007, 12:22 AM
OK, Jae needs some education on overclocking

this all comes down to components ! You can build a pc with optimised components catering to OCing. Overclocking these rigs is a breeze, either directly in the BIOS or via a custom GUI app. For example the shuttle smallforms have 'xpc tools' that do all this for you, but theer are many other apps that vater to this as well.

SO, if youve got OC happy components, good ventilation and some decent fans, give it a try.... but here is the proviso >>>


CPUs are damn cheap these days. Why not just upgrade ??

More RAM > especially some higher grade RAM can definitely put soem extra pep into your system

Since the advent multicore processing, I am becoming increasingly convinced that the need for CPUs have hit a ceiling effect.

Unlike thrik, I have recently gone from a 2.5 > 3GHz multicore processor - I honestly cant say the difference is staggering. Multitasking is smoother, sure, but everything else fits comfortable under the 'meh' rating. Even though I have a with components that are conducive to OCing I simply havent bothered as I havent felt the need ..

So Jae, the more important questions I think are:
*what are your current specs/ hardware (esp mainboard) ?
*what made you think about overclocking ?
*what performance lags are you suffering that you think a higher CPU clockspeed will actually address ?
*what apps/games do you think will be enhanced by OCing ?
*Is it more appropriate to OC or upgrade your GPU instead ??

some caveats:
*probably shouldnt bother doing it if its 'just for the heck of it'!
*back up all your important files. If you fry you mainboard/CPU or HDD etc, the chance of losing stuff increases

Im not going to say good luck, because I think outside the OC enthusiast arena or those stuck with old kit, people who can most likely afford a CPU/RAM/GPU upgrade are much better off doing that. Ive seen people push rigs hard to get performance they could get on a CPU $50 more than their current one(which isnt really that old!)


Jae Onasi
12-02-2007, 12:38 AM
Tbh, I don't feel the need at this time to overclock on our desktop or new lappy (though Crysis might change my mind on this and a lot of other things), I was just interested in learning more about why/how it gets done in case we consider that as a possibility on a new rig. It's been mentioned in a number of threads, so I thought getting educated on it would be A Good Thing. I appreciate the answers, too. :)

12-02-2007, 08:35 AM
I wouldn't overclock the laptop ( unless you intend to cook eggs on it) ...that's not a good idea as their ventilation is generally poor and tend to overheat :o (and there's power consumption issues as well - also you'd need some special utilities)

12-02-2007, 09:14 AM
gosh no ! OC a laptop !! Jae thats crazy talk. Things are cramped and hot in there as it is !!

I dont think OCing will give you an massive edge in crysis. What is your GPU, because if it aint gonna cut it - no amount of tinkering will make a vital difference.

Crysis has defeated the highest specd rigs on the globe > in the interim - we dumb down our settings and see what nvidia and ati will come with. It's hard to imagine at the moment, but one day there'll be a GPU that eats crysis for breakfast and we'll be wondering what the fuss is all about :D


Ray Jones
12-02-2007, 10:29 AM
Well, you can easily OC nVidia cards to some (perceptible) degree, even on Laptops. It's also somewhat helpful regarding Crysis.

Du Man
12-02-2007, 12:03 PM
So CPUs do get slower/age with time? And here I thought it was just greater hardware demands by new programs.

12-02-2007, 12:25 PM
No they don't. What you thought was right.

12-03-2007, 06:52 AM
Well, you can easily OC nVidia cards to some (perceptible) degree, even on Laptops. It's also somewhat helpful regarding Crysis.

lolz..define "somewhat" ....an extra 5-10fps at the risk of voiding you lappies warranty and bricking the thing due to heat issues??

Jae, dont OC your lappie!! As thrik mentioned, if you are super curious, try it an a rig with old components that you are thinking of ditching or upgrading...


Ray Jones
12-03-2007, 07:09 AM
lolz..define "somewhat" ....an extra 5-10fps at the risk of voiding you lappies warranty and bricking the thing due to heat issues??The nVidia driver's Coolbits overclock functionality is pretty save and mature. There is an option to automatically fit memory/GPU clocks to optimum with automatic testing afterwards. And yes somewhat means around 10-15 frames, and a more stable FPS count in general. I have tested it thoroughly and use it on my second laptop now, and have not had any issues (especially not temperature wise). Given of course that I am not stupid enough to choke my laptop, or that I would ignore sudden freezes or graphical glitches, which usually happen to take place when you manually go to the limits and that a very loooong time before any melting.

As for the warranty voiding thing, you know there is a point where (A) warranty runs out, or (B) that technician who is checking my laptop has to recognise and prove that my gpu got fried due to decent overclocking, and not because whatever and (C) he has to be an ass about it and must actually care.

12-03-2007, 07:14 AM
hehe. thats well and fine Ray, but I could never do that to Jae - if thinsg messed up and her laptop went bunk, Id feel responsible.

so from me jae, a definite NADA on the OCing for the lappie. Youre better of saving for one of those ones sporting the 8800M GPU ! :p


Ray Jones
12-03-2007, 07:49 AM
See Jae, this is now the point where *you* have to decide which path to follow -- is you risking the health and life of your beloved laptop for a quick exciting adventure you will have when you listen to evil Ray's instructions to have it faster right now and with more fun and stuff, or is you adhere to Astro's lessons of boredom and wait until you can afford new hardware, which you will buy anyway, eventually. :p

Either way, and whatever happens that does not fit into "works flawlessly", Astro is to blame. :xp:

12-03-2007, 08:10 AM
...Astro is to blame. :xp:

ah, this is my lot in life - always getting blamed for things, despite giving sound advice. Jae is a clever lady, I know which way she will go on the lappie at least ;)


Ray Jones
12-03-2007, 08:57 AM
Oh-ho-ho-ho, my good friend, of course you do know which way she would go. That is why you should be ready to explain her how she enables nVidia's Coolbits extension. ^^