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What Is Overclocking?

#1 User is offline   arcticsid 

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 02:39 PM

I have heard this term many times, but, don't understand what it means exactly.

For my imited uses, it is probably something I don't need anyway.

However, can someone offer a brief explanation on what over clocking is and why someone may choose to do it?

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#2 User is offline   LiveBrianD 

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 02:58 PM

It involves running something at a higher clock (speed) than it's rated for - you get more performance out of it, but tend to generate more heat, and it's probably not as good for the components. (particularly if you're increasing voltages)
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#3 User is offline   waldojim 

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 01:36 AM

This all depends on the part involved. Typicailly, in reference to CPU's, RAM, and Video cards, it is simply running the part faster than the manufacturer intended. As long as you are reasonable, 99% of the time it is harmless. Namely because the exact same parts are used across a wide frequency band. The best example, is video cards. Where obviously the manufacturer of the chip had plenty of room left to play with the clock speeds. That is why some cards come from the card manufacturers factory with the chip already OC'd. There won't be any harm done, but you will get a slightly faster part.

Overclocking became truly useful years upon years ago. When the first 486DX2 rolled off the lines. People like getting an extra something for a virtual nothing... In some cases it is done purely to hit some sort of benchmark score. other times, it is a way for people to buy inexpensive parts and make them act much more powerful like their counterparts.
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#4 User is offline   ElfBane 

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 03:05 AM

The disadvantages of OCing can be;

1-shorter life cycle of affected components, the parts wear out faster.
2-the PC can cease to work, it just won't boot

Sometimes the disadvantage can be subtle, the PC will do uncommanded restarts or complete shutdowns randomly. OCing is usually done by high-end gamers and probably would not be of much advantage to casual PC users.
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#5 User is offline   LiveBrianD 

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 07:42 AM

Quite frankly, I think an SSD would be if greater benefit to most casual users. I've tried overclocking my PC, and aside from more fan noise, I didn't notice any difference. On the other hand, I don't game or render video much either.
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#6 User is offline   mjd420nova 

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 07:55 AM

I get a lot of broken/burned MOBOs that are the result of overclocking beyond what the other chips on the MOBO besides the CPU can't handle the higher speeds that heat up those chips and reduce their lifetimes. Many OC people solve instability problems by upping the voltage a little, okay in most cases but it can affect other voltages. The urge to get more from what you have can be taken to extremes and result in flaky operation, intermittent and random faults, with reboots and BSOD for weeks.
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#7 User is offline   orlbuckeye 

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 06:39 AM

View Postarcticsid, on 20 July 2013 - 02:39 PM, said:

I have heard this term many times, but, don't understand what it means exactly.

For my imited uses, it is probably something I don't need anyway.

However, can someone offer a brief explanation on what over clocking is and why someone may choose to do it?

Sid



Gamers use it mostly to get faster perforance out of their processors. I guess Intel in order to get longer life out of their processors conserves clock speed and some 3rd party companies released software to allow them to use the processor to the max. Typically because of heat issues top of the line desktop processors are faster then laptop processor and overclocking brings them closer to the performance of desktops. But desktops have more breathing room and heat isn't as big a concern. Now intel comes with software when you buy your PC that if it's installed will allow overclocking but it manages it to only use when it's needed. So since you don't really know what it is I assume your not a gamer.
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#8 User is offline   snorg 

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 06:41 AM

Overclocking is good for power users like me, my PC runs about 20% faster that way. You must be careful to choose a motherboard thats capable of providing the extra power thats needed. You also must have a high end CPU cooler thats made for overclocking to keep the CPU from getting too hot. Without these things you wont get enuff of an overclock to make it worth doing. Even at maximum load my CPU never gets much hotter than 50c which is way cool.

For the "average user" overclocking is not worth considering.
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#9 User is offline   ODuron 

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 09:15 AM

I agree with Snorg, if your not gaming or rendering large files, overclocking is probably not worth your money. But it sure is nice! I started with a i7 3930K and have it running at 4.2GHz, temps around 50C. These types of systems are assembled with speed in mind, it takes some research and reading up. Most 'users' are just that, users, and most off the shelf PC's can fit their needs. My system boots in less than 10 seconds using an SSD, I have 64 GB of Quad Channel RAM running on a ASUS Sabertooth X79 Motherboard. With an additional 4 TB of SATA III drives. The point being is that these type of systems offer a unique experience that is not matched in off the shelf PC's.
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#10 User is offline   BuckShot3280 

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 09:55 AM

There is a lot more to over-clocking that has been mentioned here. One of the first things you should do is research your hardware. You need to know what the limitations are.....what are the hard stops....i.e. what is the max voltage for your CPU....what is the max temp that it supports and make sure that you stay under them.

Other things to take into consideration....are you using the stock cooler on your CPU, if so do not over clock it! The stock HSF (heat sink fan) is rated only for the stock temperatures that your CPU produces under typical usage scenarios in in typical environments (ambient temperatures). Attempting to overclock a CPU that is on a stock HSF is not a good idea. An aftermarket cooler should be purchased if you plan on overclocking. Remember one of your main thresholds is your temperature, if you can keep the temp down and maintain it while your CPU is loaded the less thermal damage to the silicon and the higher the overclock that you can achieve.

I've seen it mentioned that the motherboard should be of good quality, that is true, but when you are talking about overclocking, what you really want to pay attention to is how many phases does it have? Are they digitally controlled? The more phases the motherboard has the less it will throttle when they pull power through them and also dissipate less heat because they tend to deliver more power to the CPU because of higher quality components which have less resistance.

Along with the motherboard, having a quality power supply (PSU) is key and should always be considered as being the most important component of your computer! Don't believe the ratings that are stated by the manufacturer because they typically are not correct, do your research. johnnyguru.com does some fantastic testing of most of the major brands on the market and he really tries to burn them up so that we know what they are capable of and where they will fail. You also want to pay attention to how clean the power is that is being delivered to your components. Not all PSUs are equal in a given rating (500w, 1000w) or classification (80+ Gold, Platinum, Silver, Bronze), so paying attention to this is key in reviews. Look for PSUs that offer longer warranties (5+ years) as that has a tendency to show whether or not they stand behind there product.

When it comes to actually overclocking anything though is always best practice to take baby steps. Bump the CPU freq a single notch and then stress test for stability and closely watch your CPU core temps (not the singular CPU temp). If you are well below your temp and voltage threshold and you are stable then bump it up again and retest. If you crash, bump the voltage a notch and retest. This is the tried and true method to overclocking. This method can be applied to overclocking any component of your computer, however when overclocking your system RAM, one must also take into account the RAM timings (CL 9-9-9-30 T1).

Most of the current CPU offerings (AMD/Intel) already ship with a dynamic overclock where the CPU will speed up as the system is loaded. AMD calls it Turbo whereas Intel calls it SpeedStep. In multi-core CPU's where a single core (or core +thread for Intel CPU's with hyperthreading) the BIOS will allow an individual core to run a a different frequency than the other cores up to the rated frequency when the system needs the horsepower. They will drop back down again when the system has completed it's task and no longer needs the resources.

There is much much more, but from a high level overclocking can be a lot of fun but is learned through trial and error. For a true overclocker though, the goal is always to see how fast one can get their rig with the least amount of volts to complete the desired task/benchmark/game/etc. Ultimate stability across several tasks is the endgame and with that comes bragging rights. Just remember when it comes to overclocking, "slow and steady, wins the race". Come to your target overclock slowly via small changes and you run much less of a risk damaging your components.
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#11 User is offline   cyberknight 

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 10:36 AM

Overclocking does sound cool, but i don't see the necessity for it. Beacause speed for me translates to overall system performance. And for this you need to find the weakest link among the system components. As far as I see, first comes the HDD, then the ram. Replacing the HDD with a SSD is makes max impact on speed & performance of the system. There after you could go for higher frequency rams which would require a little tweaking though. So just shove in a SSD & no hard work or tweaking required...the system turns blazing fast, enough for most gamers.
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#12 User is offline   BuckShot3280 

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 11:27 AM

Oh, it can be a lot of fun if you are in with a group of people that also like to do it. You get in your little click and compete against each other which develops into frequenting places like overclock.net and then posting benchmark scores on HWBot.org. :D

This post has been edited by BuckShot3280: 22 August 2013 - 11:38 AM

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#13 User is offline   mjd420nova 

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 12:07 PM

I love those little battles, i get to see some of the fastest more powerful MOBO's and CPU's pushed to the limits and beyond. I love the smell of baking ceramic in the morning. The RAM timing is the most critical and even buying on matched sets doesn't insure they'll work in any other machine than the test rig. Liquid cooling becomes a must as the excess heat generated (mostly by excess speed) will turn circuit boards brittle and even melt some solder off power leads. Severe cases will lift traces and act like a fuse.
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#14 User is offline   Rommel 

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 01:35 PM

I've played with OCing in the past and found it cool to try.
You can learn a lot about components adjusting settings to increase performance.
I am far from an expert on this but would like to add some additional info.
OCing is a long process if you are wanting max results.
Adjustments need tested if they at first appear to be acceptable and stable.
Stress your PC and see how well your OC holds up.
Most of my efforts came messing with an AMD system.
Thank God for quality parts to deal with all those crashes.
LOL.

Now with my i5 3rd gen, everything is left at stock but bios is setup to allow much higher performance if need be.
Doubt it ever reached maxed allowable speeds though.

Some guys here can squeeze every achievable performance boost from all tweekable components.
I am certainly not one of them.
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#15 User is offline   coastie65 

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 02:52 PM

View PostRommel, on 23 August 2013 - 01:35 PM, said:

I've played with OCing in the past and found it cool to try.
You can learn a lot about components adjusting settings to increase performance.
I am far from an expert on this but would like to add some additional info.
OCing is a long process if you are wanting max results.
Adjustments need tested if they at first appear to be acceptable and stable.
Stress your PC and see how well your OC holds up.
Most of my efforts came messing with an AMD system.
Thank God for quality parts to deal with all those crashes.
LOL.

Now with my i5 3rd gen, everything is left at stock but bios is setup to allow much higher performance if need be.
Doubt it ever reached maxed allowable speeds though.

Some guys here can squeeze every achievable performance boost from all tweekable components.
I am certainly not one of them.


Hey Rommel, spometimes the OC wil depend on how well you did in the silicone lottery as some processors will OC better than others, even if they are the same type.
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#16 User is offline   Rommel 

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 08:11 AM

View Postcoastie65, on 23 August 2013 - 02:52 PM, said:

View PostRommel, on 23 August 2013 - 01:35 PM, said:

I've played with OCing in the past and found it cool to try.
You can learn a lot about components adjusting settings to increase performance.
I am far from an expert on this but would like to add some additional info.
OCing is a long process if you are wanting max results.
Adjustments need tested if they at first appear to be acceptable and stable.
Stress your PC and see how well your OC holds up.
Most of my efforts came messing with an AMD system.
Thank God for quality parts to deal with all those crashes.
LOL.

Now with my i5 3rd gen, everything is left at stock but bios is setup to allow much higher performance if need be.
Doubt it ever reached maxed allowable speeds though.

Some guys here can squeeze every achievable performance boost from all tweekable components.
I am certainly not one of them.


Hey Rommel, spometimes the OC wil depend on how well you did in the silicone lottery as some processors will OC better than others, even if they are the same type.


Yes, heat is critical but has never been an issue for me.
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