Overclocking questions

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by AustinL911, Feb 17, 2007.

  1. AustinL911

    AustinL911 Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator

    May 24, 2005
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    From results of a previous thread about me building a new gaming computer, I think I'm going to go with the E6600 C2D proc.

    From what I read, this thing loves to be overclocked, however, as I've said before, I'm not real computer savy. What's the general idea behind overclocking something? Are they designed to be overclocked, or is it just a trick you can do to milk more power/speed out of something?

    What all components can be overclocked? CPU, GPU, ???

    General process behind doing it?

    I saw a guy in the main forum running an e6600 @3.8Ghz (2.4 stock). Sounds like a hell of an improvement to me. :wiggle:

    So, who can tell me about how to do it, or where to find some good info on it?
  2. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

    Jan 27, 2005
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    Theoretically speaking, any electronic circuit can be overclocked. The idea behind overclocking is:

    The transistors inside microprocessors are so small that it's impossible to ensure that they're manufactured to the exact same quality every single time. So, the manufacturer tests each batch of chips to determine the fastest speed they can reliably run at without throwing miscalculated output -- on average -- and then labels them accordingly.

    The batches with the highest average speed are the hardest to come by, obviously, and so they cost the most, but that doesn't mean that a slower-rated chip isn't just as good -- it just means that the batch it was in didn't perform as well. So, you can tweak things like the frontside bus speed and the clock speed multiplier on your specific chip to try to get more bang for your buck, but you really don't know just how well-made your chip is until you try. Some people can double the speed of their processors, some can't even get theirs to bump up a single FSB speed "notch".

    Sometimes you can "persuade" a processor to run reliably at a higher speed by increasing the voltage, which helps the transistors to switch between 0/1/0/1/etc faster, but I'm sure you can figure out what happens to wiring of questionable quality when you force more juice through it -- it gets a lot hotter, which is why overclockers are so fond of huge heatsinks and/or watercoolers.

    So, how do you do it?

    In the most basic sense, you dive into the BIOS and you bump up the frontside bus speed by multiples of 33.3MHz (the speed of a PCI slot, the slowest thing on the board) until the computer starts bluescreening or doing other unsavory things, then you bump up the CPU voltage by tiny amounts until it starts running reliably again (or it gets too hot and shuts off, or it fries itself). You can also increase the RAM speed in the same manner -- in fact, for best performance, the RAM speed must be increased to keep pace with the faster frontside bus speed -- but again, that produces more heat and it's impossible to say just how much of a speed boost your specific RAM chips can handle without killing themselves.

    If you're going to get into overclocking, you're going to have to be willing to spend a lot of money on heatsinks/watercoolers and big fans and silver-laced heatsink goop so you can keep your hopped-up parts running well. I might try it myself, except that my Athlon XP makes so damn much heat that I had to spend a couple hundred bucks just keeping it cool at its stock speed, so I'm kinda burned-out on the heat-management thing. Have fun, don't cry if you blow a motor, you will have had it coming from the moment you changed the stock settings.

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