Weekend Open Forum: Do you overclock?

By on September 18, 2010, 2:00 AM
As I'm sure is the case with many of you, I've owned several desktop systems over the years that depending on the timing and the class of processor, I've built to run at stock speeds or from scratch with overclocking in mind.

Although I recall taking a few extra MHz on two different 486 processors back in the day, for me the golden age of overclocking came with the venerable Celeron 300A that received a healthy boost to 450MHz without much effort. If not for saving a few bucks, squeezing every bit of untapped performance in a processor has always brought a certain sense of enjoyment. In spite of that, my last two systems have run at factory settings as I haven't bothered to look past stock cooling options and simply gone with 24/7 rock solid stability. On the GPU front, I've rarely resorted to overclocking because I tend to upgrade often, but in certain special scenarios (think Crysis) every bit of extra headroom helps.

But how about yourself? Tell us what's your take on overclocking these days, whether you overclock your PC (or not) and why. Discuss.

User Comments: 96

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madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Heh, first comment? I'm typing on a e5200 with a 40% overclock, that is 2.5Ghz to 3.5Ghz with a craptastic heatsink, and idles at 42c (pre-overclock was 41c, so that's a win for me), and gets low 60s under load, not too bad honestly.

I overclock cuz well, I didn't want to buy a new CPU. I add new hardware much more often than replacing old hardware, and I don't like having wasted parts lying around. =o

Leeky Leeky said:

My first PC I overclocked was my Dell PC when I purchased the new Gigabyte motherboard recently.

I managed to eek my Q8300 from 2.5GHz up to 3.34GHz, with it still being stable in use. For cooling I just use a Arctic Cooling Freezer Pro 7 (Rev2) with Arctic MX2 (or 3?) thermal paste. Temps are around 28-32'C at idle, and 48-52'C at full 100% load during stress testing with OCCT.

My reasoning for it was mainly to get a bit more power out of it, as purchasing the new motherboard has delayed my planned move over to a new chipset. With my GPU OC'd its made for a healthy improvement at medium settings in Crysis too!

Guest said:

intel Q8200 (2.33 GHz) @ 3.5 GHz, cause it was the cheapest possible quad core :P

Stonos said:

I used to overclock my E6400 from 2.13GHz to 3GHz, but I found out that my 3D speeds were slower for some reason... So, I had to run at stock speed

Does anyone why that's happening? My overclock was stable according to IntelBurnTest by the way.

Fragrant Coit Fragrant Coit said:

I overclock because I have a champagne taste & a beer budget!

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Why yes, funny you should ask - I do overclock. I'm working on getting my i7-930 up to 4ghz a little bit at a time as we speak.

Lokalaskurar Lokalaskurar said:

I started overclocking simply because I wanted to know how to.

There was a PC nobody wanted standing around doin' nothing, so ofcourse I simply had to try it out.

Noticing something amazing; an abandoned PC with an Intel Q8500 CPU...

With some minor adjustments to my gaming gear, I currently run that Intel Q8500 (stock: 3,16GHz) at 4,00GHz. However, overclocking beyond 3,99 GHz was nearly impossible (still trying to figure out why).

When I swapped my PSU to something more suitable, I managed to go from 3,99 to 4,00. Yay!

ruben1992 said:

Never really needed to.

Guest said:

I started OC'ing with P3's but i havent OC'ed anything in the last 2 years. I just lost the interest and the need/reason to OC.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

I bought my system with overclocking in mind later on. My core i7 920 is currently stock (waiting to buy Noctua heatsink over Xmas) as it is too hot, but will definitely overclock once I get heatsink.

I have GTX 295 which I overclock sometimes, as it does this quite well. However, lately I'm doing assignments and playing basic games, so it's back to stock clocks.

Guest said:

I have not considered overclocking, because the CPU has not been the leading cause of my perfomance issues. The hard disk is the performance issue I have. The hard disk is naturally the slowest component due to mechanical movement. So my focus has been how fast can I work with large files.

Clrabbit said:

When you deal with huge images and lots of adjusting there is just no substitute for Overlocking get the CPU up as high as you can and your Cas# lat as low as possible. I've been an Overclocker sense the first day I picked up a 3D modeling program.

Currently Q9550 running @ 3.9Ghz

Ram Cas# Lat 4-4-4-12-21

I forget the numbers but my Video card is over 30% OC as well

Guest said:

No, I don't. I tend to overspend instead.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Yes. Although I limit my CPU OC these days to whatever I can achieve on basically stock VID. Sometimes I get lucky and the first CPU out the gate will do 25-30%...and sometimes it takes a few CPU swap-outs to find the golden one. Thankfully with LGA775/1366 I've found a good cpu early - not willing to test Intel's 20 cpu fittings before possibly losing load plate tension recommendation.

Graphics cards on an application/game basis.

bugejakurt said:

No. I once overclocked my Core 2 Duo 2.83 Ghz to a 3 Ghz and the CPU heated up very badly.

spikester48661 spikester48661 said:

my AMD 3800x2 overclocked to 2.8 and at 49c at load.all is good

Didou Didou, Bowtie extraordinair!, said:

I haven't over-clocked in a long time & I even remember having to under-clock an AthlonXP 3200+ to 2500+ speeds. I think it was a counterfeit part because it wasn't stable at its advertised speeds.

Currently running all my computers at stock speeds & satisfied with them. :-)

Didou Didou, Bowtie extraordinair!, said:

Oh btw, my ATI Radeon is a Toxic edition which means it's over-clocked out of the box, does that count ? :-/

Mikymjr Mikymjr said:

I overclocked my Phenom II X3 from 2.6Ghz to 2.86Ghz just for fun. I noticed some performance gains and left it like that ever since. I'm not done yet though ;-)

Alster37 Alster37 said:

well I try to overclock my best was with my phenom x6 1055t which I got to 3.64 ghz it wouldnt go any further due to a motherboard hardware limitation

BlindObject said:

Q9550 at 3.8ghz. Air cooled by a Tower Tuniq. Solid. Once had a e8500 and it overclocked like a freaking NUT! from 3.16ghz to 4.2ghz on air!!!! That thing stood up to Crysis' face. Overclocking is always fun, I also overclocked my GTX465 (OMG WTF IS THAT!?) by a good 25% with even more room. but I'm happy with this for now.

mailpup mailpup said:

I don't overclock. Everything is at stock speeds.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

A friend of mine and myself tried overclocking back in the Pentium 3 days (He was a computer tech at the time), the speed gain although impressive in the 3d benchmark made little if any performance difference in games. Haven't bothered since then.

Guest said:

hey guys i overclock cause i want to play may fav games at a respectable fps n my cpu overclocks 2.9 to 3.9 n i think that's good enough to stretch the legs of my graphics card, i also overclock my graphics card but i hasn't given me a good result.

Guest said:

Yes I overclock I7-930 to 4.2Ghz.

But I tend to buy a PC fairly high end at first then overtime increase the overclock. I would like to upgrade some of the maincomponants, ie Processor as things get cheaper, but INTEL keep changing the ruddy sockets... I went from Q6600 skt 775 standard at first purchase to in the end 3.2Ghz. My next move was having to change the entire barebone system. I should have gone AMD as at least they have the forthought to try and keep same sockets for ages.

I have slight overclocks on GPUs but only software and light tweaks in crossfire, luckily most games have yet to catch up.

treetops treetops said:

Nope I have no reason to, no game bogs down my system.

Guest said:

i have never,,,

phenom II X6 1055, stock speeds are more than enough

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

I used to overclock hard core - and just like you the golden days for me was back in the Celeron 300A era. Had mine running at a smooth 504 MHz with an overclocked ASUS TNT video card and even overclocked my PS2 port to get a higher polling rate from my mouse. The last serious overclocking I did was with my Dual 733 Mhz which I only gave a slight bump up to the 800+ range - from that point I started getting into SMP machines and my job turned more toward dealing with servers and the like so stability became much more important to me. I simply upgraded parts when I needed something faster. These days I refuse to overclock anything unless I purchased it overclocked from the manufacturer - though I am considering overclocking stuff on my new rig just because it's so easy and some of the parts seem to be designed to be overclocked (I.E. 5970 and 930).

Guest said:

I overclock an I7 960 3.2GHz to 4.05GHZ just to make the 4.0 club on an ASUS PT6D Deluxe Mobo with basic water cooling (bus clock 166x25)! I overclock my Radeon 5870 to GPU 890MHz and memory clock 1290MHz! My ram is overclocked at 1866MHz I believe but I'd have to leave this post and go into my bios to recall! I've been overclocking for years, it's fun and widely acceptable now! I never fried any components although some memory has failed along the way! I dont really like playing with voltage but I never really pushed past total stability! My system has a 7.6 Windows Experience Index! It runs like greased lightning! Instantainous!

fimbles fimbles said:

I dont bother so much, tend to favor lifespan over an extra 3 fps

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Only time I ever OCed was with P4 Pressler (don't remember the part name I think it was 940, correct me if I am wrong, though it ran at stock speed of 3.2 Ghz) anyway I didn't push it too aggressively for the little period I OCed it I think it was something like 3.32 Ghz; that's about it, I am not really crazy about 'few' %age of performance gain I'll have because of OCing, I rather like to have a stable and reliable system at my disposal.

myrmidonks myrmidonks said:

Too bad dell PC's come with a locked BIOS that lets you change your boot drive but barely anything else. Planning to buy a new mobo and cpu heatsink to overclock my i7-920.

Guest said:

TS: Do you overclock?

Me: YES! I OC, need MOAR!

princeton princeton said:

Just bought a Hyper 212+. Works like a dream even if it was a ***** to install. Got my E7500 from 2.93 to 3.85, AND my temps are lower than the stock heatsink on stock clocks. No harm in overclocking IMO. Your cpu will be outdated before it burns out in most cases.

ElShotte ElShotte said:

I still have a Dell XPS 420... no overclocking options in the BIOS. However, I did pull out the CPU and did a "tape mod" on it sticking a tiny piece of tape on one of the pads on the CPU. I went from 2.4 Ghz with 1066 Mhz FSB to 3.0 Ghz with 1333 FSB. I never bothered monitoring my temps before I overclocked, but now they're at ~32c idle and go up to ~55c under full load. System runs 100% stable.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

My first CPU I was able to overclock was my P4 630, had it up to 3.4 from 3.0, nothing special mainly because the motherboard just wasn't up to spec to handle anything more. After that I had the same CPU on a newer board but being nVidia based that was not happening. Next was my Q6600 that I got up to 3.6 from 2.4 again this was done on a nVidia board but this time a much higher end one, never got stability at that speed and had to settle for 24/7 use at 3.0 which was still a nice boost in speed. After that I had enough with boards that could OC and when the i series came out and everyone was having such great success overclocking I got my current setup, i7 920 on an EVGA X58 SLI board, within the first three days of owning it I had it running stable at 4.0 GHz which was all I wanted and has been stable and 24/7 running since last august now. I'll admit the occasional crash but its only certain games not stress test which is just odd, and the game that seems to get my PC is Starcraft 2 all of a sudden... But I'm starting to think its not my CPU OC and just the game not liking something in my system.

Guest said:

I overclocked my desktop. i7 920 d0 revision. I OC'd it to 4.2Ghz completely on air. I use the IC Diamond Thermal Paste and Thermalright Ultra Extreme HSF.

Idle is 32c and full load is roughly 50c. Granted, when I do p95, it can go up to 65 or so. :P

grvalderrama said:

No i don't, my CPU or VGA don't need to overclock, they do enough for me with their stock speeds =)

Guest said:

overclocked when its not enough juice. P4 Northwood 2.4ghz to 3.0ghz. Not much improve gaming performance...for application it did a boost.

Boedicia Boedicia said:



System Information


Time of this report: 9/18/2010, 14:29:15

Machine name: JOANNE-PC

Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit (6.1, Build 7600) (7600.win7_gdr.100618-1621)

Language: English (Regional Setting: English)

System Manufacturer: System manufacturer

System Model: System Product Name

BIOS: Phoenix - AwardBIOS v6.00PG

Processor: AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 4200+ (2 CPUs), ~2.2GHz

Memory: 3072MB RAM

Available OS Memory: 3072MB RAM

Page File: 2520MB used, 3621MB available

Windows Dir: C:\Windows

DirectX Version: DirectX 11

DX Setup Parameters: Not found

User DPI Setting: Using System DPI

System DPI Setting: 96 DPI (100 percent)

DWM DPI Scaling: Disabled

DxDiag Version: 6.01.7600.16385 64bit Unicode


Display Devices


Card name: ATI Radeon HD 4800 Series


Hello guys. Sorry if im posting this in the wrong place but this site doesn't show you where you can post new posts. I've looked for ages aswell.

When i was using my much smaller harddrive (74.3gb)with the same components i am now, i could run graphics settings on the highest settings in game and get about 60fps but now, and seeing as my small harddrive is blown due to my brother so i can't revert back to it...I'm using this bigger harddrive as stated about in dxdiag. But with this one i get really low fps in games and its very jerky and i can't run games in high settings. A friend of mine thinks its might be to do with my cpu or my gfx fan but i really would like some more opinions on what the problem is and how to fix it. Advice would be greatly appreciated. x

edison5do said:

Yes Overclock my Athlon II x3 2.9 to 3.6, DDR2 800 to 1066. and i go to this butget CPU to get the last juice of it jus as i did it... i have little overclock on my HD 4850, now im after a "Butget" SSD my las purchase for this year.

Yad Yad said:

Sent my C2D E4500 from 2.2 Ghz to 2.64 Ghz with stock cooling.

Guest said:

I've been overclocking since the 386 days when you had to physically swap clock crystals. I remember getting a 25MHz 386 to run at 40MHz I moved on the 486's, Celerons, and the Athlons with similar results.

Today my dual core E8400 runs at 4GHz and is absolutely stable. Idle temperature is 41C and gets to about 50 under load.

Guest said:

i have amd dual core am3 550 black unlocked to quad core and over clocked from 3.1ghz to 4.25ghz on all four cores not bad on $99 cpu stable temp on stock with quad core enabled is 40c and after overclocking temp only 60c siting in a room that's 80f funny i have ati amd 4830 with overclocked as well if case temp drop below 40c it makes noise because it's to cool i have overclock the video card gpu to 650mhz from 575.

and memory from 450 to 1000 all running stable and video card max temp so far at full load is only been 70c playing battlefield bad company 2 for 4 hours.

KG363 KG363 said:

I overclock because I can and because every bit of performance counts. And you need an aftermarket cooler for the epeen, so why not use it. :p

I have my Phenom II x3 @3.5GHz and I plan on OCing my GTX 480 from 700mhz to about 800MHz

Xero07 said:

I keep my video card overclocked significantly(around 100 mhz more on core clock and memory) my processor tend to keep towards stock but will mess with the multiplier from time to time for short periods.

cpu: phenom ii 940

video card: ATI sapphire 4830

Guest said:

I have been overclocking since I was 12 years old on my socket 754 Sempron 64 2800+ that I managed to get to 2800mhz killing MANY IDE HDD's. when i was 16 i bought an Asus M2N32-SLIDeluxe (590SLi) with an AMD athlon X2 4200+ that i could again, only get to 2600mhz. A year later i picked up the 5000+ BE with a Zalman 9700LED and got 3.5ghz on my ASUS M2N. This past year my M2N died, but i was lucky enough to put a Phenom II X3 720BE in it and I got 3.7ghz on it. My MOBO died in a power surge >.> Im sure i would still be overclocking on it now if it didn't die then.

I have also overclocked all of my videocards starting with a 256mb MX5200. It has been too long for me to remember any of the clock speeds, It wasn't something i did all the time since I didn't want to kill them like my HDD's. My next video card was a 128mb n6600. When i picked up my AM2 system i purchased a 256mb X1900XT. The only video card I can be certain of is my 8800GT SLI I bought in 07 IIRC. I managed a core/shader/memory clock of 900/1800/2000 from the stock 750/1750/1800. Needless to say, I owned crysis @ 1440X900 lol. I got about 50 FPS max settings with 4X AA. Anymore than that and it would drop to about 15-20.

I'm 20 years old now and have been overclocking for 8 years.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I sometimes bought for overclock. I bought that Celeron 300A, and the 700MHz Pentium 3 with the 100MHz bus, so it'll overclock easily. However, I found that in practice these systems didn't feel significantly faster when overclocked, and that when I had an application that was too slow for my need (typically after I owned the system for a while) the overclock didn't help make it really faster, while buying a new system did.

Couple that with the extra heat, higher chance of malfunction, the effort of tweaking, and it just didn't feel worth it. I still tried to see if I could get any overclock with my current CPU on stock cooling and settings (Phenom II 710; I couldn't). I also enjoy trying to overclock my graphics cards, but I usually run them at stock.

My current graphics card, a Radeon 5850 (which I won here) is underclocked to the minimum the control panel allows since I started folding. My system became very hot in the already sweltering summer heat, and the fan noise was annoying. Underclocking helped somewhat, and I don't feel any effect of the lower speed in the games I'm playing, so I keep it underclocked even when I turn folding off to play a game.

mrtraver said:

My MSI motherboard and OCZ memory are up to the task, but I never have actually overclocked since my performance is fine for what I do (gaming at 1280x1024).

Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

I used to squeeze what I could out of the CPU, RAM and GPU but today's stock mainstream/performance hardware seems to cope with everything just fine. Overclocking in my case would be overkill.

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