The purpose and how to's of overclocking?

By aajvs99 ยท 28 replies
Mar 28, 2005
  1. HOW AND WHY WOULD YOU OVERCLOCK! Maybe im being stupid and i should no what this is about but the fact is i dont!! haha. any way somebody please educate me. That would be nice
  2. vegasgmc

    vegasgmc TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,377

    Overclocking means that you make components in your system such as processor or memory run faster than stock speeds. You can also overclock the processor and memory on a video card. The purpose is to save money and get better performance. I got an XP 2500 processor for $65. I overclocked its bus speed from 333mhz to 400mhz. That turned it into a $130 XP 3200. With a good cooler I was able to overclock my video card from 378 core/675 memory to 410 core/710 memory giving me about a 20% performance boost. Not all parts will overclock and if you dont do it right you can do some damage to the parts and possible ruin your system.
  3. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    There are four primary reasons that someone overclocks, all of which are taken into consideration seperately. These four reasons, and an explanation of each, are detailed below. I will also put myself into one of these four categories and tell you why.


    1) To get a performance boost to aging hardware
    2) To push top-line hardware even further to have the best of the best
    3) To make old hardware do new tricks (not the same as 1) or to make new hardware go to an absolute extreme
    4) To show off


    1 - Someone overclocks for this reason most likely because they had relatively good hardware not too long ago, but now a new program or new game has been released that is just a tad too much for their hardware. A game might be playable, but not enjoyable. Commonly, the video card , memory or CPU is overclocked in this case. They do it mostly with stock hardware, not investing money into expensive cooling or modding, and are doing it just to get a few more performance points out of a machine. Even an across the board 10% boost can mean the difference between having fun and just being pissed.

    2 - This is for the person who wants the best of the best, and then some. They typically will have very high end systems, and decent cooling solutions to boot. They will overclock their hardware to its limit, not somuch to get extra performance as to just have the best of the best. However, it still of course gives them a boost when doing intensive tasks. This is where you typically find your high end cooling solutions, such as water cooling, heavy copper heatsinks with high speed fans, et cetera. This is typically your powergamer or super enthusiast.

    3 - This is where I fall in. These people overclock because they absolutely love hardware. Their interest is not so much playing games faster or better, but is driven by their amazement at the hardware itself. This is where you find your extreme exotic overclocks. Liquid nitrogen cooled P4s, peltier-equipped athlons, computers submerged in liquid, capacitors ripped off a motherboard and replaced with higher quality ones, et cetera. A lot of times, this type of person will take very old hardware, and using new methods, overclock it to absolute extremes and then show what it can do. One of my earliest and most successful overclocks was with an AMD 486 DX4-100mhz processor. Socket 3, stock 100mhz with 25mhz or 33mhz FSB, needed only a heatsink. I took it to the extreme - A full 100% overclock, 200mhz, using a 50mhz (extremely overclocked PCI bus in this case) FSB. Believe it or not, that 486 ran windows 2000 like a dream, played mp3s and movies, and served me well until the chip died (about 8 months)

    4 - This type of person doesn't really care about the hardware nor do they care about the games. They usually aren't really interested in the art of overclocking per se - they just want to have big numbers. They overclock because they can, and because today it is fairly easy. All the want is a high score to show all their friends, and that's it.

    There are subreasons to overclocking, of course, but generally speaking this is who you will find, and why, when it comes to overclocking.

    As for the specifics on overclocking, others can help you with that. My advice is to begin experimenting on your own.
  4. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    overclocking these days is so easy everyone is doing it. in fact, many products overclock themselves (factory overclocking) without the user's consent. it'll get better and better for overclockers as time goes on.
  5. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    Many products do not come overclocked. I recall having this discussion before, and the only real example you provided was an MSI board, which I investigated further and was corrected in future releases of the same board. The rest of them were within the industry standard tolerance range, which is not overclocking, because all components must be allowed a certain tolerance outside of book specifications for such things as EMI control. It has never been a practice of OEM providers to overclock a product - It leaves them open to liability because it is illegal. You cannot sell someone a product that already has the warranty voided, and overclocking invariably voids a warranty.

    Perhaps this is a MSI problem, but it is not an industry-wide practice and in fact is almost unheard of.
  6. aajvs99

    aajvs99 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    so ok i think i get it now. So my next question is how do you overclock something like an Celeron 600mhz? cause thats what i got right now (i am thinking about upgrading...different thread look at it later) I also have a diamond stealth card but that already is really fast... yeah the celeron that needs a little help! any suggestions
  7. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    There are three things you need to look at.

    1) What motherboard you have, and whether or not it allows you to overclock the FSB or use a higher FSB (two different things?
    2) If your motherboard provides bus locking or not?
    3) What speed is your ram rated at?

    Find out those, and you are closer. The normal route with celerons is going to be overclocking the FSB, since you cannot change the multiplier. However, before doing any of this, I suggest you first brush up on the following terms:

    - Front Side Bus, also known as Northbridge (although not entirely the same) and/or the MMC and it's function
    - The purpose of FSB as it relates to CPU speed and the purpose of the multiplier
    - CPU Core Voltage and how it relates to CPU stability and heat dissapation
    - The PCI bus, it's nominal speed (33mhz) and how it relates to Front Side Bus Speed. On older boards this includes the AGP bus too

    You can find great information by searching here or by searching google. These are all the basics, but are important to learn if you want to overclock and not risk blowing stuff up.
  8. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    i don't want to get into another argument but apparently the folks at THG occasionally discover various asian boards that are overclocked out of the box and will not run at normal speeds. overclocked products are not common nor a major issue, but they exist nonetheless.
  9. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    5) To destroy perfectly good hardware in a puff of smoke.
    6) To void your warranties.
    7) To have things never go back to the way they were again, even when you set everything back to normal.
  10. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    That is what happens when you are a 4, and/or do not know what you are doing. People who know what they are doing don't make mistakes like that.
  11. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    in the past overclocking amd processors was a joke. times change though...
  12. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    Define "in the past". Because as far back as the k6/2, AMD cpus have been good overclocking candidates for a variety of reasons.

    And that's going back pretty far.

    In fact, I can think of only three AMD cpus, out of the veritable horde they've produced, that were not good cpus to not only learn with, but overclock and use. The K5, the K6, and The k6/3. I would say your statement is more true about intel, especially with the Deschutes P2 starting with locked multipliers.
  13. Tarkus

    Tarkus TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 621

    I've been OCing since I built my first computer. It's just so damn easy, why not. I started an Intel fan and have since moved to AMD. AMD has been the best supporter of the OC community because of the unlocked multiplier. Not only do you get to push the FSB to get the CPU to it's max but if you lower the multiplier you can then push the FSB as far as it can go and get even more out of your motherboard. Remember, the higher the FSB the greater your memory bandwidth; if you max your CPU before your FSB and RAM top out then you haven't gained everything you could out of your system.

    I have a friend that I finally got to upgrade his very old system. He never OC'd but when he found out how easy it was, he cranked up the FSB on his Intel and as a result he got more performance out of his chip than if he had spent way more money and bought the fastest CPU they made.

    Unfortunately AMD has locked their CPUs lately, first with the Athlon XPs, you have to buy the mobile variety for an unlocked multiplier, and now the A64s, only the FX series are unlocked. Hopefully they will return to their OC community roots, but it's doubtful.

    Phant, you're turning into a girlyman. :p
  14. tbrunt3

    tbrunt3 TS Rookie Posts: 313

    Yes this very true AMD very friendly for the oc people I am lucky and have a xp barton 2500 that is unlocked which are very hard to get. AMd needs to go back to there roots.
  15. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    Every mobile barton is unlocked ;)
  16. tbrunt3

    tbrunt3 TS Rookie Posts: 313

    Yes i know mine is not a mobile
  17. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    at the time intel processors were superior in quality and could take more thermal and electrical abuse than thier competitor's products. im talking about when amd started making thier own product (k-5), not a rip-off of something intel designed.
  18. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    AMD has not "ripped-off" an Intel design anymore than IBM, Cyrix, ST or Toshiba has. Remember, without the quote "ripping off" of major companies, we would not have Pepsi, or Chevy, or Jack In The Box.

    However, since you mentioned the K5, I'll run with that.

    So you are saying that the k5 was a poor overclocked compared to, well, the competetion. The Pentium.

    The K5 was originally introduced in 1996. It ran for an extrenely short time in the world of processors, not even making it a full year. The release of the K5 was late and AMD already had the K6, which was vastly superior in both performance and cost to the Pentium-MMX, intels latest innovation in '97.

    However, this is straying from the point. The K5 was introductory processor. Although it was nowhere near the "Pentium-Killer" it was touted to be, it was there. 9 months later, it wasn't. AMD had been producing competeting processors against Intel for a decade before.

    And now we are a nearly a decade later.

    Are you telling me that because of a 9-month span in a spit of time around 20 years long, you can say AMD cpus were poor overclockers "back in the day" ?

    Well, I quite clearly disagree. If you were actually building, or perhaps overclocking, you would have remembered the original Pentium, P54C, was a non-overclockable chip that was *extremely* hot. Yes, we all remember the heat nightmares with the Socket 4 Pentium.

    Intel quickly improved the Pentium and released the first Pentium to introduce what had already been introduced (and not by Intel) years earlier, clock doubling. The first Socket 5 pentium was the P-75. From 75mhz to 166mhz, through a core revision allowing speeds up to 200mhz, and a final core revision to implement MMX, topping out at 233mhz for desktops, 266mhz for laptops.

    Then came the P2 and the K6/2.

    Now, zephead, before you get defensive, let me show you the point I am trying to make. It seems to me you attempt to discredit AMD at completely random times. You also attempt to discredit other manufacturers, too. Such, as you so tactfully say, "asian board makers".

    So rather than dispute this with you, I will simply say, as an unbiased computer technician, overall, Intel has frowned upon overclockers far more than AMD has and has made it much more difficult to do such, under the guise of protecting the consumer. Intel has had TWO processors that were worthy of actually buying for the purpose of an overclock: The Celeron A and the Pentium 4 northwood. AMD has had many, and for nearly two decades has always had chips that were easy to overclock.
  19. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    A point I missed.

    You REALLY need to do your research before you talk. The K5, K6, and K6/2 were WAY more tolerant to high voltages than any Pentium was.
  20. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    i said AT THE TIME. you should hear some of the things i've heard said about amd in the 90's by users and technicians alike. and yes, i had a fair share of comments about amd too. the k-5 and k-6 left a *very* bad taste in people's mouths. the pentium was a huge success that made intel into a titan. the k-5 and subsequent processors can hardly say the same.

    PS> the board makers ARE asian and there's nothing i can do about it. in my opinon there's nothing wrong with being asian.
  21. AtK SpAdE

    AtK SpAdE TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,495

    It seems to me you attempt to discredit Intel as mush as zephead is discrediting AMD. Is that not a small bit hypocritical? Each of you have extremly vaild point, but i do not belvie either of you are right or wrong, it is a matter of opinion.


    btw-i dont not think that he ment anything discriminatory about asian people in any way.
  22. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    Why would I discredit Intel when I daily use Intel processors? I favor AMD for price alone. I own many Intel systems, and in fact my workstation at home is a Dual Xeon.

    Zephead is a smart guy. I respect that he does usually know what he is talking about. In this area, however, his statement was way too broad and could have been taken many ways. The whole asian boards thing is pure rubbish, and aside from a single instance on a single hardware site I've yet to see any solid proof, or even semi-proof, of "factory overclocking" coming from "asian board makers".

    And zephead: The k5 did indeed leave a bad taste in many peoples mouths, as did the K6.

    But so did the Celeron Classic, Rambus, the Pentium 4 Wilamette, software-readable Serial numbers on P3 processors, and lately the Prescott.
  23. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    did you read that part?
    and i've owned plenty of asian boards before i got my d865perl and they've been great.

    in regards to the bad taste:
    i agree in that said issues were dissapointments to say the least.

    and i have no interest in discrediting anyone or equating the past with the present.
  24. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    Well zep, you just seem to do a lot of backtracking. First you said that "many" products overclock themselves, then said it wasn't a big issues and didn't happen much. Then you said "Overclocking AMD processors was a joke in the past", when that was true for only two processors, when MORE intel processors were a joke to overclock.

    Are you an overclocker, zephead?
  25. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    'many' products out of all motherboards sold doesn't amount to a lot.

    people bought the k-5's and k-6's and found that intel processors AT THE TIME could be pushed farther and faster. often the amd or cyrix processors would fail when pushed faster or to higher voltages.

    i wouldn't consider myself a hard-core overclocker but i have always played around with overclocking and will continue to do so.
    i thought we were clear what i defined as 'past' in that statement. when the k-5 came out and the k-6 following it.
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...