What is overclocking?

Overclocking involves changing your computer system’s hardware settings to work at a faster speed than the manufacturer initially intended.

This generally involves changing the motherboard bus speed, the CPU speed, or both. This practice has become highly popular among gamers, modders and general PC enthusiasts.

CPU’s are normally tested by the manufacturer (AMD, Intel etc…) to see what speed they fail at. Once they have a clear indication of this, they are rated at a speed one step lower than this.

Sometimes, when manufacturers are short on stock, they package faster chips as slower ones. Overclockers see this as a windfall, meaning they get something better than they expected.

By overclocking the system bus, it can create a noticeable improvement on the whole system because all of the components will run faster. If you only overclock the CPU, you will not get the same increase in overall system performance.

To some, overclocking is a hobby, and enthusiasts spend hundreds on air, water or ice cooling to get the best results possible. To others, it is noted as a cheap but effective upgrade.

You must bear in mind that by overclocking any of your computer equipment, you will be surrendering any warranty from the manufacturer of your components.

Overclocking is commonly seen on CPU’s and RAM, but GPU’s (graphics cards) can be overclocked as well, normally using Windows based applications.

CPU overclocking is generally performed in the system’s BIOS, although Windows overclocking applications are available but are considered not to be as powerful and effective as BIOS overclocking.

Be sure to check out the Cooling and Overclocking section on our forums.

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