Many competitors of StealthMachines will advertise that they can overclock their processors to extremely high speeds. I always smile when I see this. They’re basically advertising that their computers will break down faster so they can sell you a new one sooner.
While I agree that this business model probably gets them more repeat customers, I do not feel it’s right to sell my customers computers which are designed to fail. I’d much rather sell computers which last for years and pick up referrals.
My advice on the subject of overclocking is by no means the right advice for every situation, but it is the right advice for most situations. If you’re looking to get the very best 3Dmark score possible, then by all means overclock. Overclocking does a good job of padding your score and it will literally make your geo metro computer appear to run at porsche speeds. For all other situations, DO NOT overclock!
It is a little known fact that overclocking does almost nothing to increase system performance in-game (where 99% of users actually need performance improvements). While your system may SAY it’s running faster, in all reality it’s running at the same if not slower speeds. The reason for this isn’t simple, but I’ll give you the basics. When overclocking, you must sacrifice at least one of two things…
One is heat. This is guaranteed. If you overclock, you are subjecting your computer to unnecessary levels of heat. Unless you’re using advanced cooling like liquid nitrogen, extra heat is unavoidable. EVEN IF your processor is liquid cooled, you are subjecting the other parts (memory and motherboard to be specific) to temperature extremes which they are not designed for. The damage of this heat is not immediately apparent.
What nobody in the computer business seems to take into account is the reality of creep. Electronics are made of metal… and not just any metal. Electronics are made of solder, a lead based metal which is easy to melt. When metal is exposed to heat for long periods of time, it begins to deform. This deformation is gradual enough that even the most robust of burn-in tests would never detect the long-term damage caused by even the smallest amount of excess heat.
Even if you get the heat under control, you’re still having to sacrifice other timings. By increasing your voltage and core clock, you nearly always need to decrease important but often overlooked metrics. An example of this is the core multiplier. You basically have to reduce these other metrics in order to keep the computer from tripping over itself. It’s the equivalent of increasing a human’s reading speed by skipping over words. Something has to give. In the case of my human example, your comprehension level is what gives. In the case of computers, your memory speed or core multiplier are often the first to go. System stability is often quick to follow.
That’s the last point I would like to make. Overclocking causes instability. This instability might go unnoticed for weeks, months, or even years. But then it will hit you. Blue screens of death, artifacts on the screen, SPAM, etc. are all symptoms of an unstable system and the cure is to avoid overclocking like the plague. There’s a reason they call it overclocking… it’s putting your parts over their designed limits. The Titanic was pushed to its limits. We all know what happened to that “state of the art” cruise ship.
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