Should You Overclock Processors for Gaming PCs?
Today’s gamers often turn a typical CPU or GPU into an overclocked hot rod. . . Instead of adding a supercharger, they use a technology called overclocking to make the processor work harder and faster.
Instead of adding high-performance parts, overclocking involves changing the bus speed and/or clock multiplier on your motherboard or graphics hardware — even though your CPU or GPU is still physically the same, it works At a faster frequency (therefore more instructions are executed in the same time frame because faster frequency means more instruction cycles per second).
Overclocking can be a complicated process, and it rarely provides a hassle-free boost the first time you try it. Although there are downsides to overclocking, you will find plenty of tutorials and articles on the web that will guide you through the process. You can locate these articles simply by searching for the word “overclocking” followed by your CPU or GPU model on a search engine like Google or Bing. Freeware and shareware overclockers are also available for almost any processor.
Only try it if you know what you’re doing, and your CPU or GPU is no longer fast enough to handle the games you want to play. (Overclocking is definitely cheaper than buying a new and faster computer!) Before you decide, here is a list of important reasons why you should carefully consider the decision to overclock your CPU or GPU:
Your device must support overclocking. Some CPU/motherboard and GPU/graphics card combinations are more suitable for overclocking than others – if your hardware doesn’t support overclocking (which isn’t something generally mentioned in a PC user’s guide), there’s a risk of damaging your hardware.
If overclocking is not mentioned in your motherboard (or PC) user manual, you may find help with overclocking on the Internet by searching for the model number of your motherboard or PC.
Overclocking usually voids the manufacturer’s warranty. If you decide to overclock, you may void the warranty from your computer manufacturer. (This also applies to your motherboard, CPU, and graphics card manufacturer.)
Overclocking will shorten CPU/GPU life. Due to the effects of heat on today’s chip architecture, even processors running at their rated speed eventually degrade – this process takes many years, so it’s usually not a concern.
However, the additional heat generated by overclocking the processor automatically shortens its operational life. (Those who overclock are usually aware of this, but they argue that the rate of processor development will make any processor obsolete within three or four years anyway.)
Because of this ever-present risk of heat damage, overclocking smart PC owners are always investing in the best possible fans and cooling systems for their processors. Without such heavy-duty cooling, overclocking the processor will quickly destroy it.
Overclocking can result in lockups and errors: This makes sense – if you’re pushing a device beyond its design specs, you’ll introduce issues if your overclocking configuration isn’t quite right.
Overclocking usually involves a long process of tweaking your processor frequency to achieve the most hassle-free operation – but even with the best settings, you’ll likely encounter occasional lockups. (One overclocking PC gamer accepts this as part of the deal.)