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Guide to Overclocking

This guide is meant to be a helpful start for newbies at overclocking. Bear in mind that this guide is not exact with every system configuration available, although I’ll try to keep it as wide-ranging as I possibly can. Also consider that overclocking is dangerous if you go over a ‘safe’ limit, no matter how good equipment you have. Good equipment will lessen the risk but can never negate it completely.

Overclocking is one of the widest used words that it doesn’t even exist in any dictionary. In simple ‘techie’ terms, overclocking occurs when a component is forced to run at a speed higher than it is specified to. For example, a processor that is rated for 2000MHz speed forced to run at 2200MHz speed is an overclocked processor. Of course this process stresses components, shortens their life, raises the heat output and requires better cooling equipment and higher voltage supply than the rated of the component in most cases. About all these, how much depends on the overclocking level and the equipment used. It may be negligible or vast. Overclocking should not take place in systems that run applications of major importance, where a crash of a program, a memory mistake or a system hang can be a critical issue. In other words, overclocking will lessen any system stability and reliability for long term usage if it exceeds a certain level, which level can be nearly tiny or very excessive depending on the system abilities. Before you start overclocking at all, make sure that you can live with the idea that you are taking a risk and be warned that overclocking usually becomes far more addictive that anyone can ever imagine. If you start it, there is virtually not an end.

To start overclocking, make sure you have components of a decent quality and a reliable, plus sufficient of course, power supply. Generic components like RAM modules cannot handle the punishment and will get damaged quite easily. Also, you need a reliable and strong enough power supply, first to keep the voltage supplies stable and second to keep the system safe. If a generic power supply blows from pressure and that is very easy to happen with most of those, it can damage many components of your PC, since there are no safeties and the ‘spike’ from the blown capacitors will go right down to the system. I’ve seen systems burned whole, down to the floppy disk drives because their cheap PSUs blew up. If you want my advice, when playing with power never be too cheap since you can never be too safe.

To even consider overclocking, make sure that you have read everything that is written for your processor in this article and you can fully understand it, plus that you understand that overclocking is a risky procedure and you can damage components permanently even if the slightest thing is done wrong.

Also, since overclocking might cause crashes or makes the system unable to boot or even post, make sure the system and mainly its data are not absolutely necessary to you or any other person, since a windows crash might create the need of a format which will delete all the data in the hard disk. If the system will not post, hit reset and instantly hit and HOLD DOWN the Insert key, which should reset the frequencies and memory timings to the safest possible. Enter the BIOS and re-apply them to the values you had them stable at. If the Insert key trick won’t work, you may need to clear the CMOS. Open the manual of the motherboard and find the jumper that will do so on it, the procedure is also described in the manual. Of course make sure the system is powered down when you will clear the CMOS else you might burn the motherboard completely!

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