What is Overclocking
In the previous post, we discussed Intel locked vs unlocked processors, with the difference being locked processors’ overclocking capability. But what is Overclocking? Who should try it and what are the dangers? Let’s discuss.
Essentially, Overclocking entails changing some pretty delicate PC settings within the BIOS to make your processor run faster than it does so at stock. For example, in skilled hands and with proper cooling, the 6th Gen Intel Core i7-6700k can be safely bumped from its stock speed of 4.0 GHz per core to 4.5-4.6 GHz per core, netting 10-15% in “free” processing power. The downside is that the product of this tweaking is more heat generated than would normally be, often resulting in degraded stability and longevity, especially if an inadequate CPU cooler is used or temperatures get unmanageably high.
Who does Overclocking benefit?
With processors as fast and efficient as they already are, Overclocking is not nearly as common as it was 5+ years ago, simply because for most users, it’s just not necessary. But for those enthusiasts that must have the best and the fastest, Overclocking still thrives. Also, for users working on highly CPU intensive applications like modeling, data mining, or certain 3D rendering programs, that additional 10-15% of power can be a godsend and well worth the potential drawbacks.
Reasons to Avoid Overclocking
So specifically, what are some of those drawbacks? First, as I’ve already mentioned, a byproduct of Overclocking is excess heat, with how much heat determined by the specific voltage settings and CPU cooling method used. In the short term, that excess heat can mean issues with stability including random shut downs and blue screens. In the long term, the heat can degrade the overall longevity of the processor and shorten its lifetime, especially if inadequate cooling is used. Additionally, if that heat is not properly dissipated from the case, it can also degrade both the short term stability and long term longevity of various other components too, in addition to the CPU itself.
Who should Overclock
In recent years, certain enthusiast motherboards have made it very easy to Overclock with manual switches and buttons that can adjust settings or even automatically perform a modest Overclock with just a few taps. Even so, Overclocking is something we do not recommend for novice or even intermediate users. It has taken us years to perfect our methods and unless you know exactly what you’re doing, you can easily fry your CPU, motherboard, or both, causing hundreds of dollars in non-warrantied damage. Overclocking is really something best left to the experts.
Overclocking vs. Hyperclocking
Hyperclocking is Velocity Micro’s proprietary version of Overclocking, a technology we picked up through our acquisition of Overdrive PC many years ago. Like standard Overclocking, Hyperclocking pushes a processor to higher than stock speeds, but at lower temperatures than standard methods. And unlike many standard overclocks, Hyperclocking is done on all cores, not just a single one. The end result is a more stable, longer lasting Overclock than you’ll get anywhere else.