Natural Opinions

An Archive Of My Thoughts

I've been looking for an excuse to write an overclocking guide for awhile now.

Basic description
Overclocking refers to increasing the frequency of the clock signal of a particular device/chip. It could be any device/chip (for example the GPU or ram) but usually the term is used to refer to cpu overclocking unless otherwise stated. Many different cpu platforms exist, usually separated by different sockets. Different rules exist for overclocking each platform. However many things are the same or similar in nearly all cpu platforms. Many things are the same but have different names in different platforms and different motherboard bios/efi setup/configuration (for example the front side bus is not always called FSB, I have seen it called base clock, external clock, HT reference clock, HTT, and the word clock is sometimes replaced by frequency).

(reminder, add acronym section)

The way I like to explain cpu overclocking is that by overclocking you are really just readjusting some of the following traits:
1. Clock rate*
2. Voltage*
3. Performance
4. Power Consumption
5. Heat/Temperature
6. Stability
7. Lifespan

* = can be directly changed by the user in the bios/efi setup/configuration
The rest are changed automatically when the voltage or clock rate is changed by the user.

Things you need:
-You must have enough cooling. Make sure your system is free of dust, has good ventilation and nothing to restrict airflow, a good aftermarket cooling, thermal grease is properly applied, and the cooler is properly installed. This is crucial since overclocking increases heat/temperature.
-You must have enough power overhead. Power Overhead is the extra power that you have available from the power supply but your system isn't using. In other words if your system is using 450 watts of power and you have a 550w power supply then you have 100 watts of power overhead. Having plenty of power overhead is crucial for cpu overclocking since overclocking increases power consumption
-Good components to overclock. For example if you want to overclock your memory you need to have good memory, since overclocking puts more stress on the hardware.
-Having a good motherboard may help but it usually not necessary. This depends on the platform however. Older platforms tend to see a more significant benefit to overclockers from having a good motherboard since overclocking the cpu often requires overclocking certain parts of the motherboard as well, or raising voltages.

Things to test:
-You must make sure the system is stable. Use stress testing software like prime95 to do this.
-You must make sure the temperatures are ok and the cpu is being kept cool enough. Use temperature software like coretemp or realtemp to do this.

When you raise the clock rate:
-performance may or may not improve depending on a number of factors that we will discuss later (mainly bottlenecks)
-voltage only goes up if you leave the voltage on auto in the bios setup
-power consumption goes up in a linear way (reminder, explain the difference between linear and quadratic relationships)
-heat/temperature goes up in a linear way
-stability may eventually begin to go down after a certain point if you keep raising the clock rate without raising the voltage
-lifespan is not affecting in any significant way

When you raise the voltage:
-power consumption is increased in an quadratic way
-heat/temperature is increased in an quadratic way
-Can improve stability if your system was unstable before. Allows you to maintain stability at a higher clock rate. However it can also decrease stability if you can't provide enough cooling since overheating can cause instability, and increasing voltage does raise the temperature.
-lifespan is decreased in an quadratic way

Stuff to go over (I'll add to this later)
Base clock vs. multipliers.
Different components of the cpu and knowing the difference.
Differences between different components, different systems, different batches, fabrication process, different chips from the same batch number and model number.

I'll add more to this later and then copy it onto my site when I'm finished. Note that I am doing this more for myself than for the OP.