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Overclocking your processor

How to overclock your processor


Overclocking processors

Overclocking
I get questions all the time like "What is overclocking?", "What does it do?", "Are the benefits really worth the trouble and the risk?". It's such a steep learning curve for those who are just entering the technological field, and on top of that it's super intimidating messing with anything electronic. As soon as a newbie see's a BIOS or the inside of the computer, it's like they're being transported into the Matrix.

computers, technology, matrix
I think... I took a wrong turn.
So in this article, I'll answer some questions without going too deep into the mechanics and gear and wretches. I'll tell you what overclocking is, how it's achieved, and how you can do it.




What is overclocking?

Believe it or not every processor you buy, or every processor in your computer can be run faster than what you buy it at. Overclocking is the act of increasing the speed of your processor via bios or desktop overclocking utility. Overclocking voids your warranty with Intel/AMD, so do this with the knowledge that if you go too far (But you'd have to go REALLY too far) you'll have to purchase an entirely new processor.

Speeds of a processor

The frequency (or speed) of a processor is measured in Mhz/Ghz

Modern processors nowadays operate at above 3.0Ghz frequency or 3000Mhz frequency. However, computer enthusiasts often tweak these settings going as far as 5.0ghz. If you ever see a computer running at 5.0Ghz you run, run as far as you can because that thing is a beast. Although do me a favor the next time you see a 5.0Ghz, look at what's cooling that bad boy. Let me explain why I ask you to do that

water cooling, overclocking, processor, how to
Ice Ice baby. Dun dun dun dun dun dun dun

Heat Output and cooling

The general enemy of electronics is heat. Too much heat will shorten the life span of your electronics faster than diabetes shortens the lifespan of America. So we need to control this factor correct? Right about now you're probably wondering "But the processor comes with a fan and a heat sink so everything should be O.K.". Well shut your mouth because you're wrong (only kidding, I love when you have input even though I'm the one saying it). Those heat sinks were designed for running that processor at stock speeds. it will be able to do the job on a mild overclock, but even then your processor will run hotter than usual and we don't like that.

Let me give you some motivation to keep your processor cool:




The cooler it is the better. It's fun shopping for heat sinks and what not, let me give you some options that I personally recommend.

The Hyper 212 EVO from Cooler Master
This one is probably the best, and cheapest after market heat sink in the market right now. I highly recommend this one. If you look at the reviews you'll see testimonials of hundreds of satisfied customers.

Now water cooling is a little bit more elaborate and a lot more effective. To take complete advantage you'd need a pretty decent case in order to fit the radiators. I'd say a case that costs about $150-$XXX would do. The single radiator water cooling units can fit on the exhaust CPU fan slot on any case as long as it's 120mm.

cooling unit, watercool
The H80i from Corsair. (Can fit in most cases)
cooling, water cooling, how to
The H100i from Corsair (Need a specific case to accomodate)


How it's achieved

Overclocking is a lot more simple than most may think it is. I'll break it down for you right now in a couple of sentences. You start your computer up and when it prompts you press f2 or del or however you get into the "setup" or bios. Once you're in the bios you can go into either "overclock settings" "cpu settings" "advance configurations" just look for something along those lines. If the CPU frequency is set on Auto then change it to manual. After you do this, you set the amount of speed you want your processor to run at, exit and save and boom, start testing.

bios, update, bios gui, overclock
This is what your bios should look like if you have a GUI
non gui bios, bios, overclock, how to
This is what your bios should look like without a GUI

Testing

Different people have different mantras when it comes to testing. Some people suggest doing six passes of prime95 or superpi, and other suggest just harsh gaming. I'm probably leaning a little more to the ladder but with some of the former. I suggest after an overclock that you game a little bit and THEN start a cpu intensive program for around an hour or so to check for stability. If your computer doesn't crash (don't worry if this happens, simply reset the computer and downclock a little) then you're fine.

I'd also like to remind you to raise your clock frequency in tiny, extremely tiny, increments. I mean going from 3.0 to 3.1 or 3.2 ghz. If you start at 2.5 and go straight to 3.5 you're going to have an absolutely terrible time depending on how your CPU was binned (I'll write an article about binning later).

follow all these pieces of advice and you'll be set to overclock! Thanks for reading.