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How can I overclock my PC? Answered

I am running an intel i5 quad core at 2.66 GHz and would like to overclock it.
Cooling is not an issue as I have a coolermaster 600 case which is overkill.
How do I go about overclocking my CPU, Video card and RAM?



8 years ago

While this case may not have as much heat build-up inside, cooling is still an issue.

A major one.

When a CPU is overclocked, it heats up considerably more than it does at stock speed (the relationship between clocking and thermal power is non-linear, so temperatures can spiral out of control much more quickly than you'd think).  The first line of defense against overheating is not the case, but the thermal grease, heatsink, and fan sitting directly on top of the CPU.

If you're using a stock heatsink and fan, you will not have much success in overclocking safely.  First, stock heatsinks have fairly cheap thermal grease, meaning the heat transfer from the die to the heatsink will not be quite as efficient as a grease that uses something like synthetic silver (which is far more thermally conductive).

Then, you must consider the construction of the heatsink.  Stock coolers have very narrow fin spacing (which restricts airflow and doesn't "breathe" as well), and the fins don't typically have enough surface area (meaning they don't contact enough moving air to properly dissipate heat).  Also, the fans that come with stock coolers do not move enough air to cool adequately when the CPU is overclocked.

The only advantage of the case is that it takes in enough cool air so that, in the final stage of CPU cooling (heat exchange from the heatsink to the surrounding air), the hot air doesn't build up around the heatsink.

This same principle applies to the VGA and RAM.  RAM without a heat spreader usually cannot be overclocked safely to any significant degree.  Also, since the VGA has RAM on board, not only do you have to worry about the GPU in the same way as the CPU, but you also must ensure that the graphics RAM has some adequate cooling as well (in my experience, I've gained far more from overclocking video RAM than the GPU - your mileage may vary).

You must also consider secondary effects of overclocking, such as additional power consumption causing higher temperatures in the PSU (which not only can stress it to the point of failure, but also considerably raise case temperatures).  Also, the fan on the stock CPU is usually oriented to move air across the RAM and the voltage regulators on either side; some aftermarket designs do not do this adequately.  Those regulators get much hotter when overclocked, and must not be forgotten.

I've repaired a number of PC's where the owner knew just enough about overclocking to be dangerous (meaning he could set the BIOS but didn't think about these variables).  I've replaced pretty much everything from CPUs, RAM, VGAs, PSUs, and even motherboards because these considerations weren't made.

I'm not saying don't overclock.  I'm saying be vary careful and make sure you don't end up with costly repairs - getting a faster CPU and VGA to start with is much cheaper than replacing what you have when it blows.


8 years ago

Go to overclocking.com and look around there.  Overclocking is more involved than just cranking it up.  I would rather not give part of the info here.

Or you could just look to the right under "RELATED" and read what is there.

Good luck and don't let out the magic smoke.