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[ The PC Guide | The PC Buyer's Guide | Designing and Specifying PC Systems and Components | Key Performance Issues In PC System Design ]


Overclocking is the process of intentionally running certain components in a PC faster than the speed for which they were designed by their manufacturer. Doing this increases the performance of the system, while possibly risking damage to your hardware, or at the very least, your warranty and your data. :^) Overclocking has always been a controversial topic, and I have never been a very big fan of it. Once the domain of primarily the very technically-oriented, it has now gone much more "mainstream", with articles on it appearing all over the Internet and even in print. I discuss overclocking in general terms, and provide my argument against it, in this section.

What does overclocking have to do with buying a new PC? Well, for the typical buyer, not much at all. There are some people who intentionally buy a less-powerful system intending to overclock it from the start, to "save money". Well, you might save money this way but you also may not. You certainly won't save time, and for most people time is money.

If you are into overclocking, you probably already know that some models of certain component types are much easier to overclock than others. If you do intend to overclock parts of your new system immediately, then you want to make sure to purchase components that have a known reputation for easier overclocking. "Overclockability" becomes an important criterion for you in this case. Most of the sites that review components like CPUs, motherboards and video cards discuss overclocking of various components, and there are numerous sites dedicated specifically to overclocking as well.

Tip: Needless to say, if you want to overclock your system, you want the control and flexibility that you can only get by building your own PC!

Next: Key Non-Performance Issues In PC System Design

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