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[ The PC Guide | System Optimization and Enhancement Guide | Overclocking: The Dissenting Opinion | Overclocking Risks and Rewards ]

The Uncertainty Factor

Everything that happens in the PC involves the processor in one way or another, and everything relies on the CPU being able to compute properly: 1+1 must always be 2, etc. When this can no longer be guaranteed, basically "all bets are off". It's even worse when the system bus is overclocked. What can you trust any more?

I do a lot of debugging and troubleshooting, on a daily basis. I can tell you with absolute certainty that it is much easier to debug a problem on a system that runs reliably, in general, than on one that is flaky. The problem with overclocking is that as soon as you do it, you can no longer take anything for granted. You are running Windows and a program crashes. Normally you'd suspect the operating system or the program. But if you overclock, you really cannot rule out a problem related to overclocking. This makes troubleshooting extremely difficult. Is the problem the overclocking or not? You do not have the comfort of knowing that you are operating your PC the way you should be. You cannot take anything for granted.

This is probably the main reason that I do not overclock. I'm not worried about white smoke coming from the CPU as much as I am worried that my data will not be safe, and that any time I have a problem I will have to second-guess myself about whether or not it was the result of my intentionally running the PC out of specification.

Next: Should You Overclock?

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