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Eaglerulez's guides to building a computer Version 2.

#41Eaglerulez(Topic Creator)Posted 8/20/2007 1:17:23 PMmessage detail
8.Overclocking

Overclocking is the act of increasing a component's speed, beyond that of stock settings.

For instance when overclocking a CPU one may take a 2Ghz CPU and push it to 2.2Ghz.

There are three main things that people overclock, the CPU, the Video card, and the RAM.

(Note in this part I will not go into specifics about overclocking since I have not done so myself, nor is this a guide about overclocking. However I feel it is important for a new builder to understand the advantages of overclocking, and I believe getting a general idea of what overclocking is will increase one's understanding of the computer)

Overclocking the CPU

In order to understand CPU overclocking, you must first understand a few additional things about the CPU. The CPU finds it's effective clock speed by multiplying its' frontside bus by a multiplier.

The frontside bus is a fast communication lane between the CPU and RAM. Generally speaking the faster the frontside bus, the better, however a faster FSB has proven only a minor impact on performance. Since the FSB connects the RAM and CPU, if the speed of the frontside bus increases, both the RAM and CPU will be affected. A CPU's front side bus can usually be found on its specifications page on newegg.

Take a Core 2 Duo E4400. This Core 2 has a FSB of 800Mhz, and an effective clock speed of 2Ghz. The Core 2 Architecture quad pumps it's FSB, so in this case, 800 Mhz/ 4= 200Mhz.
However the E4400 has a X10 multiplier and thus the 200 Mhz FSB Multiplied by the X10 multiplier = 2Ghz, and that is where we get our effective clock speed.

In order to overclock one usually raises the FSB speed or multiplier (if possible) within the BIOS. Keep in mind if you are overclocking the CPU and you raise the FSB, your RAM may be affected. So if you have RAM running at 800Mhz, and you overclock the FSB by 50 Mhz, your RAM will run at 850 Mhz.

Overclocking the RAM

Just like overclocking the CPU when overclocking the RAM, one usually raises its' operating frequency within the BIOS.

For instance overclocking DDR2 800Mhz memory to 850Mhz would be an example of overclocking the RAM.

To raise the RAM's operating frequency you can raise the FSB (though this will also effect the CPU) or you can overclock the RAM separately from the CPU if your BIOS presents an option to do so.

Another example of overclocking is lowering the RAM's timings, for instance dropping 5-5-5-12 memory to 4-4-4-12 timings.

Overclocking the video card

Unlike the RAM and CPU, in order to overclock the video card, you must do so in your operating system. You can download, various tools, online from Nvidia and ATI or from other parties.

When overclocking the video card, one usually pushes the core and memory timings past stock settings.

You can also unlock disabled pixel pipelines. Though unlocking pipelines is usually dependent on the card itself.

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www.actsofgord.com . Long live Green Earth. Escalators can't break, they can only temporarily become stairs. I Love GREEN TEA
#42Eaglerulez(Topic Creator)Posted 8/20/2007 1:18:33 PMmessage detail
The advantages of overclocking

Overclocking offers many advantages.

1. Increased price performance ratio. By overclocking you can increase your component's performance for no additional cost. For instance one can easily overclock a Core 2 Duo E4300 (which clocks at 1.8Ghz and costs around 120 dollars) to 3.3 ghz. Giving the E4300 the performance of such high end CPU's as the 2.93 Ghz Core 2 Extreme which costs $900

2. Better Performance. By overclocking, one gains more performance, simple as that.

3. More future proof system. By overclocking you can prolong your system's performance life time.

For instance if a program has a minimum requirement of a 3Ghz processor, but your processor only runs a 2.8Ghz, you can overclock your processor to meet or surpass that requirement.

Or if your system has low framerates when playing games, overclocking can significantly increase framerates.

The disadvantages of overclocking

1. Increased heat output, and power consumption. Overclocking causes your components to produce more heat and draw more power. Because of this your system risks a greater chance of overheating or over exerting your power supply.

2. Shortened component lifetime. Because of the increased heat output and power consumption, overclocked components usually have a shorter life time then that of non overclocked components. However most overclocked components are usually upgraded or replaced before they die. Also a component's lifetime is only significantly shortened, if a massive overclock is taken place.

3. Higher probability of instability. Since the component is being pushed past the set standards of the manufacturer it is more likely to become unstable. Instability can be prevented by slightly increasing the power to the component, however even this slight power increase can produce significantly more heat, and since more power then regular is flowing through the component, it is also more likely to die quicker.

4. Possibility of frying a component. In order to prevent instability a slight increase in power could solve this instability, however this added power can fry the component, or produce so much heat that the component melts/ catches fire.

5. Void of warranty for most components. Overclocking also voids the warranty on most components.

My opinion

I personally believe that overclocking is a very useful act that should be considered by most people. Even though there are far more disadvantages, then advantages when it comes to overclocking, most of these disadvantages can be avoided with proper cooling and power.

I do not suggest overclocking to first time builders, since as a first time builder you will have your hands full with figuring out how to get your computer to start. However if you feel that you may want to overclock in the future I heavily suggest getting a motherboard and CPU combo that is known for overclocking.

There are few things you should consider when overclocking though.

First off you want to maintain your price performance ratio, with the exception of an aftermarket heatsink, and a strong power supply, you should not purchase components "specialized" for overclocking since these components while good overclockers, may ruin your price performance ratio since they will be priced much greater.

Be sure to have sufficient cooling

Proceed with caution. When you overclock never make massive jumps in clock frequency, always go in 5 mhz steps, checking temperatures, and stability.

Finally DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH run a couple google searches about how to overclock, read a couple guides, and go on from there. Do not rely on this guide for complete instruction on how to overclock, this is the mere basics.

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www.actsofgord.com . Long live Green Earth. Escalators can't break, they can only temporarily become stairs. I Love GREEN TEA
#43Eaglerulez(Topic Creator)Posted 8/20/2007 1:19:46 PMmessage detail
9.Cooling

Cooling is very important for a PC. Without proper cooling a PC may overheat, causing it to shutdown randomly, or extensive heat, may damage your components. Heck without proper cooling your PC may catch fire, or some components may melt. Finally without proper cooling it is practically impossible to overclock.

Air cooling

Air cooling is the simplest, cheapest, and most common form of cooling.

Air cooling consists of several intake fans blowing cool air on or towards your components, while an exhaust fan expels the hot air produced from your components.

Most cases come with a front and/or side intake fan preinstalled, as well as a rear exhaust fan, though some cases also have fans on the top and on the bottom of cases. If your case does not have these fans pre installed, don't worry, most cases have several places to mount fans.

Advantages of air cooling: Cheap, simple, effective.

Disadvantages of air cooling: Loud, not as effective as some other forms of cooling.

Water Cooling

Water cooling consists of several components: A pump, tubing, water blocks, a radiator, and a reservoir.

Water cooling works by having the pump, pump water through the tubing to the various water blocks which are attached to the various components in your system. Each water block has two holes for tubing, one for incoming cool, water, and the other for out going warm water. The out going warm water is delivered to the radiator, which cools the water. The water is then pumped to the reservoir where it is held until the pump, pumps the water through the circuit again.

The result is a far more efficient cooling solution. Water is a better heat conductor then air, plus since the radiator usually consists of one or two silent fans, water cooling is very silent.

Advantages of water cooling: Silent, efficient.

Disadvantages of water cooling: A lot more expensive then air cooling, harder to maintain, a bit more complex, if it leaks it can ruin your system.

Note: I personally don't believe water cooling is necessary, unless you happen to have a stacked setup with SLI, a Quad Core processor, etc. I definitely don't recommend it to first time builders because from what I can gather, it is a pain to assemble and maintain.

Passive Cooling

Passive Cooling consists of heatsinks. A heatsink is a device which draws out heat from a component, across a greater surface area. For instance instead of having the heat be concentrated soley on the CPU, with a heatsink the heat is dissipated across both the CPU, and the surface area of the heatsink, thus offering a lower concentration of heat.

Most heatsinks are finned squares or cubes. They are finned, so that they have a greater surface area. These fins are made out of heat conducting metals like copper, and aluminum. Most CPU's come with there own heatsink/ fan, also many motherboards have heat sinks installed at various places.

I can just about guarantee that most types of RAM, Video cards, CPU’s, and Motherboards, have several heatsinks or other methods of passive cooling.

Advantages of passive cooling: Totally silent, no moving parts, simple, effective.

Disadvantages of passive cooling: Usually need a fan to have full effectiveness, can be heavy.

Most cooling solutions are a mixture between passive, and air cooling.

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www.actsofgord.com . Long live Green Earth. Escalators can't break, they can only temporarily become stairs. I Love GREEN TEA
#44Eaglerulez(Topic Creator)Posted 8/20/2007 1:21:12 PMmessage detail
Aftermarket Heatsinks

As mentioned, the RAM, CPU, Video card, and motherboard, all come with heatsinks preinstalled, that are usually sufficient enough to cool that component. However if you are overclocking, these stock cooling solutions may not cool these components enough, and thus you may want to purchase some higher quality cooling solutions from third parties.

There are a few things you should consider when purchasing aftermarket coolers.

Need

Do you really need an aftermarket cooler? Are your components running at decent temperatures, is your system stable? If so there’s really no need to get an aftermarket heatsink. If you are planning to overclock however, Aftermarket heatsinks help greatly, at achieving higher overclocks, and keeping temperatures down.

Size

Most aftermarket heatsinks are massive, be sure to have adequate room within your case to house your new heatsink.

Price

Aftermarket cooling solutions should cost no more then about $60 dollars, further more, if you are on a tight budget, then you should spend your money on better components, as opposed to aftermarket coolers.

Simplicity

If this is your first time dealing with an aftermarket cooling solution, you may want to seek one that has a simple installation as most aftermarket cooling solutions are larger, and are overall slightly harder to deal with, as opposed to stock cooling.

Effectiveness

Read some reviews on review sites to gauge the effectiveness of the aftermarket cooler you are seeking. This way you can determine whether the heatsink you are planning to purchase is worth it.

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www.actsofgord.com . Long live Green Earth. Escalators can't break, they can only temporarily become stairs. I Love GREEN TEA
#45Eaglerulez(Topic Creator)Posted 8/20/2007 1:22:03 PMmessage detail
That's all I have to my guide, feel free to post now. I will send out the .doc sometime later today or tomorrow, for those of you that signed up.
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www.actsofgord.com . Long live Green Earth. Escalators can't break, they can only temporarily become stairs. I Love GREEN TEA
#46Neo VejiitaPosted 8/20/2007 1:22:34 PMmessage detail
[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]
#47jnessesPosted 8/20/2007 1:23:34 PMmessage detail
make a faq/guide about it, and make a separate section for questions
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GA-P35-DS3R|8600GT|E6750|BALLISTIX RAM 2GB|HANNS-G 22" LCD|80 GB HDD|VISTA HOME PREMIUM 64-BIT
#48jnessesPosted 8/20/2007 1:25:15 PMmessage detail
you misspelled your topic.....
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GA-P35-DS3R|8600GT|E6750|BALLISTIX RAM 2GB|HANNS-G 22" LCD|80 GB HDD|VISTA HOME PREMIUM 64-BIT
#49ZOMFGWTFBBQHAXRPosted 8/20/2007 1:25:17 PMmessage detail
This is great, tag.
#50ven_voynichPosted 8/20/2007 1:26:49 PMmessage detail
Very nice work.