Monday, May 18, 2020

Beginners guide for safe overclocking

OVERCLOCKING a word people often confuse with OVERLOADING and hence get a wrong idea regarding it. Especially beginners who are just starting out thinking that it can have negative effects which is true......but not true as well.
Overclocking means to raise the clock speeds of the CPU , RAM or GPU beyond the factory set settings it has by supplying an increased amount of voltage to it thus unlocking its untapped potential which is also a free performance boost.
Beginners guide for safe overclocking
Overclocking is very much dependent on the hardware that you are using and also the condition that they are in.

Overclocking has certain guidelines which needs to be followed be it a beginner or a trained professional and needs to be done on the right things , only then can optimum results be obtained.

Simply put , OVERCLOCKING should only be performed with the compatible hardware.

To put the above statement in perspective let me give you an example of cars.

Overclocking what to do before

For racing there are specific cars made for it having a light body but strong build , very high powered engines , aerodynamic build so that the body can cut through wind with minimum resistance, different gear box , different steering controls , speed boosters etc.

best overclocking parts

Now consider a regular car which is made to race with these cars and since no other modification can be made to its structure or the way it is operated the only thing is to provide it with speed boosters.But the thing is no matter what you do to boost its speed it cannot sustain it.

In the same way if you try to overclock a part which is not made for overclocking it cannot work properly and often end up dying or there will be multiple system crashes which will not let you boot or just won’t be stable enough for day-to-day operations.

This may sound negative and make overclocking look bad in the eyes of a beginner but it is what it is .You cannot expect to overclock a non-overclockable part and expect it to function properly let alone work at higher efficiency and speeds.

Overclocking is very much possible and also advisable and encouraged by the well known brands like Intel and AMD for CPU and for GPUs a lot of manufacturers like Asus , Gigabyte, MSI etc have made very well arrangements for it but first you must have the right tools for it.

why would you want to Overclock:

Considering that you would have to do some manual setting in the BIOS settings of the motherboard or the GPU setting and also hear people say that supplying increased voltages can cause damage if not done properly.Sometimes this question arises "Is this actually worth?" . This is a question you have the answer to.

If you want higher refresh rates in the CPU or GPU intensive games and want a smooth gaming experience then you might want to overclock the CPU,GPU and the RAM .If you are doing video editing then overclocking will help with the faster render times and give you a nice user experience.Overclocking is like basically running on the boost clock or above it right from the start so you can imagine pretty much performing all the tasks will get a boost right from the start and it can be completed faster.

Now if you are someone who just browses the web plays less demanding lightweight games a casual user with no intention of getting to the max refresh rates on games, basically not doing a whole lot of CPU or GPU demanding tasks on your computer then overclocking won’t give you any benefit. You cannot see any major improvement because all the lightweight tasks can be handled even with the stock CPU settings which you get out of the box. So in this case I would recommend you to stay away from overclocking as it won’t matter because the performance increase is negligible.

For Those of you who have made up their mind:

Safe Overclocking requires certain hardware compatibility which a beginner should know as choosing the wrong one might be very discouraging and also might cause you monetary loss as well.

Must Haves :

  • A very good Power Supply Unit (preferably a 80+ gold certified PSU):

Overclocking is all about pumping more power or voltages to the desired parts that you want to overclock. And a power supply is THE part which can pump out more power . So it is highly advised and recommended to go with a power supply which is of a good brand and also that power supply must have a good rating advertised on it. Like a 80+ gold , 80+ bronze etc.To know more go to Power Supply. Consider buying a 550w or higher watt PSU to have sufficient headroom when it comes to overclocking.

  • A good motherboard:

This is a very valuable and important piece of component when you consider overclocking .This is because the higher amount of voltages that are being pumped by the power supply unit (PSU) cannot be directly supplied to the CPU as it has no regulation or smoothness to it.These high voltages have to be regulated and brought down to certain levels which is acceptable by the CPU mounted on the motherboard.

The motherboard must also have a very good and efficient power phase delivery and good amount of VRMs which handles this power delivery to different parts and heat sinks on it to dissipate the heat generated. Different CPU manufacturers have different versions and naming of motherboards which enables a buyer to overclock the components.

Like on Intel based platforms a Z series motherboard is required for overclocking the unlocked Intel K series processors as it is made in a way to support the various requirements associated with overclocking.The X series motherboard is required for the extreme series Intel CPU which again aids in their overclocking.

Note: You must always check the compatibility of the CPU and the Motherboard that you buy for overclocking as different CPUs might use motherboards with different chipsets.

Like a 10th Generation Intel processor will use a motherboard with socket LGA 1200 and support 400 series chipset. So buying a different motherboard for 10th gen CPU is other than the mentioned one will only leave you with incompatible parts!!!

Same goes for AMD . In case you want to upgrade / build a PC using AMD 4000 series processors, I suggest you go to AMD website and check which 400 series motherboards would support them as earlier AMD had announced that only 500 series motherboards will be supported for Ryzen 4000 series processors.

  • A processor which can be overclocked :

Considering that you want to overclock your CPU you must buy one that is made for overclocking and not the one which does not support it.

For Intel : The blue team has a separate line-up of the processors which can be overclocked. These processors have a suffix "K" or "X" indicating that they have unlocked cores.

X series processors will only be supported on the X series motherboards like X299 etc

For AMD : As for the red team , they have been manufacturing CPUs right from the start which supports overclocking without having a dedicated processor line-up for it. But still there are some processors which already have very good clock speeds right out of the box like a factory overclock like performance which leaves very less room for overclocking them to some few 100 MHz and not much as going overboard might cause instability.

  • A good aftermarket Cooler :

A good aftermarket cooler especially for the Intel CPUs. The provided Intel stock cooler is just not good when you want to overclock. Even if you just want some slight overclocking these stock coolers are not reliable and can cause damage overtime. Sometimes Intel doesn't even include the stock cooler with some of its high-end CPUs, in which case an aftermarket cooler becomes necessary.

In the case of AMD , the stock cooler(Wraith , Wraith Spire and Wraith Prism) is somewhat good for light overclocking .But When a good amount of overclocking needs to be done then an aftermarket cooler is must. The question arises which Cooler to go with ? There are different types of aftermarket coolers that you can go with for your overclocking build

Below are the 2 mainstream options available for you :
  • Air Coolers :
  1. These are the cheapest aftermarket solutions that you can find in the market for your overclocking build.
  2. They provide great cooling comparable to an AIO cooler sometimes even better depending on the brand of air cooler that you will purchase,
  3. Very easy to mount. Comes included with the mounting brackets for AMD or Intel type motherboards.
  4. Hardly a fan header or two is required on the motherboard to plug in the fans which are attached on the air coolers that it and you are good to go.
  5. Cleaning becomes very easy as unmounting is not a very big hassle with the air coolers.
  1. Air coolers make your setup very bulky.
  2. In case you make a computer build with air coolers then delivering them to the client via a delivery agent becomes risky as the bulky air cooler will be hanging from the motherboard all times.
  3. Sometimes things tend to become more noisy with the air coolers as fans need to spin at higher speed for dissipating the heat generated by the overclocked CPU.

  • Water Coolers:

        Now there are 2 different types of water coolers :

  • AIO - All In One water coolers :

  1. They were costly back in the day when they were first introduced in the market but now they have become quite affordable as there are a lot of options available
  2. They have the efficiency of both water and air cooling.
  3. nice  compact design with very less moving parts.
  4. Can be installed easily without needing any expert help.
  5. A very good attractive design with RGB is possible giving a premium look to the pc build.

  1. In case there is damage you won’t know it easily.
  2. You will have to replace the whole AIO cooler if there is fault in the radiator or the pump.
  3. It consumes more power than an air cooler as there is the pump that has to operate and in case of RGB or other digital readings that are offered by the AIO the power consumption goes up.
  4. They are costlier than the air coolers.
  5. Cleaning them is not as easy as compared to the air coolers.

  • Custom water coolers :

  1. This the most efficient way of cooling your computer components for a very high overclock.
  2. The cooling obtained in this way is of the highest level.
  3. Looks great!!
  4. If you want to sell a custom water cooled PC then it will sell for a much higher price

  1. Custom water cooling is a very costly way to go.
  2. Complicated way of installing it as it has various components like reservoir , water blocks , hard tubes or soft tubes , connectors etc
  3. Very difficult to do if you are a beginner ,  you would want an experienced expert to help you to avoid getting overwhelmed with all the different parts and information to put all those together.
  4. In case of any leaks the hardware components are exposed to major major threat and the whole setup has to be brought down for changing.
  5. Cleaning is not at all easy as it involves draining all the water then removing all the tubing then reassembling them all again which becomes time consuming and also requires a lot of effort even for experienced individuals.

Just a friendly advice:

If you are just starting out and want to overclock but don’t want to get into all the complicated things with the voltage tweaking and doing all the manual settings In the motherboard BIOS settings, then consider buying a very good motherboard which can overclock for you. But obviously it comes at a considerable price point as well. As compared to the other motherboards in which you have to make the manual settings.

The advanced high-end motherboards now a days have become so efficient because of its UEFI BIOS that overclocking is just a press of a button or click of a tab and they automatically overclock the CPU within the stable permissible range and also most of the motherboards support XMP(industry standard followed by Intel) or DOCP (Asus AMD motherboards) or EOCP (Gigabyte AMD motherboards)which is the overclocking of RAM on Intel and AMD motherboards.

These are some of the basic requirements that you must fulfill so that your overclocking experience is good , memorable and hassle free without putting yourself or any of the hardware components in danger. You must have the right tools for the right job.

Hope this "Beginners guide for safe overclocking" article was helpful for the people just starting out to explore this domain of computer functions.