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February 16, 2012

Overclocking Apps: Push Your Computer To Maximum Power

Want to get the most juice out of your computer?  Using a speed optimizer is definitely a good way to start. If you want to go beyond just doing hyper-efficiency on Windows, though, you can take the next step and overclock the crap out of it. If you’re not familiar with the process, it involves tweaking components to operate faster than the settings originally specified by the manufacturer.

Intimidated with the prospect of doing what sounds like low-level fine-tuning?  Wouldn’t blame you. Fortunately, overclocking doesn’t require you to do any assembler programming or hardware tinkering. Instead, you can perform the entire deed using a software utility that’s designed specifically for the job.

Boost That Hardware

While overclocking was originally done for CPUs (hence, the name, which refers to improving the processor’s clock rate), modern overclocking software doesn’t just stop there. Instead, they also let you boost performance for graphics cards, RAM, and cooling, apart from monitoring the system (e.g. voltage, framerates) during overclocked mode.

Software Options

There are plenty of overclocking software available for PC users. The most popular of the lot include MSI Afterburner, EVGA Precision, ATITool and RivaTuner.

The first two, in particular, come with a heavy set of features that don’t stop at overclocking and monitoring. They also let you save settings, so you can quickly overclock to a specific speed at the push of a button, which is very useful when you only need the extra muscle to use a certain imaging software or a graphics-heavy game. That means, you can start out Windows with totally different settings and shift to one in the middle of a session — that way, your system doesn’t get taxed the entire time.

Should You Overclock?

That depends, really. Is your system a little older?  Do you feel like you need more muscle to run the kinds of programs (which, we’re assuming, are mostly games) you want on your computer?  Do you want better performance without buying new hardware?

If you answer any of the above in the affirmative, then overclocking is probably something you want to try. Fact is, you might end up with a drastically more powerful system even with a small tweak, especially if your system suffers from a bottleneck due to mismatched parts (not entirely uncommon with user-built desktops).

Considerations

Because overclocked components operate outside of the conditions they’ve been manufactured to do, it’s not uncommon to experience some amount of instability and failures. As such, it’s important to monitor various metrics while the system is overclocked. You may also want to consider testing to see at what settings you can maintain a working amount of stability. The good news is, most of the software we listed above can help you on this end, too.


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