Overclocking For Performance

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Cashing in on Overclocking

While the practice of overclocking is not new, Tom’s Hardware Guide brought it into the mainstream in late 1996 with his review of the ASUS PI/P55T2P4 motherboard. This motherboard really only offered one feature that could not be found on others at that time – the 83MHz bus clock. Since that time, overclocking has become somewhat of an obsession for some, even to the point of overclocking just to see how fast the processor can be run. As most serious hobbyists and professionals know, overclocking is not just running the processor beyond it’s rated specs but may also include pushing the memory and/or I/O bus.

Because of the potentially large benefits of overclocking compared to the perceived risks, there are now a growing number of vendors who ‘specialize’ in this area. These vendors may provide services where they will set up the system to ‘run faster’, or may actually build a system that has been overclocked and sell it as such. So long as the customer has been informed that the system is overclocked, and what the potential risks are, there should be no problem with this practice. Unfortunately, this is also the realm of the ‘remarkers’, and in order to avoid a potentially bad reputation or even legal action, the vendor should be very careful about how the service or product is presented.

Since overclocking will technically void any warranties from the manufacturer, the vendor should also carefully consider the implications in regards to failing components and replacement costs. Overclocking a system and then claiming warranty service several months later is, at the very least, unethical and at the worst, illegal. This means that the vendor is legally responsible to honor any warranty claims out of his or her own pocket. The best course of action may be to run the system at spec for at least 48 hours of continuous ‘stress testing’ to weed out marginal components before overclocking to minimize the costs of having to honor the warranty.

Despite the potential pitfalls, overclocking is becoming an important niche in an industry where the actual hardware provides little in the way of profits. Either marketing components because of their ability to be overclocked, or charging for the service of ‘guaranteed’ overclocking success can be a significant revenue generating tactic. The large OEMs are unlikely to invade this market, and the average user will not be knowledgeable enough and/or brave enough to tackle it for himself or herself.

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