- Category: Articles
- Created on Saturday, 10 December 2011 23:15
- Published on Saturday, 10 December 2011 23:15
- Written by Super User
So maybe you have heard of it or maybe not, but the reason we do our hardware reviews with such intricate detail is because we cater to a large overclocking audience. Now overclocking has its purposes, but many are probably still wondering, what the hell is overclocking and why the hell does it matter?
Overclocking is simply the manipulation or change of the frequency at which a certain product runs at to increase the speed of the execution capabilities of the product. Overclocking the computer's CPU (central processing unit) or Processor is done on a wide scale, next comes memory overclocking, and then graphics card overclocking. Now processor companies such as Intel and AMD have turbo functions built into their CPUs which allow the processor to increase its own speed as it sees fit. When a user overclocks, the user increases the speed to which they see fit, and as long as the hardware plays along everything is good. Many graphics card makers sell overclocked GPUs, usually called the SOC(Super Overclocked) or just overclocked edition, these GPUs have a slight overclock on the GPU's memory and/or processor. But of course nothing is perfect, and hardware doesn't like to play along, so there are many tricks of the trade as one might call it to increase processor speed.
The Story of Overclocking.
Originally overclocking was a way for a user to make their system run faster, in many cases older computers based on early 1990 circa technology had a way for the user to overclock, most commonly through a button on the case that allowed the turbo of the CPU frequency. This was back when CPUs ran in the mhz ranges, and the button could give a user a 66mhz boost or so. Then we started seeing vendors, the greedy ones, overclocking lower end models and selling them as the higher end model. Intel took note of this, as one of the largest processor manufacturers they realized this was hurting the sale of the higher end processor. Well Intel decided in a brave move to lock the multiplier of all of their processors. That only left the base clock to be manipulated. This worked for a while, but companies realized there weer users who would pay for an u8nlock multiplier, as it is much easier to overclock without messing with the busses, as many times more than 1 device internally uses the same bus, and thus can limit the processors main frequency. So Intel released their Extreme Edition processors, and until this day they all have unlocked multipliers. AMD has balck edition processors with unlocked multipliers as well as their FX edition. With the introduction of Intel's Second Genertaion core processors came a new move by Intel, so charge a small maybe 15% premium to give users an unlocked processor. now denonated by the K sku, a 2600 woudl be a locked processor and a 2600K woudl have an unlocked multiplier. Now in the past with let's say a core i7 930 the processor has a locked multiplier, of course at this point the base clock(front side bus replacemnet) could be manipulated to great extents. of course the Base Clock proved to have its limits, depending on the motherboard most could only do 215mhz-250mhz max base clock. So that woudl limit the overclock. Now with the introduction of teh second generation and K skus, Intel decided to tie the base clock with the PCI-E bus, this would kill base clock overclocking as the PCI-E bus has an impact on storage devices as well as the PCI-E bus on which graphics cards and other PCI-E devices run on. This limits overclocking to about 6%-7% with base clock overclocking. So Intel basically made it impossible to overclock a locked processor more than a few percent, including the use of turbo multipliers. With Intel's X79 chipset we see a unique technique called a base clock strap used, this allows for the base clock of the processor to be multiplied by a base clock strap such as 1.25 or 1.67 or 2.5 and then with the multiplier. even with a locked multiplier users can overlcock with the base clock again, but in preset incriments and without much fine tuning.
Intel has also made a move to make overclockig more expensive, the 2600k only costs about 300 but a 2500K the chepest intel unlocked processor costs 180. but for the X79 platform the cheapest K sku is $550, and the 3820 which is Intel's mid range 4 core X79 chip will have a locked multiplier, and only allow of overclocking with turbo multipliers and base clock straps.