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Old 06-07-2009, 08:50 AM   #1
Rob Williams
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Default How important is overclocking to you?

Hi all:

Most people who visit this site, and especially this forum, are overclockers. Some take it a little more seriously than others, but for the most part, I think we can all agree that overclocking serves a real purpose. Purchasing a $100 CPU and pushing it to $500 CPU speeds isn't just for fun, but for necessity.

As long as computing has been around, so has overclocking. But it wasn't until just recently that some companies began to shift focus towards it, and as we've seen, some are even using it to their advantage for marketing purposes. I believe ASUS was the first company to prove that with their overclocking championship, but Gigabyte shortly followed with their GO OC competition, which is still running to this day.

Then there's companies like MSI, who aren't even known for extreme overclocking. Yet, they themselves are holding their own overclocking competition. I've also recently learned that ASUS has again been "bit" by the overclocking bug, so I'd expect to see the fruits of that come about within a month or two. Whether it will be in the form of an overclocking event or simply the company bringing overclockers on board for the sake of marketing, I have no idea.

My question to you guys is... do you care about these overclocking events, or the results of extreme overclocking in general? Do events like these help you decide where you put your money and which products to purchase? Are these events more important to you than product reviews, like we have on our website?

The reason I ask, is because it's becoming clear that manufacturers are beginning to care a lot about overclocking, and overclockers. I've been talking to Nate from Legit Reviews quite a bit about this, and neither of us can understand the reasoning behind it, although it's hard to ignore. Overclockers are the ones who are receiving product first (you wouldn't believe how many overclockers have six-core AMD chips), rather than the people who are delivering content around it.

I have nothing at all against overclocking or the overclockers, but I am curious about these manufacturer's goals. There has to be a reason for such an intense push towards overclocking. From my point of view, I'm having a difficult time understanding the benefit in it. Do these overclocking events actually sell product? I'm confident that they sell nowhere near as much as reviews on tech sites, so that's where I'm stumped.

I talked to a few people about this over the past week, and the most common response I've heard has been, "The only people who care about these overclocking events are the overclockers themselves", and I'm wondering if that's true. I'm not sure the numbers on Overclockers vs. Regular User, but I'd have to assume it'd be around 1%, and even less for the extreme overclockers. Is there something I'm missing?

I'd love to hear input from you guys.

Thanks!
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Old 06-07-2009, 05:34 PM   #2
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I like to overclock just to see how far I can tune my machine, after that, I may keep it there if I see a substancial gain, or I may just take it back to stock. But it's fun to tweak the hell out of it.
Younger days I did the same on car engines, now it's chips.
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Old 06-08-2009, 12:05 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlin View Post
I like to overclock just to see how far I can tune my machine, after that, I may keep it there if I see a substancial gain, or I may just take it back to stock. But it's fun to tweak the hell out of it.
Younger days I did the same on car engines, now it's chips.
That's true, but that's the reason we ALL overclock. That's not what I need to know. What I need to know is what kind of effect these overclocking events have on YOU. Do you even pay attention? Do they help you decide on a product? Do you find that extreme overclocking has any relevance to what you actually care about?
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Old 06-08-2009, 06:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Williams View Post
That's true, but that's the reason we ALL overclock. That's not what I need to know. What I need to know is what kind of effect these overclocking events have on YOU. Do you even pay attention? Do they help you decide on a product? Do you find that extreme overclocking has any relevance to what you actually care about?
This is a bit of a tangent... but I do value the overclocking information often seen in reviews and comments about specific chips and boards... but not for the reasons you may expect.

In many of my installations I actually *underclock* the CPU a little and run the memory one step below maximum speed. Where a board lets me (and many don't) I will set the multiplier one or two steps below maximum, giving me a machine that is only slightly slower but far cooler and thus far more likely to still be in use 5 years from now. (Of course CPU scaling such as AMD's Cool and Quiet drivers, now let me automate this)


Overclocking basically tortures a chip, telling me how much abuse it will take and providing valuable hints about reliability and longivity in field applications. Back in my "test to destruction" days, before CPU and motherboard designes changed weekly, one of my best ways to discover how well a machine would operate in the field was to ramp up the clock speed and see what happened.

I'm sure most gamers and high end users value overclocking information for the ability to get every last bit of performance from the machine. Also a valuable goal...

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Old 06-08-2009, 08:14 AM   #5
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I'd be personally interested in events I could win something from or partake in myself, but beyond that I'm not seriously interested in them. I was rooting for Madshimps during the Gigabyte 2009 OC finals, Massman and Pt1t took 1st with their SuperPi 32M score but then Fugger/Vapor did their GPU thing and came back with the graphics scores to win it. That's about the extent I followed it.

My simple Q6600 and Gigabyte P35-DQ6 and 4GB of Corsair DDR2-800 memory was able to place in Gigabyte's last open online competition that used 3DMark's CPU score. I won $200 and some Gigabyte labeled freebies, and all it took was a ~4.25GHz overclock to do it. I honestly expected hardcore subzero cooling users to take it but for some reason hardly any seemed to enter the event so I still placed with just an old Koolance watercooling setup that I "chilled" to eke out that final extra 400MHz.

Obviously if I was given the privilege of some hardware to abuse, some subzero cooling, the tools to do so, and told to have at it then I could care less about winning anything (okay, mostly care less because I'm still competitive) but I'd have loads of fun just pushing the hardware to the extreme. But honestly if I'm not participating then it's just news, I root for people/friends I know, enter any contests, and whomever wins wins. Last I heard Massman is already heading for the MSI overclocking event that's about to start...

I think the deal is this, take a look at how many forums members overclock or have overclocked their machines at some point, then look at how many run purely stock settings. I think you might notice there is a slight majority for the forum goers that have overclocked... I've obviously not taken the time to sit down and count, and perhaps it is just the forums I frequent, but most PC hardware forums at least seem to have more overclockers in them than stock users. Half of them are even specifically about overclocking, such as Overclock3D, XtremeSystems, and many, many others. The entire HWBot thing seems to revolve around OCing outdated hardware just to see who can get the best scores within that specific type of hardware.

The whole overclocking event is about the brand image. It's good adertising for the specific target market they are aiming it for, the overclockers. I think it's done to establish the company as the #1 overclocking brand in the mind of general public that's interested in buying a motherboard and is interested in turning their 2.4GHz CPU into a 3.0GHz CPU. Not the hardcore overclockers, and not the tech enthusiasts. It could also be to help push the idea of overclocking in general, the more people interested in their PC's performance (or hear about these events) may become interested or more accepting to the idea of overclocking... and overclockers are not going to want OEM PC's, they're going to need an motherboard from someone built with overclocking options. So it attempts to expand their market as well.

There's prestige to be had for associating your company as the de facto overclocker solution. Do you think DFI would still be around if they hadn't pulled this off? DFI targets the advanced users that want every last hertz out of their CPU and system components and is not designed for beginners, but they have still established their brand purely on the basis of overclocking. Gigabyte and ASUS are for the most part only vying against each other to try and take more of the spotlight from each other about overclocking in general, if one of them holds a contest then the other must do the same, or risk forfeiting what overclocking credence they've earned with Joe PC-interested public to their main competitor. MSI just wants to show they are still a viable third option since they are not typically associated with overclocking. Biostar is using it to elevate their brand image... who here would rank Biostar's budget focused boards on par with an MSI or Gigabyte or ASUS board? Exactly... yet people see Biostar board breaking world records, and thanks to their lower price it's an easy sell. Like so

Which brings me around to point number two. These companies aren't doing this just for a one time marketing event... how many users might you think scan the world records for top CPU, GPU, and RAM clocks, or PCMark's large score database for the top scorers to see what hardware they are using? Not only can the company brag they broke some astonishingly high record, but the score from the overclocker that did so at these competitions will stay at the #1 spot advertising the brand for at least a few weeks or perhaps months. Not to mention all the other contestents also likely placed, filling the top 20 with Gigabyte boards for example. At least until the next sponsered OC contest, where the industry's best are given the means to take Brand XYZ's hardware to the top and break the latest records with it... It's all about the advertising and brand positioning in the eyes of the consumer.
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Last edited by Kougar; 06-08-2009 at 08:27 AM.
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Old 06-10-2009, 06:49 AM   #6
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Whoa, that's the kind of response to exceed expectations ;-)

I'll tackle that when I get home, but for now, come on people! Input, input, input!!
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Old 06-15-2009, 10:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kougar View Post
I'd be personally interested in events....

My simple Q6600 and Gigabyte P35-DQ6 and 4GB of Corsair DDR2-800 memory was able to place in Gigabyte's last open online competition that used 3DMark's CPU score. I won $200 and some Gigabyte labeled freebies,
Excellent! Well done.
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Old 06-15-2009, 01:26 PM   #8
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I'm still going to take a look at that whopping response soon, Kougar. Just finding the time to get caught up with all the things I need to :-S
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Old 04-20-2010, 06:22 PM   #9
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i love overclocking and i love trying different hardware,but i dont care for
the big events for overclocking,probably because iv'e never participated
in one.but mainly i just dont like watching other people OC.its like watching
other people play video games.but if i ever went to a live event my opinion
might change.
companies are getting more and more involved in the whole sponsoring
events and individuals.all in the hopes of having the bigtime OCers break
a world record using the companies latest product and getting the best
kind of publicity in return.nothing says "buy company A's product because
it just wiped the floor with company B's product.
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Old 04-20-2010, 09:03 PM   #10
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Wow...how did I miss this thread? I should have necro'ed it long ago.

I'm with Radaja on this one but my reasons are a little different. I don't have the money freed up to be able to swap out components (I have bigger ideas in mind) so I agonize over what ones to pick that will give me the most performance for the least price.

The i3 530 that I have sitting in front of me blows the doors off of C2D processors that cost twice as much when properly overclocked to 4Ghz+ and the 5770 that is sitting on the other side of the room can match or beat a 4870. I'm tempted to guess that it could possibly get close to 4890 range with a voltage nudge or two, which I intend to do as long as temperatures stay in check.

WD's Caviar Black line instead of a much more expensive Raptor with 5 times the storage space, Cooler Masters 212+ instead of Prolimatech's Megahalem...it all comes down to price vs. performance. If I can get the same performance from a lower price part so long as I put in a little effort then I consider it a worth while investment as well as an incredibly rewarding hobby.
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Old 04-20-2010, 10:07 PM   #11
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I can't say I even bother overclocking much anymore. I don't even run benchmarks other than the parts I review for Techgage. In fact, the PC I use for Techgage is the only PC in my house that ever sees an overclock.
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Old 05-25-2010, 01:17 PM   #12
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The knowledge sharing (articles) matters to me most. I too used to overclock and benchmark. The challenge for me in overclocking is to keep up with older parts. I keep my A64 4200 (dual core) overclocked at 2,8ghz to enjoy a nice little performance boost (considerable difference in games). I am still on AGP too, I recently bought a ATI 3850 AGP 512mb (Sapphire) videocard. Enough boost to still be able to enjoy the most games. I'm not overclocking for the numbers anymore.

I use benchmarks and stress testing for troubleshooting hardware parts nowdays.
In my opinion overclocking with those new high end parts on the market nowdays isn't making that much of noticeable difference nowdays in the real world except if you have some lower end parts. Overclocking used to be more fun somehow in the olden days if you ask me.

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Old 05-26-2010, 08:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GFreeman View Post
Overclocking used to be more fun somehow in the olden days if you ask me.
Hm, well I can partly agree with that. I only cared about overclocking the GPU when my ATI 9600XT really needed the help because of the low FPS. Ever since upgrading to a GTX 260 I just don't care about overclocking the GPU because it doesn't help anything and therefore isn't worth the time or hassle to me now.

But for the Core i7... overclocking the thing produces dramatic results in HPC applications. The performance is already astounding as-is, but to multiply that figure yet again just makes overclocking the chip very fun and worthwhile to me. It's unhealthily addicting at times, because I can never stop trying new things or new approaches as I learn new things.

I guess it comes down to whether or not a person has a tangible, actual use for their overclock... whether it be increasing component usability, substantially increasing performance, or benchmarking records.
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Old 05-26-2010, 04:44 PM   #14
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Yes I agree it's amazing to see technology leap forward - that the performance curve is still climbing and overclocking can reaching that optimum level. I do think the lifespan and stability of each part is just as important. It's nice to see when an optimum level is reached. It's great to see all this computing power being used to solve difficult problems.. like finding ways of curing complex deceases. But for the normal end user overclocking doesn't always make sense to me.
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Old 05-27-2010, 11:16 PM   #15
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For me overclocking has become more of a chore than fun. I used to enjoy extreme benchmarking then Intel took all the fun out of it. I can't believe I am saying this, but if it was more difficult it would be more fun.
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