Overclocking. Now when I say that, I'm not talking about wearing two watches or having an extra alarm in your room. Nor am I talking about setting your clock ahead 10 minutes to try and fool yourself into always thinking you're a little bit late. What I'm talking about is when the human desire to get more than what you paid for, overrides the risk involved in getting it. Now, depending on your knowledge and expertise, the risk can vary, but this is true with everything we do in our day to day lives.
Now as gamers, what does overclocking mean to you and I? Well as per an email sent into www.overclockers.com, a person overclocked his p133 to 200 for an increase of 2 frames per second in Quake2. Was this worth it? After you calculate the risk involved, I don't think the 2 fps would be worth the time and effort. If you were to convert the time spent into dollars earned at a seven dollar an hour job, you would have gotten a larger increase spending the money on the next step up in video cards. Don't get me wrong, overclocking from 133 to 200 is cool just to say you can do it, not to mention performance increases you'd see in things other than games. But if it's not games, how important can it be?
I guess the real question is, what makes it "worth it." Well as I said before, it is worth it when the desire to get more than what you paid for overcomes the risk involved in getting it. And of course the amount of gain contributes to the desire to take a greater risk. A good example is the celeron 366ppga. Intel had underproduced the number of 366 chips they needed to fill orders, as a consequence they marked down some chips performance-wise, even though the chip could perform much higher. It wasn't long before someone caught on, and it became common knowledge, such common knowledge a company was even selling them guaranteed to overclock to 550 Mega Hurts of rompin, stompin, death and destruction. Now I'm hearing things about 450 P3's going to a stable 600! This too is an incredible deal. Either of these would be enough of a jump in performance to convince me to do it. Especially with a guarantee to back it up. With a P3 450 and a voodoo3 3000, you can get right around 80 fps at 1 024 x 768 resolution. Now would it really make a difference in game play if you could overclock and get 85 - 90 frames per second? I wouldn't think so. But in Starcraft, if you're playing Big Game Hunters, because no one plays anything else in a 2on2, and everyone has 12 carriers swarming around with a gagillion interceptors, you'll love the added performance.
What happens when you want to go faster? The main enemy in overclocking is heat. This is where supercooling comes in. For some pictures check out Frosty Fox, he's really into supercooling and seems to know what he's doing. . . . Are you back from looking? Ok, now let's think about what a supercooler would do for you and I. First off it would dent our wallets. And the dent wouldn't be tiny. And you need some technical knowledge to put it together just right, but pulling it off would mean big things. It would mean every system you upgrade would have the extra potential supplied by the ability to go colder. Imagine if you could get 10 - 20 percent more out of every chip? This would be incredible. Again, it would depend on your technical ability, I personally couldn't put a supercooler together, and probably wouldn't try, but if I had someone with some experience helping me (and the skrilla to buy the parts) then I could be persuaded to try it.
I guess the bottom line is this: Will I supercool my system? No. Why? Other than the loss of any warranty from you computer manufacturer, the initial start up cost is to much for me to bear. Will I overclock without supercooling? Even despite the lost warranty? You betcha. I feel technically competent enough to overclock my processor without permanently damaging it. It is not incredibly easy to do, but with the right equipment and a little bit of know-how, overclocking becomes practical. For more information on the risks involved check out www.pcguide.com. He talks about overclocking with a detail I cannot approach during the length of this article.