So, you've put together all your parts and you have a nice new PC but, you want to get a bit more out of it where do you start?
The first thing to do is some research. Not all hardware overclocks well and a little research (by a little I actually mean a LOT
) before starting out will give you some indication of what your rig (CPU, memory etc.) might be capable of. But remember, Overclocking is not a one size fits all proposition and just because someone gets 4.2 GHz from their CPU doesn't mean that you will be able to achieve the same.
The second thing to check out is that your system is stable and happy at the default settings. It isn't a good idea to build your computer, go into BIOS and tweak away, then expect everything to work fine. You need to understand how to return to the default settings and how your PC runs at stock settings, as you will have to return to these quite often when experimenting with timings and voltages.
Make sure that you have adequate cooling throughout your system. Sticking a high end CPU cooler on to the processor won't help other components, especially those on the motherboard. Equip your chassis (PC Case) with good quality fans to ensure proper airflow. The choice of which method of cooling, water or air for your CPU and other components, should really be made before you put your PC together. There are a lot of very useful guides on the internet to help you make this choice.
Also consider why you want to overclock and what you want from your system. For the vast majority of PC users overclocking isn't needed. Todays systems will normally be fast enough for everything that you want to do.
There are software applications that allow you to overclock your PC from within the operating system. These can be useful, especially if you're not sure of what you are doing however, the changes made through such software only kicks in once the operating system is up and running. A couple of good overclocking software apps are Gigabyte's own EasyTune (you can get the latest version here: http://www.giga-byte.co.uk/support-downloads/Utility.aspx
) or, if you are on the AMD platform, AMD Overdrive ( http://game.amd.com/it-it/drivers_overdrive.aspx
). These are just two of the many applications available and you might find something else that you prefer to use.
But,if you really want to overclock you are better off making the necessary changes in BIOS. This means that as soon as you start your PC the overclock is there.
Once you are happy and ready to go you can alter the parameters that you want by using the Motherboard Intelligent Tweaker (M.I.T.) from within BIOS. (If you don't know where this is or how to find it you shouldn't be thinking of overclocking just yet!) By default these settings are set to auto and, to be able to make changes, you will have to set these to manual before you can change the actual settings.
Don't make major changes to the settings. Do things gradually and test them out before changing again. Overclocking is something that takes time and quite often for every step forward you will find you are having to take several steps back.
Changing one thing can have an effect on other parameters so something that you have already changed and think is fine might have to be altered up or down, when you alter something else. This is normal and is part of the challenge.
Things to Remember
Overclocking is NOT something that is supported by any of the hardware manufacturers. If you burn out a component on the motherboard, your CPU or graphics card when overclocking, you are NOT covered by any guarantees.
Be prepared for system crashes and instability (the dreaded Blue Screen Of Death [BSOD], Boot failures etc.) especially in the early stages. Overclocking can be a tricky thing to do and you will need to be patient until you can find the optimum settings.
Just because someone else has got there overclocked rig running stably, it doesn't mean that yours will with the same settings. Each PC is different, so you should use their figures as a guide NOT as a definitive answer.
Make notes of the settings you have altered, it is very easy to forget what you have done, especially if you are changing more than one thing.
Overclocking components will increase their temperatures. Make sure you provide adequate cooling. The cooler you can keep things, the more chance you have of system stability.
It is important to note that if you are trying to unlock the cores of your AMD CPU you might not be successful. The cores are normally locked by AMD during production because they fail Quality checks. Again, doing some research will indicate the possibilities of unlocking and some of the pitfalls that you might encounter.
If you are overclocking an AMD system, using one of the AM3 CPU's take special care with your memory speeds, timings and voltages. The AM3 Phenom ii and Athlon processors can be VERY fussy with RAM above 1333 Mhz. It is recommended that you read this article BEFORE starting out: http://forum.giga-byte.co.uk/index.php/topic,2515.0.html
There can also be some issues with the Memory Controllers on some of the Intel CPU's and it is advisable to research your choice of CPU carefully before overclocking.
Extreme overclocking WILL shorten the life of your components.
For further information checkout the Overclocking, Watercooling, Tweaking & Modding section of this forum http://forum.giga-byte.co.uk/index.php/board,21.0.html
where you can also post any specific questions or your own Overclocking achievements.