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Is Overclocking Over?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the greased-lightning dept.

Hardware 405

MrSeb writes "Earlier this week, an ExtremeTech writer received a press release from a Romanian overclocking team that smashed a few overclocking records, including pushing Kingston's HyperX DDR3 memory to an incredible 3600MHz (at CL10). The Lab501 team did this, and their other record breakers, with the aid of liquid nitrogen which cooled the RAM down to a frosty -196C. That certainly qualifies as extreme, but is it news? Ten years ago, overclocking memory involved a certain amount of investigation, research, and risk, but in these days of super-fast RAM and manufacturer's warranties it seems a less intoxicating prospect. As it becomes increasingly difficult to justify what a person should overclock for, has the enthusiast passion for overclocking cooled off?"

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First post! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38457776)

Why? Because I've overc locked, so I'm faster than y'all!

Yes (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38457778)

Yes

No (5, Insightful)

iB1 (837987) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457786)

Overclock your smartphone or tablet instead

Re:No (5, Insightful)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457800)

which kinda defeats the point of the industries drive towards more efficient devices with longer battery life. I overclocked my netbook once. Most pointless thing I've ever done. It's now underclocked to eek out a little more battery life.....

Re:No (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38457836)

I overclock my nook color from 800 mhz to 1200 mhz. I overcock my phone from 1 ghz to 1.4 ghz. My phone CPU's voltage doesn't change one bit and my Nook Color's CPU voltage is mildly higher. The CPU is far and away one of the least power consuming components of these devices -- the NC's screen uses around 1W and the cpu about 35mW. Unless you're overclocking the LCD, it the change in battery life is infinitesmal.

Re:No (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38457940)

I overcock my

And that little slip right there says everything about the reasons for overclocking.

Re:No (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38458060)

Noticed the typo just a litttttttle too late, heh.

Actually the Nook is one of the best devices to overclock that I've ever come across -- it's really quite slow running CM7 or CM9 and the extra CPU speed helps immensely. CM9 is unusable without the extra boost, and the overclock takes CM7 from somewhat laggy to silky smooth in most operations.

On my Epic, the overclock isn't super useful now that I'm running CM7 on it too. The normal stock Samsung build of Android has slight amounts of lag without the mild overclock, but CyanogenMod doesn't.

Re:No (-1)

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Re:No (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38457864)

If you overclock without raising voltages, or even under volt while overclocking battery life increases.

Re:No (4, Informative)

solidraven (1633185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458138)

That's total bullshit. Power consumption of a CMOS can somewhat be seen as this (incomplete formula to leave out device specific constants): Power consumption ~ Frequency * Capacitance * VCC. In other words, if you increase the frequency and VCC stays constant you're just going to burn more power for an almost irrelevant increase in performance.
In fact I've read a lot more bullshit here but to address one more thing in specific: Most modern devices are made using CMOS technology or at the very least using FETs. A common misconception I see here is people assuming that CMOS devices use power while in a stable state. The fact is, they don't if they're well designed; The power being used is to charge the gates of the FETs. Once they're charged the only power use is to compensate for leakage currents from the FET gates to other parts of the substrate. If you don't believe me, build a small circuit using FETs (think something like a bunch of flip-flops), switch it a bit at a fairly high frequency. Stop the clock. Put a capacitor over your power supply. Then disconnect the circuit so its powered from the capacitor. It'll keep its state for weeks most likely.

Re:No (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38458282)

I'm sorry that you have barely passed EE 101 a week ago. The information you have is very inaccurate and quite outdated.

In modern CMOS geometries, a large amount of power is wasted on leakage. That means that while the dynamic power scales linearly with frequency (at a constant voltage), the static power (leakage) does not.

However, if you *can* overclock significantly at a constant voltage, there probably is power headroom the manufacturer did not use properly, or expected the devices to be unreliable with reduced voltage at the original frequency. Dynamic voltage scaling is not new.

Re:No (3, Interesting)

repvik (96666) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457878)

You'll save a lot more battery if you undervoltage your CPU. Eg. My Galaxy Nexus by default runs at 1350mV. I can run it perfectly fine on 1200mV, even overclocked to 1,4GHz. By my (possibly completely wrong) logic, the faster the CPU runs, the shorter time it spends in higher voltage states. Thus, overclocking and keeping the same voltage (or even undervoltage) actually saves energy.

(Of course, underclocking also achieves the same since the voltage is lowered automatically. But then I've got a slower device rather than a faster device, while using more or less the same amount of juice.)

Re:No (5, Informative)

DeathToBill (601486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457912)

Your logic is wrong.

Every time a FET switches, it requires a certain number of electrons to move to or from the gate to create an electric field in the substrate to open or close a conducting pathway. This is a current flowing through a reistance and it dissipates power as heat. Assuming that the leakage current on the gate is very small compared to the switching current, the energy required to switch the FET (call it Es) is constant regardless of the clock speed. So the power dissipated by each FET (call it Pf) is:

Pf = Es x fc

where fc is the clock frequency in Hertz.

Why do you suppose that frequency scaling is an effective way of saving power?

Re:No (2)

jibjibjib (889679) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458030)

http://www.lesswatts.org/projects/applications-power-management/race-to-idle.php [lesswatts.org] suggests that it's better to run faster for a short time than to run slowly.

Re:No (1)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458068)

Of course it does, because there is another part of power consumption for electronic devices, that does not change with the frequency.
But this assumes you are going 100% cpu load over the whole time in both cases.
Not very likely.

Re:No (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458268)

Some processors benefit from undervolting and some don't, and I have no idea what the difference is, but there must be one, because it works better for some processors than for others. It is said that undervolting most big and powerful processors makes very little difference in power consumption or heat dissipation, and only switching the transistors less (typically through clock reduction, but intel will switch off whole cores now, and IIRC AMD can shut off groups of cores if you have 6 or more of them) actually causes less heat production.

Re:No (1)

Calydor (739835) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458032)

Diminishing returns, basically.

If you for instance allowed it to slowly render that huge page you're looking at, working in the background while you were reading what was already rendered, you wouldn't have a lot of wasted power/time while just reading.

It's like fuel economy in a car - the car has a 'best speed' for the amount of miles it'll go on a gallon. Same thing is true for CPUs.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38457892)

I overclocked my phone from 1GHz to 1.2GHz and simultaneously undervolted it. I get better performance and battery life now.

Re:No (5, Funny)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457932)

That's why you should have overclocked your battery too.

Re:No (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457914)

Why?!

What are you doing with your phone where say 10% will make much difference? Mid-range smartphones are already multi-core with hardware accelerated graphics and 512MB RAM or more. They're happily playing GTA3 now. Wait another couple of years and they'll probably be playing GTA IV. Graphics rendering is massively parallel and so easy to improve just by packing in more transistors. Better to just wait for the performance to double a few times rather than try to get tiny performance gains with exponential overheating and battery drain problems.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38458024)

Overclocking the previous generation of single core phones really extends the useful life of the device. There are plenty of original Galaxy S phones which are still rather nice devices that have a single core CPU. A moderate overclock actually brings these devices pretty close to par with the newer phones. I know several of my friends are still jealous of how slick my heavily modded Epic running CM7 is compared to their shitty locked Evo 3Ds.

Re:No (1)

pinkeen (1804300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458150)

GTA IV doesn't run smoothly on some recent PC hardware (and I'm not talking everything maxed out). You'll have to wait a long time til you can play it on a phone, cause it requires a lot of raw CPU power, not GPU, so very bad example here.

Re:No (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458278)

When we get quad-core, 2+ GHz phones, it should be easy enough to do a scaled-back version of GTA IV. A few less pedestrians spawned slightly less far away, less bits and pieces flying off of things, it can probably be done.

Re:No (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38458044)

I overclocked my penis and testicles, now I cant get 50 women pregnant in a day! You should too!

Now if only I could find women down here in my parent's basement, where I live.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38458054)

Too bad we can't "overclock" the battery(ies) to last longer.

Re:No (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458264)

I would if I could, but I'm not that good at tablet hacking. Currently it can almost, but not quite, handle playing episodes of Friendship is Magic. I want to be able to watch those while on train journeys, but in high-motion scenes it struggles no matter what player I use - I suspect because the embedded h264 acceleration isn't being used. If I could get just 10% more processing performance, it should be able to manage.

It's not dead, it's fun! (5, Informative)

X-Power (1009277) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457788)

For me, It's fun and I could care less what some dude did with liquid nitrogen.

First computer, I just used Asus Overclock and felt I got more for my money.
Second computer, I started fiddling with manual settings.
Third computer I pushed it until I couldn't get rid of the heat with air cooling.
Fourth and current computer, water cooled and running awesome (6 cores at 4.3 GHz).

Each time I felt the progress, it's like leveling your character, but the character is you, and the game is real life!

Re:It's not dead, it's fun! (3, Interesting)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457884)

For me, It's fun and I could care less what some dude did with liquid nitrogen.

About this post, it's hard to determine whether this should be "could care less" or the classic "couldn't care less". :)

You could be interested about liquid nitrogen as you are an overclocker or, you're not as you don't want to go to such an advanced level it just being a fun hobby.

Re:It's not dead, it's fun! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38458122)

You must be new here. Americans say "could care less" when they mean "couldn't care less". They spell "colour" without the "u", too, and say "sidewalk" instead of "pavement".

I'm not aware of any dialect of English in which people say "could care less" to mean "I care about this somewhat", which is obviously what "could care less" actually means.

Re:It's not dead, it's fun! (5, Insightful)

Kevin108 (760520) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458182)

Morons with no actual understanding of the language say "could care less." It's just that there's a lot of them.

Re:It's not dead, it's fun! (1, Flamebait)

reve_etrange (2377702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458244)

Or, the sarcastic phrase became a common idiom.

Re:It's not dead, it's fun! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38458260)

It's not a dialect, it's just English. "Could care less" indicates apathy, "Couldn't care less" indicates distaste. I and many others use this regularly and correctly. Some people use it incorrectly, and other people just all over anyone who says "could care less" regardless of whether it was used correctly or not.

Re:It's not dead, it's fun! (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458106)

I always found that overclocking was very anti-climactic. It's noticeable if you have a really awful computer, but if your computer is already running okay then it makes no difference to add a little extra performance. It's like adding more RAM. There are less slowdowns, but technically nothign is actually speeding up.

Also to me it still sounds like you're levelling something external, ie your computer. Levelling your knowledge very, very slightly too, but it's nothing compared to the levelling you'd feel if ate more healthily and did a bit of regular exercise (even just going for a decent walk a few times a week will make you feel much fitter). I wish that in games like Skyrim I could just control the character directly - get some exercise while still enjoying the game world. I think the ideal system would involve something like a bungee harness and a giant trackball under your feet. Maybe I should patent that? :P

Re:It's not dead, it's fun! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38458252)

The only beneficial overclock I ever experienced was running my single-core Athlon64 at closer to 2.4GHz than its default 2.2GHz.

It meant I could play the 3D version of Xevious in MAME smoothly versus not being able to play the 3D version of Xevious in MAME smoothly.

I have a dual Opteron 2.6GHz system now. It only doesn't emulate a Wii or Android device at a decent speed.

First post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38457790)

Is first post over as well?

Maybe, maybe not... (5, Interesting)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457806)

From a gaming perspective (typically one of the big drivers of overclocking), a few factors that might argue "yes, it's over":

1) For quite a few years now, PC games haven't been forcing the kind of upgrade cycle that they did over the previous 20 years. When Crysis appeared in 2007, it was a game that gave many people an "upgrade or don't play it choice". And after that... the industry retreated. Consoles were the primary development platforms at the time and few PC games pushed significantly past the capabilities of the consoles. Not only did we not see any games more demanding than Crysis, but the vast majority of PC games released were substantially less demanding. As a gamer, if you had a PC that could run Crysis well, you did not need an upgrade. This situation lasted 4 years.

2) Performance has become about more than clock-speeds. The main advances in PC gaming technology over the last few years have come from successive versions of directx. You can't overclock a machine with a directx 9 graphics card so that it can "do" directx10. Same goes for dx10/11.

3) As the entry barriers to PC gaming get lower, the average knowledge level of users fall. PC gaming is, in general, easier and more convenient than it has been at any time in the past. Pick up an $800 PC, grab Steam and off you go. If you just want to play games and are using an off-the-shelf PC from a big manufacturer, you don't need to worry about switching around graphics drivers, sorting out hardware conflicts or any of the other little niggles that used to make PC gaming such a "joy". You can even find cases where PC gaming is easier than console gaming; the PS3, with its incessant firmware updates and mandatory installs has taken us a long way from the "insert game and play" roots of console gaming. People who are new to PC gaming just won't be coming from the kind of mindset that even considers overclocking as something you might even remotely want to do.

4) Among "old school" PC gamers, I think there's been a growing recognition that overclocking has its downsides as well. In an economic downturn, when money is tight, you don't necessarily want to go risking a huge reduction in the lifespan of your expensive toys.

That said, there are a couple of factors that might argue the other way (closely connected to the earlier arguments):

1) System requirements are finally on the move again. After years in stasis, 2011 has seen the release of a number of games with equivalent or higher requirements than Crysis. Bulletstorm started the trend, but Battlefield 3 and - to an even greater extent - Total War: Shogun 2 have really started to push the envelope on PC hardware. A lot of developers openly admit to being bored with console hardware. Even though they still get most of their sales from the consoles, they are using the PC to push beyond what they can achieve there, both to get their studio noticed and to get themselves ready for developing for the next round of console hardware.

2) The downturn also means that people feeling a squeeze on their budgets may be looking to get as much bang for their buck in terms of performance as possible. If you think that your new, overclocked PC will last long enough that you will be able to afford a replacement when it does start to give out, then why not take the risk?

Re:Maybe, maybe not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38457856)

I built my PC about 3 years ago with quality but not bleeding edge components. My graphics card is a couple of generations old (GT275) and cpu is a CoreQuad, not an i[insert odd-number here]. Not a single game I've played in the past 3 years has come close to taxing my setup, and most of them I play at max resolution (1920x1200) with most if not all high-end graphical options turned on. Hell I 2-boxed EvE for 6 months on the same machine and only had to turn down half of the graphical options to make things smooth for both.

I HAVE overclocked this setup, but...I don't see the point anymore. GPU's are doing more and more of the heavy lifting, the CPU/Ram/Disk have ceased being the bottleneck.

Re:Maybe, maybe not... (1)

pinkeen (1804300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458186)

Confirmed here. I can play almost all recent games on my old GTX260 in 1920x1080 fine. Sometimes I turn-down AA or disable SSAO (really, I don't see any justifiable difference with SSAO enabled). Only exception is BF3, haven't even tried it yet, I will once I upgrade.

IMHO Games to be more visually appealing should go into the direction of improving character animation and polygon count. More full-screen shaders and effects like SSAO won't do much good, when there's fast paced action and immersive gameplay. You just don't see the difference any more.

Re:Maybe, maybe not... (5, Insightful)

ripdajacker (1167101) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457924)

I think you're right. I've overclocked my i5 750 from 2.66 to 3.15, and the speed increase is.. well hard to spot. In benchmarks I certainly see it. It was much easier to do than in the good old days where it was jumper settings.

I think the gist of it, at least for me, is that there's fun in it anymore. I have relatively high end gear, at least at time of purchase, and it all basically guides you to overclocking. It's not as bad ass as it used to be.

This may be a bit biased since I now have much larger sum of disposable income compared to when I was overclocking.

Re:Maybe, maybe not... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38458148)

Not just that, the whole recession thing combined with the really nasty moves by Microsoft with the release of Vista put a horrible taste in everyone's mouth, including their good friend Intel who were pretty pissed at being lied to over Vista.
This kept a considerable number of people on XP for a long time, some still are even after 7 has come out.
This put a huge dent in upgrades, which led to a freeze in R&D both for hardware and software since nobody was buying anything.

Now there is a whole host of more confusion with respect to Windows 8, and the apparent internal war and distrust within Microsoft itself. (shown to some extent by those court records)

Ever since Bill moved away from the top, things have just went downhill.

Re:Maybe, maybe not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38458222)

@RogueyWon... you should DEFINITELY make that a journal article. A brilliant read!

Pointless in most cases (4, Insightful)

1s44c (552956) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457812)

Few people have any real need to sacrifice stability for a little more speed. Overclocking is pretty pointless for anyone with a modern CPU.

Re:Pointless in most cases (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38457984)

I certainly disagree. First, if you know what you're doing, you don't sacrifice stability. Second, most (as in virtually all) 2500K and 2600Ks easily reach 4.5 GHz, with little trouble. That's a third of extra performance for free, and it takes very little time to get it set up. A little more to stability test properly, but that can be done using a background process, so it can literally take less than an hour of active work to get those 33% for free.

Re:Pointless in most cases (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38458094)

If it doesn't sacrifice stability, then why doesn't Intel sell those CPUs @ 4.5 GHz ?

Re:Pointless in most cases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38458102)

I overclocked, took me half an hour to get it right with the easy tools they have now, and it hasn't crashed a single time in the 6 months since. And my processor now benchmarks as well as ones that cost well over $100 more. Yes, I notice a difference in performance, and I'm pretty darn happy with it.

It's not about using it. (4, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458112)

For a small proportion of the population (but, possibly, a large proportion of slashdot-ers) a PC is not a platform for doing useful work or serving entertainment, it's a source of "fun" in its own right. In past decades the people who like to play with their computers would be out in the yard, covered in oil, fiddling with a junky old car, or tuning a valve radio. Now they get their satisfaction from squeezing the last few MHz out of their PCs - whether there is any need or use for those few extra cycles, is immaterial.

And for those with a more software bent, than a hardware leaning, there's always OSS - which serves a similar purpose.

No, it simply doesn't provide the extras it used t (4, Interesting)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457820)

It used to mean windows would run faster, games would run faster, everything was FASTER MAN!!!!!111one.

But now overclocking for the at home folks is a case of hit a button in your bios, or in some cases a physical button on the motherboard, and it'll do some overclocking for you, automatically. As its become more automated, the news worthy stuff becomes more and more expensive to implement and show off, and so most things are less news worthy and so it appears "overclocking" happens less. In reality I'd expect it happens alot more, and maybe even when people aren't fully aware of what they are doing.

Also systems being so much faster now, generally provide the speed that users require of them, unless they are the kind of users to be pushing systems to overclock simply for the hell of it, like the guys who get in the news. However you don't see these guys then gaming and getting 200fps on these systems, or anything exciting like that anymore. Its simply overclocked, and shown it to be "stable" at said speed. No one ever goes "lets see how many FPS can we get outta this baby now!", its all become very much a concept thing rather than actually running systems at these speeds for any sensible amount of time.

Re:No, it simply doesn't provide the extras it use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38457954)

In the old days when CPU speed was relatively low, every % speed increase made a big difference. Now the base speeds are so high you aren't really gonna notice the difference.

Re:No, it simply doesn't provide the extras it use (1)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457978)

Yep, thats one reason.

Others are its simply too expensive to do the kind of overclock you'd of done 5 years ago, for the same increase in %. I guess chip creators are getting better at running the chips at their limit already, rather than shipping them lower than they "could" go, tho I don't have any stats to back this up.

Re:No, it simply doesn't provide the extras it use (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458238)

Speaking as someone who was overclocking Cyrix chips and AMD K6s, I'm super-glad that now I can just run a program and have the computer overclock and stress test while I sleep. I bought a 2.8 GHz processor and it goes 3.4 GHz for no additional cost. That's a small bump, but it cost me nothing, so it's very difficult to complain. Every car is different and some are just a little better built than others and could take more tuning, and lo and behold, the car's computer is self-tuning, and tunes itself for efficiency continually. The computer ought to do the same thing. I shouldn't have to run AMD Overdrive manually, it should (optionally) do a short run every time I shut down for the night. The next generation should dynamically overclock itself at all times, monitoring onboard sensors to determine when it nears the thermal envelope of reliability.

First Pisst (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38457822)

It's over, lads. I've won.

Most people don't understand that it's a bad idea. (5, Informative)

Toasterboy (228574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457828)

Look, digital electronics are still subject to analog limitations. When you overclock, you squeeze the hysterisis curve, increasing the probability that your chip incorrectly interprets its the state of a particular bit as the opposite value. i.e. you get random data corruption. This is why you eventually start crashing randomly the more you overclock.

While overclocking a chip that has been conservatively binned simply to reduce manufacturing costs but is actually stable at higher clock rates is reasonable, trying to overclock past the design limits is pretty insane if you care at all about the data integrity. Also, you tend to burn out the electronics earlier than their expected life due to increased heat stress.

I never overclock.

Re:Most people don't understand that it's a bad id (3, Insightful)

nzac (1822298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457874)

You just don't get the overclockers mentality.
Either is all part of the fun adding to the risk or you are getting the most out what you paid for and are still within stable limits.
I don't think many overclockers care about random data corruption unless they blue screen or they turn it off when they need stability.

Re:Most people don't understand that it's a bad id (3)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458210)

While "low end" chips may be conservatively binned to reduce manufacturing costs, thats really not the whole story at all.

When the highest end chips can be clocked from 3.8 to 4.5ghz and higher using the stock cpu cooler, doesnt it make you wonder why Intel/AMD do not sell any 4.5ghz versions of these chips? Its because the OEM's fuck up case cooling every single time.

If Intel sold a 4.5ghz i7, Dell would still put it into a case with horrible venting and only a single fan that has been poorly placed, and then Intel would be footing the bill for loads of warranty replacements. The reason the i7 980X's cost so much isnt just because Intel was taking advantage of performance enthusiasts irrationality.. its because the Dell's of the world fuck up cooling every single time. The sandy bridge i7's perform nearly as well but run a lot cooler so can survive the harsh conditions the OEM is going to hamstring them into, and THAT is the main reason why they are so much cheaper than the 980X's.

Re:Most people don't understand that it's a bad id (1)

Ardyvee (2447206) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458218)

Sure. That's why you do test when you overclock in order to ensure it's still stable. You should also know that sometimes the CPU is capable working faster than what it was designed because it so-happened-to-be one of those that was produced with a quality greater than expected.

Or sometimes the cpu is already at the end of it's life and you're just giving it a hand to last a little while longer, which is my case, as I have an Intel Pentium D 3.2GHz dual core. It really depends on the case.

The law of diminishing returns applies (4, Insightful)

DeathToBill (601486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457830)

Ten years ago, CPU and RAM speed were really big factors in how fast your PC felt. We've spent the last ten years optimising hell out of them, while still using 7200RPM spinning disks (if you're lucky). So, surprise surprise, today disk IO is what limits your PC's performance. Why overclock your RAM? It makes (almost) not difference to your IO speed.

I got a new laptop just over three years ago. It had a 2.4GHz processor. I got my next new laptop a few weeks ago. It has a... 2.5GHz processor. Clock speeds have become almost irrelevant. What makes the new sucker fly is the SSD. Unfortunately, there is no BIOS setting, however risky, to change from disk to SSD.

Re:The law of diminishing returns applies (1)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457982)

Hmmmm 5 years ago I was running a single core 1.4ghz

Now I'm running 6 cores at 2.4 ghz.

But, yes, your point is valid ;)

yes, there is - RAID (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38458006)

Damn. Have to post as AC now or I'll undo a swag of mods.

Now, onto the rebuttal: Yes, there is a bios setting that can give you a hard drive performance boost: RAID

Re:yes, there is - RAID (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38458178)

Damn. Have to post as AC now or I'll undo a swag of mods.

Unless you actually logged out, your mods were undone. Simply selecting "Post Anonymously" is insufficient to protect the mods.

This misfeature should be better documented.

Re:The law of diminishing returns applies (1)

GNious (953874) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458172)

How do I overclock my SSDs? :D

Competitive Overclocking != all Overclocking (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38457832)

That's like saying competitive soccer going broke would impact on EVERYONE EVER from playing soccer with their friends.

Not everyone overclocks to beat a record.
Hell, "overclock" a toaster if you have to. 2 second cold toast anyone? (the best toast)
But really, there are still plenty of things you can overclock to beat records, such as what iB1 mentioned up there, overclock a smartphone or tablet.
Overclock a Beagleboard, or a Raspberry Pi when it comes out, Arduinos. All these compact computers are pretty much sitting around waiting to be hit by the overclocking spirit.

Re:Competitive Overclocking != all Overclocking (2)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457992)

OMG You've just reminded me of the hell in a kettle overclocked kettle video on youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGL67coOdOk [youtube.com] for those wondering.

No (3, Informative)

lga (172042) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457834)

No. Next question.

Seriously though, both Intel and AMD sell multiplier-unlocked CPUs as a feature, and the winners of tests in PC Pro magazine are overclocked by the system builder. You can even buy upgrade bundles pre-overclocked. My latest motherboard came with one-click overclocking software and can adjust the clock speed through a web page while playing a game. Liquid coolers are mainstream. Overclocking is definitely not dead.

Huh, no (3, Informative)

buserror (115301) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457844)

"has the enthusiast passion for overclocking cooled off"

Not from my 5.0Ghz Core i7 2600k anyway -- The tools have become better, the mobo are generally better built and more tolerant to punishment (some have 2 Oz copper), the power rails are a LOT more controllable than before, and in general the IC companies that make the power ICs have progressed a lot too in that time, so you can overclock easier, quicker, get better results and in general, extract quite a bit more, without nitrogen.

And, I compile distros all day, to me going from 3.8Ghz max to 5.0Ghz stable (and quiet!) is awesome; make -j10 FTW !

Re:Huh, no (1, Insightful)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457942)

I have a 2600K too, and I've squeezed 4.2Ghz out of it with air. That said, the most demanding thing a person usually runs is games. And since games are more and more becoming nothing but shitty console ports (I'm looking at YOU, Bethesda!) I wonder, what's the point? Maybe I'll try some compiling myself.

I bet you're the life and soul of a party (5, Funny)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457966)

[Sultry babe walks up]
"Hello, and what do you do?"

[nasal voice]
"I compile distros all day. Yes, did you know that Slackware on average compiles 20% faster than Debian for 64 bit but if I overclock my Core i7 by raising power rail voltage and tweeking the quantum flux capacitor.... hello, where are you going..hello? Hey, come back, did I mention its a 2600K? Hello?"

Re:I bet you're the life and soul of a party (3, Insightful)

buserror (115301) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458176)

Is this really "slashdot.org" where "nerds" used to be around ? You know, nerds, who do technically oriented stuff "just because they can" ?

The various comments on this topic -including the one up- makes me wonder really, or has "nerd" become more of a "I'm such a nerd, babe, look, I installed an app on my smartphone".

Or /. has been mirrored to "hipster.com" and I'm accessing the wrong portal

Re:I bet you're the life and soul of a party (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458258)

Oh dear. Someone's had a sense of humour bypass.

You did rather set yourself up for it saying you compile distros all day. I mean, even for a nerd thats a bit of an odd thing to do. Once a week/month to rebuild a kernel sure, we've all done that at some point, but every day building entire distros? Why??

Re:Huh, no (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38458000)

Why the fuck would anyone "compile distros all day" on their personal computer? If you're doing it for work, use the work machines. If you're doing it for a hobby, dude, get a better fucking hobby.

Gains aren't there (5, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457858)

In the days of the 300MHz Celeron, you could overclock it to 450MHz and gain 50% improvement. That extra 150MHz represented several hundred dollars straight to Intel, which you kept in your pocket by overclocking. These days, a few percent? It's just not worth the trouble any more.

Re:Gains aren't there (1)

kermidge (2221646) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457958)

Why was this rated -1?

Re:Gains aren't there (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458246)

Thats his default karma. [slashdot.org]

Trolling it a bitch.

Hahahaha (3, Interesting)

aitikin (909209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457870)

"...has the enthusiast passion for overclocking cooled off?"

That's like saying, "Do nerds no longer need a proxy for phallic measurement?" As long as there's still testosterone (even if it is minimal in some here) there'll still be people (men mostly) looking to say "We did it first!"

Re:Hahahaha (2)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457948)

I think even most geeks think of overclockers as a little bit obsessive and kind of out there.

Can't notice the difference anymore (5, Insightful)

dan_barrett (259964) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457882)

I think CPU speed is less of an issue these days; eg Core2 onwards processors are generally "fast enough" for most users.
Compare the change in noticeable speed between a 386 and 486, or even Pentium vs Pentium 2 or 3, to today's Core2/Athlon vs Core i5/Phenom.
Most people don't notice the jump in CPU performance on modern processors.

The other traditional bottlenecks are rapidly disappearing too, eg a midrange Directx10 graphics card is good enough to play all but the most demanding games these days, and memory and disk speed and capacity are generally outpacing most people's demand.

People will still overclock for the challenge of it, but I think there's no tangible day-to-day benefit anymore.

As someone above mentioned, the real performance battle has moved to portable devices, eg how much performance can you get from a tablet or phone, given a fixed battery capacity?

Re:Can't notice the difference anymore (1)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458214)

I recently upgraded from a Phenom II 810 (quad-core, 2.6Ghz) to an i7-2600K (quad-core w/hyperthreading, 3.4Ghz). I saw a BIG difference in games. But you're right, most users are content with 'fast enough'.

Overlocking was only ever a dick waving contest... (1, Funny)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457930)

... between a tiny bunch of geeks who had more money than sense. Someone should have told them that if they really wanted to play their first person shooter faster they should overclock the graphics card, not waste time on the CPU.

Yeah , I 'll get modded down for offending the high priest overclockers who read this, but really, if you spend 1000s on a special cooling system for your CPU just so it runs 25% faster so you can get even more unnoticable frames per second you really need to get out more.

Re:Overlocking was only ever a dick waving contest (2)

fitteschleiker (742917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457976)

Don't worry those guys then convince themselves they have a better visual perception than normal people so they don't feel stupid that they paid said 1000's. Much like the audiophile who buys a massively expensive sound system. Anyone asks them the hell why, they subtly (or not so much) imply that they have a hearing range that is far in excess of your standard human, and of course a better appreciation for music anyways :)

Re:Overlocking was only ever a dick waving contest (2)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458052)

Isn't that the truth! It reminds me of people who still claim that LPs sound better than CDs even though the LP stereo system is a hack that doesn't always reproduce phase properly and the audio before its recorded on an LP has go to through a compressor first to limit the amplitude because of physical restrictions in the offset of the groove and also the high frequency response is limited because the goove simply can't be machined to undulate enough accuratly enough to reproduce them especially at 33rpm closer to the centre of the record. But hey, its analogue so it must be better, right?

Re:Overlocking was only ever a dick waving contest (2)

llZENll (545605) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458046)

Not everything is about gaming, I overclocked for faster compiling cycles, and it makes a HUGE difference. And for gaming the market has long figured it out, hence the huge market for overclocking GPUs, you can get custom water blocks, heatsinks, memory coolers, all specifically for video cards. The market for overclocking GPUs dwarfs the market for overclocking CPUs in the yesteryear, people have been overclocking GPUs since they very first came out from 3dfx.

Re:Overlocking was only ever a dick waving contest (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458088)

if they really wanted to play their first person shooter faster they should overclock the graphics card, not waste time on the CPU.

I always thought they did that too?

Yeah , I 'll get modded down for offending the high priest overclockers who read this, but really, if you spend 1000s on a special cooling system for your CPU just so it runs 25% faster so you can get even more unnoticable frames per second you really need to get out more.

Maybe it's been a while since you were a kid but there's something enticing about "sticking it to the man"... robbing Intel of those few $$$ by taking a cheap CPU and running it as fast an expensive CPU. Intel (and AMD probably) know exactly what's going on and how best to make money out of it though :)

Re:Overlocking was only ever a dick waving contest (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458290)

Sure, you stick it to Intel. But this grand gesture then means you give twice the extra money you've have spent on an equivalent out-the-box CPU to some other faceless corp who provide overclocking kit and who may be just as venal and grasping as Intel/AMD/whoever. Plus you reduce the life of your CPU. *shrug*

As in the words of Sir Arthur C Clarke! (3, Insightful)

NSN A392-99-964-5927 (1559367) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457960)

When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is probably wrong.

Therefore, I rest my case.

Cheers Arthur a true friend who is missed but still there :)

Car analogy (1)

qxcv (2422318) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457962)

When a land based automobile broke the sound barrier, was amateur automobile racing over? When Amundsen reached the South Pole, was adventuring over? Rather than eliminating enthusiasm for these ventures, such achievements tend to make these things more popular and accessible. Hell, anyone can get into higher-end over-clocking nowadays without having to worry about it taking too much of a toll on their wallet. A few months ago I glued a PVC tube to the lower half of a stock 775 cooler and threw some dry ice in to try and see what I could get the machine too. I mightn't have clocked my RAM up to 3600MHz but it was still enjoyable seeing my old box get put on cyber-roids (also playing with the dry ice afterwards - there's a lot of fun things you can do with it ;) ). Maybe it's not a high stakes game of processor roulette anymore, but geeks tend to be experts at doing stuff "just because they can".

It's now mostly irrelevant... (1)

r3verse (1202031) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457964)

I'm in my late 20s. Fifteen years ago, in the heady days of personal computing, I spent long hours squeezing every last Kb and clock cycle out of my (underpowered) machine. It was new. It was fun. But it also crashed, and burned. These days I want things to 'just work'.

And mostly they do. In 2011, we are not wanting for processing power, in most any electronic device we own. Xbox, PS3, iPod Touch. People of the current gen., financially well-endowed and relatively unburdened, face the same challenge I faced, and proceed to ascertain how quickly they can prestige on CoD. The paradigm has shifted.

---

In retrospect I have unintentionally managed to blame all three of the unholy trinity for the death of power-user computing. Go subconscious, go!

/end_thread

Translation: (2)

ProfanityHead (198878) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458004)

PC's are so fast these days for our simple minds there is no longer a need to overclock.

And GET OFF MY LAWN!

Huge difference for game development (4, Informative)

llZENll (545605) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458018)

Well let me dig up my test results spreadsheet from when I first got my 2500K CPU, times are in seconds to complete my task in Visual Studio 2010, first set of numbers is the system at stock clock, second set is overclocked at 5GHz, during my game development most of my day consists of building the game, loading the game and testing out changes or additions, therefore the reduction from doing that in 32s vs 21s is absolutely huge, even doing code changes that don't require a total rebuild I am waiting 3s less. It may not sound like a lot but when you are focused any time saved is very important, you can only be focused for so long.

build debug from clean 12.9 6.9
built already, go and load all effects and units 8.2 5.6
at title screen all loaded, start medium map 19.6 14.3
modify main.h build load to splash scrn 3.4 2.1
modify main.h load into medium map 31.9 20.9
modify main.h optimal load no sound, small map 16.9 10.3
running in game, modify main.h apply changes 10 6.7
average 14.7 9.5

system is 2500K, C300 SSD, 16GB memory

Re:Huge difference for game development (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458100)

There's always someone who comes along and spoils an argument with facts and evidence :)

Re:Huge difference for game development (1)

xmas2003 (739875) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458248)

Just to add another data point, I was able to push my 2500k to 5.0GHz (liquid cooling) and it ran Prime95/etc. stable ... but did get fairly warm ... and there was an intermittent bug on restore from sleep that may be fixed in the next version of ASUS Bios.

So I backed off to 4.7GHz ... runs a lot cooler and has been rock-solid stable. So basically got an extra GHz in performance for free ... and yea, as the OP says, all those reductions in time add up and make for a more pleasing experience.

Re:Huge difference for game development (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458286)

Restore from sleep, I find that very interesting. I just installed a bios update to my Gigabyte Ga-MA770T-UD3P 1.0 and fixed a sleep problem that I never had before overclocking with AMD overdrive. At least, I think that's what fixed it, I didn't change anything else, but there could have been a windows update in there someplace.

I'm usually doing the opposite... (3, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458048)

I tend to underclock more often now, to reduce power consumption on my systems. Of course, I don't play any games on my systems, so I am almost never pushing the capabilities of the hardware.

we wouldn't need over clocking if our code were fa (1)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458056)

-ster.

the hardware vendors devote tens of billions of dollars every year to keep up with moo re's law. this has lead to the fallacy that CPU power, ram and storage are infinite, so many of today's coders don't even bother to optimize their code.

consider initializing a 2d array in a nested loop. if you increment columns in the inner loop, the memory cache will speed you up. but a dumb mistake could increment rows instead. in that case the cache actually slows your code down dramatically.

it is wrong that few coders ever learn assembler or hardware architecture anymore. not so you can write assembly code, but so you can understand the effect that your java or perl has on the underlying hardware. the only code that ever touches the metal, after all, is machine code.

In this discussion. (1)

richy freeway (623503) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458084)

1. People who do overclock and reap the benefits.

2. People who don't and like to moan about it.

YES IT'S OVER !! BUT DON'T TAKE IT FROM ME !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38458116)

When you look into his eyes
Comes to you as no surprise
It's always the same

Every time he's out with you
He tries to tell you what to do
You don't need it that way

Sometimes you think your playing the fool
He's runaround braking all the rules
Some how that don't seem fair

There's got to be a better way
You know what I'm trying to say
Cause deep deep down inside
You're living your life in total lies

What did he ever do for you
What's he trying to put you through
I just don't understand

You showed him love and tenderness
Touched him with your sweet caress
Now he's leaving you

So what's the point in working it out
Tell me what it's all about

That's why I'm saying

I hope your with me
When it's over

I hope your with me
When it's over

You won't be lonely
You won't be lonely
When it's over

You won't be lonely you
When it's over

It's over

And in the morning when he's gone
Please don't sing that sexy song

I don't want to hear it
Forget about him let him go
It won't hurt what he don't know

What's he trying to say to you
What's he trying to tell yak
He don't really care

Face the truth and realize
You don't need his alibi's

No more - Yup - It's over !!

Missing the point. (1)

Artea (2527062) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458126)

I see people asking what practical value overclocking has. Why do people tune up cars? Superchargers? They do it because they can, not because "Hey, I can reach the speed limit 5% faster". It's a hobby, something fun to do. It's not about how much you spend, or if you are going to really benefit from that 600Mhz boost. It's all about the point of view, whitewashing it as a dick waving contest, or trying to apply a practical need to it is pointless really.

Hehe (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458180)

with the aid of liquid nitrogen which cooled the RAM down to a frosty -196C [...] has the enthusiast passion for overclocking cooled off?

I see what you did there.

To ruin the sound of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38458230)

Nothing makes more sense than buying highly noisy cooling systems so you can overclock your CPU and GPU for getting better graphics. And the sound coming from your expensive sound card is better when you can't heard it anymore due to all the noise coming from the cooling system anyway.

It reminds me old time... (1)

dolmen.fr (583400) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458240)

I remember how in 1998 it was said that overclocking is dangerous and that it can kill your processor.
My dad still use nowadays my old overclocked Intel Celeron 300A. I only had to reduce the RAM usage (one bank is dead and searching for a new one is not worth it).

I overcocked my girlfriend (0)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458288)

I overcocked my girlfriend
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