Benchmarking results

aquamark.jpg
One of the best ways of identifying whether your machine is achieving the best performance it can with games is by running benchmark tests on it. Benchmark tests are a series of pre-programmed processes that a computer has to go through and from there the software will determine how efficiently the computer operates and posts a score that reflects its performance.Earlier benchmark tests were very hard to do and quite a pain that only a few hardcore enthusiasts would attempt to do it. But with the advent of more user friendly benchmarking utilities more and more people have begun to use benchmarking software to determine how well their machines run. Of course, with a benchmarking software, an overclocking enthusiast can also more accurately determine any improvements he has been able to squeeze out of his machine. He can do this by running the benchmarking utility with the stock settings, and then with every subsequent tweak he will run the utility again to find out if there are any performance boosts. Another good thing with benchmarking utilities is that a PC user will determine if he has overreached his overclocked settings because the utility will show discrepancies during its run like video artifacts.

A great way to determine if your overclocking efforts are within the limits set by other enthusiasts is by reading and visiting benchmarking threads . Here, PC owners post their benchmarks so you can compare notes with them. They will even give the tweaks that they did in order to achieve a particular benchmark result for a set number of PC parts.

A great overclocking community

ancient-overclocking-17.jpgAmong avid overclocking hobbyists, they take a certain pride in how they have managed to overclock their PC rigs. And with good reason. Overclocking is a delicate balance between pushing the performance of your PC parts just to the very edge without crashing your system while at the same time being carefully and consistently aware of the various tweaks that you are doing and also taking care of the heating issues that are associated with overclocking. This is a tightrope process with not much room for error because a big mistake can be quite costly because a wrong overclocking setting can fry the processor, the RAM or even the motherboard. And who really has the budget or the deep pockets to just shrug off a catastrophe such as this and then buy the same parts and then overclock it again – turning it into an absurd cycle of waste and stupidity?Each overclocking setting, as I have said is a delicate balance. Each person will have his own set of distinct tweaks and settings in order to achieve his overclocking results. There are some who are fiercely protective of these tweaks and will not part with it. But for the most part the overclocking community is built on camaraderie and sharing. But if there is one thing that overclockers want is proof that the results are indeed true and verifiable. This is why threads like these are quite fun to read because you not only see the extent to which overclockers try to push to the absolute limits of their PCs but also pick up very nifty tips and tricks if you want to go overclocking your own rig.

PSU Decisions

psu440.jpgAnyone who buys computers tries to allocate their budget towards the latest, fastest and most feature packed parts that their budget would allow them to. This means getting current generation processors, feature packed motherboards, midlevel to top level video cards, as much memory that they can buy, storage that will enable them to install many resource hungry applications and still leave enough room for gigabytes of files and downloaded goodies on the internet and of course, a case that would fit all of these while also maintaining good looks.Of course, if they can scrimp on a little they would so if they think that a passable product or part would be good enough for their needs then they will go for that and usually this distinction falls on the PSU. Most novice and mid-skill level PC owners usually scrimp on the PSU when assembling a computer. If they can get a generic PSU then so be it. They will even settle for the bundled PSU’s on certain PC cases because it will save them a lot of money.

But this is actually not a good idea and this is best illustrated in this particular thread that I reading today. It is true that you should not get a budget PSU especially if it is going to bring power to such high cost parts. One forum member even said that it should be the most expensive computer part you should buy. The reason here is that good, clean power that is accurately rated will ensure that your PC parts work properly.

It’s an OC’ed world

vcard.jpg

I admit it, my math skills are not the greatest. I’m a great fan of computers and everything involved with it but one thing that really whizzes through my head whenever it is discussed is the subject of overclocking. There is just too many numbers involved and need to be considered for me to really understand it. That is the reason why I have never really attempted to overclock my processor, my video card or my RAM.But fortunately, I saw this great forum that discussed overclocking in a manner that is quite easy to understand and follow. The forum at devhardware.com essentially deals with now to overclock your video card so you can squeeze more juice from the card itself thereby making the video card run at higher clock speeds. This then allows you to put the settings on the games that you are playing on higher parameters making the graphics look better.

Overclocking can be a nightmare when it comes to the actual implementation phase. But the forum threads started in devhardware.com are really quite helpful for PC users of all skill levels. There is even a sticky thread on a beginner’s guide on how to overclock a video card. That in itself is worth the price of registration, so to speak (registration is of course free!). Another advantage is that there are threads started on the different video cards that are available in the market. This means that you will likely find a fellow PC user who may also be using the same 9600 pro card that you have.

The Science of Overclocking

Processor

When you buy a computer’s processor, that processor’s core speed is usually preset at a certain level. But for many PC enthusiasts, the preset core speed will not stop them from determining the upper limits of a processor’s capabilities so they overclock these processors.Overclocking is a process in which a processor’s stated speed is pushed to its upper limits is a way for PC enthusiasts to exploit and get more speed from their existing PC components, most frequently the processor. For example, an AMD AthlonXP 2500+, a processor that was quite famous for its high overclockability, has been tweaked by many enthusiasts and after overclocking its frequencies was able to make it run up to a speed that is similar to an AthlonXP 2800+. That is a decent bump in speed that does not require buying anything else.

This concept of buying a processor and then bumping up its performance to approximate the speeds of more expensive variants is the reason why overclocking is very popular. In fact, there are small groups of PC “geeks” that make it some sort of bragging rights to be able to increase the speed of a computer part (say a processor) to its most upper limit and past the previously recorded overclocked speed.

But before you do it though, be aware that overclocking, although it sounds like fun, has its own dangers. First of all, overclocking a computer part basically voids its warranty. So if something happens to the particular part then you can’t have it replaced even if it is still under warranty. Which leads me to my second warning. Overclocked computer parts run significantly hotter than when it is running at stock speeds. Overheated parts can cause crashes and even general system failures.