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[ The PC Guide | System Optimization and Enhancement Guide | Overclocking: The Dissenting Opinion | Should You Overclock? ]

Determining Your Needs and Wants

Before you can decide if overclocking makes sense, you need to know what it is you are expecting to get out of your PC. This is absolutely critical, because certain ways of using a PC basically preclude the use of overclocking. You need to ask yourself what you use the PC for, and what is important to you. Here are some questions you might ask yourself:

  • Is There Critical Data on the PC?: If something were to happen to the PC, and you were to lose all the data on it, would this be a big crisis, or just a minor inconvenience? How important is data integrity to you? Do you have the ability and the discipline to regularly perform backups?
  • Is the PC New and Under Warranty?: Overclocking new equipment basically guarantees that you have voided your warranty.
  • Do You Really Need Absolute Maximum Performance?: If you use the machine primarily for games or graphics, you very well might need as much performance as you can get, because these applications are very resource-intensive. If you are doing work that is less demanding, then maximum performance is less of an issue. Modern processors today are so fast that they are already more than is needed for most day-to-day tasks.
  • Do You Have the Time to Deal with Problems?: In many cases overclocking means more problems that you will have to resolve with the PC. Do you want to take the time to deal with them? Do you want to risk having to replace damaged hardware? Do you want to have to become an expert in processor cooling to make your system work?

Next: Performance vs. Economics

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