Sunday, July 11, 2010

Overclocking with Intel; a Beginning to a Prosperous Relationship?

So now that the FIFA World Cup is over, people can go back to their normal lives and bitch about something other than how England, the United States and Brazil gave a disappointing performance not too mention how the FIFA referees are almost legally blind.

We here at Best3ForFree.Com can somewhat go back to our normal lives as well. We have a bunch of articles and blog posts planned in the next month and are excited that we have a planned launch for the site around early September.

I'd like to talk about an interesting but at times boring webinar that was hosted by Intel and sponsored by NewEgg.com.


A few days ago (from the time I wrote this article), newegg.com announced that they were going to sell a new Intel processor that is unlocked and ready for overclocking. Over-clocking you say? Why would a processor chip manufacturer produce, encourage and sell overclock-able chips??? That's like asking for a sizable amount of customers to screw up and get pissed off at your company because his or her $300 product predictably fried. If you don't know, overclocking is when you configure the settings in a computer's BIOS so that the processor speed improves. As a consequence, processors use more wattage which generates more heat and results in more wear on the processor or possibly results in the processor being fried and thrown away (no warranty on this venture).

Despite the risk of product destruction that could and often does result, in business a common rhetoric is, "I'll sell whatever the customer wants!" Driven by a niche of geeky computer hardware enthusiasts, Intel has placed overclock-ready dual-core and quad-core processors (Intel i7 875k) on the market for the very “affordable” price of $250.00 - $350.00 (mind you this is just for the processor). I don't know what's more risk-prone for catastrophe, investing in BP or overclocking (just joking… somewhat).

It should be interesting to see how many of these processors sell, due to the fact that you don’t necessarily need an “overclock friendly” processor in order to overclock. As such, it is likely to be a very specific market of people who will choose to purchase these types of processors.

In an effort to enlighten people about overclocking (as well as to sell the new Intel product), NewEgg.Com sponsored a free webinar in collaboration with Intel. To quickly give a rundown of the webinar, it was a very informative presentation by some well-spoken speakers. It’s very clear that Intel has some very competent people that work for them. However, for those who are completely oblivious to overclocking, I would say the webinar doesn’t build an extremely clear picture of what the process is for overclocking as well as specific steps necessary to achieve a modest and reliable overclock of the processor (it’s evident that Intel doesn’t want to be tied to ANY liability).

The webinar was suppose to be recorded and made available to the public but it seems the guy who was suppose to do it got fired because it never happened. The closest thing I was able to find is a webinar on the i7 and i5 processors.

What’s clear is that the nature of processors has changed in comparison to what they used to be. One electrical current powers and affects all dimensions of the processor (anything from the cache to the BUS to the memory within the processor). Therefore, if you change one dimension of the processor, it’s going to affect the other dimensions of the processor. So it must be clear to the "overclocker" that all characteristics of the computer processor must be changed when attempting a successful overclock. Streamlining the flow of information from within the processor is the most difficult part of overclocking. Much like with manufacturing, if you have a bottleneck somewhere in your assembly line, your output will only be as good as your least producing component. Ultimately, finding a common medium in overclocking is more difficult because changes in the processor components react differently (not to mention there are areas of a processor that will be changed even though you will not want to change them). Overall – if you are interested in what overclocking may do for your computer, the webinar is a worthy watch, jam-packed with information.

In my opinion, computers have already become so powerful with invent of quadcore processors that for most of us, even with things like games, it may not be worth the risk of voiding your warranty and potentially sizzling one of the most important components of your computer. However, as Moore’s Law comes to an end due to the limits of Silicon, overclocking may be a last push by hardware-enthusiasts to obtain additional power to run the software and games that seem to always need more out of your computer. The significant increase in price in comparison to other Intel and AMD processors suggests that for most computer users this will not be an option, even for those who wish to be able to overclock.

If you have comments, questions or confessions, please post!

Always wishing you the Best,

Best3ForFree.Com



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