any idea if buying a pre-overclocked system is a good idea? Or is it so trivially easy that I'm better doing it myself.
As long as your warranty isn't void, why not? (You probably have store-warranty, but I have no idea what Intels policy is)
Then again, why bother with overlocking at all, CPU speed is hardly a bottleneck nowadays
It's pretty easy nowadays.
Secondary Hivemind Nexus
A pre overclocked processor doesn't really matter, as as Alex has said, it is pretty easy to do it yourself (a good motherboard can do it automatically, even, and if you want to do it yourself it is simply a case of slecting a decent motherboard and looking up a guide).
Pre overclocked graphics card are a bit different in that regard, as most graphic card manafacturers that produce them usually also go out of their way to use their higher quality chips (for some reason, not all chips are alike, some OC better then others), have a better cooling solution (even less noisy) in their OC'ed models (which is why they are more expensive). You can find OC'ed graphics cards which outperform several more expansive graphic cards whilst having better cooling.
the benefit of pre-overclocked is that the overclock is covered under the warranty. If the system is unstable, then the shop has to fix it.
I can't say that I understand the allure of overclocking. Why add extra electricity, heat, strain, and instability to your valuable PC when you can just spend a little more for parts that are certified to be more powerful? Wouldn't you rather spend an extra $100 to upgrade than $500 replacing broken parts?
That's assuming you're overclocking for the tangible benefits, of course. I think that's a fair assumption if you're considering having a system builder do it for you. If you want to overclock just for the nerdly enjoyment of hardware hacking then by all means go ahead - that's a very rewarding endeavour.
that's because you don't understand why overclocking is possible at all.
Originally Posted by djbriandamage
It's all about binning. Intel/AMD/nVidia et al make a chip that can run at up to, say, 3000mhz. they get tested for their quality, and are 'speed binned' depending on their sales targets, and what the chip is capable of. They obviously sell more cheaper processors so bin 1000 into the 2GHz category to sell for $200, and then stick 500 in the 3GHz category to sell for $300, but underneath, these chips are intrinsically the same.
That part you just paid more money for 1000mhz extra speed on the core? the processor that is $100 cheaper can hit the same speeds at the same power and heat output because it is the same chip.
My layman's understanding is that they produce batches of chips with a common architecture and test them for stability at different speeds. I had just (naively?) assumed that they grouped batches by stability, rounded it down to the nearest SKU, and branded them accordingly.
Originally Posted by Kamikaze-X
I based my advice off this assumption - that you're paying a little more for a chip that is certified stable at the advertised speed.
Are you saying that chips are branded as being certified for speeds much lower than they are actually capable of running stably?
Originally Posted by djbriandamage
one of the most blatant examples was with the AMD 6970. They released a 6950 which was actually a 6970 which had some of the cores and shaders disabled in software. mental. people were buying up the 6950 and then flashing them with a BIOS from the 6970 to get an extra £50 of performance for £0 outlay.
Going back a bit to when I first started PC building, I got a Pentium D805 and overclocked it from 2.4Ghz to 4Ghz, and managed to get into the top 10 PC systems in the world running Pentiums.... my £80 processor was clocking faster than some £999 pentiums!