Overclockers Monolog

Each of you that come to this web site have a different view or reason for being interested in overclocking. Some hold the belief that, just like a car, a computer needs to be constantly tweaked and enhanced to always maximize its potential, to pound every bit of performance out of it that you can and make it the best it can be. All in the name of fun and learning.

But to a large number of us, overclocking has a different purpose:

To get that old piece of junk you have sitting on your desktop to give you one more month of use before your forced to spend all that money you don’t have to upgrade it.

Or even worse, have to buy a new one. It’s a fight to squeeze as much time and money out of that $3500 investment we made that’s now worth $400-500.

Now that is the position I’m in. Two and a half years ago, I bought a brand spanking new computer. It was an AMD K6-2 400 with a massive 128MB of RAM a 10Gig HD and I had a top of the line 32MB TNT2 video card in it. With all the rest plus a nice new printer and desk, I spent $3500 and I had a super machine. Today it’s still on my desk and it’s still running – I’m using it right now to write this article. It’s gone through a lot though; it’s no longer a super system, nor is it worth $3500.

Over the last two years, it’s seen many changes to its layout and performance levels. I’ve learned a lot about Overclocking CPUs and Video cards, about BIOS updates, firmware upgrades and just about everything a person needs to know to keep that lagging machine running. It’s an Asus P5A motherboard, and I still have a 400MHz K6-2 in it, but now it’s overclocked to 550Mhz and runs so hot on this Mobo that I have to run a rather unique fan system to keep it cool: A large fan jury-rig mounted on a really large heatsink.

The problem: The P5A has a rather unique placement of the PSU connector – right next to CPU socket. This keeps me from being able to use most of the good heatsinks and fans out there that would normally work on a Socket 7 mobo. I have a nice collection of heatsinks and fans now because of this. I’ve even pulled power supplies apart, trying new ways to power my motherboard so as not to waste the space that a good HS&F would need to be. You know, “On my CPU”!

My Video card is another interesting part of my current system. It’s overclocked as well. With a Core at 190 and the Memory clock at 225, it’s rock solid. But I had to rip the fan out of the Golden ORB I bought (one that would not fit on my CPU due to the power supply connector) to keep its temp cool enough. One more month of use, you see.

You know, I’ve even scoured the web for BIOS updates. My Mobo has seen and used all the BIOS updates made for the P5A, and even a few that never made it to public release. Each one was extensively tested – I tried all the options – can’t let anything go unchecked.

And looking back, it was all in the name of extension. Yes, extension of the life expectancy of my machine. Extended by a day or month, at the risk of trashing the entire system NOW.

I’ll tell you right now its been an interesting trip. I’ve learned a lot about computers, cores, MHz and all the rest. But now this machine is getting old. I can buy a faster machine than this one now for around $700 Canadian. I’m starting to think it’s time to upgrade. A whole new machine? Or, just a new mobo?

What is a guy to do? Start watching the pocket book, save up my pennies and I can’t forget: Keep watching for new ways to make this machine run faster. After all, I could still put a water-cooling system on it. Hmmmm…the mobo spec sheet says I can run up to a 600Mhz processor on here.

But I think I’ll buy a completely new machine and spend the $3500 again so I can try my hand at tweaking a new machine. Who knows – I might just be able to get the new one to last me another two years.

And that’s the reason I keep coming back to the tweakers sites, places like Overclockers.com and all the rest. I hope at least one person reading this jumble of words I’ve written could relate to this article and draw something from knowing they are not the only one out there.


Richard Orion Hobson

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