ok i can understand OCing a system with a gf7900 or something but what good would or will it do for someone that has a entry level video card like i have
It'll help you burn up your stuff faster so you can justify buying a new one which you really want, because now the old one doesn't work.
Seriously though, a lot of people do mild overclocking to get a small boost without feeling like they paid for it. But then a lot of those people also spend extra on cooling to be sure everything runs okay. Other people just risk it, and their PC starts locking up when their A/C is out, on a hot day. Not sure if they actually end up ahead.
i have an opteron 170 ( $500 can) on an asrock 939 dual mobo ($100 can) with a good, quiet zalman hsf...runs at 2.6 GHz since day one. No problems, period. Let's see...an FX60 is at least a grand...gee..i don't know why you'd want to overclock! By increasing the clock, it breathed new life into my 6800GT and pretty much everything else too. Seems to me my primary reason is to get as much free performance as i can...why not? I just take it up as high as i can without over-volting the processor...which is just re-binning it anyway. I'm just the last step on the production line...seeing what chip it is in actuality, not by what it has been branded as because of sales requirements on a particular day. If i could just overclock my car's 350 into a 455 I'd be content...any ideas out there?
I see your point if you're only going to be using your computer to play video games and other general stuff. In that scenerio overclocking your cpu to its max, although it might help just a bit, will probably end up being bottlenecked by the graphics card in the end. However, if you ever fancied doing something else with your computer, such as encoding or compiling, then you would definately benefit from overclocking your cpu.
As for me, I generally don't go for anything less than 50% overclocks.
The key to this question lies with manufacturing process of components. A Chip manufacturer doesnt simply make a batch of 3GHz Chips (for instance). They make a batch of chips and then see what speeds individual chips will do. They quickly rate each chip and then divide them into 2.2GHz, 2.4GHz, 2.6GHz, 2.8GHz etc..
But thats a quick test to save time (money) so that they can ship 100000's of them. Same thing happens with ram, graphics chips etc. Therefore its entirely possible that the 2.2GHz chip you bought will run at 2.39GHz with no faults. Next up if there is a particularly strong demand for a chip say 2.4GHz and they run out of 2.4GHz chips they will substitute higher rated chips and set the multiplier accordingly. Therefore your 2.4GHz chip could well be a 2.8GHz chip in disguise.
Reffering back to the quick test they do to the chips, the highest rating the chip was stable at is not the rating of the chip. To account for the fact that chips get more unstable over time they rate the chip lower than the rating it got as a safety zone for stability over time.
The Opteron processors are supposedly server processors. Servers are often owned by businesses and a high reliability rate is essential for good customer relations. Therefore they used the cream of the crop and underclocked them for maximum server reliability.
This is why overclocking works and why the Opterons were so popular with overclockers as they could be turned up to speeds above and beyond the fX-57 / fX-62 (single/dual-core).
Also the chips are rated to work at some extreme conditions such as a 65C ambient temperature. Therefore if you keep your ambient temperatures down you can afford to overclock a bit more.
It wold take PC manufacturers several hours to ship 1 PC at its optimum performance level and so to save time (and money again) they ship with relatively low specs compared to its Maximum possible rating.
Basically you paid for the chip so you may as well recieve its full performance. You just have to spend the time the manufacturer didn't have to achieve it.
As a relative Noob to overclocking myself (not computing though) I would recommend getting as much performance from your stuff without adding voltage. This almost ensures you wont burn anything up.
Although on a graphics card of that age you'll notice a huge difference if you upgrade to a 7800GTx / 7900GT (or ATi's equivalent models). I went from a FX5600 to a 7800GTx and WOW.
Basically what I'm saying is, you never know how much extra you'll get from an overclock. It depends very much on what software you run too as that extra 200MHz could be the difference between jerky and smooth or just jerky and less jerky.
You forgot to add to the list don't buy any gcard now wait till the x2 vcards it the market sli will die like the slot 1. I was a sucker physx shitty shitty card and a stupid buyer sucked in by white paper.