I have a pretty much stock system and the idea of overclocking scares me.
Here is what I have.
Processor: E5200 Wolfdale 2.5ghz with the stock retail cooler
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP43-UD3L
Ram: G.Skill 2x2gb 1066
PSU: 450w Corsair (not sure if this is relevant)
Anyway, the E5200 only supports an 800 FSB. The ram will run at 1066. I know with stock cooling I'm kind of limited in what I can do as far as overclocking.
Here are some temp stats thanks to Lm-Sensors in Ubuntu (I also run Windows 7)
The system during normal use barely and rarely breaks 40c. Right now I'm at 37c for the sensors and the same for both cores. From what I understand, this is relatively cool for a system. I haven't gotten her under load yet. I also haven't run her in the dead of summer where my skin starts melting off.
I think the first three things I have to ask before how I go about doing this are:
1. Is it possible for me to bump my FSB up to accept the 1066?
2. Is it worth it? My forays into OCing are extremely limited. What kind of performance boost would I see, if any?
3. At what detriment would this boost be? Would I have to sacrifice something in order to obtain using the memory's full potential? How do the pros weigh against the cons?
1. Your RAM frequency and FSB are not directly related. A better question is 'can i bump my processor FSB up above 800MHz and therefore the CPU over 2.5GHz'. The answer to that is 'probably, but there's only one way to find out and that's to try'
2. Yes, if it works. If it doesn't then no harm done (providing you don't go mental!)
3. Pros - faster system. Cons IF DONE BADLY - shortened component lifetime, system instability. Regardless, you're likely to end up having a higher power consumption.
don;t let overclocking scare you. A day or two spent reading and asking questions then a little time 'experimenting' will soon ease any fears. Yes, you will get system crashes. That's inevitable and a part of overclocking. Don't let them worry you.
The pro's (imo) out weigh the cons by a hundred to one. Even if you go for a mild (say 20%) overclock, you'll see a difference. And best of all, it's free!
You temps are fine and the E5200 has been known to go up over 4GHz. Getting 3GHz - 3.2GHz shouldn't be a major issue on air cooling.
Your mobo supports FSB 1333MHz so you have plenty of room to play. However, it does not appear to support 1066MHz RAM, so you may be limited to operating your current memory modules at 800MHz. A good overclock will more than compensate for this.
^Correction, it will never run faster than 400Mhz on the FSB with DDR2 800 with 1:1 (FSB:RAM). For DDR2: FSB*2= RAM speed( ie 333 FSB (aka 1333)= DDR2 667, since 333.33*2=666.66). Your E8400 has a stock FSB of 200Mhz (800/4). The Intel FSB are quad pumped.
For speed calculation: CPU Speed = FSB * Multiplier
in your case: 2500Mhz = 200* 12.5