I'm looking into building a new computer and I've been reading up on tomshardware a lot and from what I've seen EVERYONE here overclocks their stuff. The new 965 Just came out at 3.4 ghz I'm wondering if i get a 955 and overclock it just a bit to leave it at 3.4 will it be the exact same thing as a 965 which hasn't been overclocked? How much would i be reducing the lifespan of the processor (and system in general) if i did this, and would i need a better cpu cooler than the one that comes with the processor? Is it almost risk free if i OC just a little instead of pushing it to 3.8 or 3.9, or is it the exact same thing?
In some benchmarks, it appears the 965 actually loses some performance overclocked. Not a lot of headroom, in my opinion.
Your best bet? If seriously interested in overclocking, get a Ph II X4 940 BE (for $190) and overclock to 3.4 Ghz. You can do this on stock cooling and without raising voltages, just a multiplier adjustment. Then you can decide if you're apt to look into oc'ing more.
Ultimately even a slight overclock could possibly reduce processor life. Enthusiasts oc their processors because they can, and because they change them every year. Sometimes even more often.