Can someone tell me if I will need to OC CPU for gaming

Can anybody help fill some gaps in my current knowledge. I have just purchased the components for my first DIY computer and I am hoping that I will be able to utilise the components purchased for gaming without any overclocking, I have a mobo so that once I am confident enough I can have a play but for the first few months I will be using as is.

Component list.
Corsair TWIN2X4096-8500C5DF 4GB (2x XMS2 2GB) PC-8500 (1066MHz) DDR2 5
Antec 120mm SmartCool Fan
Zalman CNPS9700NT CPU Cooler, 2-Ball bearing, Multi Socket, Ultra Quie
Corsair TX-750 750W ATX Power
Pioneer DVR-213LS 20X DVD-/+ DVDRW SATA Black Retail with LightScribe
Intel CORE 2 QUAD Q9450/2.66GHz/12MB CACHE/1333MHz FSB/LGA775
Antec TWELVE HUNDRED Full Tower Gaming Case NO PSU
Western Digital 640G SATAII 7200 rpm HDD (WD6400AAKS) 1
Power Color HD4870 512M GDDR5 PCIE TVO (x2 for Crossfire)
Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 64bit version (OEM)purchase with Hard

The questions I have are as follows.
1. Will underclocking the RAm affect the performance?
2. Does the CPU need to be overclocked to utilise the performance of the GPU's
3. Is there sufficient cooling for when I decide to OC.
4. What would be a suitable clock speed for my CPU when OC'd and is there any tutorial sites.

I would greatly appreciate anyones input on the above questions and any suggestions on what I have purchased or could also purchase. The build is to be for a gaming PC with moderate web browsing. I told my wife I wouldn't need to upgrade for at least 3 years, hope I'm right lol.

4 answers Last reply
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  1. Your system is almost identical to mine, you have good taste :D

    Firstly Underclocking the ram will not only cut performance but it will also prevent you from overclocking your CPU so I don't reccomend it.
    Your CPU is probably fast enough at stock to utilise all the power of your GPU's , it will get you good performance as is in any current games (even crysis) so you won't need to overclock to get playability but if you play CPU intensive games like supreme commander a lot then an overclock would make a significant difference. Depends how much you care about those few extra fps I suppose. You certainly have good enough cooling to take the CPU to at least 3.5ghz if you wanted to. One word of warning though is that with the 4870's you might find that you have to manually increase the fan speed on them to prevent overheats- at the default fan speed settings mine were idling at 78 degrees even in a Twelve Hundred gaming case! Just knock them up over about 35% and they will drop to a perfectly acceptable 40 degrees or so so its not a major problem. There are various threads about it so just look in one of those if you need to know how to do it.
  2. I'm no tech superpower, but I think I can answer those questions for you (or at least point you in the right direction).

    1. No. Your RAM is rated at 533 mhz (1066 / 2 since it's double data rate) and your CPU runs at 333 mhz (1333 / 4 since it's quad pumped). Even if you ran your ram at full speed, the motherboard and CPU would still communicate at 333 mhz.

    2. Varies greatly, depending on the game you're running and on what resolution/filters/settings you're using. Generally speaking, I'd say "no". Overclocking would definitely help, but I think your CPU at stock is sufficiently powerful to feed those two cards - at least for current games it is. Just make sure you've got the eye candy cranked up and you should have a fairly evenly distributed workload. As time goes on though you might have to overclock your CPU so it can keep up with your powerful GPUs.

    3. Yes

    4. You can probably hit 3.2 - 3.4 ghz without much trouble or tweaking. You can probably reach higher yet if you're determined, but things will start to get wily after that point. There are a few guides on Tom's and other tech websites to help you with that.

    Enjoy your new computer =)

    Edit @ guy above me: His RAM is way faster than the rest of his system, so he can underclock it a bit without affecting performance at all. Just set the ram speed to be linked and synced in the bios and it should be set for the rest of that system's life =]
  3. it should be criminal to not oc with such oc friendly hardware.
  4. Q1, Yes, underclocking the ram will affect performance, may hinder the overclocking of the CPU.
    Q2, "need to be overclocked" no it would not "need" to be overclocked, though the article referenced below should help with any overclocking concerns.
    Q3, I like the Xigmatek coolers HDT-1283 It works well with my Antec 900.
    Q4, I will pass on the clock speed for the Q-9450, again check out the article below.

    The system you have outlined should rock once up and running, give it a good workout then mess with the overclocking. It looks like great fun.
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