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Overclocked CPU Worth It?

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January 9, 2012 10:12:53 PM

Hello, I've recently decided to upgrade my old-school, prebuilt system with a 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo and 4 gigs of DDR2 and thought I would build my own to save a bit of money while also getting a very high-end computer.

I did a great deal of research, picked out my parts, and am now eagerly waiting for them to arrive in the mail. The base components I ended up getting were: an i7 2600k, 8 gigs of 1600MHz DDR3, a NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250 video card I bought a year ago, a HAF 912 case, and a Hyper 212 plus. I got the 212 because I originally intended to overclock my CPU (hence the k model of the i7) but I am now questioning this decision. I originally though OC-ing a new, shiny i7/i5 was a no-brainer for a high performance system, but a few people I know advise me against it. They argue that 1) it doesn't make that much of a difference, and 2) by installing an after-market CPU cooler you will void your warranty. This second point especially troubled me, seeing as this is my first build and I want to ensure I don't screw up and throw $300 out the window, yet I want the most powerful system I can get.

So, great members of Tom's Hardware, I come to you with a question: is it worth it? I've read a few other threads/articles on this subject, but most of them only applied to hardcore gamers. I do a fair amount of gaming myself, but I also plan to run two virtual machines all the time (except when playing games) as well as many different browsers simultaneously for the web development I do. I absolutely can't stand how, currently, running Eclipse and 2 or 3 browsers makes my system sluggish.

Thoughts?

Thanks in advance.

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a b à CPUs
January 9, 2012 10:17:58 PM

Hi :) 

The honest answer is NO , for what you want to do overclocking wont help in games or your Virtual machines....

If you want "Bragging rights" then overclock but all it will do is make your system more unstable...

That will be a VERY powerful machine...no need or benefit to you in overclocking...

All the best Brett :) 
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a b à CPUs
January 9, 2012 10:22:01 PM

depend what you want to do with it.

In general use, you'd not need to OC, your cpu is much more powerful than it need to be. for the apps you use, OC would not really show up unless you are waiting a long time during the simulations. Virtual machines shouldn't need an OC either.

but if you want the best FPS, the smoothest game play, OC is worth it.

I think you shouldn't have to worry about an OC, its quite safe, just make sure you install the heatsink correctly, apply thermal paste and keep track of the temperature for a while it should all be fine.
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a b à CPUs
January 9, 2012 10:43:03 PM

a well done OC will be stable with a 10-15% performance increase. If you are running some crazy 30" monitor at an insane resolution then a good OC is required simply because the system cannot keep up with the massive amount of data throughput to display that many pixels (same is said for tripple head gaming). But if you are running a 1080p or lower resolution with a high end i5 or i7, then you just need a decent GPU like a 570 or above and you will get well over 60fps on almost any game, and if you aren't then what will get you the extra fps is a 2nd GPU, not an OC of the system, because that is not where the bottleneck is.

That being said, you can do a simple OC with no problem. You have the parts, so it should be no problem to go up to 4-4.5GHz for the fun of it. Just be sure to do your homework, read a bunch, ask good questions, research about the quarks about OCing on your particular mobo. After you have done your due diligence and you feel like you have a handle on OC theory, then go for it. If done right you will not hurt anything, and it can be a fun/educational experience.
Just dont go in, crank everything up to 6GHz and expect things to work without frying something. Know what is attainable, but don't push the envelope. Your friends probably advised against it because they dont want to fix the mess if you do something wrong lol.

Personally I do not OC (thus the 2600 instead of the K version), because I find that if I really need to OC my system to get it to do what I need it to, then what I really need is a new system.
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January 9, 2012 10:44:38 PM

briggsman said:
Hello, I've recently decided to upgrade my old-school, prebuilt system with a 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo and 4 gigs of DDR2 and thought I would build my own to save a bit of money while also getting a very high-end computer.

LOL, when I first read this I was like "Oh good Lord... he upgraded to a C2Duo thinking it is a high end system, and wants help OCing it"
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January 9, 2012 11:00:23 PM

@caedenv Love your response! And funny you should mention the large monitors, as I currently have a dual-monitor setup (one 27" and one 22") at their peak resolutions (1920x1080 and 1680x1050). Does this then justify at least a regular OC?

@Brett, esrever: Thanks for your thoughts.

Additionally, seeing as I am going to be a poor college student for the next four years, would it be worth it to OC now seeings as computers are probably going to be leaps and bounds ahead of today's? Or would it be possible/viable to OC in, say, 2 years when software and games catch up to my computer?

Thanks again.
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a b à CPUs
January 9, 2012 11:04:48 PM

if you want to be safe then OC later.

I'd say you won't need to OC right now.
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January 9, 2012 11:32:55 PM

Should I just return my Hyper 212 then and get my $25 back? I'm guessing it's pretty much useless to install an aftermarket cooler on a non-OCed CPU (especially seeing as it voids the warranty)?
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a c 86 à CPUs
January 9, 2012 11:37:29 PM

im pretty happy with my 2.4ghz core 2 quad OC'd to 3.49ghz. I'd say its totally worth it. I now have a 4-5 year old CPU that competes with a modern quad core AMD phenom.
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a b à CPUs
January 10, 2012 12:55:29 PM

Keep your aftermarket cooler. It will run quieter, and keep things nice and chilly compared to the stock cooler. Even though I do not OC I love the silence of an aftermarket fan.
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a c 93 à CPUs
January 10, 2012 2:06:38 PM

I would agree on keeping the aftermarket cooler, even if you don't plan on overclocking. The stock intel cooler isn't very good, and you will see much better temps with the Hyper 212+, you'll get a longer life out of your CPU with the lower temps, and you have the option to overclock later when you need to with the aftermarket cooler. Aftermarket coolers tend to be quieter too, so if fan noise annoys you, that is another reason to go with the aftermarket solution.
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January 10, 2012 9:40:33 PM

Thanks for all the great feedback guys. Think I've made my decision.
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January 10, 2012 9:40:50 PM

Best answer selected by briggsman.
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