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Overclocking Guide Part 3: How To Gain 81% For $27

Step Five: Backing Down

We've seen overclocks slowly depreciate over time even at moderate voltage levels, due to slight circuit deterioration causing the CPU or RAM to destabilize at progressively lower speeds, or requiring progressive voltage increases to maintain their current speeds. One solution is simply not to push for the maximum to begin with.

If we wanted this system to stay at a constant clock speed for an extended period of time, we'd probably back the CPU down to around 3 GHz, the FSB voltage to +0.2 V, the RAM voltage to around 2.1 V, and the graphics card to around 635 MHz core and 1540 MHz RAM data rate. On the other hand, those who don't mind messing with their settings every so often may choose to go for the gusto!

Conclusion

Overclocking involves risk, but those risks aren't always proportional to gains. Reasonable voltage selections put our components at minimal risk, yet we still achieved a CPU clock speed increase of 81%.

We hope this walk-though helps you find your system's "sweet spot". If you have difficulties, you may find the answers from the panel of experts in our Forumz.

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Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.