Part of the Microprocessors glossary:

Overclocking is resetting some computer component so that it runs faster than the manufacturer-specified speed. The purpose of overclocking is to boost performance.

A user may overclock a processor to improve the performance of an old computer or conform to the requirements of new software. The most demanding users, such as gamers, may overclock even new, top-end equipment. The most commonly overclocked computer part is the processor but other components, such as Random Access Memory (RAM), motherboard chipsets and graphics cards, are also overclocked.

The procedure for overclocking a processor depends on a number of factors. The first and most commonly applicable step is to reset your computer's bus speed. Resetting the bus speed may require resetting jumpers inside your computer, although in systems with SoftMenu BIOS, the bus speed can be set through your system setup interface.

Factors that favor your ability to successfully overclock include having a well-designed motherboard with a fast enough bus and having a fan or other cooling device that will keep your system cool enough.

Overclocking is not without risk because when taken to extremes the process can make the system unstable. Most device warranties are voided if an issue is caused by overclocking.

 

LEARN MORE ABOUT IT

The Creative Heaven blog provides a nice introduction to overclocking.

Overclock.net is a forum devoted to overclocking.

Extremeoverclocking.com offers information about overclocking all computer parts.

This was last updated in May 2008
Contributor(s): Zack Boyd and Jan Halfden Petersen
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • segmented memory

    - Segmented memory is a system of addressing computer memory, which may be physical or virtual and may be operating in real or protected mode. The segmented memory system was used to expand the 64KB... (WhatIs.com)

  • Intel 8086

    - The Intel 8086 was Intel’s first x86 processor. Released in 1978, the 8086 began the long line of Intel’s most successful architecture, which eventually included the 80286, 80386 and 80486. (WhatIs.com)

  • Intel 80486

    - Intel 80486, also known as i486 or just 486, is the fourth-generation generation Intel x86 microprocessor. The 80486 was capable of over 40 million instructions per second (MIPS) and offered rough... (WhatIs.com)

Glossaries

  • Microprocessors

    - Terms related to microprocessors, including definitions about silicon chips and words and phrases about computer processors.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question. Find an Answer.Powered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Ask An IT Question

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Ask Question

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.