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The Joys Of Testing

Sometimes it's not the destination that's most exciting; for me, the journey is where it's at.

I've long thought that the end of a journey is, well, exactly that. It's an ending; it's closure. You get to where you're going, and that's it. Of course, you could be real astute and recognize that the end of something is always the beginning of something else. But frankly, that's being far too philosophical for this intended discussion.

(Not that I would disagree with that particular sentiment. But I'm digressing...)

For me, overclocking is really all about the journey. It's all about the process of discovery. It's about learning all about what your machine is capable of, of finding out where the limits are. It's all about making mistakes, and then learning from them and improving. It's exciting, it's tense at moments, and it's really why I indulge in this hobby.

Overclocking is not about ending up with a faster system; it's all in how you wind up with a faster, more responsive, more powerful machine. Tweaking and testing really is where I find the most enjoyment.

Oh, sure, it's quite time-consuming. It can be boring, yes, sometimes. It's occasionally frustrating, absolutely. But when you get the payoff, when you arrive at those settings where your machine is finely balanced between optimal performance and reliable stability, all the adversity just makes the result all the sweeter.

Anyone who has wanted something really really badly for a long time, to a point where you're just aching because you don't have it, and then to one day achieve or attain what you've wanted, knows the feeling. It's like earning that college degree, or getting that big fat raise, or having a girl you really like say yes to a date; you just can't beat that feeling.

In a world which values its time and seems to subscribe to the credo that the result is all that matters, such a mentality surely seems out of place. After all, we are inundated daily with news stories telling of cheating and other Machiavellian shenanigans in all spheres of life. I suppose this is what happens when victory supersedes honor, and the value of hard work is diminished in the face of easy rewards and even easier access to these if you choose to take the shortcut.

What was it that Yoda said to Luke about the whether or not the Dark Side was stronger in "The Empire Strikes Back"? "No, it is quicker, more effective." Shortcuts are cheats, and ultimately the only one you're really cheating is yourself.

So what if you fail along the way? Don't be too concerned when you get a message on the monitor that says "Overclocking attempt failed. Please hit F1 to enter Setup." Don't be afraid to use your Reset CMOS jumpers. Don't be too lazy to write down your key BIOS settings as you're cranking up the clocks. Be daring and experiment. See what works, and what doesn't. This is where we receive the best gifts of all: Understanding and experience go far further than simply changing a setting someone suggested.

Besides, it's somewhat hazardous to just plug someone else's settings into your machine. Overclocks are like tiger's stripes, or fingerprints: They are all unique to themselves. Case in point: I've recently switched to a different set of RAM. Just for jollies, I didn't bother changing any of the memory settings from the previous set. The machine booted, but then promptly BSODd.

That BSOD likely messed up my OS in a critical way, and I just finished patching everything up.

You only really know something if you take the time to get to know it. This means lots of testing and analysis. It's work, sure, but I ask you this:

When did a little work ever hurt anybody?

Thanks for reading. I encourage comments and welcome your thoughts.

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