Overclocking is not all about speed, in my opinion. Yes, one object of the game is to coax as much speed from your components as possible. I'm pretty sure that all overclockers will agree that more speed is always a good thing.
To me, though, speed isn't the end-all, be-all. As performance addicts (to some extent, all overclockers are addicted to speed and performance), it's sometimes difficult to acknowledge that there is a finite amount of performance we can extract from the system. Ask a runner to run faster than she physically can, and I guarantee you she'll end up doing a face plant onto the track.
Pushing a component past its limit is the overclocker's equivalent.
Where the track runner gets cuts and bruises, the overclocker gets data corruption, BSODs, or maybe even complete component failure. I've done a couple of WinXP reinstallations recently because of OS corruption, which I am almost sure is from slightly degraded RAM. Thankfully my gaming box doesn't really have a lot of critical data (although some might say ripped movies and iTunes libraries and game saves are critical). I can afford to temporarily lose these things.
I will have to reset my overclock with all-new RAM sometime very soon. But there is a good lesson to be learned from this anecdote: Stability is just as important -- perhaps even MORE important -- as speed when overclocking. Pirelli's marketing slogan from the 1980s comes to mind: "Performance without control is useless."
That is an adage overclockers should live by, in my opinion.
Performance, after all, is pretty useless if your super-fast benchmarking monster is laid up because it can't even finish a SuperPi run, much less a more demanding 3DMark06 loop. What good is an uber-fast gaming rig, if it crashes and hangs on you while you're in a BF2 frag fest with your buddies?
There's fast, then there's fast enough. Too fast makes me too furious, actually, considering that OS corruptions just aren't cool.
I welcome all thoughts and comments! Thank you for your time.
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