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Overclocking CPUs isn’t necessary anymore.

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post #1 of 60 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 05:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Overclocking CPUs isn’t necessary anymore.

So, here’s my argument. Processors are getting smarter when it comes to thermal/power management and clockspeeds. That, paired with a good process can allow you to ramp up the clocks more aggressively than before.

Multi-threaded workloads like rendering and encoding can cause pretty high power consumption when overclocked, both on Intel and AMD, and for critical workloads like that, why would you risk crashing your progress for some seconds of saved time? Core counts are getting really high now, and the need to have all of them running at the peak of their capabilities isn’t really feasible from a power/thermal, cost, and noise perspective.

Single-threaded applications do benefit more from overclocking since we’re running into a bottleneck, but turbo functions on processors nowadays are pushing these clockspeeds to the threshold of what they’re capable of out of the box. That said, lightly threaded applications are typically games that spit out a pretty high framerate, but there comes a point where the extra frames don’t do anything for you at all. Some game engines run into an FPS wall or the physics break if the framerate gets too high as well. Your overclock could also increase stuttering due to the instability of some function in the processor.

eSports games aren't that demanding, and the need for overclocking on games like that is even less needed unless you’re running 240Hz+ monitors, but even at that point other things like skill, mouse sensor, ergonomics, and keybindings/macros will be more important. We’re not at the point where you can buy enough skill through components that you can beat pros using regular components.

Monitor resolution and response times also put a buffer on the efficacy of CPU overclocks. As resolution increases, the bottleneck shifts to the graphics card. Some panels can’t even fully utilize the refresh rates they’re rated for because their response times are too slow. I’m referring to VA panels that have response times of a 60Hz panel or worse in the blacks. The high-end IPS gaming monitors with 165Hz refresh rates refresh fast enough to keep up, but achieving 165fps on a 1440p or an ultrawide monitor is something that can only be recognized in undemanding games, and it begs the question if overclocking your processor is even necessary for a game like that.

Back in the day, you actually got noticeable improvements from overclocking as base clockspeeds were really low and turbo boost didn’t ramp up as close to the processor’s threshold as CPUs nowadays do. 50% overclocks were capable, and the performance jump was pretty dramatic. Case in point, my 1680 V2 has a base clock of 3GHz and a single core turbo of 3.9Ghz. It’s running at 4.5GHz all core now, and in some applications, I wouldn’t be able to run them well at stock clocks. Granted, this is more of an extreme use-case as Xeon chips back in the day were clocked pretty low, but even your first gen i7s could reach over 4Ghz from a ~3GHz baseclock which is a sizable improvement. To do the same on today’s processors would require sub-ambient cooling. But it goes to show you how far the fabrication process has come along in the past 5-10 years.

Benchmarking, on the other hand, is a solid reason to overclock your processor, as well as overclocking as a hobby.

So, what do you think? Has overclocking your new-ish processor (let’s say starting with Coffee Lake and Ryzen+) allowed you to do or achieve things you couldn’t without it (benchmarking the obvious outlier here)?

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post #2 of 60 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 06:39 AM
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Overclocking isn’t needed? This is blasphemy

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post #3 of 60 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 06:59 AM
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post #4 of 60 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 07:01 AM
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post #5 of 60 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 07:25 AM
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Overclocking potential of processors hasn't changed. How much Intel and AMD push their processors before they get to you has. Intel's locked processors still have rather pedestrian clocks by today's standards. AMD sells their processors basically at the silicon's limit so there's little to be gained from overclocking.

To address the title: overclocking was never necessary in the first place. Not that's never stopped us from doing it anyway.

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post #6 of 60 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 07:29 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by airisom2 View Post
So, what do you think? Has overclocking your new-ish processor (let’s say starting with Coffee Lake and Ryzen+) allowed you to do or achieve things you couldn’t without it (benchmarking the obvious outlier here)?
Hard to say with what I have.

Edit: Most of the same arguments apply for common uses for upgrading past overclocked Skylake. And overclocking a 6700k is a lot cheaper than picking up a 1600af. B
ut people like more. And a lot of us have good experiences with overclocking older stuff. I oc core, cache, ram, edram and have a boost in I/o and games by going with a pre release ucode and by disabling mitigations. The latter 2 have more of an impact than ram timings or edram in my case. Ryzens still have gains in applications with non core OCs. So do Skylakes.

If you like to OC then you are getting something out of it. If you are upset about instability then your oc may be too high, if you are more concerned with having great benchmark results that's fine too. Not like an oc is permanent or anything.

Speaking of sacrificing stability for performance, I've been messing with velocache/ram stuff lately. Those programs have some fun results and some not so fun consequences if things go wrong. And they are free to try. Right now I have my ssd running an optane cache large enough to see near optane level performance in games on the ssd. Worked on my hdd, but the thing wouldn't stop writing the whole cache size on shutdown, and improper use of the ram cache wrecked my os ,but for a while my optane drive was reading at 18GB/s for the 8GB cache I had set up, and randoms were doubled over fast optane. I haven't tried it on a simpler rig so it might be more stable on that.
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post #7 of 60 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey, I'm just playing devil's advocate here

You'd think with all of the complaining going on about Intel running hot and AMD not having any headroom someone would figure out that maybe you can...gasp! Not overclock the damn thing and carry on!

Maybe outrage culture is just getting under my skin, idk.

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post #8 of 60 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 07:25 PM
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Well the 10600k seems to be worthwhile. Kinda jealous that my 3700x is optimized out of the box. Actually going to see if I can get a FPS gain on something besides cine as soon as BFV updates...

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post #9 of 60 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 07:38 PM
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post #10 of 60 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 07:40 PM
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With my 5820K going from 3.3GHz to 4.5GHz I can tell there's a massive difference in performance.

When properly tested beforehand and power saving features still enabled the overclocked CPU can run reliably for a very long time without sacrificing any other aspects.
And it saves me a lot of time when doing video conversion to h265 or running multiple programs.
Not all programs are properly coded for multithreaded use so I prefer to have high clocks available all the time.

What you are really talking about is that newer CPU's are fast enough to acomplish the tasks without overclocking.
This is mainly due to technological stagnation, we no longer get performance gains as we did back then.
As the stagnation kicks in the software developers cannot push their requirements too far.

Putting more cores on a die is merely postponing the inevitable.
There's only a certain amount of things you can do to improve architecture and die sizes cannot go into infinity because of lower yields.

Even the fastest pc in the world cannot beat imagination.
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