Overclocking is something I have only recently become interested in. I was aware of it, but it seemed to be just for die hard enthusiasts who wanted to risk blowing up their computers just to tell everyone on line how fast they managed to make their computer run shortly before the fire!

Whilst playing around with an old system that I had inherited I stumbled across a few overclocking options in the bios which lead me to download the motherboard manual and have a read. The bios on that particular motherboard came with an option for beginners to try overclocking. The subject of overclocking and the theory behind it can be quite confusing if you are starting out as it involves increasing the frequencies of various clocks and this can have implications for your system depending on all sorts of variables from your microprocessor to the maximum speed your memory can handle. All of these increases will of course generate more heat and affect the stability of you system, sometimes with catastrophic consequences.

You might find that your system has what I will call the beginners options for overclocking.

If you go through the options on your bios you will usually find an setting to get your machine to turn off if it gets too hot, this is obviously useful if you intend to play around with overclocking as it enables you to safeguard you microprocessor against meltdown (not the nuclear variety) To start with I would monitor the temperature that your system runs at, which you do again in the bios and then set it to shut down at the lowest temperature option that you are given. You can then try out this function and gradually increase the shutdown threshold. You will usually be given a few different terms for speed increases with impressive names such as turbo. I would advise that you first try the most basic overclocking option which will probably give you a few per cent increase. Then if all seems ok go for the next one and see what the temperature increase is. With the temperature shutdown options and the beginners modes of using overclocking it certainly isn’t as risky as it used to be and you can usually get a useful few per cent increase. One thing that I became aware of though was that even though heat wise it didn’t cause any problems it did affect the computers stability with random crashes occurring when I tried to go up to the medium level. This is one particular area that is down to trial and error.