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The Relationship Between Overclocking and Cooling

The Relationship Between Overclocking and Cooling  - PCSTATS
Abstract: As enthusiasts attempt to reach higher clock speeds, there will eventually come a time when the temperature of the processor, memory, or some other electrical component becomes the limiting factor.
Filed under: Cooling / Heatsinks Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCStats May 13 2004   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Cooling / Heatsinks > PCStats

Choosing the right Cooling System

Deciding which cooling system is best for your overclocking needs, and budget is a question only you can answer. Obviously, as prices increase, temperatures decrease, and overclockability goes through the roof!

Many enthusiasts overclock just to get a little bit more performance out of their PC, and aren't interested in spending a lot of money to get that extra kick. There are also many very dedicated enthusiasts who overclock their PCs with almost sports like competitiveness.

As we have seen in the the tests conducted for this article, there is a pretty clear relationship between overclocking and cooling. To a point, the lower the processor temperature, the higher the overclockability of the processor.

In our case, with a good high-performance heatsink and fan, which costs less than $100, we were able to overclock a Pentium 4 2.4C to 3.6 GHz (load temperature; 57 degrees Celsius). While heatsinks are the most economical cooling solutions, the best coolers are never multi-platform compatible. And by that I mean, a heatsink which tries to pass itself off as compatible for AthlonXP, Pentium 4 and even Athlon64, is cannot compete with heatsinks which have been designed for one specific platform. So, if we overclock by the air cooling method, and change platforms in fhe future, we'd need to buy another high end heatsink eventually. Over time, this can add up.

The watercooled Pentium 4 2.4C overclocking tests showed us that with a little liquid, the processor could be pushed as high as 3.82 GHz (load temperatures; 46 degrees Celsius). A good watercooling kit will cost in the area of $300-$400CDN, but if we were to change platforms in the future, from say Pentium 4 to Athlon64, all we would need to replace is the appropriate clamps for the waterblock. After the initial investment, a new clamp would only add about $20 CDN onto the total price.

The zenith of an enthusiasts quest for lower temperatures, which as you have seen directly influence CPU overclockability, is sub-ambient cooling. Adopting a Phase Change Cooling system gives the overclocker a lot of headroom, but that comes at a very high cost of $700-$1000. In our tests, a Pentium 4 2.4C equipped with a phase change cooling system reached 4.08 GHz (load temperature; -32 degrees Celsius) - which is pretty remarkable no matter how you look at it.

To answer the question we posed at the beginning of this article; "How does cooling affect Overclocking?" Cooling quite obviously plays a significant role, but the expense associated with each form of cooling limits what is economically practical.

Consider this chart which is based on our results, and cooling systems, for example:

Overclocking and Cooling - price / OC ratio
-Stock Speed- -Overclock Speed- -Cooling System
Cost-
-Cost/GHz
over stock-
Air Cooling 2.4 GHz 3.6 GHz $100 $83
Water Cooling 2.4 GHz 3.82 GHz $400 $282
Phase Change Cooling 2.4 GHz 4.08 GHz $1000 $595
 

For those of you who are looking for more out of your PC the options are laid out in front of you. What you decide on depends on how far you want to overclock, how big your budget is, and how devoted you are to this sport. Of the three cooling methods we tested, the plain old heatsink still offers the best bang for the buck. Water cooling, however, would appear to offer the best combination of value, and overclockability...

Find out about this and many other reviews by joining the Weekly PCstats.com Newsletter today!

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2. Fastest Webmaster - 3DMark2001 Tweak Guide
3. 3DMark2001SE Tweak Guide - Part 2
4. How to Fry a 1.4GHz Athlon in 4 seconds.
5. Network Cards & Overclocking

< Previous Page © 2017 PCSTATS.com Cooling / Heatsinks News»

 

Contents of Article: PCStats
 Pg 1.  The Relationship Between Overclocking and Cooling
 Pg 2.  Heatsinks and Air Cooling
 Pg 3.  Watercooling just works better
 Pg 4.  Overclocking Results - Watercooling
 Pg 5.  Overclocking with Phase Change Cooling
 Pg 6.  Overclocking Results - Phase Change Cooling
 Pg 7.  — Choosing the right Cooling System

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