Overclocking is when you increase the core voltage making the core work faster, but could be unstable and creates more heat. Some processors, motherboards, RAM overclokc better. There's no real good anwser for how much can you overlock, as first you mentioned is custom.
If you have good cooling, that would be good. I pretty sure without the entuhisiest level motherboard from ASUS that you'll have to overclock the FSB (Front Side Bus) to increase your core frequency. Your processors speed is determined by your Front Side Bus' speed and how many multipliers. Although the only one of the new ASUS boards can unlock the multipliers, as I know. And the 1000$ Extrme X6800 has unlocked multipliers.
Lets say your FSB is 200 MHZ, your cores multipliers is 8. So 8x200=1.6. That's where your speed comes from. Increasing the multipliers is a much better way of overclocking. But back when they weren't locked like on the first Pentiums and Pentiums 2's, people would put better cooling in them and easily overclock them instead of buying the more expensive higher end Pentiums 1s and 2s. So they lock them up and down, so you can underclock them. ( AMD's chips can be underclocked down with multipliers, so that you can save power and reduce noise, liek if your computer's sitting idle or in my case, downloading torrents)
It's much more easier and better to overclock using the multipliers since if something goes wrong, only your processors' dead, not everything else liek your video card, RAM, ect. The FSB is the bus your processors uses to talk to all your componants, os overclocking that could cause conflist between them and screw up a alot of stuff if done wrong. That's why I said it's hard to say, it depends on your RAM, motherboard, video card, cooling. But I have read articles on Anadtech about the Conroe series, and they were quite good overclockers, the E6600 got up to around 3.6GHz with air cooling, and the E6400 got up around there to.
Sorry for the long post.
Edited by protozero, 19 October 2006 - 03:39 AM.
Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.