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Written by Olin Coles   
Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Desktop PC Platform: Killed By Overclocking

In part one of this editorial series, Desktop PC Platform: Fears and Predictions, you were introduced to the basic framework of threats surrounding the desktop market segment. That article wasn't meant to be a self-sufficient story, but instead provide an illustration of the chain of events that have precipitated to create the perfect storm. Desktop PCs are our life blood, after all, and you wouldn't be here unless you held a vested interest in the future of this platform. I've already got more content prepared in support of my initial post, but this article will focus on one of the lesser-known threats: overclocking.

No, it's not the act of overclocking itself that threatens the survival of desktop computers as a platform; it's the overclocking market that's killing the industry. Manufacturer's have turned a hobby into a product, and then turned that product into their flagship model. Allow me to illustrate my point with a few passages from our recent Best CPU Cooler Performance series:

Why do we overclock? It's really a very simple question, but one that has found new meaning over the years. It used to be that computer hardware enthusiasts had very few options when it came to choosing a processor, and building your own custom system was simply not possible. You looked for the best pre-built system, and compared Kilobytes of memory between choices. Those days are behind us, and now the computer hardware industry offers hundreds of processor, motherboard, memory, and peripheral hardware options. But the question still remains.

In this paragraph, I state how overclocking desktop computer hardware was born from need, not packaged as a product. I go on to demonstrate how the industry picked-up on this enthusiast hobby:

Its been more than a decade, but I still remember why I began overclocking: it was out of necessity, because my computer operated close to a modern day speed limit. This was back in the day when computers featured a 'Turbo' button, overclocking from 33 to 66MHz was a click away. It wasn't until around 1998 that I began visiting 'enthusiast' websites and found myself overclocking a pathetic Cyrix M-II 233MHz processor. My pursuit for speed would risk an entire Packard Bell computer system for the purpose of finishing reports faster. Back then, overclocking the CPU could push clock speeds past any production level. Today the market is different, and overclocking the processor could result in very little additional performance.

So overclocking began when enthusiasts simply needed hardware that could drive at the speed limit, and not necessarily to outperform a reasonable need for speed. That's when the component hardware industry stepped in to make a profit:

Now days I'm fortunate enough to afford top-end hardware, and so I no longer overclock out of need. With so many dual-, quad-, and hexa-core processors sold on the open market, it seems unnecessary to overclock for the sake of productivity. Overclocking has transformed itself from a tool to help people work faster, into a hobby for enthusiasts. There's a level of overclocking for every enthusiasts, from simple speed bumps to the record-breaking liquid nitrogen extreme projects. Overclocking is addictive, and before you know it the bug has you looking at hardware that might cost as much as a low-end computer system.

At its inception, overclocking computer hardware was a tool for making the incapable into something more capable. Professionals, students, enthusiasts, and countless personal users, have all discovered that using a computer was more enjoyable when it was able to keep up with the demands placed on it. For the longest time, the industry couldn't sell a piece of hardware that satisfied the fast-paced tasks a user could throw at it. When it slowly began to happen, which is subjective due to individual perceptions of speed, the computer component industry created an entire market segment dedicated to hardware enthusiasts and overclockers.

The age of overclocking hardware was born. Effectively standardized overnight, computer hardware components were separated into various categories of quality. There was budget, mainstream, professional, and then enthusiast. We've witnessed this trend for years now, as graphics solutions, processors, system memory, motherboards, and even power supplies have all be segregated by class. That's when overclocking stopping being the solution, and became the problem.

The examples are everywhere: Intel's $1000+ 'Extreme Edition' desktop processors, Gigabyte's $700 GA-X58A-UD9 motherboard, and $300 system memory kits made explicitly for overclockers. While there are people willing to buy these items, they often lose sight of the original purpose behind overclocking: making something slow become fast, and getting something more for no added cost. Tacking $2000 onto the price tag of your computer system is hardly keeping in the original spirit of overclocking, and is more closely identified with showing off how much money you can spend. The problem only gets worse, because now manufacturers have found ways to feed on this.

Back when I was taking my first baby steps into overclocking by risking everything to push a lousy Cyrix M-II 233MHz processor an extra 33MHz, the reward was a 15% bump in speed and a noticeable increase in performance. That was before computer hardware could keep up with user demands. These days, most hardware components are faster than you'll ever need. Enthusiast-branded products simply mean you're paying a premium for the privilege to own hardware capable of yielding an overclock... but once you've paid their price there's no guarantee you'll experience any difference.

At some point the computer industry went from asking consumers to pay more for the faster products, to paying more for products you might be able to make faster. This runs opposite of other industrial markets, which is why manufacturer's have spent so much of that added cost on convincing you that the purchase was necessary. Intel's Core i7-980X 6-Core CPU was advertised as the "Ultimate Gaming Weapon", but testing proved it did nothing at all for video game performance when paired with a suitable (and much less expensive) video card. The same message is parroted by memory manufacturers, who have notoriously labeled their products as gamer this-or-that. So how long can this business model last?

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# RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By OverclockingRobert17 2010-08-09 19:43
Interesting. I too nearly smoked an old Cyrix trying to tweak out a little extra performance. I even remember having to manually reconfigure as many as 42 jumper settings on a MB to max out the Hz. But then, I've also watched friends spend hundreds, even thousands, of clams on that extra micron of port sizing to get a Holley carburator to nozz out that tad more enriched octane fuel to shave .02 seconds off a quarter mile time. I think in some ways PC tweakers are the new dragsters; at least they're not as knucklebusting. But they can certainly tear up a hobby budget just as well.
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# RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By OverclockingDavid Ramsey 2010-08-10 15:39
Oh, I dunno...products like the Core i7 920/930 and the new NVIDIA GTX460 give enthusiasts a lot of overclocking headroom for not very much money.
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# RE: RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By OverclockingOlin Coles 2010-08-10 15:45
The GeForce GTX 460 isn't made specifically for enthusiasts or overclockers... it's designed as a mainstream product. The Core-i7 has a locked muliplier, which means that you're limited and restricted as an overclocker.
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# RE: RE: RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By OverclockingDavid Ramsey 2010-08-10 16:45
But the products you remember fondly weren't specifically made for overclockers, either. The savvy enthusiast knows how to get the most bang for their buck, and there's enough headroom in the X58 chipset that a locked multiplier isn't the restriction it once was-- you can get good overclocks on almost any X58 board and still set the memory frequency to something useful.
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# RE: RE: RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By OverclockingRunner3001 2010-08-11 16:00
Tell that to my i7 920 motoring along at 4.2ghz. It literally took me all of 30 seconds to run through the bios armed with knowledge I had from previous generations and some careful forum browsing to know exactly what I was looking for. I went straight for the frequency I was after and, on the first try, hit it without any issues. I can assure you that a 57% boost in clock speed is definitely noticeable.

Bleeding edge drives innovation and progress. Some products marketed to enthusiasts are ridiculous but others drive the industry as a whole forward, it's up to the individual to decide what is valuable to them. So let people decide for themselves what they want, personally I prefer it that way, it leaves the industry open and standards constantly improving. Would you prefer we all have the same standardized and bland hardware? I think we have that already, they're called macs.

Fail to innovate and you merely stagnate. No thanks.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By OverclockingShawn noe 2010-08-12 07:50
I've been making this point for years, it's about time you normal people are realizing this. My best example of "overclocking at no additional cost" was running a P-133 with a 83.5MHz FSB speed on an M-Tech 534 Mustang motherboard. Performance wise, this made a HUGE difference.

Today, it's a much different world. Marketing 101 has reached the part manufacturers. You can barely buy a part today that isn't "overclocking". Then there's the added cost. So what you ca buy 1066 OC memory that can run at 1333 speeds. Well, it will definitely turn out in the long run, you'd just been better off buying 1333 memory anyway, as it probably cost about the same thing. Then there's the performance gains, unless you spend 2+ times what a "normal" clocked PC would cost, the overclocking gains will be minimal as far as real world performance, and at that you're paying exorbitant fees for what is maybe a few FPS in performance gains. Totally not worth it.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By OverclockingSiliconDoc 2010-08-31 15:14
But right now, 140 hours are spent "benchmarking" some new OC version of the same vidcard sold now for a year, in 10 already juice pumped enthusiast names, and tested on an overclocked $500-$1000 cpu, on a $500 motherboard with a thousand bucks of ram, on $450 dollar minimum of games, and tweaked with another 5% clockspeed for 2 extra frames at 1920x1200 32 bit...
Then 140 hours of labor is hemmed and hawwed over, and some 2-3 pages single spaced jabberwockey talk has to be puddled on, with some supposedly fair or unbiased or even accurate conclusion given the tiny 1 system test platform on psycho speed parts...
Yes, the author made a VERY GOOD point indeed.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By OverclockingMichael 2013-02-05 10:50
That WAS true until Intel realized people had beat them at the game they were trying to beat the people at! And then Intel Stopped you from being able to turn up your BUS speed and turned it into a Multiplier capable overclock only with p67 and upwards.

NOW they have DESTROYED Overclocking for any chip that is inexpensive and force you to purchase 1000 dollar processors to be able to Overclock greatly.

They RUINED the very reason people OVERCLOCK because they are GREEDY!!!!
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# Sorry, but you missed the point.Darren Symington 2010-08-11 15:31
I bought an expensive rig last (read - "enthusiast") because I wanted to reach Top 10 in 3DMark Vantage. I did, so to me it was worth it.

Since we have an automotive analogy posted here anyway, I'll add to it....

Enthusiast - Buy a Mercedes, throw in AMG kit.
Budget Overclock - Buy a Lada, drive downhill.

Nobody goes to a shop and drops 1.5K on a 6 core i7 Extreme and uses standard memory, graphics or mobo - that's retarded. That's like buying an olympic size pool and filling it by the cup.

People want the fastest they can afford. Some people can afford an overclocked i7 that would kill a standard i7 Extreme - they would normally prefer to have the Extreme but they just can't afford it. There are levels involved you can't just assume that most overclocks happen because people don't have funds.

My 2 cents.
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# It depends.Stefan 2010-08-13 07:57
If they're just interested in app performance, or video encoding, they might just go with a mid-range or low-spec graphics card.

Of course, those sort of people would probably be buying 6-core Xeon workstations, but they really are massively expensive/overpriced!

As I've grown older, I've felt less need to overclock my gear. Not least because performance of entry-level CPU's is nowadays quite good anyway. I aim more for system stability than bleeding-edge speed. I even considered a 'proper' workstation setup for my next PC, with ECC RAM and 5x SAS drives in a RAID5 array. I'll stick instead with a nice, little mini-ITX setup which I can use with my TV.

Overclocking is a great way to get performance from low-end or mid-range kit, but there is still a risk of wearing out some expensive component.
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# RE: Sorry, but you missed the point.SiliconDoc 2010-08-31 15:33
It's more like dropping a $20,000.00 engine in a stock otherwise buick century and hitting the 1/4 mile track for runs. I wouldn't say no one does it.
At ANY level now the purchaser can buy that single "OC , superpiped, DDR'ed, megawhomper !" part and slap it in for the goal.... and many do so...
Then there's the spread time upgrader, who does the above over and over.
ANY PART at ANY LEVEL, marketed with hyper sensationalized "super upgrade!" PR slogans, boxing..
140 hour " benchmark testing review"... minute detail on this or that setting and frame or io test Sandra tweak score, OC trick, all on THOUSANDS of dollars of provided hardware.... so that "nothing is held back".
Oh, the author is perfectly correct.
The mass brainwashing is utterly complete.
What was a personal private occurrence on a bus speed or jumper, is now a commercialized, e-extension, mass marketed, obsessive compulsive disorder, that is required... or go home.
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# RE: RE: Sorry, but you missed the point.Olin Coles 2010-08-31 15:39
I would like to use the term "superpiped megawhomper" in a future article, just because I know it will mesmerize my loving [H]ard core fans.
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# RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By OverclockingMrGuvernment 2010-08-11 15:40
Please come over to

As one said, it isnt about cost, it is about performance, some people can only afford a $500 computer, while others can afford a $1500 computer, just cause someone spends $2k on a computer doesnt mean they are showing off, they can simply afford better components to take further.
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# RE: RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By OverclockingOlin Coles 2010-08-11 16:03
I honestly wonder if most of those comments came before or after they read the full editorial? I also wonder if they bothered to read the preceding story that lays a foundation for this article. I don't care WHO does the overclocking, it's not about THEM at all. It's about how overclocking as an activity has become a money game thanks to the manufacturers.

World-record-setters aside, I'm completely aware of the other people who gladly hand over their paycheck just for bragging rights. Good for them, they managed to buy their overclocking success instead of earning it with experience. The point is that manufactures? are starting to cut out the penny-wise enthusiasts who wanted to get something more for nothing at all.
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# RE: RE: RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By OverclockingJordan 2010-08-12 05:34
It's not a bad article, Olin, but you've overlooked two key points:

1) The Budget Overclock : Some people have found fun in buying a cheaper then normal CPU, some spacious RAM (PC3-12800, instead of PC3-10600) and a good motherboard (think Gigabyte UD4/UD5) and then overclocking this to match a much more expensive system. Big bonuses to be had by saving $400+ on the MB/CPU/RAM and spending that on the Video Card (HD5570 -> HD 5870).

2) AMD : Yes, Intel have locked down their low-end chips. They've stopped people from getting the most out of their low end, and forced overclockers to spend a lot more in the pursuit of their "art". But AMD have done pretty much the exact opposite, almost by mistake. Just by browsing some PC forums, you'll find people who've turned their dual core Phenom II into a quad core. 2 extra cores, no extra money. That seems pretty win to me. Also, Black Edition chips like the Phenom II X2 555 -> AU$ 120 Fully unlocked.
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# reserjio 2010-08-12 09:36
"The point is that manufactures? are starting to cut out the penny-wise enthusiasts who wanted to get something more for nothing at all."
in what way? I can still buy cheap hardware that overclocks well.
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# RE: RE: RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By OverclockingNeil Mathieson 2010-08-12 16:34
"It's about how overclocking as an activity has become a money game thanks to the manufacturers."

But with manufacturers it is a money game. That's the reality behind offering OC branded parts to those with the extra cash. We, as consumers can buy into it or not. To them, selling is everything and any way to do that is fair game to them. Harping on OC'ing parts sells product. You should understand this and realize that it's not gonna change any time soon.
I started overclocking with a Tyan board with two Celery 300's on it. It was a blast to get them screaming along and keeping them cool at the same time too. It was a lot of work too.
OC'ing isn't really what it used to be anymore, and I've quit doing it on most levels. My three systems run just fine at stock settings and utterly slay the games that I like to play. The most I do now to improve my computers is to tweak the cooling and manage the cable layouts within.
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# RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By OverclockingEthan 2010-08-11 17:29
#1.. the "Turbo button" was never an "overclocking button" Systems with a Turbo button had a processor that was rated to run stock at the "turbo" speed.

#2. Even back in the 80386 days it was pretty easy to build a custom system.

#3. Back in the "old" days, a normal everyday computer would cost at least $1500... the first 80386sx-25 system my family had cost over $2000. Compare that to a normal everyday computer now... You can get a pretty decent one for $500 or less if you get a good sale.

#4. As for overclocking. I have overclocked every system I have ever owned. I DO NOT buy super expensive parts, yet I usually have a system that will far outperform almost any pre-built system available. I think buying $700 to $800 worth of parts and building a system that out performs systems that sell for $3500 to $5000 is a pretty good return on overclocking.

#5. Yes, I do use the extra speed.
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# What are you getting at?Olin Coles 2010-08-11 17:33
I'm not able to conclude your point(s). I've already stated (and explained) that this article was about how manufacturer's are painting the hobby into a corner. Maybe you could tell us tired and less-outlined type what you're getting at.
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# RE: What are you getting at?George 2010-08-11 18:06
I am somewhat confused as to the authors line of logic. Just because something is marketed to overclockers and is a flagship item does not in any way mean said overclockers must buy those items. There have always been premium items available on the market and there always will be, the recent trend in marketing these items as overclocking friendly does nothing but attempt to make overclocking more mainstream. The overclockers of old you seem to be referring to are still around buying cheaper components and getting more value out of them by running beyond spec. The only change I see is the manufacturers offering an "easy mode" to overclocking and charging for it. I see no issue with this unless you're actually angry other people can out epeen you if they have more money...
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# RE: What are you getting at?Ethan 2010-08-11 20:35
How are they "painting the hobby into a corner"?

The only thing they are "painting into a corner" is the people who don't know any better and/or have the money to burn.

I certainly don't buy uber expensive parts that are trying to be marketed to overclockers. Sure, I am not able to buy the cheapest motherboard, but at the same time I have never bought a motherboard that is anywhere near what the most expensive motherboard available for my setup is.

I also don't buy the super expensive memory kits either. Paying twice as much or more for a miniscule speed difference just isn't worth it.

The difference in smoothness and resposiveness.. and overall speed, especially in memory intensive programs is very easily noticeable even when comparing DDR3-1600 to DDR3-2000. And running DDR3-2000 just wipes the floor with DDR3-1066.
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# RE: RE: What are you getting at?Mars 2010-08-12 02:30
Is this a joke? RAM is one of the worst things you can upgrade the speed of in your computer to actually improve performance. Google any article on "memory scaling", DDR3 memory speed makes almost no difference for anything other than winrar. Obviously you'll see an increase in memory bandwidth tests, but memory bandwidth is very rarely a bottleneck - if it were, you'd see the reverse effect when increasing CPU speed - ie. faster CPUs would yield no performance increase.
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# RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By Overclockinganthony 2010-08-11 18:12
Olin, that was an absolutely wonderful read. We've definitely lost perspective and more need to see this.
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# RE: RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By OverclockingSiliconDoc 2010-08-31 15:03
I agree, and the 3rd to the last paragraph hits the theme hard and right on.
The brainwashing that runs rampant everywhere now is apparent even in this thread, as posters discuss their ddr3 and i7 platforms...

Every card and part now has a most prominent gamer's, over#er's, superfassst, hyper version, power version, rainbow colored in your face box version, car clone version, plastic gun encased version, DDRx version, and on and on and on...

Then comes the average thread at any sight, and all the sigs advertise for some wacked out PR stunt name they juiced into the brains of the drooling wallet busting doofus, who is proud to offer the free advertising all over the net, so long as his post name is attached and he can spew his oc jollies on auto sig ever post...destroyed indeed.
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# ArcherArcher 2010-08-11 18:18
Please don't forget the costs of components in the late 80's and early 90's. Yes I did tweak my memory and move a jumper for a faster render than my 387 alone could muster but today it is different.

Let us not forget what we have today as I note in this review: The Uber priced allow for those on a budget to get equal performance to plat games of still get the faster render.

I must digress because the market is growing not shrinking and when it comes down to it nothing has changed and the vast majority of usere still buy OEM.
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# RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By Overclockingjeroly 2010-08-12 01:36
I disagree with this article on many levels.
First of all, the fact that some people are willing to pay more for 'overclocked' GPUs or fast RAM allows the manufacturers to reach profitability despite low prices on non-enthusiast parts.
Secondly, there are noticeable gains to be made through overclocking. My Vaio P at 1333Mhz is sluggish; overclocking to 1600Mhz peps things up to the point that I'm no longer cranky about its performance. My i7-920's overclock to levels above the 975 saved me $800.
Thirdly, there's a snobbish elitism at the core of this criticism. Should only the most technically sophisticated be allowed to reap the benefits that can come from overclocking? Isn't it better, instead, for people to be able to buy off-the-shelf solutions which provide enhanced performance such as overclocked parts and systems?
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# RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By OverclockingRobert17 2010-08-12 03:20
Olin, you stated in your article above, "This runs opposite of other industrial markets, which is why manufacturer's have spent so much of that added cost on convincing you that the purchase was necessary." I tend to disagree. For instance, how many settings does your washing machine or dryer have that you've never used? House thermostat? All product manufacturers attempt to gain some marketing edge by adding features to set themselves apart, one-up the competition. Computer products will be no different. To the core of your article though, driving performance from the OC hobbyist's willingness to pay a premium for cutting edge products, more profit margin is garnered, and drives yesterday's performance products into the mainstream. Everyone wins, even folks that barely know where the "ON" button is. Would the ability to OC a smartphone or tablet help lead to it's demise? More likely, OC'ing will lead to a reduction in footprint, smaller components, more portability, as we've seen.
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# RE: RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By OverclockingOlin Coles 2010-08-12 07:14
You're splitting hairs here, and drifting away from my point. I didn't single-out overclocking hardware in general, I pointed out the most prolific examples: $1100 processors, $700 motherboard, etc. If there were a $700 thermostat, I'd probably complain it was severely unnecessary and that the company that made it risks running out of business.
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# I juse must reply to this.Archer 2010-08-12 11:28
My first CPU cost $700 and then I bought the Math CoPro. Nothing has changed from day one. The low end PC has pushed items like the C64 into the history books. Remember that in yesteryear there were no cheap processors. I guess we could simply take away the cheap processors and other components and make the C64 the main rig of the common man.

We must have the high priced items to have low priced items. and really who cares if someone buys a CPU they dont need, I only need one computer but I have a farm..
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# off the mark by a wide marginDLLED 2010-08-12 06:28
Those people, like the author of this article apparently, who use a computer for little more then to type emails and post on their blog and upload pictures to facebook- yes those kinds of people do not need a $5000 super computer. What the author fails to realize is that there is more out there then word processing. Your argument is similar to someone who drives a 1996 geo metro while complaining that the people in giant trucks are to blame for all traffic accidents. Sometimes you need to haul a boat, or a pallet of cinder block. If the author had any knowledge whatsoever of computers outside basic consumer grade, off-the-shelf hardware, he would be aware that there actually is uses for the more expensive hardware.

Many of the points made in this article are either severely distorted half truths, or complete fabrications all together.
"These days, most hardware components are faster than you'll ever need. "
No- they are faster then YOU will ever need.
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# RE: off the mark by a wide marginOlin Coles 2010-08-12 07:08
Since you incorrectly presumed to know what I use my computer for, and what kind of computer I use, I won't make the same mistake. How about you tell us all what that super-computer of yours is being used for?

I'd love to hear you legitimize a $1100 processor for gaming, or $700 motherboard for overclocking.
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# RE: RE: off the mark by a wide marginDLLED 2010-08-12 11:26
Certainly. When I am doing work on the computer, either encoding HD video or rendering in solidworks or 3dStudioMax, my old core2duo e6600 used to take several hours to make a single rendering. My current i7 rig does this work in 20 minutes. Every week this saves me a solid 40 hours of crunch time.

For leisure- i play battlefield bad company, starcraft 2, stream blueray content to several TVs at the same time (the whole house uses content off my computer). And when the computer isnt in use, its crunching [email protected] work units at around 41,000 ppd average. This computer is worth every single cent i paid for it.

Since I was apparently incorrect, what exactly do you use your computer for? and how exactly is my expensive computer "killing" yours?
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# RE: RE: RE: off the mark by a wide marginOlin Coles 2010-08-12 11:55
Which Core-i7 are you using? While an Intel 980X might make actually make sense in your situation, I suspect you haven't paid for one. Chances are also pretty good that you're not using a $700 motherboard, either. Although I didn't bring up video cards in this editorial piece, and you didn't offer your model, something tells me you're not buying an ASUS ARES. You're probably not using ATI Eyefinity with six monitors, either.

Aside from testing hardware for this website, which I operate, there's also my computer service business. I create DVDs for my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition team, and compile large database code for this server. Nothing too dramatic, but enough to require SSDs, 6GB of memory, and a good i7. I use a 5870 video card, even though I've got GTX 480's sitting in a box nearby, to play BF:BC2 as Das Capitolin.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: off the mark by a wide marginDLLED 2010-08-13 07:31
Unless the Asus Ares is being sold instead of another cheaper card, I fail to see how the fact that it exists limits your choices of buying one of the many thousands of other lesser expensive cards.

I have a $900 FirePro 8700 in my computer that runs two 24" monitors. I spent the money on this card because its GPU is many times more precise then regular consumer hardware in its calculations. The system has an i7 930 clocked to 4.2ghz (thats a 150% increase, so your argument for current hardware lacking noticeable overclocking abilities is completely false), an Asus P6X58D Premium motherboard ($350), and 12GB corsair dominator RAM.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: off the mark by a wide marginDLLED 2010-08-13 07:33
Im not sure what motherboards you are looking at that cost $700; possibly the evga classifieds or something, but those are borderline enterprise/server class motherboards, and they have the features to back up the price. I can show you a $5k server motherboard, but it means nothing to this discussion. the fact that there is something else out there more expensive in no way effects your choice to buy something cheaper, and in no way does it "kill" the market.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: off the mark by a wide marginDLLED 2010-08-13 07:34
It seems like you are using sensational wording simply to get people to read about a standard part of economics that is well known and uninteresting. If people want to buy something, someone will make it and sell it to them, thats a fact of life. If you use the exact same logic- then all AutoZones, Jegs, and other performance car part sellers are killing the automotive market by selling overpriced useless junk for your car. I dont want to put $4k chrome spinning rims on my car, but the fact that someone sells them does not stop me from buying something else.
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# RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By OverclockingImad Najem 2010-08-12 06:38
I think what the article is trying to say is don't be duped into being enthusiast level hardware when you can be reasonable in your spending and still end up with enthusiast level performance.

For example I went with a modest system including a i5 750, Gigabyte P55-UD3R, Ripjaws DDR3-1600, Coolermaster Silent Pro 1000W Modular, etc... The savings went on a HD 5970. My cousin went with a i7 920, most expensive Asus enthusiast motherboard and Ram and an ubber expensive power supply. He did not want to wait for the HD 5970 but got two 5850s in Crossfire. He overclocked his system as I did mine and in all types of benchmarking we are about even.

Moral here; he spend about $1000 then I had buying these enthusiast level labels and in the end wasting his money for nothing.
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# RE: RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By OverclockingCalNigfo 2010-08-12 06:56
An properly overclocked i7 920 will destroy a an i5; the i5 just does not have the overclocking headroom. the $200 i7 920 is capable of speeds equal to the $800 i7 975 extreme edition. If both of you were to run some processing-intensive benchmarks or tasks like video rendering, compressing archives, [email protected]; both of you would not be equal.

An HD5970 is a dual GPU card that runs two 5850 GPUs on a single card; no surprise there that you were equal in graphics since you have essentially the same exact video hardware. If the only benchmarks you did were graphics tests, that is why you may think your computers are equal.

There is a valid point here about branding like "platinum super overclock edition" is just a marketing gimmick. However people who are not brain dead will know to compare actual specifications of hardware, instead of which retail package looks the coolest.
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# RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By OverclockingImad Najem 2010-08-12 07:29
Overclock headroom? We both managed a 4.0GHz overclock and both CPUs are very capable. You are right, we only care for gaming in this instance (he does all that other stuff on his Mac) and both CPUs overclocked to 4.0GHz are very similar when it comes to performance in gaming and my point is he paid a premium over my system.

One HD 5970 is actually two 5870 (undercut to 5850 level performance). But I overvolted and overclocked to exceed 5870 level performance.

I think the article was more concerned for everyday common people that don't know the difference and just get confused when facing all these gimmicks.
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# RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By OverclockingOlin Coles 2010-08-12 07:37
In addition to my other examples, another is the $500 Gigabyte Radeon 5870 SOC video card. It costs more than the GeForce GTX 480, offers a fraction of remaining overclocking headroom, and performs well below the price point.

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# reserjio 2010-08-12 09:33
wait, im confused. You're comparing a 5870 soc gigabyte, which is overclocked passed standard 5870 speeds, and definitly faster than any 5870, to a competitor: the gtx 480.

So then you're arguing that poorly competing products are killing the industry? I mean i can't really disagree with you there, but what does that have to do with overclocking in that case?
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# noserjio 2010-08-12 09:15
Desktop PC Platform: Killed By Overclocking
I've been reading through this article and i can't find a certain step in logic:

1) Manufactures have turned overclocking into a product.:"The examples are everywhere: Intel's $1000+ 'Extreme Edition' desktop processors, Gigabyte's $700 GA-X58A-UD9 motherboard, and $300 system memory kits made explicitly for overclockers. While there are people willing to buy these items, they often lose sight of the original purpose behind overclocking: making something slow become fast, and getting something more for no added cost."
3)this is destroying the pc industry / this business model wont last.

whats 2?

why does a demand for uber high end "overclocking" parts and an appropriate supply of them affect me in anyway when the same budget parts are still being made, and as far i'm concerned, overclocking far beyond what older parts before the pentium 3 age used to.
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# Stolen articlece 2010-08-12 09:58
Interesting read, but I think you need to offer some basic points for those with less experience on the topic. I originally found your article at, thinking there was more. It appears that he's stolen your entire article:

As I recall, Rodney Reynolds has also been caught stealing images from techPowerUp! and HardwareCanucks. Times must be tough for this guy.
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# RE: Stolen articleOlin Coles 2010-08-12 10:43
Thank you for letting me know about this. While it might not have been Rodney that posted this, he's ultimately responsible for his website and this is unacceptable. I've sent off an email asking him to adjust the posts or take them down completely.

You're correct about the images, but I don't know what ever happened with those two complaints.
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# RE: RE: Stolen articleMrGuvernment 2010-08-12 11:23
thats pretty low stealing someone's article, another website to blacklist from my sites to visit!
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# RE: RE: RE: Stolen articleOlin Coles 2010-08-12 11:57
He politely removed the articles, and told me he'd give some instruction to his news poster.
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# RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By OverclockingRobert17 2010-08-12 15:00
Glad to hear that R.Reynolds fessed up and did right, unlike the mumbling you got from 3dguru dude. After having read all the posts here including your responses, Olin, it strikes me that marketing may be the problem more than the overclocking itself? Maybe? As DLLED posted, I have considered all day that 1) the old days made for having to OC a CPU as it was the main cruncher for the graphics and 2) anyone, even yourself, using a PC to crunch graphics (rendering the encodes) would benefit from an OC. Hollywood, CGI animators, anyone working in video creation and content. And they probably have the bucks to shell out, even have contacts at nVidia and ATI on whom to drop suggestions. Add to that list biochemical research, architecture design.....I'm sure that even today's highest performing chipsets' advantage in tweaking can mean a lot to these "enthusiasts".
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# To Overclock or not?Hernández 2010-08-12 19:06
I am no expert here, but, if I overclock a Core2 Duo to 3GHz, am i gonna get the same results as the Xeon X3370? I mean, since its a workstation CPU and has MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSE4, EM64T instructions specifically for WORK, and not GAME.
I think each family of CPUs are aimed to different users. The AMD Phenom II X6 has 6 cores, but i doubt is gonna work faster than a 4 core Xeon for my 3D rendering jobs.
So maybe Overclocking is just for a specific user. Altough, like F1 cars, at that speed, is more posible to crash.
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# Missing the pointErrol 2010-08-12 19:58
Hey Olin,

It seems most people here missed the point.

There are some true performance gains to be made on certian processors, but this is generally the cheaper model. EG buying a base model and overclocking it to similar performance of a more expensive, higher end part. However, some CPUs are like 5% faster, yet cost 50% more... But are "overclockable". Most of the time you can get the same performance from overclocking a cheaper model as you can from overclocking a fast version.

There is one exception though, businesses. SQL licenses are based on the number of CPUs, not performance. So buying a single ultra high speed CPU for $1100 might seem crazy, but if preforms at the same speed of 2 slower CPUs you can save up to $25k on SQL licenses. In that case, its not worth saving $500 on 2 cheaper CPUS when the license cost is 10 fold more. (You wouldnt overclock a CPU in a business environment, so overclocking a cheaper version isnt an option).
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# RE: Missing the pointserjio 2010-08-12 20:13
how do the issues you point out that people missed lead to this? :
"Desktop PC Platform: Killed By Overclocking"

"No, it's not the act of overclocking itself that threatens the survival of desktop computers as a platform; it's the overclocking market that's killing the industry."
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# Oh boy, not another article on the death of the desktop...Marcos 2010-08-12 20:07
Please spare me of you lack of knowledge or research on the subject. if I got one dollar for every article about the death of the desktop computer or why is it dying...

Desktop computers outsell all the Xbox 360, PS3, PS2 and Wii sales combined by a factor o 2! And is increasing.
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# Oh boy, not another reader with statistics pulled from his...Olin Coles 2010-08-12 20:11
Please spare me your lack of proper grammar, and missing citation on the research you've criticized.

Desktop computers DO NOT outsell all gaming consoles by a factor of two, but I'm pretty sure that your ratio of hype to fact does.
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# Since you asked...Marcos 2010-08-19 06:03
Very poor argumentation, hum?

First of all, I am so, so sorry that English is not my native language. I really apologize if the way I write made your eyes hurt or something...

"statistics pulled from his..." My what? Is this the level you want to go on this discussion? Well, I will not go there.

Here are the source of my statistics. They were not pulled from my anything... s/tabid/383/Default.aspx

On the first link you can download the PDF with the complete release.

Oh, and by the way, try to answer me in Portuguese. I'm sure I will love your grammar too!
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# RE: Since you asked...Olin Coles 2010-08-19 07:04
To quote your source: "Annual shipment volumes for the PC Gaming hardware market in 2009 were over two times larger". Notice how it says PC gaming hardware, and not desktop computers. That's because it later claims "These revenue figures are based on an estimated 61.5 million PCs (Desktop and Laptops) shipped in 2009".
Now consider this: there were 89.1 million gaming consoles shipped in 2009, which is more than the number of desktop/laptops they claimed shipped. See the follow-up article here: /index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=11429&Itemid=8
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# There's more truth than anything in this..Robert 2010-08-12 22:30
No sure how many of you actually remember looking on the back of Boy Scout ads, looking at Fry's when all they had were HP, Dell, Compaq, Apple and the likes, or when for the sake of the desktop multimedia was at it's height? Let alone reading the entire article... and it's precursor.

There are more examples than not where overclocking components are literally hyped by companies and aimed directly at the middle to upper tier market for enthusiasts. Take the MSI Big Bang for example. Or take the AMD Phenom II X6. Both of which only appeal to a general market. They don't appeal to a mass market because they're extremely over powered as is! Let alone the ability to overclock them.
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# RE: There's more truth than anything in this..Archer 2010-08-13 05:28
Hobby. Computers are a hobby for most of the OC world and some of these parts are to feed that addiction. I have issues other than the products being sold.

I do understand the point of the article and while it is well written it is also way off base. The fact is overclocking has and will drive the market segment for the foreseeable future. We would not have what we do today if not for the demand for something faster.

Today prices are lower than ever, yes that 1000 dollar CPU is on par with the historical high priced CPU but when you adjust for the vale of the dollar and add in the amount og choices the market is great and the prices are great.
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# Edit ~Robert 2010-08-12 22:31
It should say: 'Both of which only appeal to a niche market.'
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# trendsdavid 2010-09-11 13:21
This is the same in any market that produces enthusiasts. The "real enthusiasts" that put in all the hard work and research to make their system the best, are soon surpassed by the market and get a little upset. so in turn enthusiasts begin walking away from the market. thus the argument that a platform that is large but that you can tweak and upgrade may eventually fall to a product that has little or no tweakability. as I stated it's the same in all products.
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# RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By Overclockingdavid 2010-09-11 13:22
originally people were building rudimentary cars in their barns and then their neighbors were blasting past them in store bought cars. the only way to sew the oats of your efforts is to bring your product to market so that everyone is using your hard work and paying you for it. another example would be a game such as world of warcraft. new material is released and it is hard to master or obtain. a few enthusiasts manage to beat it or get it and then shortly after they get their attaboys the material is made easier so the masses can get it, and the enthusiasts complain cause they had to work for it. I can see where the Desktop as a platform could disappear, tho new generations of computer users will keep it afloat for probably longer than we imagine. technology will eventually become so small and fast that you won't be able to even open a case nor replace or upgrade a component. however the enthusiasts will find something they can effect.
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# RE: Desktop PC Platform: Killed By Overclockingdlb 2010-10-06 23:35
Excellent article. I couldn't agree more. I didn't read past the first 2 or 3 comments - there was no need to. I read those comments and they were so far off from the core or 'spirit' of the piece, that I knew reading the rest of the comments would be pointless, as most of the comments likely missed the entire point of Olin's discourse.

I'll say it again - I did NOT read all the comments. So before I get bashed, remember this.

....... and KUDOS OLIN! WELL DONE!
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