Some advantages of overclocking a personal computer (PC) are increasing its performance and learning more about its inner workings. The point of overclocking is pushing hardware past its normal operating performance and reaping its full benefits. Overclocking risks permanently damaging important and often expensive computer parts, however, in addition to automatically voiding most warranties. Altering a computer in this way can be risky because of overheating, and most manufacturers will not replace parts damaged by overclocking since the buyer used the hardware in inadvisable ways.
The most touted advantage of overclocking a PC is improving its performance past advertised capabilities. Overclocking causes a PC to run slightly better than before, putting off the need to buy and install new hardware. This can save the owner both money and time. Some people describe overclocking as getting a free upgrade, but this “upgrade” is not without risks.
Overclocking a PC can help a person learn more about how computers work. This is especially true if the computer needs a cooling system installed, which involves opening the case, or building a computer from scratch with overclocking in mind. Comparing computer speeds, researching the best hardware to overclock, and other related activities can help novices gain a better grasp of building computers and how they work. It may involve trial and error, however, which can be expensive when dealing with high-end computer components. Many people invest in cheaper parts, though, because high-end hardware is often designed to operate at maximum performance, plus the goal of overclocking is usually to avoid buying more expensive equipment.
Pushing hardware past its advertised capabilities risks overheating it and surrounding computer parts. This can cause permanent damage or even the complete failure of computer components. Many computers need special cooling equipment to prevent this from occurring, but there is still a risk even then. When vital computer parts break, they must be removed and replaced for the computer to continue working, which can negate the savings of overclocking in the first place.
Another con of overclocking a PC is that it voids most warranties. By overclocking, a computer user uses computer components in ways that were not intended, therefore the manufacturer is no longer responsible for replacing damaged parts. Not only does this void the warranties of individual parts, but it could also void a warranty that covers the entire computer. So, for example, a manufacturer might refuse to fix a problem unrelated to overclocking if they knew other parts had been tampered with.