RealTime IT News

Gateway Gives Green Light to Overclocked PCs

Gamers and others looking for a performance edge have overclocked  their PCs to make programs run faster for a long time. The tweak works, but it's also a quick way to void the warranty.

Neither Intel , AMD  or any of the major PC makers have sanctioned overclocking, which can lead to overheating and other snafus.

Basically, overclocking is the process of running the microprocessor at a faster clock speed than the speed it's been tested and approved for.

But Gateway,  looking to further distinguish its gaming PCs in an increasingly crowded field, has announced it will overclock the system before shipping (at the consumer's request), with no risk of voiding Gateway's warranty.

"I would argue this is not just for gamers, but anyone involved in digital creation, rendering, CAD and other CPU-intensive programs, which all stand to benefit," Todd Titera, Gateway's director of consumer desktops, told internetnews.com.

On one level, overclocking isn't necessarily dangerous if done right. Tech savvy users can tweak the system to faster and faster clock speeds and check to see if the system runs faster. "If it crashes or isn't stable, then you know you've gone too far and it's time to ratchet the speed back," said Nathan Brookwood, analyst with Insight64.

But a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Some PC hot-rodders like to turn both the clock and the voltage up at the same time on the motherboard to try and squeeze out maximum performance. "The risk is that you can fry the chip and they're expensive," said Brookwood.

The Gateway FX530 Series Desktop PC is based on Intel's Core 2 Extreme X6800 dual-core processor. The system also includes fast graphics hardware with an ATI Radeon x1950 and x1900 CrossFire Edition Graphics. The system, starting at $2,499.99, comes with a number of customizable options Gateway said it also plans to offer Intel's quad-core processor in the FX530 line when the processor becomes available later in November.

Titera said Gateway is specifically overclocking Intel's X6800 from its standard 2.93GHz frequency up to 3.47GHz. "Performance depends on where your bottleneck is, but this is an 18 percent improvement in frequency, which is a pretty decent gain." Titera said Gateway plans to offer a 20 percent improvement on the quad-core processor.

It will be possible for speed enthusiasts to overclock the system further after delivery, but doing so will void the warranty.