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Old 03-10-2008, 04:32 PM   #1
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Default CPU Degradation - Overclockers read this

Why your cpu slowly loses overclockability. We've known about electromigration for a while now and this article is one of the better reads on the subject that I have found.

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Degradation - the process by which a CPU loses the ability to maintain an equivalent overclock, often sustainable through the use of increased core voltage levels - is usually regarded as a form of ongoing failure. This is much like saying your life is nothing more than your continual march towards death. While some might find this analogy rather poignant philosophically speaking, technically speaking it's a horrible way of modeling the life-cycle of a CPU. Consider this: silicon quality is often measured as a CPU's ability to reach and maintain a desired stable switching frequency all while requiring no more than the maximum specified process voltage (plus margin). If the voltage required to reach those speeds is a function of the CPU's remaining useful life, then why would each processor come with the same three-year warranty?

The answer is quite simple really. Each processor, regardless of silicon quality, is capable of sustained error-free operation while functioning within the bounds of the specified environmental tolerances (temperature, voltage, etc.), for a period of no less than the warranted lifetime when no more performance is demanded of it than its rated frequency will allow. In other words, rather than limit the useful lifetime of each processor, and to allow for a consistent warranty policy, processors are binned based on the highest achievable speed while applying no more than the process's maximum allowable voltage. When we get right down to it, this is the key to overclocking - running CPUs in excess of their rated specifications regardless of reliability guidelines.

As soon as you concede that overclocking by definition reduces the useful lifetime of any CPU, it becomes easier to justify its more extreme application. It also goes a long way to understanding why Intel has a strict "no overclocking" policy when it comes to retaining the product warranty. Too many people believe overclocking is "safe" as long as they don't increase their processor core voltage - not true. Frequency increases drive higher load temperatures, which reduces useful life. Conversely, better cooling may be a sound investment for those that are looking for longer, unfailing operation as this should provide more positive margin for an extended period of time.
Read more here SOURCE
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Old 03-10-2008, 05:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: CPU Degradation - Overclockers read this

But if you monitor your temps and keep them at safe levels, it's fine right?
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Old 03-10-2008, 05:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: CPU Degradation - Overclockers read this

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But if you monitor your temps and keep them at safe levels, it's fine right?

I'm sure it's "safe," but we all know that any sort of overclocking is obviously shortening the lifespan of the CPU, even if it is negligible at some point. As stated in numerous threads, average computer enthusiasts like ourselves will probably never see the "death" of one of our overclocked chips simply because we will probably upgrade them in a few short years.
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Old 03-10-2008, 06:17 PM   #4
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Default Re: CPU Degradation - Overclockers read this

overclocking a quad from 2.4 to 3.0 cant be that much stress
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Old 03-10-2008, 07:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: CPU Degradation - Overclockers read this

It's 25% above rated capacity so it would be significant imo.
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Old 03-10-2008, 10:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: CPU Degradation - Overclockers read this

well i agree with ghost, i mean us overclocking our chips really doesnt matter, because all of us (for the most part) upgrade within a few years, people who want to keep a pc for 5+ years obviously shouldnt be overclocking, i get the most out of mine because i know ill be buying a Q6700 once their price comes down
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Old 03-10-2008, 10:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: CPU Degradation - Overclockers read this

Ah, I'm not worried.
Temperatures are well within the thermal limits, and I haven't increased the Core Voltage at all, so In my opinion, I'm not doing too much damage. It'll certinally last longer than I'll have it.
I would still believe it'd work perfectly fine in 5 years.

If your seriously stressing your CPU, i.e increasing voltage/no sufficent cooling, then yeah, it will definietly shorten the life by half, if not more.
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Old 03-10-2008, 10:33 PM   #8
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Default Re: CPU Degradation - Overclockers read this

I had a 3400+ become very unstable after being only overclocked for 18 months, and had a pentium 3 become unstable after an overclock as well (about a year). This does happen, and both processors were only overclocked slightly and both ran well under the thermal maximums.
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Old 03-10-2008, 11:20 PM   #9
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Default Re: CPU Degradation - Overclockers read this

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Originally Posted by DJ-CHRIS View Post
I had a 3400+ become very unstable after being only overclocked for 18 months, and had a pentium 3 become unstable after an overclock as well (about a year). This does happen, and both processors were only overclocked slightly and both ran well under the thermal maximums.

Bad luck sucks.
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Old 03-11-2008, 12:56 AM   #10
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Default Re: CPU Degradation - Overclockers read this

...And so do old processors.
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