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Stability Testing Your PC

"There are easy ways to identify a potential stability problem."

Stability plays an essential part of overclocking, and your systems health as a whole. It is impossible to get anything done when your programs are crashing, and your games are freezing continuously. The higher you overclock; the more stress is put on your entire system. When small signs of instability appear, it is often hard to pinpoint the source. Is it a heat problem, windows, drivers, or is your CPU just at its limit? There are several easy to run tests, to determine the direct cause of instability in your computer system.

Early Warnings

There are easy ways to identify a potential stability problem. First and foremost, there is heat. Heat is a computers undeniable worst enemy. Heat can, and will, damage any computer component under the right circumstances. Luckily there are quite a number of heat-monitoring software's on the Internet, including the ever-popular Motherboard Monitor. The general rule of thumb for a processor's temperature is anything under 40c and you are at a safe temperature, anything under 30c is great. Most CPU's are rated to run up to 65-85c, but it is safe to stay away from those numbers if possible. The second easy way to spot potential instability is a high-overclocked processor with little-to-no voltage adjustment. While this is not true in all cases, raising voltage can increase processor stability.

The Main Components

The key player in stability is the processor. The processor effects everything aspect of computing operations. Unlike the video card, which rarely has stability problems outside of high-speed video rendering, the CPU is always in use one way or another (even with AutoHLT programs). While the ram and chipset can cause instability in any system operation, processor instability is more likely to cause errors early. Because the processor is the popular element to overclock, there are many programs and methods to test how stable your CPU really is. Once you have eliminated the processor as the source of instability you can move onto the next factor.

With the trend of multiplier-locked processors, how fast ram can be clocked has become an increasingly avid topic. While you can buy ram specified to run at 66, 100, 133, and 150mhz bus respectively, it can be cheaper to buy ram rated as PC100, which can run at 133mhz front side bus. Unfortunately, if the ram is run at a speed higher than it can handle, it can cause data corruption, crashes, and worse.

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