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Memory Overclocking Guide
What is Overclocking? - In terms of a definition, overclocking is quite simple: it refers to changing the settings of a computer system so that the hardware runs at a faster speed than the manufacturer rated it for. Every piece of hardware in a computer system is tested and is supposed to be rated to run at a particular clock speed. When you overclock, you change the settings of the hardware so that it runs faster than what the manufacturer originally intended. Overclocking is also sometimes called pushing or speed margining.
"What is the fastest memory available?" Covering the overclocking aspect by only answering to this very typical question wouldn't be really helpfull. We fail to specify that there are other interesting points to consider while planning overclocking. DDR memory is available in a wide variety of different speeds at the moment. Here is a short list of some of the more common types:

DDR1

PC2100 - DDR266 MHz (133x2)
PC2700 - DDR333 MHz (166x2)
PC3000 - DDR366 MHz (183x2)
PC3200 - DDR400 MHz (200x2)
PC3500 - DDR433 MHz (216x2)
overclocked
PC4000 - DDR500 Mhz (250x2)
overclocked
PC4400 - DDR550 Mhz (275x2)
overclocked
....

DDR2

PC2-3200 - DDR2 400 MHz
PC2-4200 - DDR2 533 MHz
PC2-5300 - DDR2 667 MHz
PC2-6400 - DDR2 800 MHz
PC2-8000 DDR2 1100 MHz
overclocked
Many manufacturers produce these modules, Corsair, Kingston, Samsung, and Crucial... just to name a few. Each of these companies produces memory that is "rated" at a certain speed. They stand by their product and claim that the memory will run as fast as its rated speed. But we need to consider many other factors. For instance, if you are using a DDR333 motherboard, then your motherboard definitely supports DDR333 or PC2700. Anything higher than PC2700 you will have to overclock to get it to run at that speed. To put it simply, just because you buy PC3500 doesn't mean that you will be running 433 MHz (DDR). You have to overclock to that speed because the current standard only supports up to PC2700. To overclock your memory you must raise the front side bus which will typically overclock your AGP/PCI slots, CPU, and DIMM slots. Selection of memory will be directly influenced by the components in the rest of your system.

Keep in mind that any time you overclock, you run the risk of damaging parts, or you might have issues with stability and performance for the rest of your system.

The main components that you need to take into consideration are the motherboard & the memory. They will have to be able to handle the speeds that you want from your memory.

When purchasing DDR memory, you should first ask yourself some of the following questions:
  • Will my motherboard be able to handle the speeds that I want to run at with my overclocking memory?
  • Does it provide options in the BIOS that I will need to overclock my memory?

    It is suggested that you read up on your motherboard's manual and find out the results that others have had on forums for example. This is key and will greatly help in choosing which memory you should purchase.
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