Popularity of overclocking

Staples

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I hear less and less about overclocking as the years go by. Has the popularity of it been dwindling? Other explanations can be due to fewer people on the forums and the PC market not being as hot as it once was.

It was super popular with the Celeron 300Mhz chip because you could get a 50% boost without much effort. I have not read about OC in many years but can these gains be gotten with air like they could one day? Whenever I see pictures of systems these days, they all have either AIO liquid coolers or custom ones. The fact of the matter is, those cost a lot of money, probably more than a faster factory clocked CPU which would do just fine with a cheap air cooler.
 

Mode13

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Overclocking is much more prevalent than it ever was now IMO. I think the issue you're seeing is just forums quieting down about it as results aren't as extreme, AND guides aren't really necessary outside of googling for the maximum suggested voltage unless you really want to spend days dialing the chip in because all that's required is bumping up a multiplier and cranking the voltage instead of the much more intricate guides to bus overclocks.

most mainstream youtube channels and reviews always overclock and share their results. Everyone in my circle always just hints at what they hope every new chip will OC to (like everyone hoping the new Ryzen 2 chips can hit 5ghz now).

The celeron 300 was amazing, that chip sold solely because of its ability to OC so high it could compete with a pentium. Modern CPUs (esp Ryzen) and GPUs are pushed quite close to their limits and tend to require water cooling for any actual gain. The last GPU that I REALLY enjoyed overclocking was the 980Ti since they came between 1000-1200mhz and almost all could hit 1400-1500 with ease, which was massive performance. Likewise I haven't put much effort into intricate research and forum posting about overclocking a CPU since the LGA775 days when it was a tad more complex to dial in higher clocks.
 

travm

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Fewer bsods at stock. Overclocking used to be about getting more for less. Now it's more like adding a fart can to your civic to get another 5hp.
The last time I felt the need to overclock was on the amd FX platform.
 

Staples

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Fewer bsods at stock. Overclocking used to be about getting more for less. Now it's more like adding a fart can to your civic to get another 5hp.
The last time I felt the need to overclock was on the amd FX platform.
Well that makes me feel better about my choices of motherboards I've been using. I saved the $100+ and got non overclockable motherboards and multiplier locked CPUs.
 
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yeah, I think OC is a dying hobby. desktop pc in general.

not because of consoles,, but because of the phones.
 
D

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It used to be more about deep understanding and tinkering, understanding board and RAM selections to work better together etc etc. Lots of work, and lots of posts about it, from people needing help, to those giving feedback on what they did and what worked. That has changed a great deal. One, we have far fewer chips that can see huge gains in clock speed over stock, and the addition of boost speeds that can make better and better use of upgraded cooling system, as well as OEM provided software OCing, that back in the day was laughed at because of how bad it was, today is more than capable of giving solid OCs, though hand OCing will still result in lower voltages and maybe a few mhz higher clock. As such, fewer people are interested in days or weeks long testing of the best OC, when we are talking maybe a 5% gain and a little lower temps over just clicking a button.

We have also seen the amount of CPU power in the last few years skyrocket in core counts, and more GPU bound gaming as a whole along with VR and the like. When was the last time we had a game that really beat up HW that a 500mhz OC on the CPU resulted in huge gains? As DX12 gets more and more use, CPU power should become even more efficient, as well as making better use of the abundance of extra cores we have access to today, assuming the games workload can take advantage of it.

Myself, as I get older, I have far less free time to bother, but more money to just buy higher end parts. I also have less time to work on something that becomes unstable, and more and more just want something that just works when I do have free time from my job.
 
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kirbyrj

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I think that with the advent of the "turbo boost" it's a lot less necessary. Back in the day there was a lot of performance left on the table from NOT overclocking as pretty much all chips of any generation were the same with various multiplier locks. Now the chips are basically binned to the point where you buy the high end chips for a higher boost (both with Intel and AMD).

Honestly, I haven't felt the need to overclock since I had my delidded 7820X.
 

TheFlayedMan

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I guess part of it is if you buy a reasonably specced system now it could potentially still be useful in some capacity in 10 years time, given the slowdown in single core performance increases. The same could not be said back in the day when you knew you would be replacing the system in 2 to 3 years anyway.
 

Dan_D

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The thing is, overclocking is easier than ever. There isn't that much to discuss. You set your voltage and occasionally load-line calibration or something like that. It's pretty much the same on Intel and AMD platforms now. Its super easy. Intel CPU's still give you far more headroom than AMD chips do, but they are virtually the same in terms of achieving your maximum OC. There is also the fact that clock speed is still king, and single threaded performance still matters. The turbo frequency adjustment automatically done by the system, or invoked via PB2 or PBO eliminates the gains achieved by manual overclocking. That said, I've done a bunch of the benchmarking and there is still something to be gained by overclocking. It doesn't translate to massive gains in most cases, but it can under specific circumstances. Believe it or not, 1080P is fairly CPU limited. So if you are pushing for super high frame rates on high refresh rate monitors, it can be of use. At 4K, some games can dip below 60FPS even when using an RTX 2080 Ti. Adding even a few FPS can be worth while in those cases.
 

JRZoid

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The delid job on the 7700k was trial and error...actually shaved the bottom of the lid a little and you want the LM applied well.. and yeah it STILL runs ICY and 5ghz mark on AIR that one about yeah the 1.35v
But most are not handy with the shit etc...and like I said it is a little finicky getting it to seat back/glued just right for it.

But no not that difficult...and well worth it...you'll never go over 80-85c ever again....

But I mean I don't know something to do...

I'll offer a Delid Service or something etc lol
 
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GoldenTiger

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The delid job on the 7700k was trial and error...actually shaved the bottom of the lid a little and you want the LM applied well.. and yeah it STILL runs ICY and 5ghz mark on AIR that one about yeah the 1.35v
But most are not handy with the shit etc...and like I said it is a little finicky getting it to seat back/glued just right for it.

But no not that difficult...and well worth it...you'll never go over 80-85c ever again....

But I mean I don't know something to do...

I'll offer a Delid Service or something etc lol
Silicon lottery already is a trusted site offering delid services. That isn't what this thread is about though.
 

Nenu

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I think that with the advent of the "turbo boost" it's a lot less necessary. Back in the day there was a lot of performance left on the table from NOT overclocking as pretty much all chips of any generation were the same with various multiplier locks. Now the chips are basically binned to the point where you buy the high end chips for a higher boost (both with Intel and AMD).

Honestly, I haven't felt the need to overclock since I had my delidded 7820X.
Its not that it is less necessary, its that what we buy these days is already clocked near the max. As you said using turbo boost/GPU boost.
The performance per generation has not improved enough to account for it, presenting less value for enthusiasts.
They have restricted how much power can be used with none moddable bios, removing another source of performance and enjoyment.
PC hardware is less clockable and less fun.
It was clearly going to go this way eventually but the large price jumps alongside are too much.
We need better value.
 

JRZoid

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^Ryzen has no headroom what do you think? besides that..for the average Joe it's fine. I don't even see the need for zen 3 yet...gonna leave it at 4.2 and I'm fine with that. it's not hot at all...the Mugen 5 does a hell of a job on it.
They are gonna run for some time. Everything has been worked out and it's successful. Time will tell the Undisclosed and actual Vrm war that went on and still assuming in question tho. besides what they don't want you know we can get away with quite a bit lesser/shitter vrm now.
 

travm

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^Ryzen has no headroom what do you think? besides that..for the average Joe it's fine. I don't even see the need for zen 3 yet...gonna leave it at 4.2 and I'm fine with that. it's not hot at all...the Mugen 5 does a hell of a job on it.
They are gonna run for some time. Everything has been worked out and it's successful. Time will tell the Undisclosed and actual Vrm war that went on and still assuming in question tho. besides what they don't want you know we can get away with quite a bit lesser/shitter vrm now.
Dont even suggest we can get away with shittier VRM, we literally just got over motherboards that would burn the skin off your hand if you touched the vrms to check the temps.
Bad VRMS are Bad.
 

JRZoid

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Dont even suggest we can get away with shittier VRM, we literally just got over motherboards that would burn the skin off your hand if you touched the vrms to check the temps.
Bad VRMS are Bad.
Their running ok/cool mostly...hwinfo tells me like idk hit like 56c after R20 etc..not too bad.
 

Niner21

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I used to overclock years ago when I was younger. I don't do it much now. Don't really have time to devote to making things stable. I'm happy at stock settings for stability.
 

drescherjm

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I used to overclock years ago when I was younger. I don't do it much now.
My dual processor Celeron 300A got me started. I believe I had it running at 466 or greater (although my memory is fading on the details)..
 

amittalkin

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Now a days most of new "overclockable" CPUs comes with auto tuning ( lets say Ryzen? ) which automatically max out to stable overclockable frequency without any manual intervention from end user. All You need is proper cooling and compatible hardware.
 

KATEKATEKATE

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i agree that the gainz to be made just aren't enough anymore to make OC'ing the treasured ritual it once was. an extra 10% for free is nice but back in the day "overclocking" meant in practice getting an extra 20 minimum and quite often more like 50%.

for posterity, my most glorious overclocks of yore-
dual 1.6Ghz Xeons overclocked to either 2.4Ghz or 2.6Ghz on an ASUS PC-DL
Pentium M engineering sample at 2.8Ghz on an Aopen 915G board
Core 2 Q6600 at 3.6Ghz on a shitty G31 board
i7 920 @~4.2-4.4Ghz on an EVGA something

Haven't even bothered overclocking the Ryzen 1600 build i put together this spring.

As for GPUs, all the recent NV cards I've tested (1070, 1080, 2080) have offered respectable perf. boosts- but there was no challenge there, nothing really to discuss. The one glimmer of old-timey methodical overclocking challenge (aka FUN) lately is the secondhand Vega 64 i got for my aforementioned Ryzen rig. A month in and I've gotten some significant and hard-fought efficiency gainz and there's plenty more room for tweaking once I get better cooling on it.

Not much hope for CPU overclocking anymore I fear. I doubt we'll ever again see midrange value smashers like the Celeron 300A, or the 2.6C Pentium 4, or the Q6600, etc- there's just no longer quite the Mhz gap between low and high-end to take advantage of, it's mostly about the core count. Not to mention the locking out of overclocking on modern low-end chips. Maybe the 3Ghz Sandybridge i5 in my backup system could hit 4.5 like it's - K siblings, but I'll never know because there's no way to even try!
 

Keljian

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I’ve never actually had a really good overclock. Though not for lack of trying.

The best overclocks I’ve had were (at best) 20% increases over stock. Note below is all cores for multi core chips.

  • 9700k 4.3->4.8 (AVX 0)- could probably do 4.9-5.0 but didn’t push, very little to be gained for significantly increased thermals
  • Ryzen 1700 3.2->3.7 could do 3.9 but at a very high power/temperature
  • 5775c 3.2 ->3.75
  • Q6600 2.4->3.0 would do 3.1 in a pinch, but 3.2 was not stable despite enormous cooler
  • Athlon 64/3000+ 1.8->2.0 clawhammer
  • Athlon 600, 600->625
  • K6-2 233->250
  • 486sx25->33 (ok so this is 30% or so, but about 28 years ago)
I would love a 50% overclock, but I just don’t think the chips have it in them these days. Take the 9700k for example, it has a stock voltage of 1.35 for all cores and even with huge cooling, unless you’re very lucky you won’t get a chip that can do 5ghz under 1.3v.

The chips that do are destined for the 9900k where the peak voltage is 1.25v. I reckon this was deliberate in the way intel bins chips, if they can’t hit the clock at 1.25v, they disable hyperthreading and sell as the 9700k

Sadly this means you end up with a chip (9700k) that uses the same amount of power as the 9900k, when set to the same speed per core, while doing 20-30% less work on heavily threaded loads.
 
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demondrops

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some gfx cards boost prety close to max anyway. my card throtle at 1950 anyway from heat, and it's FE. my cpu clock gave me a significant boost in fps but hardly anything from my gpu, but it's quite a jump from stock settings. some 5820k's can go 1ghz from stock that on 6 cores is prety amazing, that is massive in terms of OC. the 5820k really turned out to be a gem for pc gaming, it was so affordable when i bought it also, and i thougt nothing could be future proof. and everyone was getting those 4 cores :D

with that said, im so comfortable on fps anyway that power/temp slider maxxed out with a agressive fancurve is more then enough. i was thinking to get me a g12 but. ima wait and see what these super cards will be like, or wait for 7nm nvidia.
 

Mav451

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Keljian Some of those were lower than expected, especially the Clawhammer (2.4Ghz typ?) or the Q6600 (3.6Ghz typ?). The latter would've gotten you the 50% especially.
My buddy's e6600 used to do 3.6Ghz, but I guess some degradation hit and he just set it back to 3.2Ghz.

  • Opteron146: 2Ghz to 3Ghz (50%)
  • i5 750: 2.67 Ghz to 3.95 Ghz (48%)
  • i5 4670k: 3.4 Ghz to 4.7Ghz (38%)
  • e8400: 3GHz to 4Ghz (33%)
  • 2600+ XP-M: 2Ghz to 2.6Ghz (30%)
  • 2100+ Tbred B: 1.73Ghz to 2.2Ghz (27%) - pretty funny that this was my worst one; though it was paired with the rush to get 400FSB or better on nForce2.

demondrops Great call to go 6-core then. I, otoh, was just a penny-pinching bastard. I probably don't even have my current rig if there wasn't the fire sale on the Z87-UD4H (see the $74.99 Microcenter price), just 2 months after Haswell had launched.

I am still hoping that Zen 3000 series ends up being fun to overclock with - the key part being some effort or manual tinkering required to extract tangible performance increases. Buildzoid better not be lying to me lol.
 

Keljian

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The 3200+ (clawhammer) was the one with high amounts of cache so I am not really surprised about the lack of overclock.

The Q6600 however I was thoroughly disappointed with
 

Niner21

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My dual processor Celeron 300A got me started. I believe I had it running at 466 or greater (although my memory is fading on the details)..
Yes that is what I'm talking about. I really enjoyed the trick of making a 2500+ into a 3200+ back in the day on my trusty Abit NF7 board. Also liked overclocking many of Celerons back in the day.
 

chameleoneel

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I hear less and less about overclocking as the years go by. Has the popularity of it been dwindling? Other explanations can be due to fewer people on the forums and the PC market not being as hot as it once was.

It was super popular with the Celeron 300Mhz chip because you could get a 50% boost without much effort. I have not read about OC in many years but can these gains be gotten with air like they could one day? Whenever I see pictures of systems these days, they all have either AIO liquid coolers or custom ones. The fact of the matter is, those cost a lot of money, probably more than a faster factory clocked CPU which would do just fine with a cheap air cooler.
Hardocp ran a few articles on delidding for Skylake and Kabylake. Where were you? ; )

Since Kabylake, Intel's are as overclockable as they've ever been, IMO. However, I don't think MHZ are king, anymore. I think cache and memory bandwidth are far more important to the performance of modern CPU architectures. Its why the Broadwell processors with Iris EDRAM as an extra cache, still rival or beat the newer chips in performance. Cache is a big part of why i7 perform better than i5. Lots of articles showing how faster ram improves CPU performance. AMD just doubled their caches for Zen 2.

Nowadays, I'd rather buy a slightly slower processor and put the extra money towards faster RAM.
 

Neslepax

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I water-cooled and overclocked my FX-57 and dual 7800GTXs, and then my q6600 and 4870x2. However, when I upgraded my processor and graphics card again after that, I found that I didn't feel the need to overclock anymore as I was getting pretty good performance in almost all the games I was currently playing. This happened because I began to buy most of my games on Steam sales and accumulated a backlog rather than buy any games at launch, so by the time I got around to playing games, they were usually a couple years old and my hardware was well ahead of it. This continues to happen. I blame Steam sales.
 

pek

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I don't think you need to tinker with your m/b a lot any more (and I don't have the time to tinker, either), the mid-range and up m/b's are solid overclockers with just a bios setting. My "old" I7-7700k (de-lidded, pretty painless) clocks to 4.58 GHz, runs fairly cool (never over 65c with my Noctua cooler).

Plus, there just aren't any e-peen waving stats any more, except the occasional nitrogen cooled cpu.
 

SvenBent

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i thinkt he issue is that performance og cpu is no longer only rated at the clock speed.

Take the old celeron 300A. overclocked it to 450 and you got a discount cpu being faster than a premium cpu.
With the exception of a few AMD CPU's you cant overclock you to more cores.
and with all the Automatic overclocking most ppl just settle for that and move on.

It is just not that interesting anymore the geekynees is gone
 

Gustaf

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I hear less and less about overclocking as the years go by. Has the popularity of it been dwindling? Other explanations can be due to fewer people on the forums and the PC market not being as hot as it once was.

It was super popular with the Celeron 300Mhz chip because you could get a 50% boost without much effort. I have not read about OC in many years but can these gains be gotten with air like they could one day? Whenever I see pictures of systems these days, they all have either AIO liquid coolers or custom ones. The fact of the matter is, those cost a lot of money, probably more than a faster factory clocked CPU which would do just fine with a cheap air cooler.
Based on your forum join date you may remember this: Do you remember the guys at Octools.com that submerged the motherboard in that electrically insulating fluid, Fluorinert, and then cooled it with dry ice to well below 0 degrees?

I am just sort of getting back into computers since the early 2000s and I feel like lots of extreme hobby type things like that are not around anymore.
 

kirbyrj

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Based on your forum join date you may remember this: Do you remember the guys at Octools.com that submerged the motherboard in that electrically insulating fluid, Fluorinert, and then cooled it with dry ice to well below 0 degrees?

I am just sort of getting back into computers since the early 2000s and I feel like lots of extreme hobby type things like that are not around anymore.
I remember this. Something else to consider is the cost of doing business. Sure your dollar goes further in terms of raw performance in the mid range and below, but not on the high end like it used to. Intel and AMD both have CPU's that are $1500+. A high end motherboard is $300+. And a top of the line consumer video card is $1200. Intel locks out overclocking until you get to the $200 range and makes you buy the expensive chipset to use it. AMD boards require pretty good power delivery or else you'll fry your board. Plus, Turbo boost gives you 90% of what you'd get by manually overclocking anyway. It's one thing when you used to get a 50%+ improvement. It's another when you're getting 5-10% at best.
 

Susquehannock

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Yes that is what I'm talking about. I really enjoyed the trick of making a 2500+ into a 3200+ back in the day on my trusty Abit NF7 board. Also liked overclocking many of Celerons back in the day.
Better yet was making a 1700+ into a 3200+ or better. Thereby making a $60 chip run better than a $200 one. 70%-80% increase with clip on air cooling so easy even a gearhead schmuck like me could do it. Now I settle for 700mhz increase on my Dell workstations changing multi in the Intel xtreme utility.
 
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SticKx911

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Everyone pretty much said what I’m saying, but I’ll add my 2c anyway...

I have computers that need to work, ones I just play on, and some that fall in between.

I enjoy tinkering an OC on a computer more than actually playing the games I test with. It’s about the tinkering and learning. I water cool for fun. I enjoy the build and playing with the hardware and if it crashes? Whatever. I’ll go back at it.

On a work computer or something other people in the house touch? Locked cpus.

As for the in between, a more specific example for me, my htpc is still rocking a 2500k. At stock, she barely keeps up with plex encoding, but bumping it up to 4ghz and she can continue the fight a little longer.
 
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I don't see the big pay off for investing lots of time in manually tuning hardware anymore. Boost clocks and software overclocking has come a long way.
As more CPU cores have been added my mhz gains with manually overclocking have gone down:
A64 3000+ Winchester 39% gain
Opteron 170 25% gain
Phenom ii 940 20% gain
I haven't put the time into my Ryzen 1600 for more mhz yet. Not expecting huge gains tho.
 
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Overclocking is mainstream now instead of a proper hobby, which for the majority of people is a positive.

Personally, I find it less interesting now than 13 years or so ago when I first started.
Not sure how much of this is nostalgia, but I find it incredibly sad how communities like DFI, EOCF, etc have just died to be replaced with shit like ROG, reddit, and youtube "celebrities".

How much of that is "get off my lawn / good old days"? No idea, but that's just my opinion on the matter as a late 20s individual.
 

Staples

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Based on your forum join date you may remember this: Do you remember the guys at Octools.com that submerged the motherboard in that electrically insulating fluid, Fluorinert, and then cooled it with dry ice to well below 0 degrees?

I am just sort of getting back into computers since the early 2000s and I feel like lots of extreme hobby type things like that are not around anymore.
I do not remember that event but I do remember people cooling with liquid nitrogen at trade shows. I bet that got expensive really quick.
When I first started over clocking, I could easily get 10% on any CPU with dip switches and later bios settings. All my motherboards since the first gen Core have not had overclocking ability so I have not been in the loop for a long long time (just like you). I think a lot of computer sites then were mostly hobby sites (hell, I had one myself and had it linked on Hardocp a few times) but now all the print magazines have stepped into the game and most the sites anyone visits is one that is of the corporate nature.
 

Keljian

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People still overclock using LN2 competitively and they do also use non conductive 3M immersion cooling too.. der8auer on YouTube does a fair bit of this exotic stuff

I don’t.

I think we have largely reached the limit of water and air cooling as there have been generally no appreciable differences in performance of top range coolers for a number of years now.

In terms of room/surface area, certainly the top end air coolers now use nearly all of the space available in the case around the cpu and distribute the heat well with heat pipes. Really to get increased gains here, exotic materials must be used. I don’t fancy paying for 1.5kg of silver...

For curiosity, I’d love to see pictures using a thermal camera of d15 with a 9900k overclocked running full pelt.

Top end water cooling can shave a few degrees off (at many times the price of air cooling) but the performance gains typically will be in the 2-5% range(at best) above top end air.

Water chilling can take this a little further, but you’re talking such small increases in performance that you have to wonder about the increased noise and cost

If you try hard enough you can still buy compressor units with cpu blocks to use refrigeration cooling. You don’t hear much about this these days as very few people have the time, skills or money to build something using this method. You can get pretty close to Liquid nitrogen results with this one.

What people don’t do these days is use TEC/Peltier devices, cause they work like heat pumps and you still need to put the heat somewhere. In the “olden days” the problem was getting the heat off the cpu and into a heat sink, and it made sense, now modern heat sinks and thermal compounds to a good enough job of it not to need measures like this.
 
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