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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
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hardware Any adjustments made to computer hardware (or
software) to make its CPU run at a higher clock frequency
than intended by the original manufacturers. Typically this
involves replacing the crystal in the clock generation
circuitry with a higher frequency one or changing jumper
settings or software configuration.
If the clock frequency is increased too far, eventually some
component in the system will not be able to cope and the
system will stop working. This failure may be continuous (the
system never works at the higher frequency) or intermittant
(it fails more often but works some of the time) or, in the
worst case, irreversible (a component is damaged by
overheating). Overclocking may necessitate improved cooling
to maintain the same level of reliability.