Need for Speed: Computer Builds and Overclocking

I designed a curriculum and taught a computer building and overclocking class at CMU with my friend John Levidy. It was offered Fall 2010 under course number 98-154. Some of the material is out of date (hardware changes quickly!), but the general concepts are still valid. We went over the basics of building a computer from scratch and then dove into the art of overclocking. In addition to lectures, we brought in desktops and had students overclock them in class for hands on experience.

Course Description

This course will teach students how to build, maintain, and overclock a modern PC. We will also show students how to overclock a modern computer. By tweaking settings in a computer's BIOS (basic input output system), one can achieve much faster speeds than would be possible on stock settings. However, an increase in processor frequency does not come free; temperatures and stability must also be carefully monitored in order for an overclock to be considered successful. For example, rather than buying a $900 3.00 GHz quad-core processor from Intel, one could buy a $200 2.6 GHz processor and fairly easily overclock it to over 4.00 GHz. For any extreme PC user, overclocking is an invaluable skill to have.

Lectures