I love overclockers – I don’t know if it’s the nerves of steel needed to run components so far beyond their factory specifications that they need to be refrigerated, or the glowing water cooling pipes they use, or it might even be the UV lamps and dodgy stickers. And this is coming from someone who underclocks his graphics card – OpenOffice doesn’t really need much acceleration.
Overclocking basically involves running a processor at speeds beyond factory specification, and is generally performed by home enthusiasts who then have to solve the puzzle of extracting all that extra heat out of their PC case in colourful and complex ways. Some manufacturers have noticed this fashion and have taken to selling systems that have already been overclocked, and the professional build and cooling systems make them more reliable and less messy.
So, for those of you who want power at any expense, Alienware have released a pre-overclocked gaming system, featuring a Pentium 4 that runs at a (probably literally) red hot 4Ghz.
The Area-51 ALX is based around a Extreme Edition Pentium 4, with 1 gig of Corsair RAM, and a 6800 Ultra for a graphics card. Keeping this lot cool requires gold plated, pure copper coolers, and a specially formulated liquid solution to conduct heat away from components. Oh, and two pumps and a few fans. A custom power control board monitors liquid temperature and features an emergency alarm and automatic shut-down features, just in case things get too frantic during those FPS death matches.
At a wallet-alarming US$5,458 (€4,525) for a typical set up, it’s for devoted, power hungry gamers only – but I certainly can’t think of a better way to Half-Life 2’s launch.