The letter at the end of i5-6600K name is about some options built into the CPU. The ‘K’ designates the CPU as having an adjustable clock. The CPU is rated to tick 3.5 billion times per second (3.5GHz). Because my CPU has that ‘K’ in the designator/name I can adjust the speed of the clock. Adjusting the clock to tick faster than 3.5GHz is called overclocking.
I tried running mine at 4.4GHz and I kept crashing. I slowed down to 4.1GHz and things seem to work OK. No crashes since the change. I’ll probably play with that and try 4.2 and 4.3. It can get really complicated. If I change clock speed and voltages in the CPU, I could probably push it back up to 4.4 or 4.5. But, I find that tedious.
Do we need to overclock for Second Life? No. I get a pretty consistent 60 to 80 FPS at 4.1Ghz. If I slow down to 3.5GHz, that would theoretically be a 15% decrease. 60FPS x 85% = 51FPS. How much difference does 9FPS make? For any practical or noticeable difference at this speed, none. We are talking a difference of 3ms per frame, well below human perception.
I overclocked this computer because I have more video work to do these days and it can shave significant time off some tasks. It doesn’t do much for SL.
If you run at factory speeds – no overclocking, CPU’s cool well using the typically included fan and heat sink. But, those combinations are designed with the typical home configuration and competitive cost in mind. Think: make it cheap.
Gamers tend to push things. Running render-intense games like Second Life is pushing things. Your computer and in particular your CPU is likely to run hot even when not overclocked. Running hot shortens the CPU’s life. When a CPU dies it can take the motherboard and there is no telling what a dying motherboard will take out as it goes. So, avoid overheating.
Fortunately, ‘destructively hot’ in the case of a CPU is really ‘hot’ and CPU’s have built in heat protection to avoid self-destruction. They will slow down processing (tick slower) to draw less current and avoid overheating and turn off if necessary. So, cooling is more about maintaining speed than protecting the CPU from destruction.
If you look at the image of the viewer and hardware monitor again the monitor shows my CPU is running cool, 45C or 113F. My old Quad Core2 often ran at 70C or 158F. When I would forget to clean it I would catch it at 80+C or >=176F, way too hot and the CPU was throttling back slowing me down, which was why I was looking and caught it. I have not seen my i5 get to 70C.
I put a big heatsink on my CPU. The image shows it. A Ninja 3b (US$55). I am installing it before installing the motherboard in the case, much easier and still not all that easy. I’m testing the setup. The CPU cooling fan I leaned against the heatsink for this test. Clipping it in place is a REAL pain… or I haven’t figured out the easy way. But… Yay, I was so happy it tried to boot. My first motherboard was defective and wouldn’t pass POST (Power On Self Test).
Do you need a big heatsink to run Second Life? No. But, it doesn’t hurt.
Use a hardware monitor to see how hot your CPU runs when running a viewer. Somewhere over 65C consider cleaning your computer’s heatsink or getting a bigger and better heatsink.
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