There are many programs out there to help one overclock. They range in capability from novice level programs to those for experienced users, and their functions range from to the actual overclocking, itself (for novices and weekend overclockers), to testing the stability of the system after overclocking and monitoring your system. These programs are different from benchmarks, which should also be used to quantify your system's performance gain. For those new to overclocking, I have compiled a list of the most popular and most important applications to assist you in your midnight ventures into your system's BIOS. I have also included a list of programs that many manufacturers include with their motherboards to inform buyers of the options that are available to them. Stability Testing These programs test the stability and reliability of your system components to make sure they can handle overclocking. The tests can alert to possible component failure, overstressed or overheating components and most importantly, assure you that your newly overclocked system can handle day-to-day operation. Usually, these programs should be run for at least six hours to get the best information about how your system will operate when overclocked. PassMark BurnInTest V4.0 Standard and Pro Windows 98, 2000, ME, XP, 2003 server, Linux Screen shots Standard edition: US $22 Free 30 Day Trial Pro edition: US $49 This program can stress all your individual components at once. It includes a variety of options to test your CPU, GPU, storage, RAM, and more. It is multithreaded, it simultaneously taxes all of your components and it is flexible in the form you want your results. Memtest86 All x86 based systems Screenshot Freeware This highly popular program runs from a bootable disk and tests the stability of your system memory. It is highly recommended to run to catch any failures that could later lead to other problems. Prime95 Windows 98, 2000, ME, XP, 2003 server, Linux, 64 bit available Screenshot Freeware Part of the Great Internet Prime Mersenne Search (GIMPS), this program became popular among overclockers because of its number crunching algorithms that exercise the computer's processor and memory to their limits. Recent versions of Prime95 include a "Torture Test" mode designed specifically for stressing PC subsystems. Stress Prime 2004 Windows 98, 2000, ME, XP, 2003 server, Linux, 64 bit available Screenshot Freeware Same as Prime 95 but with a better GUI. SuperPI Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2K/XP Screenshot Freeware This program stresses your system by calculating the digits of Pi to 4,294,960,000 decimal digits. HeavyLoad V2.0 All Windows Versions Screenshot Freeware HeavyLoad simulates heavy activity on a PC. It allows you to test a workstation or server PC to confirm stability under heavy load. It stresses processor, memory and hard disks, operating system, etc. S&M Win9x/Me/NT/2k/XP, DOS Screenshot Freeware S&M is a pretty efficient CPU stress-test, which also includes memory tests. 3DMark2001SE Windows 98/SE/ME/2000/XP Screenshot Free Limited Version Highly recomended to run in loop mode to ascertain if your system, mainly your GPU and CPU, can handle the stress of graphics intensive applications. rthdribl v.1.2 Windows 98/SE/ME/2000/XP Screenshot Free An intensive graphics Real-Time High Dynamic Range Image-Based Lighting program that is very good for testing GPU stability. It is very sensitive for showing artifacts. OCCT All Versions of Windows screenshot Free A good stability testing program that includes a torture test that can generate a lot of heat. Monitoring These programs can monitor the effects of overclocking your system, from reporting sudden spikes in power usage or temperatures to automatically shutting down your system if a fan or other cooling device fails. Most monitor CPU and other temperatures, voltages, fan speeds and other system changes, provided your motherboard has sensors. CPU Monitor All versions of Windows. Note - Does not support dual core systems Freeware This program records and reports detailed information on CPU load and usage. Motherboard Monitor Supports most motherboards - Motherboard list. Screenshot Freeware Undoubtedly the most popular monitoring program, this is a must have application; it has a large selection of options and features that allows complete awareness of one's system. For a more detailed description of the many features this program offers and the compatibility with other sensors and programs please visit their site. SpeedFan Windows 9x, ME, NT, 2000, 2003 and Windows XP Screenshot Freeware SpeedFan is a freeware program that monitors fan speeds, temperatures and voltages in computers with hardware monitor chips. SpeedFan can even access S.M.A.R.T. info for those hard disks that support this feature and show hard disk temperatures, if supported. Miscellaneous CpuIdle Extreme All versions of Windows Screenshot $30 This program helps keep your processor cool by running and HLT command that suspends the operation of any CPU operations. It also can be used in power-saving mode, and lets you monitor cooling times and CPU idle times. It is compatible with Motherboard Monitor. CPU-Z All Versions of Windows, supports dual core systems Screenshot Freeware This program gathers information about all aspects of your system and can display many different bits of information. It is also useful to confirm the speed of CPU is running after overclocking. Screen shots from CPU-Z are often used when displaying your overclock information on the internet. A64Tweaker For Athlon 64 Processors only! Screenshot Freeware This program lets users adjust their A64's memory controller registries. FOR ADVANCED USERS ONLY! ClockGen For Nforce4 and Nforce3 systems only. Screenshot Freeware This is a series of programs that allow users to overclock their CPU, memory, and APG and PCI bus "on the fly." Nvidia nTune For Nforce Chipset Mobo's only! Screenshot Free This utility offers a wide range of options from tweaking and customizing many the options available, overclocking, and monitoring your system. Ultimate Boot CD Free Screenshot Contains many useful utilities such as prime95 and can run them without installing Windows. SysTool Windows 2000/XP/2003 (64 bit versions are supported). screenshot Free SysTool is an allround tweak and overclocking utility for enthusiasts that includes a wide variety of options. Norton Ghost All Versions of Windows Screenshot $69.99 Backing up your data is always very important to do before overclocking your system, as during an overclocking session gone sour, data may become corupt and unrecoverable. Motherboard Manufacturer Included Software This software usually allows the user to overclock within Windows without rebooting. While one can get better results overclocking from the BIOS, these programs are usually used by novices due to ease of use and relatively smaller chance of system failure. Abit - uGuru Screenshot Allows for overclocking without rebooting and allows for saving different overclock options in the BIOS. AOpen - Hardware Monitoring Utility and EZClock Screenshot Monitors CPU and system temperatures, fan speeds and voltages, and allows for FSB, voltage, and other overclocking adjustments. ASUS - ASUS PC Probe Screenshot Monitors system temperatures, voltages, and collects other system information. Also sounds audio alarms if temperatures or voltages exceed set limits. Biostar - WarpSpeeder Screenshot Contains overclocking, hardware, and voltage, managers. Chiantech - APOGEE Screenshot Allows users to adjust overclocking settings and monitors temperatures and fan speeds. DFI - SmartGuardian Screenshot Monitors temperatures and voltages and controls fan speeds. EpoX - USDM Screenshot Monitors system temperatures, voltages, and fan speeds. Gigabyte - EasyTune 4 Screenshot Contains monitoring and overclocking settings with novice and advanced modes. Also allows users to set audio alarms when temperatures get to high. Intel - Intel Active Monitor Screenshot Tracks system settings, temperatures, and voltages and allows for notifications of system changes. Leadtek - Speed Gear Screenshot Monitors system information. MS I- MSI PC Alert Screenshot Monitors system information. Soltek - Hardware Monitor and SmartDoc Anti-Burning Shield Screenshot Monitors system information and will alert the user and possibly automatically shut down the system if temperatures or voltages get too high.