The first thing to do when planning an overclock is to do your research. I can't stress this point enough. If you are new to overclocking, I suggest that you give our Beginner's Guide to Overclocking a read. Even the "professional" overclockers among us often find ourselves doing a fair share of research. Remember, Google is your best friend.
Once you feel like you have a pretty good understanding of what is going on, the next thing to do is consider your components. In my case, I purchased the motherboard and CPU on a budget and didn't plan to overclock from the beginning, so I will just have to tough it out. But as you will see in the end, a budget system can oftentimes clock higher than more expensive setups.
The next three components are perhaps considered the most important factors when overclocking. When you overclock, it usually becomes necessary to increase the voltage supplied to the CPU. This, in turn, accompanied with the faster clock speed, generates more heat. For serious overclocking, the stock AMD OEM heatsink simply has to go.
In my case, I turned to one of the best heatsink manufacturers, Thermalright. I was fortunate enough to review their XP-90 heatsink, which can be read here.
With cooling no longer a concern, the next component to consider is the power supply. So many people overlook the power supply when experiencing system instability. I have seen it time and time again.
The amount of power that you need from your power supply will vary according to your system components (how many hard drives you have, what video card you have, number of PCI cards, etc). There are a few general rules of thumb to follow when shopping for a power supply. First, check the weight of the power supply. Heavier power supplies equal higher quality. If the power supply is feather-light, keep searching. Next, try to stick with a well-known name brand. Antec, Enermax, Ultra, etc. all make great power supplies. Of course, you will pay a little more money for a quality power supply, but hey, you get what you pay for. In my case, I will be using an Aspire Chameleon 550 watt power supply, reviewed here.
The Chameleon performed well in our testing, and even better, will only set you back about $75 or so. To date, I have had no problems at all with this power supply.
Continue ahead as we look at the final building block for a good overclock: RAM.