First of all I want to compliment the members of this forum, I've seen many other forums in the past and everyone here seems to be very nice and genuinely helpful. I've been lurking around here for a couple months already and finally decided to join.
Now I want to apologize in advance in case this has been brought up before and/or if I'm posting this in the wrong forum. I've been researching builds and am interested in putting a rig together for WoW, video editing (primarily with Sony Vegas) for YouTube and Blender. I'm very much a noob in many ways.
Overclocking, in what situations should you or shouldn't you? Is it purely a personal preference?
Right now I'm leaning towards an i7, should I bother overclocking it for the sake of WoW, Vegas and Blender?
Thanks again and sorry if I messed up with this post.
The current overclockable Sandy Bridge chips (2500k and 2600k) offers incredible OC potential with gains up to 30-40%. That mentioned, it's not without cons. For example, not only will you most likely void your warranty, but the CPU will also draw more power and as a result there is more heat to dissipate. It's very important to keep in mind the risks and of course also follow the mantra: "if I ruin the CPU, I have to pay for a new one" - not only because it is true but because it makes you extra careful.
That being said, pushing a 2500k/2600k to 4.5Ghz is not that difficult and can be done by most users given a decent heatsink and motherboard. If you decide to get for example the i7 2600k my recommendation would be to first bring it up to a 4.0Ghz overclock and take it from there. You will most likely not have to fiddle with the vCore with such minor overclock, but it still gives a neat increase in performance and also gets your feet wet and familiarize yourself with the BIOS. From there you can decide if you want to push it further. Keep in mind to take small steps each time and only jump by 100Mhz and regularly check for stability and temperatures.
WoW won't require you to overclock at all. The benefits of overclocking with modest-level gaming is that it can add 6 to 12 months of performance to your build. Unless you just want to push your computer to the limit, it is a good idea to just run with your stock speed for 1-2 years until the games you play force you to either change parts or overclock, so that you are under the waranty as long as possible.
Sure overclocking will not see a huge gain in current games (there are exceptions of course) but increasing the clock speed will most definitely speed up those render and processing times when you do your video edits.
Marest, I'll be upgrading from an i3 on a Dell laptop so I figure it'll be quite a jump in performance as it is. I'm leaning towards Butterland's recommendation and overclocking it after a while, at which point I'll do as you advised and take small steps with it. Thanks again!