What IS an overclocking?

Always wondered what it was and got no easy explanation about it.

Running a computer part in a higher than stock frequency. That is about it.

Doesn't that make it laggy?

Its pushing you computer to run beyond its normal specifications to achieve higher performance

Basically, every component in a computer has a clock rate. (for ease of explanation let's say 1 clock allows the component to do one thing)

So say something has a clock rate of 100Hz, it can do 100 things in a second.

All components are verified to run at a set clock rate (frequency), so to overclock is to manually increase the timing of said device so it can do more. So your 100Hz component maybe perfectly fine to operate at 120Hz, allowing the component to do 20% more work than what it was specified to do.

Why aren't all components set as high as they can go? Usually because going faster increases the power draw (if more voltage is required) and also increase heat generation. These can be big issues if you are trying to stay within either a power or thermal limit. If the component stays at or near its thermal limit for an extended period of time, you may decrease its overall life span.

Also the MAJOR issue with overclocking, is that a user might end up killing the part. Usually by pushing it too far with either excessive voltage or inadequate cooling for the new heat generation.

I hope this has kinda helped.

How would running a 3.4 Ghz CPU at 4.0Ghz be slower? It is similar to speeding up a conveyor belt at a factory to speed up production. 

Oh ok now I understand 

Thanks for great explanation, wow didn't know it was risky too.