This blog is a part of a blog on Optimizing CPU Performance, found here.
Windows Experience Index: Windows 7 uses a concept of base-scores to give you an idea of how up to date your hardware is. A very low base score signifies that you have old/slow hardware and it's better to upgrade it. Read how to see your base score and more about it here.
Over-clocking: If you are really hungry for more processing muscle without spending any cash, you can take help of over-clocking. In layman terms; the companies which manufacture processor chipsets and graphic cards put a bottle neck on how fast their products perform. This is because using them at full capacity (especially for long) can cause over-heating and hence damage the hardware.
This bottle neck can however be removed. A few companies offer over-clocking options in the BIOS. There are other software’s available which can be used if BIOS doesn't provide these options. I wouldn't recommend any though, as none guarantee protection from adverse effects. If you really want to over-clock, it’s better that you buy a more effective cooling unit to replace the stock one.
Don’t even think about OCing a laptop, unless you want fried legs. (your legs, not the chickens)
Once again, this should ONLY be practiced if you are 110% sure about it, because unlike registry tweaks, this can actually cause irreversible damage to your hardware.
All the warnings aside, a well-informed, advanced user can find the right balance between power and over-heating. Once that’s done, viola! You got the performance of a costlier chip at no extra cost!
A Care from your side!: Quite basic, but when it comes to the building of high rises, the building blocks matter. You must use a UPS, since voltage fluctuation can damage the hardware and power cuts might create errors on hard disk. Subsequently, direct switching off the UPS frequently might reduce efficiency of the PC, apart from the loss of unsaved data.