Trope-a-Day: Explosive Overclocking

Explosive Overclocking: Played straight with nanotech devices, including both assemblers and nanocomputers (which make up a large number of the processors out there).  One of the chief limitations on nanotech devices is the problem of heat dissipation from such tiny machines, and the limitations on the ways there are to work around it, like reversible computing.

But this being the case, you can sometimes get more temporary performance out of your nanostuff by disabling the thermal protection limiter or skip-cycling some of the thermal waits, and other such dubious techniques – assuming that the extra heat is survivable (don’t try this trick with in-body nano), and that it doesn’t explode – because, yes, this heat buildup is often quite literally explosive – before you get what you want out of it.

In any case, unless it saved an awfully significant amount of stuff or people, expect people to call you an idiot afterwards.  Maybe even if it did.

But in general, things have documented never-exceed limits for a reason, and since the Imperials are in the habit of trusting people not to be idiots, the never-exceed limits are the real never-exceed limits.  As we said under Instant Cooldown, stay under the red line.

(Especially, I hasten to add, if you’re using any of those nifty brain modifications, neural implants, or autonomic-systems-under-conscious-control features to overclock your body.  Yes, maxing out the adrenal ramp on a standard baseline can let you throw a car.  It will also, at the same time, let you break a couple of bones and tear gods only know how many muscle fibers and ligaments doing it.  So unless it’s an emergency, pay attention to what the warning systems are saying, people.)

((While I personally don’t think it should, the highly specific way in which one can bugger the circuitry of an off-the-shelf powercell, causing the superconducting loops to stop superconducting and the whole thing therefore to turn into a small but effective grenade, may also count.  Seeing as the equivalent from the Vorkosigan ‘verse is listed, belike.))

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