|"I've never overclocked anything ever... is it safe and easy?"|
Yes, It is safe if you know what your doing. As far as it being easy? I would have to say no but it's not rocket science either.
"Does it require changing settings from ur comp, or physically doing something to it?"
Yes it requires changing multiple settings in the motherboards BIOS but it is also dependant on the type of CPU/MEM used. As far as physical changes, you may need to change out a stock cooling fan and heatsink for a better one, Or even goto a water cooling setup. Those are things you may or may not have to do. It all depends on how far your going to overclock.
"I may go with the 3000+ then... but will my gaming experience be hindered if I don't overclock it?"
I dont know if the multiplier Is locked on that CPU but i am going to assume that it is. If thats the case, Then your overclocking is limited and the gains you see from OC'ing are minimal if any.
"will the game take longer to load between "levels", etc)."
Load times for games aren't very dependant on clock speeds (assuming that your not running a P1) but instead rely more upon amount of system memory for quicker load times. Second in line for load times would be the speed/type of hard drive used.
Example: I would rather have config 2 over config 1 when game load times mattered to me.
1. 2x256 of DDR 3200 (400 mhz)
2. 2x512 of DDR 2700 (333 mhz)
Clock speeds are virtually irrelavent in this scenario.
My own computer use's an AMD 2600 moblie wich has an unlocked multiplier (making it mobile) and i have overclocked it by a considerable amount.
Stock CPU speeds: 2000 GHZ / 266 FSB
Overclock result: 2600 GHZ / 430 FSB
As you can see my results are substantial and do yield a good boost in gaming performance. especially when you consider my video card is a 6800 ultra and needs all the cpu power it can get.
Have the lambs stopped crying Clarice?