Consider "overclocking". Overclocking in the 486 era was marginally useful. Overclocking today belongs in the same category as car stereo loudness competitions.
You're painfully correct. Overclocking used to be about maximizing one's performance/price ratio, to get the equivalent of better hardware for a lower price, the object being to have money left over for other things. It was a rational thing to do!

Now, overclocking is all about who can spend the most money to get the most performance, and the primary rationale for doing it in the first place has completely escaped most of those who participate in the "popular" overclocking movement of today.