CPU Over Clocking
Date Article Written: July 23, 2000
Written By: Mark Torres
So you have a need for speed huh? You could go out and buy a
new processor, or you could simply over clock your existing one. Well that is
all well and good, once you consider a few things. One, over clocking your
processor creates more heat, which is bad for the chip. Two, over clocking will
more than likely void any kind of warranty you have on your hardware, not just
your CPU but also your motherboard. You also have to think about the rest of
your system. Can your RAM and motherboard handle a higher Front Side Bus, and
what about everything else, like the PCI and AGP bus speeds, they increase too.
All and all, you just need to think before you act, and remember you're not just
changing one thing, you're affecting your whole system in one way or another,
and you must be sure you can computer can handle it. Now with all this in mind
lets get started.
You need to understand how your CPU speed is determined before
you can boost it up. Two things determine how fast your CPU speed is. The Front
Side Bus (FSB) is the speed in MHZ that your computer communicates with the rest
of the system and your clock multiplier. To get your total CPU speed, you
multiply the FSB times the clock multiplier, which equals CPU speed. For
example, a Celeron 300a has a 66mhz bus speed, and a 4.5 multiplier. 66 x 4.5 =
300. 300 MHZ is my CPU speed. So to increase the actual speed of the system we
have to change on of the two variables. The multiplier can't be changed, so we
have to change the Front Side Bus.
Changing the front side bus is pretty easy. Enter your
computers setup program, or BIOS. To get there, reboot your computer and look
for something that says "Press F2 to enter SETUP" or "Press DEL
to enter SETUP." Press the key that applies, and you should end up in your
BIOS. Once in, look around until you find an option that lets you change your
FSB, System Bus or Clock Speed. They are all the same thing, and should be
between 66 and 133mhz. So with the capability of your RAM and Motherboard in
mind, increase your speed, and multiply it by the multiplier to get you new CPU
speed. To get your multiplier, if it is not listed in your BIOS under the FSB, I
would go to the manufacturer's web site who made my CPU and look it up there.
The highlighted option in the picture is an example of what the
FSB setting looks like in the BIOS.
WAIT!!! I don't have that option in my BIOS. Ah, no big deal,
that just means you have jumpers on your motherboard. A jumper is a small
plastic clip that slides over two or more metal pins that close an open circuit
to set and option, or complete a task. Almost like a switch. Open your case and
look on the motherboard for jumpers that let you set a different FSB or even a
multiplier. Depending on the maker of the board, you can change one or the
other, both or neither. To get a full list of what jumpers do what, check out
the manufacture's web site, or look at the little white writing on the
motherboard. If you don't find jumpers, and cant configure your BIOS to that
extent then it is possible that you can't over clock your CPU. Intel
motherboards are known for not letting you over clock where on the other hand
EPOX makes probably one of the most configurable boards on the market. It just
depends what kind of hardware you have.
Of course there is one more option, you can download a program
known as SoftFSB from H.Oda. (www.h-oda.com) This nifty windows program allows
you to change the FSB in real time, and supports several boards that wouldn't
allow you to overclock otherwise. It also allows more FSB speeds on some boards
than you could achieve using the BIOS or by jumpers. However you must realize
that this program isn't a permanent change to your system, and it must be run
every time windows starts up, fortunately there is an option in the program to
automatically load on windows startup.
For Mark's next article,
he is going to write on keeping your over clocked CPU cool...
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