by February 6, 2002 0 comments

Overclocking accomplishes what all computer users want: a faster computer at no additional cost. While even video cards can be overclocked, this article deals only with overclocking CPUs. But, do note that overclocking can lead to burnt CPUs or malfunctioning components, and no processor manufacturer endorses the activity. However, with adequate precautions you can safely overclock your system.

The speed of a processor is calculated using the formula Speed (MHz) = FSB * clock multiplier. Nowadays most multipliers are locked and cannot be changed. The other factor in the equation, the FSB, can thankfully still be played around with. This FSB setting can be found in your BIOS setup. Changing your FSB frequency also makes the AGP and PCI bus run out of spec, so be careful not to change it by too large a value. Most new Celeron and Duron processors run at a default FSB of 100 MHz, whereas PIIIs and Athlons run at 133 MHz. A 10-15 percent increase is mostly viable, and some processors even manage a 25 percent increase with some additional cooling.

If your computer ever stalls during boot up or the monitor appears blank after rebooting, it usually means that your current settings are too high. In such a situation, clear your BIOS by removing its battery from the mother- board for a couple of seconds (see Reset your BIOS, page 56).

Cooling plays a vital role, especially if you are overclocking your CPU. So make sure your heatsink and fan are of good quality, and enable hardware monitoring in your BIOS if it supports the feature. Finally, if you have the money, there are other solutions like Peltier and water coolers in the market.

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