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Socket-A Overclocking Guide


FSB overclock vs. multiplier overclock

As mentioned earlier, you can overclock your processor by either increasing the FSB, increasing the clock multiplier, or by doing both. So is there a performance difference between a pure FSB overclock and a pure multiplier overclock?   The answer is yes; you will see better performance results with an FSB overclock.  For example, if we had equal systems, one at 100*11 = 1100, and the second at 110*10 = 1100, where would we see the performance change?  In pure CPU calculations, performance would be equal; the difference however would be found when performing tasks that involve all parts of the computer.  By having an increased FSB, this means that your RAM and all PCI/AGP devices will be read from and written to more often.  This increases their performance as well as the processor, which causes the overall system performance increase.  The problem with this is that most RAM and PCI/AGP devices are very sensitive to the clock speed that their buses operate at.  This usually means that only small changes can be made to the FSB before you notice instability caused by an incompatible bus speed.  In summary, an FSB overclock is more system-wide performance enhancing, however it can cause problems that will not be encountered by a multiplier overclock.

The Importance of Cooling

Before you even attempt to overclock your processor, you need to make sure you have a proper cooling equipment.  Even a 50 MHz overclock will increase your core temperature.  You have to be using a quality heatsink and fan combo, and will also need case fans to circulate cool air through your case.  As speeds are increased higher, the temperature will continue to increase.  You will need to monitor temperatures to see how effective your cooling is.  Many motherboards have a built-in temperature sensor.  Temperatures can be read from the BIOS, or you can try software such as Motherboard Monitor by Alex van Kaam.  If you cannot keep your processor cooled, you will not be able to overclock it very much.

A few terms

There are a few terms that I will make reference to throughout the rest of this guide.  The first is POST (Power On Self Test).  This is the self-test process, which includes the video card detection, BIOS version and information detection, clock speed detection, and memory test.  The BIOS controls motherboard functions and settings.  CMOS memory is where BIOS setting are stored.       

Clearing CMOS

When overclocking, you will inevitably come to a point where you will try to push your processor too far and your computer will not POST and you will get a black screen.  This means that you are going to have to back down your overclock.  The problem is though, that if the computer canít POST, how can you edit the BIOS values?  What you have to do is clear the CMOS memory, which contains the settings that you entered.  To do this, there is a clear CMOS jumper on your board.  Consult your motherboard manual to find itís exact location.  You just have to have the power off, and then move the jumper from the run position to clear, and then put it back into the run position.  Then when you reboot, all of your BIOS settings will be reset to default.  You can then return your BIOS values to the over clocked settings that you had previously entered, but should back them down a bit, or read on to find ways to increase your overclock. 


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