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Socket-A Overclocking Guide

Written by: enginjon

Written on: April 17,2001


Some of the most frequent questions that I am asked are in reference to the process of overclocking AMD Athlon Thunderbird and Duron processors.  It has become well known that these processors have much potential for overclocking.  Some of you may be asking... What is overclocking?   This guide is intended to explain and introduce you to overclocking in general, and to take you through the entire process of overclocking Socket-A processors.

What is overclocking?

Processors are shipped from the factory set to run at a default clock speed.  The operational clock speed comes from the product of two numbers, the FSB (Front Side Bus) and the clock multiplier (ex. 100MHz * 10 = 1000MHz).  CPU's are designed to work at values of each, and within temperature and voltage values.  Who is there to stop you from changing any of these values?  Overclocking is the process of running your CPU at values/speeds other than the default settings.  By increasing either the clock multiplier or the FSB, you can increase the speed that your processor runs at.  The possibility to purchase a slower processor for less money, then to overclock it to speeds equaling and exceeding more expensive processors, is where the desire for overclocking comes from.  Overclocking does have its limits though.  It is different for every chip; some can run at higher speeds before reaching maximum voltage and temperature barriers. 

Pros and Cons to Overclocking

While the thought of increasing your clock speed is intriguing, it is not guaranteed.  Default speeds are set where they are to provide solid performance at a standard voltage, and to keep the operating temperature of the processor under a safe level.  By increasing the clock speed above the designed limit, the internal transistors are switching on and off faster, and thus creating more heat.  Too much heat will cause performance degradation, and permanent damage. 


Higher clock speeds and performance for less money

Capability to be running faster than any production processor available

Bragging rights with your buddies

Fun way to tweak and personalize your system



Processor will run at higher temperature

Need for more cooling

Possible system instability

Could permanently damage your processor and render it useless

Will point out weak parts of system, which you will then be compelled to upgrade


Page 2 - FSB & multiplier overclock








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