How to Overclock Your PC

As the focus of computing continues to be on speed, more and more people are looking towards getting every bit of get up and go out of their PC. Yes, you can always just go out and buy the most expensive rig you can afford. However, with just a few simple steps you can overclock your CPU to make your PC run much faster. The good thing is that you don't have to be a computer expert to perform a basic CPU overclock-and you don't have to risk frying your system.

Now, for our purposes, we will be focusing on a basic, modest CPU overclock. Thus, if you are a computer guru/overclock expert looking to push your system to the brink, it is very likely that you will not get much out of this piece. However, if you are one of the many that know enough about computing and wanting to take a "baby step" into the hallowed ground of the computer "power user"-albiet safely-then read on.

Each CPU has what is called a clock multiplier and a base clock (bclock). (Note that with Core 2 Duo and AMD processors the base clock is called frontside bus).

So, for example, if the multiplier is set at 20x and the bclock is set at 133mhz, then you get 2,660 Mhz for base speed. If we want to increase the speed, we must first go into the Bios and slowly increase the bclock. For a Core i cpu with a base of 2.6 Ghz with a 20x multiplier, I can safely bump up the bclock to 150Mhz without running into problems. That is a 3,000Mhz or 3.0Ghz speed. We won't worry about increasing the multiplier, partially because some processors don't allow it and mostly because we want to keep it simple.

With Core 2 Duo or AMD processors, you can execute roughly the same settings. However, AMD CPUs have a couple more things that you have to look out for

The main thing is to be careful that you do not increase the north bridge speed and/or HyperTransport speed. Sometimes, these will automatically increase as you bump up the frontside bus (bclock), so you might have to go back and reset them manually. Be sure you record their starting values as a point of reference before changing anything.

With all CPUs, you will definitely have to check voltage levels if you are performing a significant overclock. A good point of reference is, of course, to search the web for specifics on your type of chip. There are a good many forums available, and we have found the majority of posters to be very open with their advice on overclocking a particular chip. A few good ones to mention are hard forums, tech, and Toms hardware. Chances are, you will find someone who has performed an overclock on your PC's CPU and hardware.


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