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How to Overclock a Computer and Maintain Rock-hard Stability [Part 2/2] (Page 1/4)

Posted: January 26, 2000
Written by: Keith "Farrel" McClellan

Click here to read Part 1 of this How To guide.

The Overclocking Process

Wow, we've finally gotten to the meat and potatoes of this guide - the actual process of overclocking your processor. Well, shall we begin?

The first step in this process is determining what steps you will need to take to overclock your system properly. For the sake of some minor brevity, I will assume you are using an Intel Celeron/PII/PIII processor and a BX motherboard of some kind. These systems are the ones that are most commonly overclocked, and besides, overclocking the Athlon takes more than a little technical know-how, it also requires quite a bit of manual coordination. I will also assume you will only be using some form or relatively simple passive air cooling, as opposed to a Peltier or similar unit.

For an Intel based system, the first thing to check is whether or not you can configure the processor speed and internal voltage within the BIOS. Most newer motherboards, as well as most older ABIT boards, support "jumperless" configuring. If you are lucky enough to have such a system, your job is simple. All you need to do is raise the processor speed to what you want, change the voltage if necessary, and you're gold. If you have to deal with the jumpers, however, you've got a chore for yourself.

To change the computer's settings using jumpers, you are going to need your motherboard manual, or a copy of a jumper map for the particular model of motherboard. Using the jumper maps, determine the proper settings for the wanted processor speed and core voltage. Then move the jumpers on the motherboard so that they match the jumper map. To do this, you may need a pair of tweezers and a pen light.

Woo-hoo, congratulations, now your system is overclocked. But wait, that was too simple - what gives? Why did I write this huge guide about overclocking if the steps were easy as 1-2-3? Well, we aren't quite done yet.

The next step in this process is to attempt to start up your computer. The first test is seeing whether or not the computer will post. Posting is the process of the computer initializing the BIOS and loading up the system settings. If your computer won't even do this, there is almost no chance you will ever get it to run at the configured speed. Go back and lower the processor speed and try again.

If the computer did post, however, but it won't boot up Windows, you may want to try going back and upping the chip's core voltage. Take this as a word of advice though, make sure that you don't raise the core voltage too much - generally no higher than 0.3 V above default. If you go much higher than this, you run a serious chance of permanently damaging your computer.

Assuming your computer starts to boot Windows, but crashes before the system begins to settle down, you have two options as to how to deal with the crash. You can either go back and change the system's core voltage or you can add more cooling. That may include adding more case fans, installing a larger and more powerful fan/heatsink combo, or both. At this point, if you are able to do both, you may even be able to reach a higher speed.

Ok, your computer boots. Great! But you aren't out of the dark yet, because you still have to check and see if the system is completely stable.

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