In the Forums...
Posted: July 20, 2000
Written by: Dan "Tweak Monkey" Kennedy
What's the Problem? (cont.)
There are way too many possible overclocking problems to cover in one article (or even five or ten articles), so I'm simply going to try to help you solve the some of the most common problems. Once you've decided on the problem, read on into the guide for tips on that specific issue.
Your operating system (Windows, usually) crashes after a period of time (several minutes or more), without running any extremely intensive programs:
If you didn't run any intensive programs, this is most likely a heat issue. Consider lowering the voltage (unless it means sacrificing stability) or better cooling. Read on...
Your operating system crashes immediately after a certain intensive program is run:
If a single game or program crashes your PC immediately after it has been launched, this is usually a sign of a few possible problems. The issue is most likely the CPU itself, but it could be the memory. The CPU is overclocked beyond its limit with the supplied voltage, or the CPU simply cannot go that fast (eek!). Try increasing the voltage as long as it's in the "safe" range. Generally a CPU can withstand a .2 or .3 volt increase (over default) for long periods of time. I generally don't recommend going higher than .3 over the default voltage.
If you're sure it's not the CPU, check to see the speed rating of the RAM in your system. 10 ns SDRAM (PC66) should be good up to around 100 MHz FSB. 8 ns SDRAM (most PC100) should be good up to around 125 MHz FSB. 7 ns SDRAM or faster should be good beyond 133 MHz FSB. Anything beyond those values could result in problems from the memory. Another thing to try would be to set the CAS latency in the BIOS setup to 3 instead of 2 (CAS latency determines how much time the computer allows the RAM to recover between 'column' access). This could solve the problem.
Your PC doesn't even turn on (maybe it turns on, but the monitor doesn't receive a signal) once it's been overclocked, or it can't get past the BIOS:
This is one of the most frustrating problems for newbies, because they seem to think their PC is toast when it won't respond to the keyboard or it won't even display video. But hey, we all learn the hard way when it comes to these sorts of problems. To recover the original clock speed, you'll need to do one of the following: 1) Find the jumper on your motherboard that resets the CMOS configuration, 2) Find the key on the keyboard that resets the clock speed, or 3) Re-jumper the CPU for a more stable speed on the motherboard or slocket. If you need to find the key or the jumper that resets the clock speed (usually for software CPU configuration), consult the manual. This is different on just about every motherboard.
Now that you know how to fix the problem by returning to default values, you probably want to know how to make the old value stable, right? Well, if it doesn't even receive a video signal, it could be either the CPU is not getting enough voltage (remember, .2 or .3 volts over the default is about the maximum I recommend), or the memory may not be up to it. Make sure your memory can handle such a high FSB speed on another PC if possible. Heat probably isn't an issue at this point since this is immediately after you start the PC.