In the Forums...
Posted: October 1, 2000
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
Keyboarding Like the Greats
No, I'm not talking about a MIDI-capable synthesizer (even though I do have one of those, and it is a peripheral device…); I'm talking about your typing keyboard. You know, the one that I'm using to type these words into the computer. Believe it or not, there is actually a BIOS tweak for your keyboard - and the tweak effectively overclocks it (only AT and PS2 keyboards though, USB ones are totally independent…). The KBC Input Clock setting is the speed at which the Super I/O chip (that's the motherboard's built in keyboard/mouse controller) processes data from the keyboard. Normally, this is set to a default rating of 8 MHz (on some computers it could also be 4 MHz or 12 MHz), but it can be cranked up as high as 16 MHz - and seeing that it doesn't do any harm (I've never heard of ANYONE having problems with this tweak), I would recommend setting up as high as possible.
The other BIOS keyboard settings (Typematic repeat delay, etc) are all handled within Windows, so unless you spend a lot of time in DOS I'd ignore them. Setting them in Windows is easier anyway. You simply go to the Keyboard applet in the control panel, and from in there you can set the character repeat delay (how long it takes to start repeating letters once you start holding down the key) and how fast the characters are spit out after it starts (commonly know as the repeat rate). There's even a little slide bar in there that controls how fast the cursor blinks.
Freakin' Tweakin' Sound
You might be wondering what in high holy hell I'm talking about here. Speakers, as everyone knows, are OUTPUT devices, not INPUT devices. And you're right, but I'm not talking about speakers. No sirie, I'm not - I'm talking about microphones. Yes, those dangly little things that come with your computer that make you sound like your cat. But that is the very thing that I'm going to change - and lucky for us, it isn't even that hard.
Now, I have Windows Me, so some of this is going to be slightly different for you Win9x folk (you don't have a tab dedicated especially to voice capture) but for the most part this is all the same. Go into the Multimedia applet (Sounds and Multimedia applet in WinMe) and click on the audio tab. There is a section in there called sound recording - click on the advanced. Advanced microphone settings will pop up. You will want to set hardware acceleration to full, and sample rate conversion quality to best. This will give you the best audio quality without much of a performance hit. Users with WinMe will also want to follow the same steps under the voice tab, and then will probably want to run the 'Voice Test' program to make sure everything works and sounds great.
However, this is not all you can do to improve the performance of your microphone - there are also a few settings in the volume control. If you go into the volume control and click on the microphone's advanced button (assuming you have advanced options enabled in the options menu), you will probably have a setting called Mic Gain (+20dB). Enabling it will make your microphone a bit louder - which can help with some microphones.