What is Overclocking? Computer enthusiasts and gamers sometimes overclock their CPU's, this is a method by which, a CPU if forced to run at higher megahertz or speed than the speed that it was rated for. For example say you have an AMD Athlon 1.0 GHz, but you are running it at 1.3 GHz, then you would be overclocking this CPU by 300 megahertz more than it was rated. This can be achieved in several ways. You can increase the motherboard bus speed (for more info on bus speeds, see
Computer Training , motherboards).
Some common bus speeds are 66,100,133,166mhz, or you can increase the CPU multipliers, which range from 1x all the way up to 14x or more. In the example above, one way you could arrive at a megahertz or CPU speed of 1000mhz or 1.0ghz is having a multiplier of 10 x a bus (also known as front side bus) speed of 100. 10 x 100 = 1000.
In order to overclock, you would do one of two things,
1. Increase the multiplier to 13. 13 x 100 = 1300. Or,
2. Increase the bus to 133mhz. 10 x 133 = 1330.
In order to accomplish this there are still a few details we must go over. First you must have a mainboard that will allow you to change the bus speed and a CPU that is not locked. If the CPU is locked, this means it will not allow you to change the multiplier. Some times it is possible to unlock certain processors by creating a jumper (shorting a circuit, which is like turning a switch on or off) on the processor, but this is tricky because processors are so small. The other thing to take into account is heat, whenever you increase the megahertz you also increase the amount of heat built up by your processor, so you may need to get a better CPU fan, some enthusiasts even resort to water cooling.
I'm often asked what the fancy gauges are for on the front of some of the computers we sell, they are temperature gauges and fan speed controllers, which are useful to overclockers. If you do not cool your processor adequately, you may fry it, even with proper cooling, overclocking may shorten the life of your CPU. So why do it, you may ask, for some people its fun, its like souping up your car. Plus slower speed processors are less expensive, so you can get more bang for your buck. So, do it or not, its your choice.
Overclock Intelligence Agency has lots of great reviews of custom computer cases and other modding gear. The site is definately worth a look if you are thinking about overclocking your PC.
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