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Computers and Overclocking

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posted on Sep, 17 2011 @ 11:59 PM
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First, a bit of history and knowledge is needed. The processor (CPU) is the brain of the computer. It's a small chip that controls everything that the computer does. The chip is typically located around the center of the motherboard (That's the big huge piece of plastic with stuff connected to it). You can easily see where it is because there is a heat sink with a fan sitting on top of it. Before you can overclock anything, you must understand how important cooling is. If you overclock and exceed the thermal threshold of the processor, you WILL...I repeat, you WILL DESTROY it.

Here is a pic of a CPU



Now, the heatsink acts as a heat distributer. It soaks up the heat generated by the processor and spreads it all over the heatsink. The fan sitting on top of it blows air into the heatsink to dissipate it into the surrounding air. It is important that any computer have proper ventilation or else the heat will build up inside the tower and cause malfuntions in the various components. You may notice your graphics card (GPU) connected to a slot on the motherboard that also has a fan on it. Ignore this for now. I will go into detail about overclocking the GPU later.

Here is a pic of a heatsink and fan



If anyone has ever wanted big performance from their computer, then I suggest you invest in very large cooling systems. The higher you clock the CPU, the hotter it will run. Another thing to understand is that no matter how high you clock the CPU, it will only affect your PC performance if the rest of your system can match it's speeds. If you have low end RAM and GPU then don't expect too much of a performance increase.

A few terms to understand.

BUS
The bus is used to refer to a specific section of the mother board. Different piece of the motherboard have different designations based on what the interface with.

FSB=Front side bus
The front side bus is the main communication port between the RAM and the Processor. The processor speed is determined by the CPU multiplier. Meaning the cpu runs at X speed depending on how many times the front side bus is multiplied. Most low to middle end computers will have a frontside bus of between 133 and 200 mhz. Therefore. if your CPU was running at 3.0 Ghz, then the multiplier will be 15. (based on 200)

This is important to know because you can overclock your CPU in one of two ways. You can enter the system bios before boot and increase the actual operating frequency of the FSB, which in turn will turn up the frequency of the processor. OR, you can make the multiplier higher. Although, I DO NOT recommend messing with the multipliers. You can make a huge jump in speed and burn your processor up very quickly.

BSB=Back Side Bus
Not to be confused with the South Bridge on a PC. The BSB connects the RAM to the Memory cache and is not an integral part of the overclocking process

South Bridge
The South Bridge on the motherboard is what connects all the secondary interface peripherals to the central processing unit. Audio, Video, USB, mouse, keyboard, IDE, Sata etc. Not important to the overclocking process.

And finally, the process of overclocking.

First, get a program called CPUID, or CPU-Z. This program does nothing except monitor the various components of your system. It will give you real-time readouts of CPU, GPU and RAM clock speeds.

Second, do a little research on your processor.For instance, I am currently running the AMD Athlon II x2.
Core stock speed is 2800 mhz. (2.8 ghz)
it can operate at a maximum temperature of 74 degrees celsius safely.
it uses 65 watts of power at 0.9-1.4 volts safely
its FSB multiplier is 14 at 200 mhz bus speed

To overclock this processor, I could enter system bios by pressing F8 at the first startup screen and enter a new FSB speed. If I were to take the FSB to 233 mhz, I would overclock the processor to 3262 mhz (3.3 GHZ). Easy? Not quite. My processor can safely run between 0.9 and 1.4 volts of power. Adjusting the core voltage will allow me to clock it to 3.3 ghz easy and maybe even higher, but increasing voltage increases the chance you will burn up your processor. Afterall, more power requires what? More power! And more power means more heat. I need to get a much bigger fan and heat sink in order to keep the temperature of the CPU below 74 degrees celsius. The system bios will also give you readouts on current operating temperatures.

I could also download a program called AMD Overdrive. It's a software that allows me to overclock my system from within windows. I could also get a program called Nvidia Ntune. But, that software is only compatible with Nforce motherboards. Also, the AMD Overdrive software will only work with AMD processors. If you have an intel processor, you will not be able to use these programs.

There is overclocking made easy for CPU's.

Next we have the RAM.




posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 12:00 AM
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Here is a pic of a stick of RAM




RAM= Random Access Memory.
The Ram is used as a temporary storage device. Similar to the short term memory of humans. The computer will access information from your hard drive and store it in the RAM while the information is in use. When you close a program, the information for the program is wiped from the RAM. The more programs or windows you have open, the more RAM you are using. Similarly, the more you have open, the more your processor has to keep up with. More stuff running=Degrading performance.

The first step to increasing performance in your RAM is by deactivating un-necessary crap that runs in the background of Windows. Disable all Graphic services such as screen animations and the like. Make sure nothing starts up with Windows while it boots. You can do this by going to start and clicking on run and typing in "msconfig". Go to the startup panel and click on disable all and restart.

RAM operates differently than the CPU. Obviously, the more RAM you have, the more you can do. But, the clock speeds of RAM determine how fast it can communicate its information to the FSB and on to the CPU.

Firstly, open that program we download, CPU-Z. Go to the RAM tab see what your ram is. It will display detailed information for each stick of RAM you have. If you have 2 sticks of RAM and one operates slower than the other, then the faster one will under-clock itself to match the slower one.

DDR Ram was originally designed with a system divider ratio of 1:1. meaning that it ran at the same speed as the system FSB. If your Northbridge ran at 200 mhz, then your ram did as well. Therefore, increasing your FSB speed on a system running DDR ram, will subsequently cause your RAM speeds to increase as well. Beware though, there is a limit. For instance, I run DDR 333. If I try to clock my FSB higher than 333 (assuming my processor can handle it) then the RAM will fail because it cannot operate higher than 333.

DDR2 Ram is slightly different. Its speed is determined by a divider. I believe the divider is half of the FSB multiplier. For instance, if your multiplier is 14 then your divider will be 7. So if your CPU speed is 2800 MHZ, then you divide by 7 and that is the clock speed of your DDR2 ram. If I ran DDR2 ram on my computer, I would get a clock speed of 400 MHZ.

DDR3 operates similar to DDR2. Except it has a multiplier on top of the divider. The multiplier is 2 I think. So if your DDR3 ram is clocked at 800 MHZ then your FSB speed would be 400 MHZ. With a divider of 7 then the FSB multiplier is still 14 and resulting CPU speed is still 2800 MHZ.

The main differences between the 3 types of RAM are Operating speeds and Memory latencies.
The Latency time determines how fast or slow information is transferred from the RAMS data blocks into the FSB. DDR RAM has the lowest latency and therefore has the best performance in that case, but the clock speeds and data transfer bandwidth rates are much lower. When DDR2 first released, its performance was terrible in comparison to DDR because of the access latency rates. Since then, memory bandwidth and access frequencies have gotten much bigger.

When looking at latency numbers it is important to understand what the numbers mean. A Row Access Strobe latency of say 14 means that information is transferred into the FSB from the RAM every 14 CPU clock cycles. A cycle is determined by how many oscillations per second happen in a CPU. A CPU clocked at 2.8 GHZ will oscillate at 2,800,000 times per second. The information will transfer from the RAM and into the FSB every 14 cycles or 200,000 times per second.

The same numbers and math can be applied to the Column access strobe (CAS). By reducing the amount of clock cycles needed for each Strobe, you subsequently increase how much data gets into the FSB per second. If you adjust the numbers too low, you will cause the system to crash and overload.

And here we have it. The intimate knowledge that all overclockers should have.
edit on 18-9-2011 by Mr. Toodles because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 12:10 AM
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I'm not into tinkering with computers but I do appreciate the information you put out there for people that are.

I have an idea you might like to try out for fun (or someone else.)

1. Buy and old computer, something not obsolete but something cheap.
2. Buy some dry ice (available in most cities).
3. Strap dry ice to CPU as a heatsink.
4. Overclock to oblivion.
5. Post results.




Im sure this might have been done before, but how about an ATSer give it a go?
edit on 18-9-2011 by boncho because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 12:12 AM
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reply to post by boncho
 


There was a thread recently in Science and Tech forums about the new AMD FX processor (bulldozer). Essentially, that's what they did lol. They cooled the CPU with Liquid Helium and clocked it up to 8.429 ghz. There was even a video included. It was pretty wicked. Also, I had a friend once who actually did have a liquid nitrogen cooling system on his computer. He clocked his quad core up to like 7 ghz
edit on 18-9-2011 by Mr. Toodles because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 12:21 AM
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Its all fun and games...until....you blow up thousands of £$ worth of computer lol


I dont recommend overclocking your computer......unless you have plenty of money, and a good understanding of the processes involved...and also know all the risks involved.

Plenty of people overclock their computers, works fine for a day or two...then it all goes tits up, and you have a case full of junk.



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 12:29 AM
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Originally posted by loves a conspiricy
Its all fun and games...until....you blow up thousands of £$ worth of computer lol


I dont recommend overclocking your computer......unless you have plenty of money, and a good understanding of the processes involved...and also know all the risks involved.

Plenty of people overclock their computers, works fine for a day or two...then it all goes tits up, and you have a case full of junk.


...though there's some truth to that, if you're sensible, and careful about what you're doing, overclocking can produce great results with very little effort.

In addition to everything that has been already stated, I'd like to add...

If you don't have a decent, stable PSU (Power Supply Unit) in your PC, don't even bother attempting to overclock. It won't happen - at least, not in a stable manner. You'll get random reboots, crashes to desktop in games, and... potentially worse. Though it's often not even considered by people building PC's, the PSU is in many respects the most important element. If your PSU sucks, the rest of your PC won't be far behind.

That said...
in terms of overclocking, bigger cooling isn't always better anymore. There are some fantastic liquid cooling kits out there these days that are self-contained and pre-assembled, and those will give you great overclocking headroom with minimal stress... and really low noise levels compared to air cooling.



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 12:39 AM
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reply to post by loves a conspiricy
 


That is precisely why I made this thread. I have had many people ask me about overclocking. Always wanting a fast and simple explanation with a 2 step process to magically make their computer better. I outlined all the technical details so that people know what all is involved with it. What gets effected in which way and so on and so fourth.



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 12:41 AM
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reply to post by Awen24
 


Yes, you are right. I forgot to mention that in the OP. That has happened to me a number of times. Although CPU's typically use a set amount of wattage, if you are going to mess with voltage then the CPU will suck more juice out of each watt. A big PSU is necessary for overclocking purposes



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 12:54 AM
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Everything the OP said + Fish Tank + Mineral Oil =



www.youtube.com...



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 01:20 AM
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Personally I find the best way to learn to overclock is to learn how to build your own PC. That way you have complete knowledge of how all the parts work. I started out learning how to overclock probably like a lot of other people. I looked for "easy way to overclock" on Google and then spent a number of days (months, probably) finding every little detail possible. Then I got started building my own stuff. I'm sure I still have a lot to learn and I've overclocked two of my PCs without issue over the past few years.

If you have a name brand PC, I wouldn't EVER overclock (they build those things with like stock heatsinks, usually bad thermal paste, 0 air flow and one or two fans, and it makes me sad). If you have a custom built PC, I would start by doing research on all the components inside. This thread provides great background information, but there definitely isn't a single "do this and you're good to go!" set of instructions. There's a lot of researching and using Google as a crutch to find what you need to know.

The beauty of figuring out how to build a PC and how to overclock is that when you ARE able to finally put all this knowledge together, it really pays off. I can go on Newegg (there's also Tiger, others) and buy all the necessary parts I need to build a computer; it's incredibly less expensive than buying in a store. And I have massive nerd hatred for Best Buy, but that's another story.

Also, check out Professor Messer (or his website) on Youtube or some comptia A+ books. Yeah, both those are geared towards getting computer certifications, but they go a long way for general knowledge.



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 01:28 AM
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Question. My son has a fairly cheap computer that I had planned on upgrading the parts in for better performance. I upgraded the ram, but realized to late that the graphics card was integrated, realized even later you can't even overclock the darn thing. I bought it under the impression it was an external graphics card and I am kicking myself for not being 100% sure. However, its not the worst graphics card out there. The mmo that he play's is playable but it tends to get laggy which can be annoying. Do you think overclocking the CPU would help, and if I did a slight overclock, would a external fan with the cover off be ok? The power supply in is computer is a 330 or 360 watt if I remember correctly.

BTW I built my own PC. It doesn't help me much with learning how to overclock. Maybe its the way my minds works?
edit on 18-9-2011 by calstorm because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 01:33 AM
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It is really for those who build their own systems.

The idea and motivation behind overclocking is to gain the same performance as the top of the line CPUs for a fraction of the cost.

CPUs are binned from the factory based upon the stable clock speeds they successfully test for during the v&v process.

Not all cpu chips from a silicon wafer test the same.

The higher the cpu runs and is rated the more the manufacturer charges for them.


I have been overclocking for years now using all Intel CPUs without a single system failure and all air cooled.

I use aluminum cases and variable speed cooling fans which has worked well.

Not all motherboards and BIOS even support overclocking though. Neither does most standard memory.

To overclock You need the ability to control your bus speed as well as moderate the bus speeds to video cards and memory to remain within their designed operating specs.

You Also need the ability to control the voltages provided to your cpu & memory for fine tuning and optimization.

Since your video card is essentially a computer itself it too can be overclocked rather easily and what i would recommend for beginners.

As far as throughput and performance is concerned your video card is your main bottleneck so bang for the buck this where you'll reap the most benefits AND you dont require a special bios and motherboard to overclock.

Last but not least your power supply needs to support the necessary current for overclocking or you'll
only create an unstable system especially as clock speeds are raised.

It is fun though when you get it to work because you're getting the performance of an $900. CPU for $200.-$300. and is the primary incentive to building your own systems.




posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 01:42 AM
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I always overclock my older Nforce2 socket 462 motherboards. I am currently running a Shuttle AN35N-Ultra with an Athlon XP3000+ Barton CPU rated @2.10ghz. I have a voltage of 1.725, FSB 227 @2.37ghz. This is a good enough performance increase for me running DUAL Channel PC3200 200 memory @2.5gb, 7-3-3-2.5.
I love the older boards, I have actually had my Soltek SL-NV400-N motherboard with the same CPU up to 237 FSB @2.47ghz.
Just do your overclocking in moderation and you should be ok. The thing I like about some of these 8-10 years old motherboards is you can usually achieve these settings on AIR cooling and if you overclock them a bit you can end up with a faster setup than your neighbors brand new computer he or she spent $500 plus on. I got my board off of craigs list for $20. Good-luck in your overclocking and be patient.



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 01:51 AM
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reply to post by calstorm
 


First off, I would not recommend overclocking with such a small power supply. If you suck too much juice from the PSU, you can easily burn it out. Upgrading the RAM on a video integrated system will often improve overall performance. Most likely the Video shares somewhere around 128 mb of the system RAM. However, you also have the option of putting a new Video card on the PC. All ATX motherboards these days have either a PCI or a PCI-e slot on it. Even though the system manufacturer chose to put an integrated video system on it, the slot should still be there, allowing you the option to install a second video card.



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 01:53 AM
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Originally posted by loves a conspiricy
Its all fun and games...until....you blow up thousands of £$ worth of computer lol


I dont recommend overclocking your computer......unless you have plenty of money, and a good understanding of the processes involved...and also know all the risks involved.

Plenty of people overclock their computers, works fine for a day or two...then it all goes tits up, and you have a case full of junk.


That only happens if you do not stress test and check your CPU temps. If you do not know how to do then, then how are you going to know how to overclock your computer? CPU's are now built with fail safes they will shut down before any real damage sets in.



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 01:54 AM
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Originally posted by Mr. Toodles
reply to post by calstorm
 


First off, I would not recommend overclocking with such a small power supply. If you suck too much juice from the PSU, you can easily burn it out. Upgrading the RAM on a video integrated system will often improve overall performance. Most likely the Video shares somewhere around 128 mb of the system RAM. However, you also have the option of putting a new Video card on the PC. All ATX motherboards these days have either a PCI or a PCI-e slot on it. Even though the system manufacturer chose to put an integrated video system on it, the slot should still be there, allowing you the option to install a second video card.


The PSU will not blow. The computer will just not be stable and be able to stay on. It will shut it self off due to not being able to produce enough power. Not that big of a deal, just turn the overclock and the voltage down and your ready to test.



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 01:54 AM
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reply to post by nh_ee
 


You make a good point. When I was writing this, I didn't have time to get into GPU overclocking. But, I can write it and post here if anyone wants. Or create a new thread, whatever.



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 01:57 AM
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reply to post by calstorm
 


Yes you get what you pay for. Computers are appliances now and are made cheaply in order to force people to buy a new one every couple of years.

Your BIOS will most likely not even support overclocking.

The problem with integrated gpu is as with most laptops the integrated gpu shares system ram with the cpu providing minimal ram to either cpu or gpu and therefore severely limiting performance.

A possible option is to see if you can run an additional video card and disable the integrated gpu.


edit on 18-9-2011 by nh_ee because: bios support



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 01:58 AM
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reply to post by chisisiCoptos
 


My old computer was a Sempron LE-1200 single core. It came stock clocked at 2.1. The highest stable speed I could get out of it air cooled was 2.6 ghz. It ran 2 gb of DDR2. After tinkering with strobe cycles and GPU a little bit, I was able to get it to perform quite nicely, considering I had spent 300 bucks on it 3 years before.



posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 02:04 AM
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reply to post by Mr. Toodles
 


Thank you very much. I could always upgrade the power supply if I needed to, but for some reason I was under the impression I couldn't add another graphics card with an integrated card. Thank you for clearing that up.






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