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Determine the main CPU characteristics, usually labeled on the processor. The main parameters include the CPU frequency, the processor-bus frequency, and the supply voltage. It would be helpful to write down these data.
Consider providing intense, or at least adequate, processor cooling.
Power down the computer and enter the BIOS Setup program. (This usually is done by pressing the <Del> key at system startup.)
Enter the main menu that allows you to manage the processor parameters, such as SoftMenu or CPU Frequency/Voltage Settings.
Decide how to overclock the processor, which settings must be changed, and how to make the necessary adjustments.
Following the manual's instructions, change the CPU bus frequency and/or the multiplier value that sets the ratio between clock frequencies of the CPU and its bus.
Save the settings and exit the BIOS Setup program.
If the computer operates normally, which will be shown by successful completion of the Power-On Self-Test (POST) routine and loading of the BIOS Setup (CMOS Setup), proceed to Step 17.
If the computer didn't start successfully, reset the settings. First try to power down the computer several times (usually two or three times), then power it up (after no less than 5 seconds). If the computer started successfully, proceed to Step 15.
If the computer didn't start, reset the complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) settings by disconnecting the jumper on the motherboard.
Remove the case from the system unit and consult the documentation provided for the motherboard.
When working with the opened case of the system unit, avoid static electricity, which can damage sensitive semiconductor elements. It is recommended that you touch the case with your hand before proceeding. It would be even better to hold the case with one hand during your work. Besides this, always try to avoid dropping any objects, especially metallic ones, on the device boards. If an object does fall, remove it immediately. Everything must be done carefully and accurately.
Locate the jumper responsible for resetting the BIOS settings on the motherboard. It usually is close to the CMOS battery, which is responsible for storing parameters set in BIOS Setup. Remove the jumper for two or three seconds, then return it to its initial position.
Power on the computer.
Enter the BIOS Setup program. Try to increase the supply voltage of the CPU and/or the memory. All these operations must be performed according to the instructions provided in the documentation.
After you accomplish these operations, the computer still may not start successfully. If this occurs, forget about overclocking to this specific frequency and try to set other values for the system-bus multiplier instead. If the computer won't start with the values that you have set, you'll need to reset the CMOS settings. Some motherboards do this automatically.
If the operating system has booted correctly, start testing the overclocked computer. The most popular and recommended tests include Winstone, WinBench, SYSmark, and 3DMark. The more tests passed successfully, the better. Modern computer games also are good tests. If you have successfully tested the game, then the CPU overclocking procedure was completed successfully. If this occurs, you can proceed with the optimization and fine-tuning of all other subsystems. (These topics will be covered in the appropriate sections of this book.) Note that some motherboards don't provide independent management of the memory, Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI), and Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) buses on the Front Side Bus (FSB) frequency. For such motherboards, CPU overclocking is done in parallel with that of other subsystems.
If system operation is unstable, either reduce the frequency or increase the voltage as appropriate. (See Steps 15 and 16.)
Do not try to raise the voltage until necessary. Raising the supply voltage increases heat generation. If the cooling facilities remain unchanged, this will increase the CPU temperature. Overheating has a negative effect on the stability of operation and decreases the time before failure. This is why efficient cooling should never be neglected.
When increasing supply voltage levels for each element, always remember: failure may occur if the parameter values exceed the maximal values.
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