Section 3: How to maintain stability and fix problems
System instability after overclocking can be
caused by all sorts of things. It might be that the processor needs a little more voltage than it is getting, or
it is running too hot and is overheating, the PCI/AGP speeds are too fast for your cards to handle, the memory
or hard drive is clocked further than it can handle.
Out of these problems, the last two are the hardest to deal with unless you have a new motherboard which can run
the PCI and Memory buses at a speed less than the FSB speed. In most cases, the only way to rectify the problem
is to take the FSB speed (and therefore CPU speed) back down to somewhere closer to standard. You can fiddle with
memory settings, hard drive settings, cache latency, etc and these can rectify the problem.
But each is a separate article and they are not covered by this document as each subject needs to be discussed
|The other problems are easier to assess: heat, and lack
of voltage. If the processor is running too hot, then it needs a greater airflow around the heatsink. This can
be done with the addition of a couple of fans in the case. As each case is different, this is not a set rule. Personally,
I would have a large fan (8 inch) at the bottom front of the case sucking air into the case, a medium size fan(4
inch) at the top (either above or below the CD-ROM drive), and a medium sized (4 inch) fan at the rear of the case
sucking air out of the case. If there was space I would like to have another fan at the rear of the case, again
withdrawing air from the case. A cheaper solution can be to remove the side of the case. Whilst not helping with
the sexy looks of your mean machine, it is supremely effective at helping air circulation.
If the system is unstable because of lack of voltage, then the answer is pretty simple: give it more volts! Just
remember the 20% rule of thumb, and make sure you have the system well cooled. Before adjusting the voltage, you
should have much more cooling in place than you'll ever need. I'm not saying that you'll need 2 intake fans, 2
exhaust fans, and a Golden Orb heatsink for your processor if you're adding 0.1v to the processor, but make sure
it doesn't get too hot. If the heatsink and fan is feeling "warm", then it's okay. If it's "hot",
then it is probably too hot. If it's too hot to touch, then it is too hot. The easiest way for me to describe
how hot is okay is with a warm drink. Assuming you don't boil the kettle and gulp down your drink, then if it's
too hot to drink it's too hot for your processor. Go make a mug of coffee, 2 sugars and milky. Thanks! Got any
More seriously, make a coffee. Leave it to stand for around 15 minutes. That is how hot your processor should get
(roughly). Cooler is always better but if you're happy with your speed and it's around that heat, you're
probably okay. Hotter than that and you really should take a look at intake/exhaust fans.
Section 4: Conclusion
And that's about it. As I said, it is by no means the definitive guide to overclocking but iit touches most areas
associated with overclocking and gives you some ideas (hopefully). I have overclocked a few systems, all successful
apart from a Cyrix 300, but then again if you wanted performance you wouldn't have a Cyrix, right?
My processors have been (in order):
Intel P75 clocked to 100, standard voltage and cooling
Intel Pentium II 233 clocked to 263, standard voltage and cooling
AMD K6-II 400 clocked to 550, 2.5v, big heatsink
Intel Celeron 300a clocked to 522mhz, 2.3v, big heatsink, 1 intake and 1 exhaust fan
My next processor will probably be an Intel Celeron II 533. These still run on a 66.666MHz bus but the cores are
out of the new Pentium III 'Flip-Chips', which are designed for 900MHz or so. 533 / 66.666 = 8. 8 * 100 = 800MHz
Hope this has helped to get you interested in Overclocking. I'm most certainly hooked on it, and have probably
spent more on cooling than I would have done on a new processor. But it's been fun! And a mild amount of
overclocking can be free, and easily done, with no problems whatsoever.
Good luck and share your stories/experience with everyone else in the Forums.