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Overclock Everything, part one

Feature: Day one - overclocking your CPU

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2. Lingo varies hugely from BIOS to BIOS, so you'll need to scour for the screen dealing with CPUs and front side buses. It could be called 'Advanced', it could be 'CPU settings', it could be 'Guacamole'. Whatever, it'll refer to processor frequency, speed or clock.


3. So if you're super rich or lucky, you'll be able to alter the option called 'multiplier.' Raising this raises the clock speed, and nothing else in the system. You'll see another figure called external clock or front side bus - the CPU's speed is this multiplied by the, er, multiplier.


4. Most likely you can't alter the multiplier though, so external clock, aka bus, is the one to raise. Stick it up 10MHz; the same maths applies, so ultimate clock speed still = external clock x multiplier. Note that your RAM speed goes up as the bus does, though.


5. There'll be another BIOS option for memory, possibly referred to as DRAM. You should lower the clock speed of this to the minimum available; if there's no option to do so, you may need to change an option called something like 'timing' from automatic to manual.


6. You can now gradually raise the external clock by 10MHz at a time, booting into Windows and running a stability test such as CPU burn-in ( to make sure you haven't overdone it. Repeat until the PC won't boot or crashes.


7. If the PC won't boot, you need the CMOS reset. This is either a small button or a moveable jumper (tiny irritating plastic thing that slips over a couple of metal pins) that restores the BIOS to default settings - you'll need to refer to the motherboard's manual to locate it.


8. Now re-overclock the bus to the highest speed you've proved works. Then take the RAM speed to one tier or 10MHz higher than the minimum. If the PC crashes, lower the bus. Rinse and repeat, until you've found a middle-ground where both run as fast as possible.

In part two we'll look at overclocking memory.

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