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[ The PC Guide | System Optimization and Enhancement Guide | Overclocking: The Dissenting Opinion | Introduction to Overclocking ]

How is Overclocking Done? Does It Always Work?

The actual steps involved in overclocking are fairly simple, actually. It's not hard to do, on the surface, which is probably why there are so many people who go around oversimplifying the effort involved in the overall process. Well, it's easy if you are lucky, and not so easy if you are not. Whether you succeed or not is as much a matter of luck as it is of skill, no matter what anyone tells you. There are tricks you can use to make overclocking succeed in some cases, but there are chips that just will not overclock no matter what you do. Even if your neighbor's Pentium 200 overclocks to 225, this doesn't mean that yours will, even if you bought them from the same shop.

Since the speed of the hardware is controlled by the jumper settings, to overclock you "simply" change the jumper settings on the motherboard. In reality, a Pentium 133 doesn't "know" that it is a Pentium 133. It only responds to the clock signals and settings it sees coming from the motherboard. If you have a Pentium 133 and want to overclock it to Pentium 166, you "pretend" that it is a 166 and jumper the motherboard that way. If you are lucky, it will work. If you aren't, it won't work (or worse). There are also various techniques that can be used to increase the likelihood of the overclock working. These usually focus around improving the cooling level of the PC.

What makes matters complicated is that whether or not overclocking works is not always easy to determine at first. Many people change their jumpers, boot up the system, see that it works, and conclude "success". Then they try to start up Windows and find applications crashing left and right.

Next: Origins of Overclocking


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