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[ The PC Guide | System Optimization and Enhancement Guide | System Optimizations and Enhancements ]

Using the System Optimizations and Enhancements

Some of the techniques described in this section involve making changes to settings that control the most important components of your PC. If this is not done properly, strange results or data loss could result. Rarely, component damage may result from some extreme setup changes, or data loss even from a change that is normally benign. This is not typical, but it is possible, which is why this warning is here.

I would recommend strongly that you do the following before proceeding:

  • Read the Site Warnings: Please read the general warnings that apply to the whole site.
  • Back Up Your Data: I discuss the reasons why in some detail here. There is the potential for data loss at any time that you are dealing with the interior of the system or its control circuits or code.
  • Document What You Change: If you are making changes to the system, for example to optimize the BIOS settings that control the PC's performance, write down everything that you change. This will allow you to easily reverse the changes if problems arise.
  • Don't Exceed the Limits of Your Hardware: Make sure you know what your hardware is, and don't try to change BIOS settings that will exceed its limits. For example, if you are using 70 ns memory and you set your memory timing to 60 ns, you are exceeding the rated speed of your memory. This may work, or it may not. I do not recommend it.
  • Watch Out For Things That Don't Work, But Should: While you don't want to exceed your hardware's limits, there are some performance enhancements that should work on any PC. If you are unable to enable these, configuration or hardware problems are indicated. For example, if you paid for parity memory in your system but the PC hangs with a parity error whenever you enable parity checking, this is a problem with the PC; don't just disable parity checking. Similarly, you should always be able to enable the processor's internal cache, the secondary motherboard cache, etc.
  • Try Not to Change Too Many Things At Once: Much the way troubleshooting cannot be done easily if too many things are changed simultaneously, system enhancements are easier to do safely if done slowly. This will allow you to see more clearly what the cause is, if you encounter problems trying to optimize your system.

Next: Enhance and Streamline the Boot Process

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