Overclocking On Your Lap: The Results

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There’s a bit more of this going on than I had thought. Not a ton, but some, including a rather new outbreak with very new equipment.

Before we let the doers speak for themselves, just a few points that were often made.

Overclocking portables tends to be rather dependent on an AC plug. It’s not something you really want to do with batteries, which don’t last all too long under the best of circumstances and which take a beating doing this.

Many testified that if you overclock, your lap really isn’t the place to do it. It just makes bad worse.

While some have been able to use software to O/C their portables, the more common approach is to make the kind of pin mods often seen in the desktop world.

While a few said they didn’t O/C their CPU, they did report substantial increases in performance by O/Cing the video card, or by simply upgrading the hard drive.

The picture for DIYers is a bit bleaker. There’s some possibilities out there, but generally, it’s still a pioneering activity.

We tried to only include comments on current equipment. Quite a few spoke about O/Cing K6-2 or PII/III systems, a few even mentioned O/Cing original Pentium notebooks, but we were more interested with today’s equipment.

That said, here’s what you said:

A Few PIVs

I have had a ECS Green 732 P4 notebook for almost a year now, and it has been O/Ced ever since.

I am currently running a P4 1.8A Northwood at 533fsb for 2400mhz. I had to upgrade the ram to PC2700 because the PC2100 in it would overheat severely.

It’s definitely not a laptop machine. It does generate some serious heat that would make it intolerable on your lap.

It’s a great notebook though with a 15″ SXGA, Radeon 9000 64mb [O/Ced of course] and a 40gb harddrive. It’s really a very fast machine and I have had no trouble with it at all.

I might switch to a 2.0A northwood and get it running at 2660mhz. I tried a 3.06 HT cpu at stock speeds but it didnt seem any faster than the 1.8 @ 2400mhz. ECS AMD notebooks provide FSB O/Cing too.


Overclocking notebooks is upon us already. This little machine I am using, an ASUS M2400E, is able to be overclocked, there is the option in the bios.

It’s not exactly as versatile as a desktop in terms of settings, but I can push the CPU from 1.8GHz to 2.0GHz… Gets a little toasty, though!

But seriously, since I mainly use this laptop for “normal” tasks, email, web design, watching DVDs in bed, etc, I barely need so much speed. A 1.8GHz P4 is not fast by today’s standards, but it’s more than enough for me. In fact, i usually put the speed down to 1.2GHz or so.

What’s wrong with me???


My foray into overclocking was for a friend of mine. He had a budget
gaming machine that had a Celeron 2.0 overclocked to around 2.84GHz.
He also had a Toshiba notebook computer with a desktop chip, P4 2.4B. He
wanted to switch the processors to mess around with overclocking the P4 chip,
but didn’t want to drop too much performance in his notebook.

I did a pin
mod (http://207.215.129.246/computer/fsbpinmod.html
to the Celeron so that his notebook can autodetect the 533 FSB. Since the Celeron was known
to overclock higher than 2.66GHz, running at 2.66 at default voltage was
no sweat. In fact, it’s been running overclocked like that for quite a
few months now.


Hopping Up Hammers

Read your article on notebook overclocking. The late Athlon64-based Emachines notebooks seem to be pretty hot items at the local Best Buys and Circuit Cities among the computer enthusiasts (and anyone looking for a good bang for their buck).

A while back i was doing some research on these machines since a few people were consulting me on notebooks. I happend to stumble across a forum that quite a few people that had actually bought these things and were pretty in to them.

The lowdown is that the Emachines M6805 and M6807 are quite the overclockers when it comes to notebooks. Overclockable GPU and CPU! I’ve seen reports of people getting over 2 GHz with this machine, and i guess it has the ability to adjust Vcore as well.

These notebooks are pretty badassed machines! Hopefully someone will write an article on modding them for you 🙂

Here are some links for you to check out:

http://forums.amd.com/index.php?showtopic=7079

http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?s=6eb6e232185170f8400aee5517f7039e&threadid=739504

http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?s=6eb6e232185170f8400aee5517f7039e&threadid=740435

http://forums.amdmb.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=302872&highlight=m6805

http://dexplor.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=361

There seems to be a frequency adjusting tool for notebooks here: http://www.diefer.de/speedswitchxp/

A temp monitor program wich aims for notebook support can be found here: http://www.hmonitor.com
(this was the only temp monitor software that i could ever get to work with my 2 HP ZTt1260s)

There is a new site dedicated to Athlon 64 notebooks here: http://www.amd64notebooks.com

Emachines M series laptops yahoo group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Emachines_Mseries-Laptops/messages

Sounds like fun, enjoy!


Emachines makes an amd 64 laptop +3000 @ 1.8GHz (6805 and 6807).
through software, many have been able to clock this to 2.0GHz and also have
been overclocking the ATI 9600 64MB that comes with it. My gf recently
purchased this notebook. while we have no plans to continually overclock this
badboy for longevity purposes, i have taken it to the 2.0 GHz mark using
Clockgen. All this with a widescreen format dvd burner (6807) and $200 total
rebates from Circuit City made this a really good buy (~$1450) .


XPers

Some would argue that a desknote is not the same as a notebook, but I have an ECS A929 desknote.

It’s AMD-based, uses a SIS chipset, has
a 15″ screen. It can use desktop or mobile AMD CPU’s. It uses
desktop DDR, but a laptop hard drive. The major difference between a
desknote and laptop is that a desknote’s battery is an external unit. This
gives some extra space inside which allows for slightly better cooling.

My particular model has FSB overclocking options up to 150 FSB in the
BIOS. I currently run a 1600+ palomino CPU @ 1575, but in the past
I’ve run a 2400+ Tbred in it @ 2160. There’s no voltage or multiplier
adjustments- (think ECS K7S5A with modded bios).

The unit has 2 fans onboard, and the CPU cooler uses a pair of copper
heatpipes. I have lapped it to facilitate overclocking.

This particular variety of laptop hybrid is also a bit closer to a
DIY unit. I bought it barebones and refurbished. I added the ram, hard
drive, cpu, and OS’s (2000 and Debian) myself. I feel that I have
better-than-average power in this thing, especially since I chose
to use a higher rpm, higher cache hard drive- 5400rpm, 8mb cache.

I chose this particular model because it was inexpensive ($600
refurbished, including all parts) and because it allowed for more
customizing and overclocking than anything else I could find. All it
lacks is gamer graphics.


I ran across this right after reasding your article. Havent tried it
but looks promising.

http://www.cpuheat.wz.cz/html/Tweaks.htm

(Ed. note: This also has some information on how you may be able to change the multiplier on
the latest locked XPs by modding it into a mobile and changing the multiplier once in Windows.
)


Ed, As far as I know I have a few friends who have over-clocked them. They have not played with the processor voltages. Increasing that shortens battery life, not to say it can’t be done.

The primary method used was to cut and retrace the AMD locked chips to different multipliers. Because it was a hardware mod, the BIOS (you get almost no control there on a laptop) recognized the new chip and accepted it. They usually hacked the case to add cooling and increase airflow.


Even Macsters!

I have an iBook 700, and there have been people to open it up and
overclock this model of laptop. I’d love to do it, but I haven’t
quite
gotten around to it. I used to have a bunch of bookmarked pages, but
all I have right now is this one
here.


More Info

Cool That Lap!

Cooler pad


Batteries Kill The Video Star

Have not overclocked the CPU of any laptops, but have overclocked some video cards before. My current work machine is a Dell Latitude D600 – Pentium-M 1.6 Ghz / 768 MB ram / Mobility Radeon 9000. The default clock speed per ATI specs is 230/250. However, Dell in AC mode clocks the chip at 200/200. When on battery, it drops to about 120/120.

Suprisingly I can get away with a full 50% core overclock on AC to 300 mhz, and the RAM goes up to the full 270 that the Rage 3D Overclocker utility as well.

However, once on battery the ATI card artifacts instantly at those speeds, and artifacts very fast (in 2D) at even the 230/250 setting that is ATI’s recommended default. I suspect this is because Dell is cutting the voltage to the ATI chip in an effort to cut down on battery consumption, and this voltage is cut regardless of the clock speed of the card when it is in battery mode.

Anyway, just thought I would share that with you. Oh, and 3DMark 2001 goes up by very close to 50%, and Wolfenstein Enemy Territory / UT2003 become suddenly playable at “decent enough” resolutions.


Drive Harder

Ed, I played around with WPCredit well over a year ago OC’ing an IBM Thinkpad. The results were sort of crappy, and I didn’t have a chipset datasheet at the time, but it would be easily accomplished on the newer systems especially by those who do the post-boot register overclocking.

You do have to go slow, though, increasing MHz 1 at a time. I bet the newer systems would be fun.

A customer of mine just commented the other night about how FAST my laptop was, especially for a P3. Personally, especially for business use, laptops are severely hindered by disk, more so than anyone’s crappiest desktop hard drive. As with any system, disk is almost always bottleneck #1 (in the hardware, atleast).

So I replaced my 4200rpm crappy notebook hard drive with a 7200rpm, 16MB cache Toshiba drive. It doubled the “usable” performance of my laptop and made it bearable to the point of everyday use. I’ve never looked back, and that is the direction I take my “mobile” friends now. It was $275 a while back, they’re down around $210-220 now. It may not be overclocking, but in many ways it’s so much better.


Some Reports Out There

A USB powered laptop cooler pad … so much for “hotpants”, hehe

Somebody OC’d an AMD 1800+ desknote to 150 FSB through software

Hey, here’s some GOLD!

Look for the post from a guy with a (ASUS L3C (L3800C) with a P4-M
1.8GHz) – he has it running at 2.1GHz!!!


DIYing

I don’t know if it was overclockable, but there was a teacher I
worked with at my last job that bought an AOpen bare bones kit and built his
laptop from it. I know the video card was replaceable/upgradable and
he had to add his own drives. I think the proc was already mounted
though.

I think there’s another barebones kit out there as well from another
vendor, but I forget who made it.

Stuff exists, but it’s hard to find.


If you go to http://notebookforums.com, you will see that there are a few laptop overclockers out there. Perhaps a dozen or more on this site alone have talked about OC’ing AMD64 and P4 based laptops.
Those that opt for the Pentium-M/Centrino seem to be less inclinded to OC.

There is a DIY market out there for buying a barebones laptop and adding parts to it yourself, but you are still mostly limited in choice of MB, etc Since even a barebones unit will typically only need CPU, drives, ram.

I have an eMachines m6805; it is a decent overclocker. Also the CPU is upgradable, so more OC friendly parts could be swapped out. It is going to be somewhat limited by the internal SODIMM socket not liking most PC3200 dimms (by default it is PC2700 cl2.5).

I tore my machine down to the frame out of curiosity. I replaced the internal sodimm with a larger module while I was at it. I also upgraded my HD from a 2mb/4200rpm model to a 8mb/7200rpm model. For me, the HD and ram upgrades probably are all I am going to do for now.

The tradeoff in mobility is slight. But rather then OC the processor(3000+ 1.8ghz 1mb cache), I might do the opposite, underclock it. This would gain back my lost mobility from my earlier upgrades and then some. On a mobile system I (like most users) am less concerned with ultimate performance then my machine being reasonably snappy and running for a long while on batteries. I can always bump the CPU back up on those rare occasions when I am plugged into a wall tap and need more CPU power.


The View from Ebay

What About Ebay?

I’m an ebay junky, meaning that I buy junk off of ebay constantly.
Some of the things I’ve noticed there are kitted out laptops: laptops that
are being sold in pieces for RIDICULOUSLY LOW prices, especially new laptop
LCDs. Just checkout a laptop motherboard, or mobile cpu, or laptop replacement
LCT screen on ebay.

I think you might actually have a better chance of making your OWN
laptop, assuming you can get it on a plane without having the national guard
gun you down.

Laptop power supplies & batteries are also available for nearly all
models, though AMD laptop parts are far more scarce as they haven’t
been around all that long and any quantity.

Pentium 3M’s (which are excellent by
the way in terms of power/performance ratio & P4M’s are a plenty
though.

Looking at how creative people are with Mini-Itx, I think you’ll
eventually
see some pretty creative laptop designs–trading style for
portability.

I don’t think there is anyone out there that can beat the Mini-ITX
setup installed in a nintendo with working power & reset buttons (though If
someone were to put a laptop system + screen into a Playstation 2
box, that would be cooler.)

This resource, ebay, may be of help to those of you who are afraid
of taking apart an expensive laptop. Every overclocker is familiar with
assembling a PC and most laptops are no different.


Some General Thoughts

Hey. I am very interested in this subject. I was think that a great
leader in notebooks like Alienware would be the first to offer overclockable
laptops. They recently gained the capability to upgrade the graphics
chip on the laptop. I think this is heading in the right direction. Before
overclocking, I believe that a company like Alienware would need to
start making more and more parts in their laptops removeable like current
desktops.

Then we’ll need some more companies to make high performance
parts for laptops. Just the other day I opened up a friend’s HP laptop and
noticed the heat-pipe technology employed to cool the cpu. A part like
this would be critical for overclocking these heat monsters.


I’ve wanted to be able to build my own notebook for a LONG time now. I looked into it a year or so ago, and couldn’t find a single valid resource that allowed a person to buy their own components and build their own. Sure, you can get mobile CPUs, hard drives, video cards & memory easily, but I couldn’t find a manufacturer that sold the laptop body and monitor without any peripherals to regular people.

I agree that the DIY laptop trend will be here eventually. Whoever gets there first stands to make a lot of money, too. I for one will be all over it when it happens.


Last Words From Down Under

I was just reading your article about laptop overclocking and the lack of DIY notebooks.

Well, in a way we’re half way there with Whitebooks, which I’m sure you know about as they are simply barebone notebooks givin to ma and pa PC stores. They decide which RAM, CPU and maybe GFX (a bit hazy on this) go into it.

It is possible to buy Centrino processors and Pentium 4-Ms from www.ascent.co.nz .

The sheer thought of inevitably having 80+ watts of thermal heat on your lap, though, is scarier than getting an erection as best man at your mate’s wedding.

(Ed. note: Not if the groom has a knife on him. That’s a new occupational hazard for me, though. 🙂 )

Thanks to all who responded!

Ed