Speed Up By Slowing Down

If you’re trying to get your FSB to operate above 155Mhz, and your machine says, “Uhhh, uhhh,” here’s a few suggestions.

Slow the RAM down If you’re running CAS2 with aggressive memory timings, it’s not at all surprising that
your memory says, “Hell no, I won’t go” past a certain point. I don’t care what they call it, we haven’t gotten anything
really better than the Crucial PC2100 modules yet. (If you look at some of the “PC2400” modules, you’ll find that they use the
exact same 7.5ns Micron chips Crucial uses in its PC2100 modules.)

When you overclock the FSB, you’re also overclocking the RAM. If the RAM says “No mas” at a certain, it’s likely you’ll be able
to squeeze a few more MHz FSB out of it if you slowed down the memory setting a bit.

So go down to CAS 2.5 or even 3 if the BIOS will let you. If you have individual memory settings, change the 6 or 7 to an 8. Change the 2s you see to 3s.

Too Many Chips Spoil The FSB If you have more than one memory module, try taking some out and run with just one. The more memory modules you have, the harder it is for all of them to play together, especially if you’re overclocking it.

That why registered RAM is usually required when you have three or four memory modules, and also why registered RAM is a bit slower. Registered RAM allows for an extra memory cycle so all the modules can be on the same page.

Cooling Never Hurts Not saying this is going to perform miracles or even do anything, but memory chips like being cooler, too. Some cold air and tiny heatsinks might help.

It May Not Be Your RAM It’s not only your RAM that may object to being run at that speed. When you overclock the FSB, you also overclock your hard drives and your PCI devices (you also overclock AGP video card, though that’s unlikely to be a problem at 160Mhz or so). One or more of your devices may not like that.

It could be your CPU, too.

Troubleshooting Tips

The point at which your machine freezes is a good indicator of what may be wrong. If it won’t boot at all, you either did something that had nothing to do with overclocking (check to make sure everything is fitted properly, and I mean EVERYTHING), or you tried a ridiculous (to the CPU at least) setting (in which case you clear CMOS and start over again).

If it tosses up the initial part of the bootup screen, then freezes, it’s very likely the memory. Slow down the settings and see if that helps.

If it freezes later on in the process, the most likely culprits are either the CPU or the hard drive.

Presuming you have an AMD CPU, the first thing you should do is determine whether it’s the CPUs fault. Raise the multiplier and lower the FSB so you end up with about the same MHz as you were trying at get before.

See if that works. If it doesn’t, it’s probably the CPU holding you back. If it does work at the same speed or higher with a higher multiple and lower FSB, then it isn’t the CPU.

The next step is to pull everything except the CPU, RAM and video card. Set the BIOS to boot off the floppy, and put in a Win98 setup disk (this gives the machine something to do for more than a few seconds.

If it works, the RAM is probably OK at that speed.

Now add the hard drive(s) and see if you can get into Windows. If you can, your problem is not the hard drive, if you can’t, it is.

Add back your network card next. Again, if it works, it’s not your problem, if it can’t, then it is.

If you have a SCSI controller, that probably should be the next item. After that, anything else, one item at a time.

If you find one item that blows the machine up, don’t stop there. Take it out, and try the other items. There’s always the possibility that more than one item doesn’t like being overclocked.

Yes, this is a bit time-consuming and inconvenient. So is spending money on something new only to find out later it doesn’t solve the problem, and there was nothing wrong with the old one.

If you find out that your PCI devices don’t like these high speeds, there’s no guarantee something new will, either. Probably the safest bet is to wait to buy a motherboard that will support a /5 PCI divisor. That way, you can run the FSB at 166Mhz (presuming your memory lets you) and your hard drive and PCI devices will run at stock 33Mhz speed.

Email Ed

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