Troubleshooting the C1

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If you have a PIV C1 and if you haven’t been able to reach 3GHz with one, it may not be your CPU.

Looking at the posts of those who haven’t, it seems to me at least that there’s a number of reasons besides the CPU why at least some of those who haven’t reached their goal didn’t do so.

What Else Could It Be?

It could be a few things.

Something To Keep Watching: Power

Look at all your voltage settings when running at default speed.

If you have a new motherboard and you see the 5V and 12V settings drop quite a bit from the default levels when you’re overclocking; your power supply may well be at fault. (If you have an older mobo, this might be caused by overtaxed voltage regulators).

Troubleshooting Components


The essence of troubleshooting is to isolate potential problems, one by one. The first area to look at is the CPU.

To isolate the CPU from everything else, you need to remove the rest of the system from potential fault. To do that, when you initially overclock your CPU, choose the failsafe or default settings in BIOS.

Set up your system and assure yourself it works perfectly at default CPU speed. If it doesn’t, don’t overclock until you’ve taken care of that problem.

Make sure you know how to clear CMOS and where the CMOS jumper is before trying to overclock.

Once you’ve done all that, don’t dink around with FSB speeds. If you have a 1.8A or 2.4B, go for 167MHz FSB at the voltage you’d feel comfortable with running it with all the time. I would suggest 1.65 or maybe 1.70V.

This way, you’ll know right away whether or not your CPU can do 3GHz under ideal circumstances, with nothing else interfering with it.

If it does, test for CPU stability. Don’t worry about system benchmarks, some of them will be lousy. You don’t care at this point. You just want to find out how fast the CPU can go.

Once you are satisfied 3GHz works, you might want to try lowering voltage to see the minimum voltage it will take. Or you may want to keep the voltage, and push the speed up as far as you can.

If 3GHz doesn’t work, the CPU is the probable problem. You might try better cooling. You might play a bit with the voltages. You might want to run the system for awhile at a lower speed in the hope of getting burn-in.

Once you’ve established the maximum speed for your CPU, knock the GHz back a notch and start working on getting the other components up to speed.

Tweaking At 167MHz+


Most of you probably will want to run an FSB:memory speed of 3:4 or 4:5. This will be the most likely cause of failure in a system otherwise capable of running at 167MHz. So after you find out what your CPU can do, this is the potential problem you isolate and test next.

After you’ve established the maximum speed of your CPU, change the ratios, but start with slow memory settings. Again, to hell with the benchmarks; you just want to see if your memory will work at that speed, period.

If it doesn’t, then the problem lies with your memory not being able to handle that speed at that setting. You may want to add a bit of voltage; you may want to slow the settings down more if you can, you may want to try a less aggressive FSB:memory ratio (or you may now be in the market for new RAM).

Once you’ve established that the memory will work at that speed, move to more aggressive timings. When it stops working right, move back a little until it does work.

Everything Else

In this situation, you probably won’t exceed 180MHz FSB, especially if you’re going with a very fast memory speed.

Provided you’re getting an FSB divisor of /5 at 166MHz+, it’s probably not necessary to lock the FSB and PCI speeds unless you want to. If it turns out you do and things start blowing up (and you know it isn’t the memory), at that point, consider locking the PCI speed.

Once you’re satisfied that your FSB is stable, now is the time to start dinking around with the video card and overclocking that.

Tweaking Below 167MHz+

You may have a 2A or better 100/400MHz CPU, or a 2.53 or better 133/533MHz CPU. The odds are unlikely you’re going to reach 167MHz with these CPUs.

You need to approach this a bit differently. It is more likely you’ll run into FSB-related problems.

Again, you want to go for 3GHz right away. Follow the same procedure as described above, but this time, lock the PCI speed if getting to 3GHz means an FSB speed in excess of 150MHz.

If your maximum CPU speed is reached at an FSB of around 150MHz, you may want to unlock the PCI speeds to overclock the hard drives a bit, but once you get past 155MHz, FSB becomes the most likely cause of system failure, so the higher you go, the better an idea that lock is. If you want to try it both ways and don’t mind an occasionally scrambled hard drive, fine.

Approach memory the same way, but odds are you can move a bit faster to aggressive settings in this situation; since the memory speeds will be a bit lower.

I Don’t Want To Be Bothered With All This!

You really don’t need to learn a lot to be a successful overclocker, but you do need to learn some things to understand what is going on in your computer. It’s not just a matter of doing things, you have to know what you’re doing.

Those who do know will know what they can accelerate or skip over given their particular circumstances.

Unfortunately, troubleshooting too often these days can be summarized as, “No 3GHz? WTF? I got screwed! RMA!!!” and that’s that.

We have a lot of people trying to overclock nowadays who don’t bother learning the basics and how they all work together in a system. When that’s the case, since they don’t really understand what’s going on (they may know a bunch of facts, but not how they interrelate to each other). they have no idea what to do when they don’t get instant success.

Just about every computer problem can be caused by a number of different things. The trick is to realize that, identify what the possible suspects are, then methodically test those possible causes, one by one, until you get to the one that causes this. That’s what all the above is about. It’s not exhaustive, but it should give most people a good or better idea as to what their problem is without taking too much time.

If this is too much for you, if it either works, or you just throw up your hands, then you’re not serious about this. Period.

Right now, there are X number of people who haven’t reached 3GHz. I’m not saying at all that troubleshooting this way will solve everyone’s problem, or even most of them. But I bet it will solve some of them, or at least those folks will have a much better idea as to why they aren’t reaching their goal and what they might do about it.

For instance, I would bet that overaggressive memory speed/settings cause a lot of these problems, but from the posts I’ve seen, that often doesn’t even come up in the discussion.

Will it solve every problem? Of course not. Nothing solves every problem.

Do I really expect most people to take this approach from the start? No.

But if your way didn’t work, what do you have to lose by trying mine next?

If you do, let me know how you do, success or failure. That will help everyone get a better idea about what is going on with these C1s.



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