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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Importance of BIOS in Overclocking

The term BIOS stands for basic input/output system and is the software that interfaces your computers components with the operating system. The BIOS are stored on a ROM (Read-only Memory) Flash Memory Chip located directly on the motherboard. The BIOS perform a series of common tasks such as:

  • When you turn your computer on, the BIOS is what provides the instructions for your CPU to access your operating system on your had drive.
  • Provides a POST (power on self test) to confirm that all your hardware is working properly when you turn your system on.
  • The system BIOS authorizes activation of other BIOS chips on the components within your system, such as your graphics card.
  • Interfaces your various hardware devices such as: keyboard, mouse, monitor, and USB ports.
  • Monitors settings of your hard drive and the system clock. The battery located on the motherboard allow the BIOS to retain this information even when it has been unplugged.

To get into your systems BIOS, turn on your computer and wait for it to begin POSTing. There are many different BIOS out there, so each one may require it’s own command to get into them, but the most often ones are F10, Esc, or Del. Press whichever of those three keys that your system requests while your system is POSTing. There will be a line during the POST that specifies which of those keys you will need to press.

There are plenty of options to look through once you’re inside of your system’s BIOS, but for the purposes of overclocking, you’ll only need to focus on a few of them. With there being several different BIOS available, the following list will provide a few different names for each option you’ll be looking for but your BIOS may list it differently.

CPU Clock Ratio/Multiplier:

You’re looking for a number that is between around ten but less than twenty. At your default settings, this multiplier times your FSB will provide you with the total operating speed of your CPU. For example: Intel Core 2 Duo e6400 ? FSB of 266 MHz x CPU Multiplier of 8 = 2.13 GHz Processor.

FSB Frequency/External Clock:

This value represents the FSB speed in MHz. When overclocking your CPU, increasing this number is where you will receive the most gains in performance from.

Memory Frequency/CPU FSB/DRAM Ratio:

Using this option will allow you to change the ratio between FSB and RAM frequency on your computer. It is advised that you shouldn’t this option to anything besides a 1:1 ratio.

CPU Voltage/CPU Core Voltage:

As you overclock your CPU you’ll need to supply it with a higher voltage. If you don’t provide enough power to it, you will crash your system. This is where you would increase the voltage to allow your system to run more stable.

DDR SDRAM Voltage/DIMM Voltage Regulator:

Similar to CPU Voltage/CPU Core Voltage but for your RAM. Increasing this option will provide the needed energy to meet the demands of your RAM to allow your system to run more stable.

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