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Colins Weekly Tech Tips 2002 Roundup

Colins Weekly Tech Tips 2002 Roundup - PCSTATS
Abstract: I have always prided myself as a tweak master and I love helping my readers improve their computing performance and experience.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCstats.com Jan 14 2003   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCstats.com

Hardware Tweaks

Lowering your CAS Latency:

One of the biggest things you can do to boost your overall system performance is to tune your system memory. When your computer is POSTing (when your memory is being counted) you have to get into your BIOS, usually it's as simple as pressing the "Delete" key, on some motherboards you have to press "F1".

After you're in the BIOS you want to go to your "Advanced Chipset Features". Inside that sub menu's look for "DRAM Timing" or "DRAM Control". Once you find that, look for "CAS Latency" or "CL". On the safe side this is usually set to "SPD" (Serial Presence Detect) but you'll find if you can adjust the value to "2" your overall system performance would go up approx. 5-7%!

Basically what this tweak does is, it forces your memory to run a little more aggressively. It no longer waits as long when addressing and transferring data between the bus, CPU, or other peripherals. You should notice the biggest performance differences in games or anything that heavily taxes your system.

Clean out the Dust Bunnies:

It's quite amusing, most people take care of their computers via software but more often then not, they neglect the actual hardware. Computers are dust and dirt magnets, and cleaning them out can often increase their life span quite a bit in the later years.

Simply remove the cover and remove all the dust bunnies, you can even use your vacuum cleaner to help out (be sure to unplug the power first). You want to regularly clean out your computer because all the dirt and dust that collects in a computer is electronically conductive. If the dust shorts out your computer (which was the case for my friend) it can cost you more money in the long run to pay the computer technician to clean it out for you!

Fans too noisy?

Computer these days are getting faster and faster, and they're also producing more and more heat. Properly cooling the "hot spots" is getting more difficult so we often use higher speed fans, or even groups of them. The problem with more fans is obviously more noise.

One of my good friends recently told me a way I can lower the whine those 60mm delta's can produce. What you have to do is, get some 400-600 grit wet/dry sand paper and sand down the edge of the fan blades. This lowers the resistance and allows for air to move a bit easier. This also supposedly lowers the whine the fans produce by quite a bit!

Special thanks to my boy CygnusX1 for this tip!

OVERCLOCKING! =)

Today we're going to be dealing with the touchy subject of overclocking.

Let's face it, most of the time even the fastest computer is not "fast enough" and that is why people "overclock" computers. Just how do you overclock a CPU?

There are two simple ways; you can raise the clock multiplier and/or raise the bus speed. Multiply the clock multiplier (inside the CPU) with the bus speed and that gives you the CPU speed. Here's an example... A Pentium 4 1.6 GHz has a multiplier of 16x and the bus of the processor is 100 MHz or 16 x 100 MHz = 1.6 GHz.

Since most modern processors are locked by default, raising the multiplier is often not an option. That only leaves overclocking via FSB adjustments.

What you want to do is go into the BIOS and find your way to the "Frequency Control" section if it is supported (not all computes have this). There you should see either "Bus Speed" or "FSB" written. It's most likely set at 66 MHz, 100 MHz or 133 MHz. What you want to do is raise it a bit. For instance if you're running a Pentium 4 1.6A Northwood, upping the FSB to 133 MHz will makes your processor run at 2.13 GHz.

If you find that your computer is less stable at these higher speeds, you may want to up the voltage a bit. Setting higher voltages stabilizes things because the signals are now stronger. To be safe, if you're a novice overclocker don't raise voltages past 10%. Upping the voltage and running faster usually means higher temperatures. For modern processors you don't really want to be running pass 60 degrees Celsius so if you're above that mark, slow down the computer until you get better cooling.

Since programs usually benefit from higher clock speeds, having a processor run faster is usually beneficial. However running components beyond their rated specifications voids warranties . So you have to be careful. If your computer is a bit old and you want to make it run a bit faster, perhaps overclocking is your answer.

Beginners Soundproofing:

With computers producing more heat then ever before people are equipping their computers with bigger heatsinks, and more powerful fans. The big negative effect is the increase in noise that comes with this extra cooling. I've made a decision to change my ways, and so gone are the days of using a 7000RPM Delta fan which screams like a vacuum. I just can't stand the noise anymore. When I recently moved my system from AMD to P4, I was amazed at how quiet my computer had become but I was still not satisfied. I was determined to quiet it down even more!

There are plenty of sound absorbing products on the market like this and this, but what I wanted to try a trick and keep things cheap. What I did to try and "quiet" down my computer was tape some antistatic Polyester foam to the inside panels of my case. Polyester (this black foam comes in most retail motherboard packages for cushioning). While Polyester foam isn't the most technically engineered sound absorbing material, it's readily available at your local computer retailer and will most likely be free!

After doing this quick little trick I found that my computer was a few decibels quieter and some occasional rattling from the side panels (I have an 3 year old Lian Li PC-70 Aluminum case) had stopped! My computer is a little bit quieter, and I think we can all agree that is a good thing. If you think your computer noise is unbearable this little mod might be worth a try.

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Contents of Article: PCstats.com
 Pg 1.  Colins Weekly Tech Tips 2002 Roundup
 Pg 2.  Win9x/ME Tweaks
 Pg 3.  Win2k/XP Tweaks Page 1
 Pg 4.  Win2k/XP Tweaks Page 2
 Pg 5.  Win2k/XP Tweaks Page 3
 Pg 6.  — Hardware Tweaks

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