7/11/2006

Underclocking Your CPU?

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A person I know online asked me this (rather poorly written) question:

srsly jeff, my athlon 3000+ xp is running as a 1300, how can I change it back? plzy? thx


I actually thought he was toying with me, but it turns out it was a serious question. The answer is simple, pretty much just the reverse of overclocking. Here was my response:

If you're seriously having that problem though, it sounds like you're underclocking your front side bus. There are two Athlon XP 3000+, one runs on a 333MHz (166 * 2) front side bus, and the other runs on a 400MHz (200 * 2) front side bus. You just need to go in your BIOS and bump up your bus speed [to the proper level depending on what version of the Athlon XP 3000+ you have.] If your BIOS doesn't let you then there should be a jumper on your motherboard that you can use to select the proper front side bus speed, which may trump your BIOS settings anyway.


Which of course seems to have solved his problem. Another way to achieve a similiar underclock is to lower your CPU multiplier. In his case, with a Barton Athlon XP, the clock multiplier is locked, which eliminated that possibility.

The funny thing is that the first time this happened to me, I had just baught the new, almost top of the line Athlon XP 2200+ and plugged it into my motherboard for the first time. I can't remember what it identified the CPU, but I know it freaked me out. It took me about 5 minutes to remember that the front side bus speed played a large role in determining the speed of the CPU, but for those 5 minutes all sorts of things went through my mind... did Tiger Direct rip me off, is my motherboard not compatible, did I break something? I was pretty freaked out.

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