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Overclocking and Upgrading For More Quake III fps

Overclocking Basics

The Mhz speed rating of the CPU is set in the BIOS on the BH6 by two items, the clock multiplier and the front side bus (FSB) speed. These are under the "CPU SOFT MENU II" on the BH6 board and are listed as "Multiplier Factor" and "Ext. Clock (PCI)" respectively. There are two other settings under this menu we will also be using, the "AGPCLK/CPUCLK" (AGP clock settting) and the "Core Voltage". The AGP clock setting is a ratio for the AGP slot to the CPU FSB clock setting. Your motherboard may not have these settings in the BIOS. It may use jumpers on the motherboard. Refer to your motherboard manual or simply check the BIOS to see if it contains the settings.

(If you decide to upgrade your motherboard and want to overclock your CPU on your new motherboard, look at various online reviews to find one that has the settings in the BIOS.)

Today's Intel CPUs are clock multiplier locked. This leaves only the FSB setting in the BIOS to change the speed of the CPU. I am starting with a Celeron 300A CPU in the test system. It has a clock multiplier of 4.5. This value is multiplied against the FSB speed to calculate the CPU speed. The normal FSB setting for the 300A is 66Mhz (4.5 x 66 = 300).

Video card overclocking is a little different. Some 3D video cards provide a setting in its drivers that allow you to overclock the card's graphics clock and/or memory speeds. The Voodoo3 3000 card I'm using here has a setting in the registry that changes the graphics card speed. Instead of rooting around in the registry to change this setting, I use Gary Peterson's Voodoo3 Overclocker. The Voodoo3 Overclocker can install itself under the Windows 98 Advanced Panel. After making a change to the Voodoo3's graphics clock, you must reboot the system for the change to take effect.


The Base System

The base system I'm starting with is running the Celeron 300A at 300Mhz, 64MB of RAM, and the Voodoo3 clocked at its stock rating of 166Mhz with Vsync turned off using the Voodoo3 Overclocker. This system produces the following Quake III demo001 benchmarks: 640x480 - 31.5 frames per second (fps); 800x600 - 31.8fps; 1024x768 - 30.8; 1280x1024 - 25.9. Let's start by seeing how far this Voodoo3 3000 will overclock. After changing the graphics card clock setting to 172 and rebooting, Quake III runs fine at the 1024x768 video mode. Changing the graphics card clock to 175 and 178 also runs fine at 1024x768. Going to 180 Mhz produces sparkles and other unwanted visual effects, so we'll use the 178Mhz setting on the Voodoo3. Running the benchmarks again with the 178Mhz graphics card seting yields: 640x480 - 31.5fps; 800x600 - 31.8fps; 1024x768 - 30.9; 1280x1024 - 26.6. At the 1024x768 video mode we gained a wopping .1fps! That's not to much is it? Well, lets try adding another 64MB of RAM to make a total of 128MB and run the benchmarks again. The results: 640x480 - 32.1fps; 800x600 - 31.8fps; 1024x768 - 30.8; 1280x1024 - 26.9. These results are still essentially the same as were we began.


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