How to Overclock American BIOSby Mike Benson
Many motherboard manufacturers use the American Megatrends BIOS (AMI) on their computers. However, in many cases the manufacturer will hire a team of engineers to modify the BIOS source code so that it can comply with their motherboards specifications. The result of this process is a virtually endless amount of possible BIOS setting combinations spread throughout motherboards that bare the AMI logo. This can make finding support for non-supported tasks such as overclocking difficult to find. Fortunately, most of the modern BIOS settings tailored towards overclocking your computer are generally similar and many provide a method to allow the system to automatically overclock the computer. If available, automatic overclocking is ideal for novice users for getting their feet wet in navigating and understanding the BIOS.
Turn on your computer. Look closely at the first screen that displays on your computer. A message will display that informs you to press a specific key to enter the BIOS setup
Press the key specified to enter your BIOS. Generally, this key will be either “Delete” or “F2.”
Use the “Arrow” key to select the “Advanced” tab at the top of the BIOS Setup screen.
Arrow to “JumperFree Configuration” or “AI Overclocking” by using your arrow and “Enter” keys. This loads a Configure System Frequency/Voltage screen.
Highlight “AI Overclock” or “Automatic Overclocking” and press the “Enter” key. This will display an Options box.
Highlight “Auto” or “Automatic” and press the “Enter” key.
Look at the bottom of the screen for a message similar to “Save Settings and Exit” and press the corresponding key. This will display a confirmation dialog box.
Press the “Y” or “Enter” key to confirm your changes and to exit the BIOS.
Use your arrow keys to select “CPU Configuration” while on the “Advanced” tab and press the “Enter” key.
Highlight “Overclock Mode” and use the arrow or “Page Down” keys to change the option to “Manual” or “CPU.”
Highlight “CPU Frequency” and press your arrow or “Page Down” keys to move the number up by “10” This will increase the overall CPU bus by 10 MHz.
Press the “ESC” key once. This will take you back to the “Advanced” tab.
Highlight “Chipset Configuration” and press the “Enter” key. This page will display settings related to your RAM and PCI bus.
Arrow to “DRAM frequency.” This setting and the “CPU Frequency” are directly related. The higher the “CPU Frequency,” the lower the “DRAM Frequency” setting will need to be or vice-versa. Once you increase the “CPU Frequency” beyond a point the RAM can handle, you will need to lower the “DRAM Frequency” to accommodate the change. Since you have only increased the “CPU Frequency” by 10 MHz, you can leave this setting alone.
Look at the bottom of the screen for a message similar to “Save Settings and Exit” and press the corresponding key. This will display a confirmation dialog box. Press the “Y” or “Enter” key to confirm your changes and to exit the BIOS.
Boot into Windows. Press the “Windows" and “R” keys simultaneously. Type “Msinfo32” in the “Run” box and press the “Enter” key. The new CPU speed will be listed next to “Processor.”
Return to the BIOS and incrementally change the “CPU Frequency” and “DRAM Frequency” settings. Lower the settings once the computer starts freezing while in Windows or if other anomalies occur. With time and patience, you will learn how to find the sweet spot for clock speeds and stability.
If your computer refuses to boot after overclocking, unplug everything from your computer and open the computer case. Once the case is opened, ground yourself by touching the metal frame, then pull out the coin-like CMOS battery from the motherboard and then replace it. This will reset the BIOS configuration.
Manually overclocking should be performed in small increments. Do not modify any settings that you do not understand. Take your time.