Now I’m Overclocked

Over the last while I’ve felt my computer system has been creaking a little under the load of everything I’ve been getting it to do. A recent application upgrade resulted in massive frustration with the speed the application refreshed when accessing different elements, opening new files and so on.

As a result I started to consider an computer upgrade, which has been in the back of my mind for a little while. Currently I’m running an AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+, which clocks in at 2.0Ghz per core and I have 2 x 2Gb of DDR2 RAM, although due to 32bit OS limitations I’m only actually addressing just over 3Gb of that RAM.

So my intention with the next system upgrade will include moving to a 64bit OS and opening up the possibility of running 8-16Gb of RAM. This will make it possible for me to run a much larger number of sample libraries in Cubase (such as the large but excellent Vienna Symphonic Library). This will necessitate finally dropping WindowsXP and moving on. I’d like to be able to wait for Windows7 to come out – from the sounds of things it’s already running much better than Vista, and I was quite ticked off with Vista any times I’ve tried it (which resulted in a post over on my web design company website about the performance difference between Vista and XP).

However with these recent speed issues, I was seriously considering making the upgrade sooner rather than later, and this would of course necessitate Vista fun and games, not to mention some expense which I really can’t afford right now.

Enter The Obvious

At this point I have to say many thanks to Warren Daly of Invisible Agent for pointing the following out. I’d been chatting to Warren about different upgrade options, the differences between the new core i7 chips and AMD’s latest Phenom II range (which has finally gotten them clawing back a bit of CPU respect), and then Warren made the suggestion that I should just overclock my current chip to get a bit more running time from it.

I went off doing a bit of research and found a good overclocking introduction guide on Tom’s Hardware Guide and got to work.

Increasing my reference clock speed to 220Mhz seems about as far as I can go and has resulted in my cores going from 2.0Ghz to 2.2Ghz. It’s a small increase, and I’m sure if I tweaked things more I could get a bit more clock speed out of the system (although unfortunately I’m already at my maximum CPU Multiplier), but I’d probably need to look at tweaking RAM timings and voltage settings, which is a little above my realm of experience.

Still, things are definitely feeling a little snappier on this system, and hopefully it will be enough to tide me over for the next 6 months.

So shouts out to Warren!

I should point out that this is actually his computer as well. Warren’s been away for a while now and left a bunch of stuff in our house. One day I was looking at his computer box wondering what was in it when I realised that it was way better than my old computer and was just sitting there doing nothing. So I recommissioned it. Thanks again Warren..