Roundup: The Best Overclocking Software

For The CPU: SetFSB

SetFSB is an easy way to overclock a processor. This little program lets you adjust the frequency of the FSB directly from Windows. It’s compatible with a wide range of motherboards and requires only that you know the PLL used by the board.

So What’s A PLL?

The Phase Locked Loop (PLL) is a chip on the motherboard that generates the frequencies for various components. On many of today’s motherboards, there are at least four reference frequencies: FSB, memory, PCI Express bus, and PCI bus; the PLL generates these frequencies. In practice, on the majority of boards, the FSB and memory frequencies are linked (with a ratio that can be chosen in the BIOS setup program), while the PCI Express and PCI frequencies are fixed (at 100 MHz and 33 MHz respectively). Certain motherboards, like the one used in the screenshot, also link the PCI Express and PCI bus speeds.

Tip: The PLL chip is usually made by a company called ICS. All you need to do is find the chip with that name on it to find out the PLL version.

Changing Frequencies

Once you know the model of your board’s, just select it in the drop-down menu and click “Get FSB.” The program should find the current FSB frequency and let you change it by moving the cursor along the graduated bar.

It’s important to keep two things in mind. First, avoid making excessive changes in frequency, or your computer will likely freeze up. Second, not all PLLs offer the same frequency ranges; some motherboards limit the available speeds. Note also that checking “Ultra” mode lets you access additional frequencies (depending on the PLL). Once you’ve selected the new frequency, you just click “Set FSB” to start using it—and hope your computer doesn’t crash. If it does, restart and try again. You’re not adjusting voltages here, so you won’t damage hardware, at least.

SetFSB is an indispensable overclocking tool, and it’s frequently updated to work with new PLL versions. You can check out the latest version of the software here.