OverDrive In Depth
OverDrive In Depth
If youíve been overclocking for long enough, then you probably remember when ABIT changed the industry with software-based BIOS tweaks. Before that, changing voltages, clock multipliers, and bus speeds meant keying in a combination of DIP switches or rearranging jumpers. The BIOS has dutifully served us well as a foundation for milking extra performance from our hardware ever since.
AMD is changing the game with OverDrive, though. The BIOS, which many mainstream gamers are likely to avoid so long as their systems are running smoothly, is seeing its heyday threatened by AMDís Windows-based utility. Not only does OverDrive give you complete control of clock settings and voltage, but itíll also try to peg the best possible overclock automatically if youíre uncomfortable calling the shots. Could this be a replacement for the long-revered BIOS-based adjustments?
The first time you fire up into OverDrive, youíll find yourself in Novice mode looking at a summary screen with information about your CPU, memory, cache, and HyperTransport link. Click one screen over to the Status Monitor
and youíre treated to a read out of the speed, voltage, and temperature of the Phenomís four cores. GPU and board-level frequencies are also reported.
Shift over one more tab for a first taste of Windows-based performance modification. In Novice mode, you have a slider numbered from 1 to 10 corresponding to more aggressive overclocks. A Detailed Settings
screen underneath lets you know exactly what changes were made. Three sub-menus provide options to Benchmark
your tweaks, run a Stability Test
, and Auto Clock
the platform. Hit the Start button under that Auto Clock
menu and OverDrive starts incrementally increasing the reference clock until the system fails its stability test. Talk about an easy way to crank out extra speed, even if you donít have an intimate familiarity with overclocking.
The last menu screen, Preference
, gives you the option to switch over into Advanced mode. Flip back to the Performance Control
window, now populated by a very granular Clock/Voltage
sub-menu. Hereís where the veteran hardware enthusiast can work his magic. An array of sliders lets you tune every frequency imaginable and seven different voltages. A Memory
tab facilitates complete control over the timing of your modules. And of course, the Benchmark
and Stability Test menus let you put those tweaks to task.