Basics of CPU
Two variables determine the speed at which your CPU runs: the frontside bus speed and the
clock multiplier. By manipulating these variables you determine the CPU's clock speed.
Understanding Bus Speed
The CPU uses the FSB (frontside bus, also called the system bus) to communicate with
system memory and peripherals. (The backside bus, on the other hand, connects the Pentium
II to the L2 cache inside the Pentium II cartridge.) Pentium IIs rated at 350 MHz and
faster operate by default at a frontside bus speed of 100 MHz, while Pentium IIs rated at
333 MHz and slower run at 66 MHz.
Peripherals residing on the PCI bus, however, are designed to operate at 33 MHz. The
clock divider sets the clock rate for the PCI bus as a fraction of the frontside bus
speed. On motherboards with a frontside bus speed of 100 MHz, for instance, the clock
divider is set to 1/3 that speed, to deliver a PCI bus clock speed of 33 MHz. On
motherboards with a frontside bus speed of 66 MHz, the clock divider is set to 1/2 that
FSB Speed x Clock Multiplier
= CPU Speed
The motherboard chipset controls the clock multiplier, which, in conjunction with the FSB
speed, determines the core speed of the CPU. Multiply the FSB speed by the clock
multiplier to get the CPU speed. For instance, a 350-MHz Pentium II runs at a default FSB
speed of 100 MHz with a clock multiplier of 3.5 (3.5 x 100 = 350).
By manipulating the clock multiplier and/or the FSB speed, you can increase the core
speed at which the CPU runs. Here's a list of default settings for Pentium IIs.
Default Settings for Pentium
Optimal speed for the CPU