How to Overclock RAM and Make Your Computer Faster

RAM helps a system run faster, and more efficiently. Generally speaking, the more RAM you have, the better your system will run.

It stands to reason that if your system is performing poorly because there isn’t enough RAM, you will want to add more or upgrade to a system that has more RAM. Another solution that can’t hurt before you go shopping for more RAM is overclocking.

How to Overclock RAM

Overclocking RAM isn’t as popular a concept as overclocking a CPU or GPU because the benefits are often minimal. Overclocking the GPU will give you far better results than overclocking RAM but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth trying.

DRAM Frequency and timings

In order to overclock RAM, you need to know what its current DRAM frequency and timings values are.

  1. Download and install CPU-Z.
  2. Run the app and go to the Memory tab.
  3. Note down the DRAM Frequency. If you round it off and double it, you will get your RAM speed.
  4. Take note of the other timings as well. 

XMP – Extreme  Memory Profiles

XMP is a tool that is used via the system’s BIOS.

  1. Restart your system and boot into BIOS (how to access BIOS).
  2. Dig around and look for Extreme  Memory Profiles. Once/if you find it, enable it.
  3. Look for profiles that you can select. In some cases, all you can do to overclock RAM is enable XMP while in others, you can choose between different profiles.
  4. If you have multiple profiles available, try each one and see how well your system works.
  5. You can use a tool like MSI Afterburner to stress test your system and see how well the new settings are holding up.

No XMP in BIOS

A lot of users do not see XMP in BIOS. Unfortunately, if it isn’t there, you can’t do much about it. Your system may have blocked a feature so that it cannot be enabled or it may not be supported.

Dell systems don’t seem to have them, even on their more expensive line of systems.

Conclusion

It is important to mention that not all RAM chips can be overclocked. There will be some chips that are working as well as they ever will.

In other cases, you may need to add additional RAM sticks before they can be overclocked collectively. Remember that overclocking RAM only gives a minimal boost so if you’re unable to overclock it, you can always buy more RAM.

Many systems have unused RAM slots which means you can easily add more RAM.

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GPU Fans Not Spinning – How to Troubleshoot and Fix

The GPU on any system will heat up. There isn’t anything that can be done to keep the GPU from heating up but there is plenty you can do to keep your system and the GPU itself cool enough to prevent damage to your hardware. One of the cooling mechanisms that are built into a system are fans. As simple as they sound, they work really well.

The chassis of a laptop or desktop PC are designed such that the fans on a system can circulate hot air out and suck cool air in. For many users, these fans are the only cooling mechanism keeping their system from heating up.

If the fans fail to run when the system gets hot, your hardware will be damaged and your system will shut down when it overheats.

GPU Fans Not Spinning

If the fans on your GPU are not working, the cause may be hardware problems, or hardware problems, or a combination of both. Here’s what you can do to fix the problem.

1. Run system through its spaces

The fans on a system can be exceptionally loud, and they can be very quiet. It really depends on the hardware you have. Make sure the room your system is in is as quiet as it can be and run it through its paces e.g., play a game and check if you can hear the fans running.

It’s a good idea to install an app that can tell you what the temperature of the GPU is. We recommend using SpeedFan.

Your fans aren’t going to run unless the system is hot or beginning to heat up. Once it does, the fans should start but they won’t run at their full/highest speed. They will start running slowly and if the system’s temperature doesn’t drop, they will run faster. If they don’t start to spin up even after you’ve put your system under stress for thirty minutes, you need to check the hardware.

2. Basic GPU maintenance

If the fans aren’t running, some basic maintenance may fix the problem.

  1. Open the chassis/case of the system. Dust it well. Use a can of compressed air and a soft cloth to clean the GPU. It should not be covered in dust. The fan blades should not be jammed with anything and you should be able to spin them manually.
  2. Check if the fan’s bearings need to be oiled. This may require special expertise so if you’re not sure how to oil the bearings, have an expert take a look. You will need to remove the GPU and the fans from the system. It’s a complicated process and it differs based on the hardware.

3. Change power connectors

The GPU needs to draw power in order to work. If the power connector is loose or damaged, it may prevent the GPU and its fans from working. Replace the power connector and power up your computer. Play a game or do anything else that will force the OS to use the GPU and check if the fans start to spin.

4. Update drivers

In order for the GPU to work, it needs the right drivers installed. Outdated drivers may prevent the GPU from regulating its own temperature i.e., it might keep the fans from spinning.

  1. Find the name and model of your GPU. On Windows 10, you can go to the Performance tab in Task manager to look it up.
  2. Look for the latest driver that is available on the GPU manufacturer’s website and install it.
  3. Restart the system and run any task that will force it to use the GPU. Check to see if the fans start running.

5. Check fans via software

It’s possible the fans are no longer functional. If that’s the case, it doesn’t matter how hot the GPU is, they won’t run. To manually run the fans on your system, follow these steps.

  1. Download a free app called MSI Afterburner. Install and run it.
  2. Click the setting button.
  3. Go to the Fans tab.
  4. Enable the ‘Enable user defined software automatic fan control’ option.
  5. Apply the change.
  6. Return to the main interface of the app, and use the fan slider to set the fan speed to maximum.
  7. If the fan starts to spin, it is working. If it doesn’t spin, the fan is likely damaged beyond repair. You may need to replace it or the entire GPU.

6. Laptop vs Desktop

Laptops come with powerful hardware but because of their size, they do have to cut corners somewhere. A laptop generally does not have a GPU fan. There will only be one or two fans in it and they will be CPU fans. If you’re using a laptop then you need to look for apps that will allow you to manually change the fan speed, or start them when the GPU or the core system heats up. We have a guide on how to do just that.

Conclusion

GPUs generally have a long lifespan. They’re less likely to be damaged and more likely to become outdated over time as newer models come out. That said, they can still be damaged, and often it’s because users aren’t careful with their system. If your system has been experiencing crashes and random shutdowns anytime you run an app that uses the GPU, it is possible the hardware is damaged. It may not have anything to do with the fan at all and everything to do with the chip. Have it checked by a professional and consider investing in new hardware.

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How to overclock monitor [TUTORIAL]

Monitors are not all created equal. A monitor may seem like simple hardware and it mostly is but some monitors are more capable than others. An obvious example of this is 4K monitors that support higher resolutions than a normal HD monitor.

Some aspects of a monitor cannot be changed e.g., you cannot upscale the resolution of a monitor using software. The resolution is decided by the number of pixels that the screen has and you cannot increase or decrease it. At the most, you can scale the resolution but nothing else.

Monitor Refresh rate

The resolution of a monitor isn’t the only factor that decides its quality and its capabilities. There are other things too such as how many nits of brightness it supports, and its refresh rate.

The refresh rate of a monitor is the number of times a monitor will refresh the image you see. The higher the rate, the more often the monitor will refresh the screen. This rate matters when you’re dealing with media that has a high FPS (frames-per-second0 value. If the refresh rate of a monitor is low and you’re trying to watch (or play) media that has a high FPS, you will not get the benefit of the high FPS since the monitor will not be able to load it fast enough.

How to overclock monitor

Unlike the resolution and nit value of a monitor, the refresh rate of a monitor can be increased in some cases. The process is known as overclocking. By default, Windows 10 sets the highest/maximum refresh rate that a monitor supports but you can force the monitor to use a higher refresh rate. The process for overclocking a monitor depends on which GPU you have i.e., an AMD GPU or an Nvidia GPU.

1. Overclock Monitor – Nvidia Control Panel

This method works for only Nvidia GPUs.

  1. Go to the desktop and right-click on an empty area. Select Nvidia Control Panel.
  2. Expand Display in the column on the left, and select Change Resolution.
  3. Click Customize under the listed resolutions.
  4. In the window that opens, enable the ‘Enable Resolutions Not Exposed by the Display’ option and click the ‘Create custom resolution’ button.
  5. On the next window, click inside the Refresh Rate field and enter a number higher than what’s currently set.
  6. Click ‘Test’. If you see the Out of Range message, that means you’ve gone too high. Select a lower value and try again. If the value is supported, you will see a message telling you the same. Apply the change.

2. Overclock Monitor – AMD Catalyst Control

This method only works if you have an AMD GPU.

  1. Go to the desktop and right-click on an empty area. Select AMD Radeon or AMD Catalyst Control.
  2. In the app that opens, go to the Display tab.
  3. Click ‘Create’ under the Custom Resolution section.
  4. In the window that opens, enter a new refresh rate.
  5. Click Save.

3. Overclock Monitor with Custom Resolution Utility – AMD + Nvidia

If you’re looking for a method that lets you overclock the monitor regardless of which GPU you have, use Custom Resolution Utility.

  1. Download and run Custom Resolution Utility. 
  2. Under ‘Detailed resolutions’ select the monitor you want to overclock and click the Edit button.
  3. On the new window that opens, enter a higher value in the Refresh Rate field, and click OK, and then click OK again to close the window.
  4. Open the folder that you extracted the Custom Resolution Utility to. Run the restart.exe file if you have 32-bit Windows, and run the restart64.exe file if you have 64-bit Windows.

Limitations

A monitor can be overclocked but you can’t expect to double the refresh rate of a monitor. The overclocking must lie within a reasonable range of the highest refresh rate a monitor supports out of the box.

If you change the refresh rate of your monitor, and it goes black for too long, it means the rate that you’ve set is not within the monitor’s range. You will need to select a lower value.

Overclocking a monitor isn’t dangerous but you should still exercise some caution when doing so.

Conclusion

The benefit of overclocking a monitor may be minimal. You can, at the most, set the refresh rate to be +15Hz of the highest value supported by the monitor. It is rare for users to be able to overclock it to +20Hz or +40Hz. If you’re looking for significantly higher refresh rates, you might need to buy a monitor that supports them.

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How to Clean a Mouse Pad Properly (Guide)

A mouse, particularly a modern wireless one does not have a tracking ball inside it. The tracking ball was found on older, wired mouses. A mouse with a tracking ball needed a smooth surface to work well, and it needed to be cleaned often.

New mouse models are typically optical ones and they can work on almost any surface. There’s no tracking ball to wash but that doesn’t mean it won’t gather dust. To give an optical mouse a good surface to run on, and to keep it as clean as possible, users often get a mouse pad.

Clean mouse pad

A mouse pad is basically used to give a mouse a smooth surface to move on. It’s generally made of soft, spongy material and it’s meant to be placed on a hard surface e.g., a table or desktop. The mouse pad will have a somewhat coarse finish so that there is some friction between it and the mouse, making it easier to control movement.

Over time, a mouse pad builds up lots of dirt and grime, and grease. If you’re in the habit of eating at your desk, crumbs and the like will further dirty it.

Types of mouse pads

Although a mouse pad is generally a flat mat made of cloth or cloth-like material, it comes in other variations as well;

  • Cloth or sponge material.
  • A mouse pad with cushioned wrist support.
  • Glass mouse pads.

A mouse pad is easy to clean

You will need:

  • A washbasin or any other sort of washing station or a a tub.
  • Warm water.
  • Any mild household detergent that is not caustic.
  • A dishwashing sponge, preferrable a small one.

Here’s how to clean a mouse pad

1. Clean a cloth-like mouse pad

To clean the mouse pad, follow the steps below;

  1. If the mouse pad has crusted or congealed dirt and grime on it, you need to soak it for a while.
  2. Put warm water in a tub, add a few drops of detergent, and fully immerse the mouse pad in it for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Remove the mouse pad and rinse it off.
  4. Examine it closely to see if anything is still stuck to it. If it is still dirty, use the washing sponge to gently remove it. It will remove easily after the soak.
  5. Dry the surface and then leave the mouse pad spread out flat to dry. Do not dry in sunlight or in a dryer. You can leave a fan running over it to help it dry faster.
  6. Do not use the mouse pad until it is completely dry.

2. Clean mouse pad with wrist rest

This type of mouse pad is just as easy to clean as the flat kind but it will take longer to dry.

  1. Add lukewarm water to a tub.
  2. Add detergent to it, or just use a few drops of shampoo.
  3. Make suds and soak the mouse pad in the tub.
  4. Allow it to sit, fully immersed in water, for 30 minutes.
  5. Rinse the pad under running water. Stop when the water is no longer soapy.
  6. To dry, you can hang it in your shower, or leave it out on a flat surface. It will take time since it’s far denser but don’t put it in direct sunlight or in the dryer.

3. Clean glass mouse pad

You can clean a glass mouse pad with just about anything that you can use to clean ordinary glass. Use a soft cloth and small amounts of the cleaning agent you have on hand. Make sure the mouse pad is completely dry before you use it and do not use anything caustic.

Benefits of cleaning a mouse pad

A mouse pad should be cleaned regularly, or replaced if it gets dirty. This ensures that;

  1. Any germs that have built up on its surface are killed.
  2. The mouse works smoothly on it.
  3. The mouse pad doesn’t develop fungus or mold from any bacteria that may develop on it.

Conclusion

Mouse pads come in different sizes and you will find some variation in the material that is used to make them but no material is dirt-proof. Many people simply replace a mouse pad when it gets dirty because it’s a cheap buy but some mouse pads, particularly those for gaming, tend to be expensive. This is why it’s a good idea to know how to keep it clean.

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How to fix MSI Afterburner not working on Windows 10

If you’re looking to overclock a GPU or undervolt it, you will have heard of an app called MSI Afterburner. Most guides mention this app as an easy and reliable way to overclock a GPU or undervolt it. It supports both Nvidia and AMD GPUs, and can also be used to control the fan speed of a GPU as well as monitor its temperature.

If you’re trying to use MSI Afterburner to change how the hardware on your system works, and you’re unable to change anything or the various controls aren’t working, here’s what you can do.

Fix MSI Afterburner not working

There are two common problems that users experience in MSI Afterburner; they’re unable to access the graph for customizing the fan speed, or the sliders that control the clock speeds do not work.

1. Ctrl+F not working

You can bring up the fan speed control by tapping the Ctrl+F keyboard shortcut however, your GPU must have its own fan in order to be able to use this feature.

Check GPU fan

To check if your GPU has its own fan, you can look at the packaging or box it came in, or you can Google its model number.

  1. Right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager from the context menu.
  2. Go to the Performance tab on the Task Manager.
  3. Select GPU – 1 from the column on the left.
  4. At the top right of the GPU 1 graph, note down the model of your GPU.
  5. Visit the manufacturer’s website for the GPU and check the specifications of your model to see if it has a fan of its own. Normally, GPUs used in laptops do not have their own fan.

Enable hardware modification

If you’ve confirmed that your GPU has its own fan that MSI Afterburner should be able to control, you may need to enable the fan control itself.

  1. Click the settings button on the main MSI Afterburner interface.
  2. Go to the Fans tab (if the Fans tab is absent, the app cannot detect your GPU fan).
  3. Enable the “Enable user defined software automatic fan control” option.
  4. Tap Ctrl+F and you will see the fan curve.

If there is no GPU fan to control, you can use other apps to control the fans on a Windows 10 system.

2. Sliders inactive

The sliders on MSI Afterburner may be inactive for two reasons; a problem with the app, a restriction with the hardware. To fix a problem with the app, uninstall it.

  1. Open the Control Panel.
  2. Go to Programs>Uninstall a program.
  3. Select MSI Afterburner from the list of installed apps.
  4. Click the Uninstall button at the top.
  5. During the uninstallation process, MSI Afterburner will ask if you want to keep your settings. Make sure you select NO.
  6. Once the app has been uninstalled, install it again and you will be able to control the Memory clock and the Core clock at the very least.

Other inactive sliders

It is possible that the GPU model you have doesn’t allow you to change the core voltage and core power consumption for the chip. In that case, the sliders for these two items will not work. These sorts of restrictions are normally found in GPUs used in laptops and there’s no way around them.

Conclusion

MSI Afterburner is easy to use but it is restricted by the hardware that is installed on your system. Often, there isn’t much that can be done other than to look for a different app to customize how the GPU works, or to upgrade hardware.

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