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Overclocking the XPS 700: The Basics

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Lionel had mentioned that a few Direct2Dell readers requested more details on overclocking the XPS 700 and that there was some churn in the blogosphere about how to enable it. The XPS 700 is one of the first systems we’ve shipped that supports overclocking. If you are a gamer or have been a PC enthusiast for a while, you’re probably familiar with the term. For those who aren’t, or for those who are new to the topic, I wanted to take a few minutes to define overclocking, to provide some insight into what Dell supports and make you aware of some of the risks involved.

In a nutshell, overclocking involves increasing the default operating speed of a system component beyond the original manufacturer’s specifications. What’s the benefit? Potential performance increases. What’s the risk? More on that later.

We support overclocking on all XPS 700 system configurations through an NVIDIA application called nTune, which you can download from this link. Note that we require version 5.0 or later. Within the nTune application, there are two main methods for overclocking:

  • Manual Tuning – This is for advanced users, will cover this more in the future.
  • Automatic Tuning – This is the easiest way to get started. Basically, you choose the tuning option and let the application do the work. Louis Bruno, a service program manager for graphics offerings on XPS products, shows you how to enable overclocking in the BIOS (it’s not enabled by default) and walks you through some of the automatic tuning options in this vlog.(Please visit the site to view this video)

Now for the disclaimer: overclocking can lead to system instability, and can also shorten the life cycle of components you overclock. Worst case scenario—overclocking can actually damage system components. What does this mean to you? Be careful. Even if you’ve successfully overclocked systems in the past, it’s a good idea to start slow with setting tweaks. After you’ve overclocked, use your system as you normally would to test the new settings. If your system becomes unstable (examples include system lockups, blue screens, random reboots, video artifacts in games, etc.), that means you’ve pushed the hardware too far, and you should throttle back on some of your tweaks.

From a troubleshooting perspective, Dell support will ask you to turn off overclocking in the BIOS before we troubleshoot your system. We’ll have more on overclocking the XPS 700 on the blog in the future.

For Linux users, you can access the Ogg Theora format of our vlog here.

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