Miscellaneous Questions

compiled by Robert Hancock

How can I tell at what speed my processor is running?

There are a number of programs you can use to find out what speed you're running at, one of them is SisSoft Sandra, that will tell you this and a bunch of other things about your machine as well. Something a little bit simpler is H. Oda's utility WCPUID, this tells you a bunch of stuff about the CPU as well as some AGP and other information. Both of these utilities can also tell you what model and stepping your CPU is, in case you need this information to decide on a starting voltage for overclocking.

Why is a bunch of stuff showing up on a DOS screen when I boot up after an upgrade?

This will be all the stuff executing in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file. For some reason, sometimes after people upgrade their processor it starts displaying this stuff. This stuff normally runs when you boot up, but it's usually hidden behind the Windows splash screen. I'm at a loss to explain why it may start to show up after you upgrade. To fix it, try opening up the AUTOEXEC.BAT file in the root directory with a text editor like Notepad, and adding the line:


at the beginning of the file.

This may not eliminate everything being displayed, but it should clean some of it up anyway. Actually, if you don't run any DOS programs you can probably just get rid of the config.sys and autoexec.bat files entirely.

Where can I buy this stuff?

Powerleap's products are primarily sold direct through their online store. For customers outside the US, Powerleap has some resellers in a number of countries (which now includes Canada), which allow you to avoid the hassle of customs and brokerage fees with ordering from the US.

For other products, probably the easiest way is a local dealer, although the prices may not be the cheapest and they may not have what you need. One way to find good prices for ordering online is to use Price Watch and search for what you want to buy. You have to be careful and make sure you know what you're buying and whether the dealer is trustworthy. One site where you can find information about how various dealers rate is ResellerRatings.com. The web site Sharky Extreme also maintains a weekly CPU price list showing the price trends for various types of CPUs and where they've found the lowest prices for them.

For fellow Canadians in the audience, there's a site which is like a Canadian version of Price Watch, Computers-Canada.com. You can always order from the US of course, but there's several hassles including excessive shipping costs, brokerage fees charged by the shipping company (especially UPS!) and dealers that just don't ship outside the US. With the exchange rate it often isn't worth it unless you find a really good deal - which sometimes happens..

The only Canadian dealer I know of that has the Iwill Slocket II available is Netlink Computers (NCIX.com) in Burnaby, BC. I have dealt with them on a couple of occasions and found them to have pretty good service.

Tim Meadowcroft mentioned for London, UK readers: "I got my Slocket from Computashop on Tottenham Court Road for about 20 pounds. That's a very well-known road for buying computer stuff..."

What's this about slockets with an onboard regulator?

Most slockets (generally those that don't specifically state they have a voltage regulator or "PWM" on board) are NOT capable of altering the voltage provided to them by the motherboard - the voltage selection jumpers serve only to over-ride the CPU's voltage ID output and tell the motherboard to supply a different voltage.

However, there are some slockets that do have an onboard regulator to power the CPU. These draw power from a drive power connector, so the motherboard's regulator doesn't power the CPU core. One is the PowerLeap PL-iP3. These are primarily meant for use on systems that don't support the 1.6-1.7V core voltage the Coppermine processors require (like the XPS D series). However, they may also be usable to run faster processors even though the motherboard's regulator technically isn't beefy enough to power them, like with the R-series. (However, those that have used a non-regulating slocket with faster CPUs don't seem to have problems, so I'd say the R-series doesn't really need a regulating adapter just for this.)

Older versions of the PL-iP3 used a linear regulator to power the CPU, which basically wastes a bunch of power to bring the voltage down to what it needs to be, and therefore creates a lot of heat. The current versions of the PL-iP3 being sold use a switching regulator, which would not produce as much heat.

Powerleap now has a new version of this slocket, the PL-iP3/T, which I have reviewed. See the link at the top of the main page.

Note: for XPS D machine owners, the PL-iP3 does not overcome the problems with various AGP video cards, as well as with Windows 2000 and XP, in combination with FC-PGA processors. More info on this is available on the XPS D system page.

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