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[ The PC Guide | System Optimization and Enhancement Guide | System Optimizations and Enhancements | Miscellaneous Improvements ]

Eliminate Accidentally Turning Off Turbo Mode on Turbo PCs

I occasionally run into an older PC that suddenly drops in performance dramatically; suddenly, one day, the system is running at a fraction of its previous speed. There are many possible causes for this problem, but one annoying cause is accidentally disabling turbo mode on a PC that uses it. Many older 286, 386 and 486 machines have a turbo button on them. When enabled, "turbo" actually allows the system to run at its intended full speed; when disabled, the PC slows down.

Today, newer PCs don't generally bother with this; some cases still have the button but it won't generally do anything. Even older PCs rarely have any use for this feature. You can disabled the turbo button if you aren't using it, or if you keep disabling turbo by accident, fairly easily:

  1. Open the PC: Power down and then open up the PC.
  2. Locate the Turbo Pin Connector: Find the connector on the motherboard that controls the turbo setting. Two easy ways to do this are to either check your system or motherboard documentation, or follow the two wires from the turbo button on the cases, to where they connect to the motherboard.
  3. Pull the Connector From the Motherboard: Simply disconnect the wires from the pins that they are connected to. If the pins on the motherboard aren't labeled, and if you don't have the motherboard manual, make a note on a piece of paper indicating which pins the wires were connected to, in case you ever want to reconnect the button.
  4. Test the System: Carefully, power the system up. Then, check the turbo LED to see if it is on, and check the system speed. If the LED is on and the system speed is normal (fast), then you are all done. If the system speed is slow and the LED is off, then your motherboard probably requires the turbo switch to be shorted to work properly. Turn the PC off, and use a jumper to connect the two pins on the motherboard for the turbo switch together. Then turn it on and everything should work. If it still doesn't, then you should undo the changes that you made and just be more careful with the turbo button. Taping over it should work too. :^)

Next: Improve Floppy Disk Read and Write Speed


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