FASTER THAN A SPEEDING BULLET
reviewed XCPUScalar in June 2004. A little over
2 years later what has changed?
Support for more devices including Windows Mobile
Underclock as low as 104MHz and overcook as high as
728MHz depending on your XScale CPU
I FEEL THE NEED FOR SPEED
So, how does it work? Before I give you my overall
opinion, let’s take a look at the various options
and settings available in XCPUScalar 2006.
"Speed" is the main tab in XCPUScalar. From here you can
lock in a speed for your CPU. My Treo 700w runs standard
Figure 2: Although XCPUScalar supports 240×240
devices, the menus are not well designed for this screen
This is the rest of the "Speed" tab which features
the Auto Scale with CPU load, TaskBar Meter and color
You may notice the graphic glitch in the screenshot
above. I found several of these while using the program.
Considering the Treo 700w has a very slow video
processor, I am willing to give XCPUScalar the benefit
of the doubt. I have not seen these glitches in any
other program on my Treo, though.
Figure 3: At the top of the screenshot, you can see
the TaskBar CPU meter.
Figure 4: Fortunately, you can change the text and
background colors of the TaskBar meter so it matches
your Today theme.
One of the best features of XCPUScalar is the "Auto
Scale with CPU load" option. This allows you to let the
program decide the best speed for your device based on
what it is doing and how hard the CPU is working. The
concept is, most applications do not stress the CPU. So,
you should be able to get better battery life out of
your device by underclocking the CPU most of the time
and only speeding it up when it is needed. Let’s take a
look at the "Advanced" tab where the settings for Auto
Scale are located.
Figure 5: You can set the
speed for your CPU at various load settings.
screenshot, if the CPU load is 15% or less, the
processor will run at 208MHz.
Figure 6: Here is the rest of the "Advanced" tab.
You can define speeds for various CPU loads, which is
7: The "Meters" tab shows you various information about
Here you can see the CPU load, battery
life, storage memory…
8: …and program memory. Notice that the TaskBar meter
also reports the current processor speed and CPU load.
Figure 9: The file menu gives you a few more options
including the ability to automatically start XCPUScalar
after a soft reset.
You will also notice the "Ignore Safety Checks on Start"
option in the above screenshot. Normally, XCPUScalar
performs a safety check when it is started or after a
soft reset if you have it set to start automatically.
The safety check makes sure that your device will boot
at the speed you have chosen. If it does not boot,
XCPUScalar will return your device to the stock clock
speed. If you are feeling brave, the "Ignore" option
lets you bypass those safety checks and force XCPUScalar
to run at the speed you have chosen.
Another built-in safety check runs while the device
connected to a desktop PC using ActiveSync. XCPUScalar
will automatically return your device to the stock clock
speed during the ActiveSync session to prevent
conflicts. After all, ActiveSync is quite capable of
messing up on its’ own… it certainly does not need any
TAKE IT TO 11
I used XCPUScalar for several weeks on my Treo 700w.
Unfortunately, I was unable to get SPB Benchmark to run
on my device so I will not be able to give you
scientific speed results. This was not XCPUScalar’s
fault because SPB Benchmark would not run after a hard
reset even before I installed XCPUScalar. So, I will
give you my subjective "feeling" on how my device
performed while running XCPUScalar.
I found that using the Auto Scale function worked
splendidly and I used that most of the time.
Approximately 80% of the time, XCPUScalar was able to
downclock the CPU to 208MHz. This resulted in a battery
life bonus of about 10%. Fortunately, the Treo’s battery
life is pretty good anyway, but for some of the more
"longevity-challenged" devices, this could be a real
bonus. When playing games such as Bejeweled 2, which is
notoriously CPU-intensive, XCPUScalar scaled my CPU
smoothly up to 520MHz. The author tells me that some
people using the Treo have even run the CPU at 624MHz,
but I am not quite that brave. The device was perfectly
stable at speeds between 208 and 520MHz. The only
difference that I noticed was a slight lag when the
program us ramping up the processor speed. This lag is
barely noticeable, but it is there. This is definitely
not a deal-breaker… in fact, I don’t think most people
would even notice it.
I also used XCPUScalar to run my Treo at 416MHz for an
entire day. Truth be told, there really just is not too
much that I do on a normal basis that requires that
speed. I carefully watched the TaskBar meter and I never
saw the CPU load go past 75% except for very brief
moments. Battery life suffered about 15-20% when
overclocked to 416MHz which is really not too bad.
There is a very limited trial available which does not
save any settings and will not allow you to use the Auto
Scale function. I recommend giving the trial a spin just
to make sure that your device does not reject the clock
changes. If you like it you can purchase XCPUScalar at
any major handheld software store such as
PocketGear, for $19.95.
Supports a wide variety of XScale devices and CPU speeds
Built-in safety features to prevent damage to your
Underclocking your device can provide a significant
Graphic glitches on the Treo 700w
Menus are not designed for 240×240 screens
- Only works with XScale-based devices
Overall, I was very surprised how stable my device
was while using XCPUScalar. I was expecting my
device to have some problems when changing the
speeds up and down, but those problems just did not
materialize. The author of this program obviously
spent a lot of time testing to ensure stability. I
previously used a Verizon XV6700 for an extended
test. One of my primary complaints with that device
was battery life. On that device, XCPUScalar’s Auto
Scale function would be great to underclock and
extend battery life. I also think XCPUScalar would
be great on a high-end VGA device. The bottom line
is, give XCPUScalar a try and see what it does for
your device. I give this product the following rating:
google_ad_channel ="5630157517"; google_color_border = "ffffff";
google_color_bg = "ffffff"; google_color_link = "336699";
google_color_url = "336699"; google_color_text = "333333";