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What Is NB Frequency? [Basics, Changing How-to & More]

The CPU is analogous to the human brain. You would find many features similar to it, and yet get amazed by the wide array of features. One of such parts is the North Bridge or host bridge. It is one of the core chips within the architecture that is directly connected to the CPU, and aids in all high-performance activities. 

Along with this, it is also pivotal for setting the communications between CPU, RAM, PCI-E, and South Bridge. If you are a gamer and want to know other magic, then this is the component that decides the extent to which your CPU or GPU can be overclocked! Interesting, isn’t it?

Therefore, as a responsible user, you should enter into its basics, and know the role of its frequency in everyday activities. Read on to get the answer to ‘What is NB Frequency?’  


What Is NB Frequency? The Definition

What Does NB Frequency Mean?

North Bridge Frequency, popularly called NB Frequency is the baseline used for defining the clock speed or running frequency of the processor. The value, generally expressed in MHz means that the processor would perform that many million clock cycles every second. These cycles run from alternating peak to low voltage, and have clock transfer along the edges. 

Where Does NB Frequency Show Up?

If you are interested to know the NB frequency of your computer, then download CPU-Z. It can show other parameters along with CPU-Z NB frequency, like RAM speed, memory allocation, etc. The values keep changing as you overclock the system, and therefore you gain the independence to track real-time values of such critical parameters. 

How is NB Frequency Determined?

The calculation of NB frequency is not an easy nut to crack. It is influenced by multiple frequencies and multipliers and hence keeps changing with the real-time in the system. But, if you are looking for a general formula, then refer below:

NB Frequency= NB Multiplier * Front Side Bus

As the North Bridge is connected to the CPU through Front Side Bus, it is a critical parameter in the calculation. 

Examples with Explanation

In the modern-day processors, starting from AMD Athlon 64, you can see the concept of the integrated memory controller and Hyper Transport Bus. As a result, from the BIOS setting, you can check the NB frequency.

Just go to Advanced Clock Calibration?CPU North Bridge Frequency?Enter. Based on the multiplier value, you can find the frequency value, and then decide ways of overclocking or enhancing the same.  

Along with the value, you can also check the NB Voltage Control, which can show the voltage and power dissipation settings for the particular chip. 

What Should my NB Frequency be?

To understand the ideal value of NB Frequency, you should have a good idea of double data rate (DDR). It is the condition when the data is transferred on both the rise and dip in the clock signals and thus the transmission rate gets doubled. It has a minimum clock speed of 200 MHz. 

Now, when it comes to NB Frequency, the value should ideally be triple or more than the RAM speed defined with DDR. Therefore, the value keeps changing with real-case scenarios, but the base formula of NB frequency and RAM stays the same. 

In another way round, NB Frequency is also related to Hyper Transport. The relationship is directly proportional, and can hence showcase some enhancement in the performance of the system. The HT/NB combination coupled with the bus speeds controls the I/O, connection of PCI to RAM, cores to the cache, and many more. (Refer to a similar article- What is PCI latency timer?)

How to Change NB Frequency?

You can either increase or decrease the NB frequency as per the performance requirements of the system. The next section details the steps to increase and decrease the values. 

How to Increase NB Frequency?

You may need to increase the NB frequency of the CPU to enhance the overall performance, and take better advantage of overclocking the CPU. It may increase the NB voltage and power dissipation, but a robust cooling system can handle those fluctuations. 

To be frank, increasing NB frequency is a part of overclocking the CPU. The following steps prove the same:

  • Enter the system BIOS by restarting the same.
  • Go to advanced frequency settings, and alter the field of CPU Clock Ratio.
  • This value multiplied by 100 gives the increased frequency, and you can stop seeing the fluctuations in the value as in the case of the default state.
  • Next, go for Host Clock Value and go above the default value. This is one of the primary reasons for which the NB frequency increases. 
  • Then, go for changing the voltage settings to allow the CPU to work at a greater speed. You can calibrate three major values- VCORE SOC, CPU VDD18, and CPU VDDP. 
  • Finally, optimize the memory settings by selecting the XMP option. It would also change the DRAM frequency to bring it at par with NB frequency

How to Decrease NB Frequency?

If you see that the system is getting overheated, or you may not need the high-performance requirements, then decreasing NB frequency is the best alternative for you. 

Just like increasing NB frequency, follow the given steps to lower the same:

  • Go to System BIOS.
  • Move to Advanced Frequency Settings?CPU Clock Ratio.
  • Bring the value to the default one as defined by the manufacturer.
  • Then go to Host Clock Value and reset the same to the default settings. Therefore, the NB frequency also comes down by one step.
  • Finally, change the voltage and memory settings to go back to the original values. 

Thus, with the BIOS, you can easily play around with other values beyond NB frequency. 

Is NB Frequency RAM Speed?

No, the NB frequency is not always the same as that of RAM speed, or to be more precise DRAM speed. If you go by CPU-Z settings, you would find NB frequency higher than DRAM frequency. But, when it comes to effective speed, it would be twice the DRAM frequency displayed. 

It is because modern-day systems are based out of DDR, and they have a double transmission rate. And when you change the DRAM frequency during overclocking, the effect is also observed on NB frequency. 

You can also compare NB Frequency with Uncore Frequency. The latter is the frequency of working for the non-core components of the CPU, like cache, memory controller, etc. Also known as Ringbus frequency, it provides additional support to the CPU performance and comes to use to change the advanced chip settings. 

When the comparison of Uncore frequency vs NB frequency is done, the values come within the desired range. It is recorded within 1.2-2.4 GHz. Therefore, the former helps in giving a good indication of the latter, and how does overclocking one impacts the value of the other. 

Why is my NB Frequency Low?

There will be cases when you would find NB frequency to be low. The following can be the top reasons contributing towards it:

  • While overclocking the system, you might have forgotten to change the power settings or NB voltage settings. As a result, even though the value is increased, the heat dissipation would be quite high and contributing towards lagging in the system. So, always remember to change these settings also while playing with the values of NB frequency.
  • You may not have adjusted the host clock value properly or within the specifics mentioned by the manufacturer. So, there are high chances of inefficiency observed in the NB performance, and you may witness some low values in it. 
  • In the rarest of the rare cases, there may be some bug in CPU-Z showing wrong interpretation of the values. So, in such cases also you may find the frequency lying in the lower range. Troubleshooting is the best option in such cases.

Look out for either of the cases, and you are sure to find your answer. 

CPU-Z NB Frequency Not Showing- What to Do?

Sometimes, you may face the issue of seeing CPU-Z NB Frequency while using the open-source. The following are some of the plausible reasons:

  • If you are using the dual-mode in the chipset of your CPU, CPU-Z might be having some issues in reading the values. It depends on the RAM configuration in both of the sticks, and you may need to tweak the values in case of a mismatch. Refer to the details mentioned in the manufacturer’s manual for a better idea of the troubleshooting techniques.
  • CPU-Z might be bugged and needs immediate attention or expert help. Refer the support websites to resolve at a priority. 
  • You can also check the BIOS to confirm if the values are printed over there. It is directly connected to your chip configuration, and can also help in finding ways to troubleshoot the problem. 
  • In some cases, you can right-click on CPU-Z and select ‘Run as administrator. Then go to the required tab and you can find the values.


What is the NB frequency multiplier?

Answer: NB frequency multiplier is the circuital component that sets the ratio of the internal clock rate to the external one. Based on every external clock cycle, the number of internal cycles set in the multiplier would be completed. 

The frequency is calculated by multiplying the value with Front Bus. 

What does increasing NB frequency do?

Answer: Increasing the NB frequency can help in improvising the performance of the system, particularly when you are involved in activities like gaming. Just set the right parameters during overclocking, and you may get the desired performance without overheating issues.

Why NB frequency is low?

Answer: There can be different reasons for it. Some of the probable ones include the power settings not being put at appropriate values, the host clock ratio not changed, and many more. Refer to the article to get more details.  

Is NB frequency 1600mhz good?

Answer: It depends upon your RAM configuration. If it is based on DDR, then the effective speed would be double the frequency and so you would find decent performance in the system. 

Final Words 

On an ending note, we would conclude by highlighting the importance of having the right NB frequency. The values have an indirect hit on the performance, and also get affected while overclocking the system. So, keep the parameters in the right order to get the desired output. Refer to our article in case of any concerns, or seek expert help to diagnose issues going beyond your expertise.

Keep referring to our website for more of such articles, like ‘Clock speed vs cores for gaming,’ ‘What is CPUTIN?’ and many more. Till then, happy reading and stay safe.