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REVIEW: Pocket Hack Master on a PocketLOOX
Posted by Arne Hess - on Friday, 24.01.03 - 16:01:00 CET under 08 - Reviews - Viewed 9526x
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Do you want to squeeze the maximum from you XScale based device? Overclock your 400 MHz Pocket PC to 472 MHz and gain additional 20% performance boost? Clock down the CPU to preserve battery power? Manually tweak the memory and LCD multipliers, run your CPU in Turbo or Run mode, set the SDRAM latency, refresh rate or refresh cycles? Get detailed information on your device, see the running processes, threads, loaded DLLs? See the system databases and your power status? Hack Master will do this for you. Hack Master will change the speed of your CPU and minimize to tray. You can easily access all the settings from the tray icon menu, or maximize the program and gain access to even more settings. Hack Master will monitor device power offs and restore the speed you chose upon next power on. 4 quick speeds, 4 frequently used speeds, favorite speed, and more than 30 other speed settings available by manipulating the manual multipliers.

PocketHackMaster comes with a detailed view of your battery status:

As you can see, it informs you not only how much exactly your battery has been drained yet. In addition to that it tries to estimate the remaining battery life – what I really like – , it tells you the current voltage and the current. I cannot really tell if the estimated battery life really correlates with the real battery life but for me it seems to come close to it. At least it gives you an impression on how long you can wait until you should look for a power socket … ;)

The list of running processes is a nice feature too, although PocketHackMaster gives you the possibility to "kill" processes it is not recommended to do so. Certainly the "normal" running applications can be killed without any problem – for that I would recommend the integrated OS-application manager or any other tool – but in this window you can also see all the processes running entirely in the background. Many of them are critical processes supporting a stable and nicely running OS. Some of them even cannot be "killed". At least it is nice to know what else is running on your Pocket PC that you never thought of.

All the things I said about the "processes window" should be kept in mind regarding the 'System Database' window. Here you can see the entire databases of your system which are normally hidden on your Pocket PC. PocketHackMaster allows you to delete these databases one by one although this does not work with all. Remember, anything you do here affects your personal data like calendar data or contact data and more. So do not try to delete anything here if you are not 100% sure of what you are doing.

The 'Info-tab' gives you all the information you already might know from your system settings.

Looking at the 'SDRAM' settings is confusing in the first place and keeps being so… ;)

I have contacted the developer and asked him to include a description of that in one of the upcoming versions of PocketHackMaster but there has been none yet.

Certainly I tried some settings… always forcing me to do a hard-reset afterwards :( …

So again: If you are not familiar with what all these things mean – do not touch them. You might risk all your data stored in the RAM and risk damage to your hardware.

Right now I cannot recommend changing any settings here!

The very first and probably most interesting tab on the menu is the 'XScale-tab'. Opening this window allows you to set the speed of your XScale CPU. There are predefined settings. Overclocking the XScale CPU is based on raising the fontsidebus of your Pocket PC-motherboard. This does not only affect the CPU but also the RAM and many other components of your hardware. So although the speed increase seems to be nice, every other component has to bear the higher FSB what might lead to long-term damage…

Having tried this feature with the PocketLOOX I found out that the only working FSB is 99.5MHz and 118MHz. Any higher FSB is most probably not tolerated by the SDRAM. This experience is associated with the experience of other XScale-based Pocket PC users.

Knowing this, limits the amount of speed settings you can achieve with this overclocking tool. The highest setting that is safely to be set via PocketHackMaster then is 472MHz. Since the developer knows all this, speeds based on a 118MHz FSB are predefined in the tool and can be easily set by the user. Although the tool allows you to set all the overclocking settings manually, I definitely dissuade from that because this most probably causes the device to hang up and will force the user to do a hard reset. It may even damage your device at once making it unusable.

According to this overclocking feature, the developer included the option to set PocketHackMaster as a tray icon. From this 'tray menu' you can easily change the speed from normal to turbo mode and backwards. You can apply the option to run PocketHackMaster on the start-up, force it to minimize and set the favorite speed automatically. This works great and is a very nice feature.

Things to bear in mind: Certainly the overclocking ability of this tool is the most interesting part of it – not disregarding the cool efforts to realize the other features.

Overclocking a device like a PDA always comes with certain risks. Overclocking reduces the durability of any component of the hardware associated with the higher FSB. That is the CPU, the RAM but also the display and storage cards. So any user using this feature must assume the risk of long-term damage.

Overclocking Results tested with VOBenchmark:
CPU 398Mhz 472Mhz
Floating Point 12.61 15.01
Integer 29.94 31.87

Graphics/Bitmap 398Mhz 472Mhz
BitBlt 58.15 69.97
StrechBlt 0.95 1.11
Graphics/Filled 398Mhz 472Mhz
Ellipse 0.91 1.07
Rectangle 5.41 6.51
Rounded Rect 0.89 1.09

Memory 398Mhz 472Mhz
Allocation 10.83 13.90
Fill 0.91 1.08
Move 0.36 0.42

Text 3.81 Text 4.52

As you can see from the results, the overclocking of the XScale CPU comes up with an increase of up to 20% compared to the normal CPU settings. This looks impressive!

All day experience shows that the overclocked PocketLOOX seems to be more responsive, processes seem to be noticeably faster.

Regarding the battery life, some users have claimed that the reduction of battery life seems not to be significant compared to a normal clocked CPU. As you might know, running XScale devices at 'power-save-mode' (200MHz) does not save as much power as expected (about 10% to 30%). Bearing this in mind, a rise of about 72MHz should not affect the battery life very much.

Final Conclusion

PocketHackMaster allows you to set the clockspeed of your XScale based Pocket PC instantly from the start up. Although the tool offers absolutely free handling of FSB and multiplier, there are only a few settings that are safely handled by the hardware. All the others cause a hang-up and force to do a hard-reset. Knowing this, the tool limits the settings to a save FSB of 118MHz in the first place. 118MHz (leading to a clock speed of 472MHz max.) should be a well working settings for most XScale based Pocket PCs..

PocketHackMaster does what it stands for: It gives you the control over the most basic settings and information of your Pocket PC. It has a clear comprehensive interface and a very good handling of its overclocking feature – I love that tray icon.

For the future, there is a kind of 'auto scaling' planed to be integrated into the program.

Is it worth the money? Yes, for everyone who likes to have a fast XScale PDA, not caring about any risk that may occur. If you are happy with what you got, leave it to all those freaks… ;)


There is a noticeable difference concerning the speed and responsiveness of the device when using it at 472MHz (no matter which tool you use to achieve that). But on the other hand you might ask yourself if you really need that bearing in mind that overclocking may likely cause long-term damage to your most loved Pocket PC.

Being able to get your XScale Pocket PC up to 472MHz might be the solution for what many XScale users seeking for: a fast and responsive Pocket PC as it has been announced in the beginning. It works – but since overclocking of XScale based Pocket PCs is still very young, the price that has to be paid for that stills remains unclear.

Any kind of hardware manipulation – even throughout software hacking – causes your device's warranty to be voided. Only advanced users who do not care about warranty should try overclocking!

This review has been made on the software version 1.74. It can be registered for 9.90$ at Handango or The overclocking feature only works with the registered version. PHM is updated frequently.

Reviewed by Jorlin -
Prereleased with permission of Jorlin and

Related Links : [Download Here] [More Information] [Original Source]


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