Originally, all the components on a system operated at the same frequency. But with improvements in technology, the rest of the system became a bottleneck to the CPU achieving its full potential. This problem was solved by allowing the CPU to operate multiple cycles for every cycle that the system operated. This factor is called the Multiplier. Earlier it was possible for the user to set the multiplier using switches on the motherboard, but now, except for the high-end CPUs, most CPUs come with a set multiplier.