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The Slot-A, and the SocketA, version of the AMD Athlon or Duron, are VERY good overclockable. I got my AMD Athlon 500 running at 700 Mhz and my AMD Duron 600 running at ... 900 Mhz !! That is pretty cool for a sub $150 CPU !

Now I know, by the time you read this, it's old news,...

For the Slot-A AMD Athlon overclocking we used a so called "Gold-Finger" device. A little piece of PCB hooked up to the (hidden) gold-finger connector of the AMD Athlon. Which works great.

Overclocking the SocketA AMD Athlon or Duron does not require a "Gold-Finger"-device. The trick is cheaper but definitly harder to execute. Or better: it's a more precise excersise.

Warning: Overclocking may harm your CPU, hardware and even wreck the data stored on your harddrive, so please read the disclaimer!

AMD Rulezzz

The start ...

This project I started out with reading some usefull overclocking tips at several overclocking-webpages like:

Athlon: using Afterburner

I first started by ordering the OutsideLoop Afterburner. Alternatives are: FreeSpeed and Maximizer. These devices are often called "Gold-Finger"-devices, which make overklokken very easy.

Next step was installing proper temperature monitoring software.

The software that came with the Asus K7M mainboard was sufficient, but later I started playing with the nicer MB Monitor (it supports a lot of mainboards, check it out !).

The Afterburner came with simple instructions on how to take the Athlon a part (bey bey waranty)... Just some things they migth have mentioned:

The AMD Athlon 500 Mhz default runs at 1.60 Volts...

Next step: mount the Afterburner on the Athlon and put the Athlon back in it's mainboard slot. The first thing I tried was running at 500 Mhz with a VCore of 1.60 Volts.

These are the settings: FREQ = 4 (both dials) VCORE = 5

Since this worked perfectly, time to go further: FREQ = 7 (both dials) VCORE = 7 (650 Mhz)
I first tried VCORE = 6 (1.65 Volts) but this did not work at all... a 1.70 Volts VCore did the job perfectly,...

My next step was going for 700 Mhz: FREQ = 8 (both dials) and VCORE = 8 (since VCORE = 7 did not boot at all), here are the results (after running the Unreal Tournament Intro for 4 hours):

Clock: 700 Mhz
Temperatur: 38 degrees Celcius (open tower) and 45 degrees Celcius (tower closed)

This is what it looks like:

Snapshot of the Afterburner locked on my Athlon 500

Here you have a look into my PC,... I placed an additional fan to suck out the hot air...

Athlon @ 700 Mhz - steady 38 degrees Celcius !

I figured the mainboard temperature sensor would not be acurate enough so I placed a heat sensor on the CPU for some serious temperature indication (which was actually about 8 degrees higher than the mainboard sensor indicated) .

Tower close,... 45 degrees stable....

Putting the cover back on my PC did instantly increase the tempearture 7 degrees. This was a good indication that I can tune the airflow in the PC ....

Look at this,... a 500Mhz at 700Mhz,... no problems here !

Some notes:

On should be able to go further, but the cache speed might need altering (succesfull clocking to 750 Mhz have been reported without altering the cache speed. Default cache speed is 1/2 (at 700 Mhz I used 1/2 too). Most 800 Mhz overclocking require a cache speed 1/3.

Some benchmarking:

For benchmarking I used SiSoft Sandra and 3DMark2000.
Since I have 2 computers, I grabbed the oportunity to compare both systems.
Initial I had a Intel Pentium III 450Mhz with a Creative Labs Annihilator (Geforce) which I overclocked (FSB = 105Mhz) to 500 Mhz. The other computer has an AMD Athlon 500 with a Voodoo3-3000, running at 700 Mhz using the OutsideLoop Afterburner.

I tested both machines using the Geforce and the Voodoo 3D-cards, and these where the results:

Benchmark chart

The Geforce definitly increases 3D performance and seems slightly depended on the type of CPU and CPU-Speed. The same goes for the Voodoo3-3000 card.

Next step

(to be done as soon as I get faster dimms) will be increasing the FSB starting with 105. I tried it already with my current dimms, but somehow the system gets unstable....




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