Getting 515 From Your Little Machine

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  January 11
   

Getting 515 From Your Little Machine

   

First, allow me to give you some backgrond on my motives with respect to overclocking. I am a speed freak. I intend to push my hardware as far as it will go without damage to the components. Some people are value freaks. They want the most horsepower for their buck and are concerned about cost. While cost is an issue sometimes for me, I opted for the PII-333 for my overclocked gaming rig. The option is a little more risky due to the fact that the PII-333 is multiplier locked at 5X. So, if your CPU won't do 500MHz then you're stuck at 415 (5X83) or less...

Now, this took some serious hunting around to find a processor that would run stable at 103MHz at a 5X multiplier. I went through no less than 4 CPUs to find the right one. There are many resources on the net for finding overclockable CPUs. Overclockers.com has a nice CPU Database with all the different date and lot codes that will make the jump to 500MHz. I chose the PII-333 SL2TV - Week 41 Ireland Made CPU from a company by the name of 5 O'Clock Computers. They were kind enough to email the codes of my CPU which are...

SL2TV Y8410554-0319 (the "Y" stands for the Ireland assembly plant, 8 for 1998 and 41 for Week 41) Now, you may not need my exact date and lot code to be successful, but you will need a tried and true lot/date code from some other batch. Otherwise, you're just gambling.



Here is a picture of my little sweetness


I will not part with this CPU so don't even ask! Even this CPU was a gamble because getting a PII-333 to run at 500+ is no easy feat! For starters I went with the Mother of all Motherboards, the
Abit BX6. A lot of folks like the BH6 for its size and price both of which are small in comparison to most BX mobos. I like the BX6 rather because of the fact that it has many smart fan connectors and has an extra legacy ISA slot available for my extra Ethernet card. At the moment, Abit in my opinion, is the one of the only companies that a true overclocker should look to for a new motherboard when overclocking PIIs in general. My reasoning is that Abit is the only manufacturer that will allow you to adjust CPU voltages in the BIOS.

 

Here's a picture of the CPU Setup section of the BIOS


You'll notice there is a CPU Voltage Setup Option you can mess with. It is normally set to the CPU default. My advice to you is not to mess with this unless you know what you are doing. It will let you adjust your CPU voltage in .1 increments. Since a lot of CPUs will only allow you to overclock marginally at the default voltage, this adjustment adds that extra umph! (that's a German word, isn't it? :-)) If your CPU won't run stable at 450 or 500 at 2.0V then try increasing the voltage .1V at a time up to but no higher than 2.3V. I have actually run a CPU at 2.5V for a while just to try to get it to stabilize. It never did. I didn't hurt the CPU that time but I would advise against it strongly. If you can't get the CPU stable up to 2.3V then more voltage will probably not help much anyway. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule.

Finally, YOU NEED GOOD COOLING. I have no less than Six Fans blowing cool air in and sucking hot air out of my Full Tower Case. Here's a shot of the CPU cooler I use... and remember, always practice "safe sinking" using a thin layer of thermal paste between the CPU and the cooler.

The Computer Nerd's "BCool PII Cooler Model FAP2X3B-10"



Hang on to your hats boyz! This puppy will blow you away! Three fans all-a-crankin' in unison!

Anyway, I booted it at 5X100MHz Front Side Bus at the default voltage and she locked booting Win98. So I kicked'er up to 2.1V and wammo baby! I was there! So I then tried one step further and enabled the "Turbo Frequency" Option in the BIOS which adds an additional 3MHz to the bus for a total of 15MHz when multiplied X5. She did that like a walk in the part too! I then ran a battery of tests including the opening "fly by" screen demo in Unreal (my personal burn-in utility :-)), if that game doesn't make her cough, nothing will! I also ran a few runs of 3D Mark 99 and let the machine run Unreal overnight. When I got up the next day, the machine was still chugging away on Unreal!

OK... so you're sayin' "but Uncle-Dave, how do I get my CPU to do tricks like that?!" My advice would be to stick to one of the known lot code/data code combinations that is tried and true for 450+ or 500MHz. There are far fewer processors around that are capable of making the step up to 500 or more. 450 or even 464 (103X4.5) for an SL2W8 Step Code PII-300, is a much more attainable goal. If you have the time and the resouces, however, it can be done!

Good luck, and keep on clockin' !

-Davo

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