So the big question is what are these lovelies capable of? James picked up a seemingly run of the mill 1GHz AMD TBird, and boy were we floored. What's even more interesting is that our CPU, combined with the data collected at www.overclockers.com
, might be indicative of what this stepping, as a whole, is capable of.
After unlocking the CPU, using our trusty number two pencils, we tossed the chip in for what we thought was going to be a beating.
Upon first boot, I noticed that the CPU was booting up at 1100MHz. Odd I thought, but then I remembered that the previous CPU in the socket had been running at 1.1GHz. And since the processor was unlocked, the motherboard would simply try to boot at what it was set at before. I decided to let it boot up, a nice little hum was all I heard. This CPU was just begging to be let loose.
I decided to pull out the stops and restarted the machine. Let's go for 1200MHz, and with a twirl of my head (Fresh Prince style) I was off. Not a hitch people; the machine booted up perfectly, and all I had been doing up to this point was pushing the multiplier higher and higher, overclocking at 100 MHz increments.
The raging beast.
Pitter, patter - be still my heart. Time to shoot for 1300MHz. At this point I had exhausted the multiplier options, as the board only goes up to 12.5. So I decided to drop the multiplier, and up the FSB to 133 MHz. Did I raise the voltage? Nah. I figured I'd gone this far, no sense in messing with a good thing. After saving the BIOS settings, the computer restarted.
We have POST people! Does it stop there? I think not. After running a few tests, we determined that the computer was purring along just fine. Spanktacular! 1.3GHz, and we hadn't even started to see what this beast was capable of.
Giddy from the success (or the ether), I decided to shoot for 1400MHz. With default voltage, I crossed my fingers and restarted the computer. No dice. I got a POST but then the machine crashed in the booting process. No problem, I'll just up the voltage a bit and see what happens.
In the end I got this puppy running at 1450 MHz. That would be 1.45GHz. Almost a 50% increase from the default speed. A Celery 300A killer? Possibly. We might have been able to go higher, but we had some really worthless thermal paste in the office. We were fresh out of Arctic Silver, and had to resort to using some Radio Shack brand paste. So the tests were run at 1400, 1330, and 1000MHz.
We did have one rather odd experience in this trip. In trying to push the limits of the CPU with the not-so-good thermal paste, we couldn't hit 1.4GHz with settings of 10.5x133. But the machine seemed to run fine if we lowered the multiplier and upped the FSB (10x140).
While we probably can't guarantee that every 1 GHz AXIA Athlon will hit 1.4 or 1.5GHz, I'm willing to lay down good money to say that the vast majority of these chips will make it to 1.3GHz with little to no problem. Not quite as good a deal as the 300A, but we are talking about jumping from 1GHz to 1.5GHz. That, in my book, seems a tad harder than the 150MHz jump we were playing with in the past.