There is not much for me to talk about,
SiSoft Sandra is just synthetic benchmark, however there is still some value in
it. In that if you are able to achieve high scores, then your real world
performance should be reciprocal (to a certain extent of course). Well time for
a more real and tangible benchmark, Quake III:
Quake III Demo
Settings: Using my .cfg, 32Bit colour, detail slider on full, gibs
on, marks off, coloured lighting off, vertex lighting.
Athlon 800Mhz / Geforce2 235Mhz / 365Mhz:
800x600 = 160FPS
1024x768 = 140FPS
These are some really fine scores indeed, anything over 120FPS is
goal for the more "serious" Quaker. And the higher your demo 1 scores are,
the higher your "worst case scenario" fps will be. Just because you can
get over 120FPS in a time demo, it doesn't mean that it is always above 120FPS,
there are frames that whizzed by at over 300FPS factored in with the frames that
dipped well below 120FPS too.
Let's be honest, we all want more than what we paid for.
Overclocking is the most common method of getting more for your hardware
dollars. Sure 800Mhz is darn fast, but what if it was able to do 1Ghz or
more? Coincidentally, overclocking can save you some money too!
Chip selection can help the overclocking effort, with the Socket A
Athlons, there are two distinct types out there right now. The 'green'
core ones that are based from .18mi aluminum technology, and are produced in the
Austin, TX fab. And the preferred ones are the 'blue' cores, made from
.18mi copper technology and are produced in the Dresden fab in Germany.
Naturally I picked out a blue one because copper interconnects should allow for
a higher overclock versus the green ones. Also the fact that all 1Ghz or
faster Athlons are the blue ones convinced me to get a blue one.
The method to overclock is the same as the
Duron that I reviewed here. Overclocking can be done by simply raising the
FrontSide Bus frequency within the SoftMenu III option in the bios, however
raising the FSB on an Athlon motherboard will not yield the "super high"
overclock that I wanted (1Ghz range). The motherboard chipset is just
not very stable at FSB's above 110Mhz (220).
Therefore, the clock multiplier will have to be raised,
unfortunately, the L1 bridges on the CPU have been cut by AMD. The cut
bridges can be reconnected with a simple pencil. The pencil trick is
reasonably simple, however the bridges are tiny, and great care must be taken
whence connecting them with the pencil lead. I suggest using a very fine pencil
tip, or a .5mm mechanical pencil. Just pencil the bridges back and forth a few
times, and that should provide enough conductivity to unlock the CPU. After
successfully connecting the L1 bridges, the clock multipliers can now be
accessed and modified within the BIOS (or jumpers if the bios on your
motherboard does not support clock multiplier adjustments.)
I went straight for 1Ghz by
setting the clock multiplier to 10X in the bios, and raised the CPU voltage to
1.85V. Raising the voltage will raise the operating temperature of the CPU, and
will more than likely shorten the life span of the CPU. However the heat problem
is not such a big issue, because I am using one of the best heatsinks available
for the Athlon/Duron, that is the Global Win FOP32.
I saved and exited, booted into
Windows'98 SE, ran SiSoft, and played Quake III for a few hours (as well as
other things). And I determined this CPU to be stable at 1Ghz.