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Athlon XP Overclocking Guide - Page 7

By Ryan "Speedy" Wissman April 15, 2002

CPU Unlocking, Step-by-Step

To streamline this process, there are a number of kits specifically developed for unlocking the Athlon XP processor. The particular kit we used in unlocking our reference Athlon XP is from, and is priced at a reasonable $11.99. This kit comes with all the tools you will need to successfully unlock your new Athlon XP chip to unleash its full potential. The kit includes nonconductive gap filler, conductive grease, cleaning agent (basically just rubbing alcohol), an applicator (pin), a nice 3x/6x magnifying glass, five tape tabs for masking/cleaning, as well as an instruction sheet.



Before getting started it is a good idea to create a clean, well-lit work space. This is just common sense when dealing the PC hardware, but it never hurts to remind the impatient Sharky faithful.

Please also note that these instructions are specifically written for the Athlon XP Unlocking Kit from, although if you have tools similar to these, then the following instructions can be carried over quite easily.

Step 1: L1 Bridge Preparation

Its a good idea to dab a little bit of rubbing alcohol and clean off the L1 bridges before you start doing anything. You will also want to take some pieces of tape and quarantine off the section with the L1 bridges. This is a good precautionary measure to prevent any gap filler, or conductive grease to go anywhere its not supposed to, namely anywhere near the L3 bridges or the delta pointing towards the L1 bridges. On the two pictures below you can see exactly where the L1 bridges are located on the chip.




Step 2: Fill Those Gaps

You will want to use a pin or toothpick to take a few small dabs of the gap filler and place it in the gaps between the bridges. Its okay to be imprecise about this as you can simply take your finger and rub off any excess filler. It is also not a bad idea to gently lay a piece of tape down over the L1 bridges and pull it off to help remove any excess gap filler remaining on the conductive "dots" themselves.


Step 3: Grease is the Word

Now comes the tricky part, applying the conductive grease. You will need to clean the pin or get a new one before applying the grease. Think in very minute quantities when smearing the conductive grease from one end of the bridge to the other. Take a very small dab of conductive grease and slowly apply it drawing a solid line from the one end to the other. Once you have made a good connection on one bridge, you will need to do the same for the subsequent four L1 bridges that still need to be connected. If conductive grease isn't available, then using a very fine tipped conductive pen will produce the same result.


Step 4: Careful Inspection

After you are finished, make sure to check your work with a magnifying glass to verify that none of the bridges are cross-connected. If you do find that one bridge touches another you may want to use a razor blade or other precision instrument, and remove any conductive grease which may be causing the short. Since the grease and bridge filler do not harden, be very careful when moving, storing or installing the CPU, as one misplaced finger can undo a lot of hard work.

Page 1 Athlon XP Overclocking Guide
Page 2 An Athlon XP Primer
Page 3 Two Methods of Athlon XP Overclocking
Page 4 AGP/PCI Speeds and CPU Core Voltage
Page 5 Diagnostic Programs and Overclocking Results
Page 6 Athlon XP Multiplier Unlocking
  • Page 7 CPU Unlocking, Step-by-Step
    Page 8 Testing the CPU Unlock
    Page 9 Overclocking Results and 3DMark200 SE Performance
    Page 10 Detailed 3DMark2001 SE Scores and Final Comments

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