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Hardware Guides

Athlon XP Overclocking Guide - Page 8

By Ryan "Speedy" Wissman April 15, 2002

Step 5: Testing the CPU Unlock

Next you install the unlocked CPU and test out your handiwork. If you were successful, then the motherboard should allow changes to the CPU multiplier, and affect those changes when you boot the PC. As a first test, we recommend using a lower multiplier that your CPU is rated for. Testing an 11X133 Athlon XP 1700+ at a lower 10X or 10.5X setting will easily demonstrate whether the unlocking process was a success, and ensure that no other factors cloud the picture.

If you were unsuccessful, your computer will either use the hard coded multiplier setting or refuse to boot. In this case, don't think of it as a failure, but an opportunity to learn more. Just clean off the conductive grease with some rubbing alcohol and start this process all over again.

If the unlock works and the PC boots with the adjusted multiplier setting, then it's off to the overclocking races. It is now time to test the limits of the CPU, using both core voltage increases and higher multiplier settings until a balance is attained. Where this magic level exists is once again up to the individual user, keeping in mind such factors as CPU cooling, motherboard voltage options, CPU core quality and CPU stock speed. Use the Athlon XP chart as your guide and unless you have a very fast Athlon XP to begin with (2000+, 2100+), then set a goal of moving a few places up in the rankings.

There is also no need to worry about high AGP or PCI speeds, since by unlocking the CPU itself, it is effectively emulating another model of Athlon XP running at the standard bus settings. This is one of the most attractive aspects of unlocking a CPU, as it carries none of the risks of pure FSB overclocking. CPU unlocking may be a bit more work at the front end, but the dividends really pay off on the back stretch.

Enterprising overclockers can use both FSB and CPU unlocking as a double whammy, such as lowering the multiplier but using the higher 166 MHz FSB. This was a popular method of increasing Duron performance, as many lowered the multiplier and then used the 133 MHz FSB. Now with a select number of new AMD boards sporting a relatively safe 166 MHz FSB, this trend also seems to be catching on with the Athlon XP crowd.


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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