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AMD Ends Overclocking On Durons 150

Jai writes: "AMD have finally done it. The crime has been committed and now we must reflect on this and look at setting ourselves a new pathway to overclocking AMD's successful Duron and Athlon Processors. Basically this means the pins for the multiplier are gone and no longer physically exist on the chip. Insane Hardware have a Duron and they are showing everyone as the overclocking world is filled with gloom."
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AMD Ends Overclocking on Durons

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  • Since you base your buying decisions on politics and not technology, you still have many choices: IDT, Transmeta, Cyrix, API, etc. I don't know if all of these manufacturers have unlocked FSB multipliers, but you may want to check some of them out!
  • AMD, like Intel, doesn't give a rat's ass what you do to your own cpu. Burn it out? They don't care one way or another You are wrong. They care that you won't overclock a lower spec CPU saving money on premium chips. The way the industry works is that the R&D on one chip represent huge fixed costs. Business models include lower spec and higher spec CPUs to cover various business markets. Hence, the actual production prices might be the same, but due to the business model prices for high spec CPUs are are premium to cover for loss of lower spec CPUs. Guys you overclock save money. Granted there are not that many of them, but the easyness of the process surely scares the manufactures such as Intel/AMD.

    Personally I think overclocking is rather lame. I am still on P5-200, 1996 and the only thing I can't do on it is to play latest games. If you can't devise algo fast enough to run on lower spec machine, then you must die anyway. AMD is doing a great job to give me faster CPUs are affordable prices. Overclockers screw their business model, which in turn will mean higher prices for consumers.

  • by MrP- ( 45616 )
    ive tried it with nothing else running, after doing a new install of win... ok i dont get like 1.7fps, but its unplayable, maybe like 7 or so FPS... and this is at the worst quality, lowest resolution, lowest sound quality... and yes the sound skips too.. i can play q2 fine though, and other older games , but then i ran a sega emulator and it runs bad, the same emulator on my brother pc works great, and hes got an AMD K-5 75mhz at 100mhz, a built in sound card, build in video using 4 meg of his 32 ram, so hes got 28 ram after that, i dont get it.

    $mrp=~s/mrp/elite god/g;
  • Umm.. that's the whole point of overclocking... skimping on the processor so you can buy better quality components. At least for me, because I spent less on an "inferior" processor, i was able to buy 256mb ram and 2 fast ibm hard disks.

    I was going to spend the same amount either way, I just don't want to spend 40% of it on a processor.
  • Toms [] has some benches showing a Duron 600 or 700 whooping the arse of a 900mhz celly :)
  • Till now, I rejected Intel to support AMD.
    Now I can buy Intel procs again since AMD is starting to become a fscking irritating chipzilla too... yay!

  • Let's think this through logically. New Duron 750's that people have STILL have the pins. If after week 31 all Duron CPU's are locked, why does AMD's latest still have their pins??
  • glad to see you are such a VLSI expert bloody AC... And how many credit hours in chip fab do you have?

    mov ah, 0
    mov al, 13h
    int 10h
  • wow, your celeron 566 at 850, ok. Maybee in a good mobo but not in a cheap-o all-in-one crap board with onboard video.

    You would be better off buying the duron 700 for a whole $12 more, and having a stable system that will kick the schite out of you "850"mhz celeryII. You must remember that the Duron has a much better bus under it than a celeron does. Even if you got it up to 133mhz FSB you STILL wouldn't have the performance of a duron..

    Get a hobby you can actually do.....
  • i worked for compusa as a tech for 2 years (and even though I hated it I have to say this much) I can say that the new machines sold were fine, if the processors were replaced it was done at the manufacture. I worked on many comppc's and even though they may be crap, i only saw one with the wrong processer, and it wasn't OC'd, so obviously just an error. What i did see was corrupt techs pulling processors from refurbs and replacing them with their old hardware OC'd. When we discovered this the machines were field destroyed.
  • Possibly, as I said, it's by no means conclusive, however the real proof, to me, is in the question of why AMD would go to the expense of entirely removing a set of pins, as opposed to just not connecting them to the die? Both solutions are just as effective as each other.
  • Digital electronics don't work that way. There's no such thing as "prone to errors" or slowly breaking down. Either it works or it doesn't.

    Digital electronics is still made of analog transistors, which are made of diffenrently doped Si-regions (n/p). Every increase in temperature will increase the mobility of dope inpurities and thus change the n and p regions. This can lead to damaged transistors or transistors that do not provide the proper voltage levels. Of course there is a safety margin in voltage levels, so it will take considerable diffusion of impurities to render the electronics useless. Breakdown of digital logic will occur suddenly (thats probably what you mean). Basically, every temperature decrease will increase the lifetime of ICs.
  • I thougt I read at tomshardware (can't find it back) that AMD will allow overclocking on their future processors, but at startup, a line like

    "Athlon T-Bird 800 running at 950Mhz"

    This seems a very effective way to prevent large scale corruption, and let the hobbyist perfectly overclock it's own processor.

    I just got myself an atholon t-bird 800, and overclocked it successfully to 1Ghz. (see how to overclock a socket A processor)

  • Whilst I'm not disputing the possibility of AMD nailing the multiplier hack in their new chips, I doubt they'd be removing pins. In fact, on closer inspection, there are four perfectly blue squares in that image -- where there should, probably, be a few golden pins and a pixelated blue background. Use a decent image manipulation program and zoom in on the area highlighted with the red lines in the image, till you get to about 12:1. It's not all that conclusive, and it's a damned good job if somebody did doctor it, but it's suspicious all the same.
  • oh contrair... I had an athlon 300a overclocked to 450 for a little under a year. It never got terribly hot, but eventually it just died. By being dead I mean that it just started spewing out errors, more and more often until I got a new chip. Then all was ok.
    Do you mean Celeron?
  • I believe your the one who read the article wrong. While it's true that AMD chips are now about as overclockable as Intel chips, you confused the method they used to do so. You said they've "re-locked the front-side bus multiplier". Hwoever, the Front Side Bus is different from the multipliers. A multiplier is what you multiply the front side bus speed by to get the Total CPU speed (ie 100 FSB 5.0 Multiplier == 500Mhz CPU). The front side bus is the speed at which your RAM and CPU communicate.

    Also you said they re-locked it. However I don't recall AMD ever having any chips that had either front side bus or multipliers locked...

  • There has to be something we can do to stop these OEM's from doing to the public. If there was a guildline that that OEM dealers had to follow that if they clocked a computer past its designed speed, they would have to label the computer CLEARLY that they did this, that would be the way to stop them.

    We all know that companies would still do this, but if there was a large enough penalty for doing this, it would scare OEMs from trying to do it, that would be the thing.

    It happend to me back when P-233 was the shit.

    Its not what it is, its something else.
  • I was at a "Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!!" hyped-type computer mega sale thing a while back where I was amazed to see all the seemingly illegal stuff being sold there. My naive mind wasn't really aware that people sell stuff like this so openly.

    I call it "seemingly illegal" because I really didn't know much about it at the time, but then I saw some really blatant examples of overclocking and such. It's interesting that a merchant would sell CPUs advertised as having clock speeds that I had never heard of (at the time, before I learned more about overclocking.) People were buying them up like crazy. I assume they were mostly people who didn't know they were marked wrong, but I guess the lure of a motherboard/CPU combo for so cheap is too strong for a lot of folks... little do they know the only reason it's a combo is that's how they get the funky clock speed.

    Anyway, it's gotten me wondering if anyone buys these things knowing full well that they are overclocked?? If you knew someone was marking stuff wrong, would you still buy it cheap?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 09, 2000 @08:07AM (#792445)
    Eh, this is OLD NEWS.. And UnaClocker has already found a work around... cy.shtml
  • Because AMD is stopping overclocking it's preventing vendors who are dishonest. Now you or I can not be sold a chip which is overclocked and be told a lie to which the real fabrication limits are.

  • I don't think anyone has ever overclocked a cpu and had it die on them. Most of the time if you go to high it refuses to work until you bring it back down. When the chip starts hitting 70 or 80c they automatically shutdown to prevent damage. Not to defend shady companies, but most overclocked systems are just very unstable, and the vendor can just claim its a win98 issue.
  • You make have to log in to Toms Hardware Delphi [] forum to see this link, but here is the picture that fake was based on [].
  • You know what? I really could care less about not being able to overclock a CPU. People end up spending more money on special hardware just to save money on the CPU so they can overclock it, its just stupid.
  • Taking out the pins only disables the functionality about being able to easily adjust the clock multiplier in BIOS. The other way to change the Tbird/Duron's clock multiplier is to modify the copper bridges on the top ceramic of the processor, by cutting some with an X-acto knife and closing others with a conductive pen (or even pencil lead).

    Bzzzzt. Read the article at insane hardware. Those pins are required even if you alter the bridges on top of the processor.

  • There is. AMD is working with BIOS manufacturers to embed the CPU's "actual" speed into the CPU's silicon so that the BIOS can compare the chip's clocking against its manufactured speed. They also promised that once these systems start rolling off the assembly lines that they will unlock the multiplier of their chips.
  • I can understand from a hobby standpoint why you'd want to fool around with your processor speed, but I mean there's a REASON they're shipped at the speeds they are. And please, tell me one good reason why anyone would choose speed over stability*? Especially when you've got the insane clock speeds you have now AS IT IS. With all the other factors that make a computer slow, processor would be the last thing I'd look at these days.

    Try underclocking and buying more ram.

    (*Spare me the "It's not unstable if you cool it with freon" wackyness ;)
  • How does this help AMD? Don't they make more money from having such an overclockable chip? Don't they make more money when overclockers burn out their chips and have to buy new ones? I guess I just don't understand the logic behind this... IANAOC.
  • Hmm ... hack from the 486 days? Step forward from x86? I'm not sure this indicates anything of the sort. Just how is a non-overclockable board 'higher end'? Since the first multiplier was done a couple of chip generations ago it is surely just an x86 variant(something not specified in the specs?).
  • by Mantle ( 104724 ) on Saturday September 09, 2000 @07:30AM (#792455)
    This is only the end of the mulitplier unlock. It was nice while it lasted, but Duron owners will still be able to toy with overclocking by cranking up the bus speed. There's still a lot to be played with-- Celerons and P3s are still commonly overclocked huge amounts by computer hobbyists! Mantle
  • ... burn the specced speed into the chip, but still allow changing the multiplier? If Intel can burn a unique serial number into the PIII, then surely everyone can burn a "recommended speed (multiplier)" into them, perhaps putting a small write-once PROM register somewhere on the chip (not necessarily onto the same piece of silicon itself, since I don't know anything about VLSI and can't tell if this is feasable, but perhaps onto a secondary device in the same package, like the L2 cache used to be). That way, anyone could go into System Information / System Summary (please excuse the Win2K language here) and see "x86 Family 6 Model 2 Stepping 1 AuthenticAMD specced at 650 Mhz running at 800 Mhz". All they have to do is burn the PROM as soon as they decide how fast it can pass the tests at.
  • Do you have *any* clue about how to go about testing 10,000 microprocessors? How manu op codes are there? How many op code combinations? Now figure out the permutations for each pipeline, for each stage of the pipeline.

    It's not like they can use a logic probe here, guy. How many millions of transistors are there?
    What is the retail cost per transistor?

    It's not like they are testing light bulbs here. They are marketing (arguably) the most complex consumer grade device known to man.

    Now, I agree that a serious enough eratum needs to be addressed by replacing the microprocessor. But less serious errata can and should be addressed with software, microcode, or BIOS workarounds.

    Joe Goldmeer
  • What is needed here is not a solution consisting of "crippling" the processor to make it impossible (or more difficult) to overclock, but a clear method of telling if it's overclocked or not.

    AMD, how about putting in a microcode program into the processor's initialisation sequence to check if the processor is overclocked and display a big warning (on standard VGA hardware) for a few moments (or until a key is pressed on a standard PC keyboard) if it is?

    That would stop the grey-marketeers in their tracks and also give the legitimate overclockers something to point to and say "Look what I did!"
  • You do have a point. There is no perfect way to stop fraud. To me, remarking chips is easier than putting forth the effort to reverse engineer the BIOS, but once it's done, patching the BIOS should be simple, but I think the issue is that the remarkers would have to also be in the motherboard business or find a lot of crooked retailers that are willing to patch every board BIOS they sell. I think that part is hard, as the retailers are kind of working on plausible deniability or ignorance.

    I honestly see AMD as trying to do something right. Maybe if the bus clock is locked (they don't make any with over 200MHz do they)?
  • Well to tell you the truth this happened about 2 weeks ago. But many overclocking sites have stores which have thundrebird and durons for sale. These chips are pre-unlocked and ready to overclock. One such site is the Over clocking store at
  • Bzzzzt. Read the article at insane hardware. Those pins are required even if you alter the bridges on top of the processor.

    Bzzzzt. I don't care what the people at Insane Hardware say... The FID pins are only for the motherboard to tell the CPU what speed it should run. The copper bridges internally tell the CPU itself what it should run at. They are what originally set what the CPU runs at. If they didn't actually work, then the CPU has no idea what to run at. It has to fall back on something, and the copper bridges are the lowest level of multiplier and voltage determination.

  • by 1alpha7 ( 192745 ) on Saturday September 09, 2000 @07:38AM (#792462) Homepage

    How does this help AMD?

    Unfortunately, overclocking is not restricted to a few hobbyists. I remember taking a huge heat sink off a Micron 166, rubbing off the compound and see a clear "Intel 133" mark on it. Manufacturers have been playing fast and loose with us for years, and when they screw with the CPU, it's just asking for Intel or AMD to come up looking bad. The average user will never know that it was overclocked (or even what that is), just that, "AMD makes junk!".


  • It's really a shame... At first, AMD supported the overclocking fully. The problem was that nasty resellers (like CompUSA) would grind the original markings off the faceplates and mark it up one jump (a 600 would become a 650, etc.) and people installing the chips in their computer would set the spped at that. This was _real_ common in the Socket 7 days, when there was no protection whatsoever for this, which is why K6 series had engraved metal faceplates instead of paint (it made remarking easier to spot).

    Then AMD put the copper bridges on the top of the Socket A chips to set the multiplier, a technique which made it harder (while still possible) to change the clock, and which made remarking also quite apparent. If I understand the insane hardware article, this no longer works either.

    This shows the problem that poor reselling techniques (i.e. fraudulent ones) can have with the community at large.
  • It seems to me that the Duron will be used on sub-$1200 PCs from Compaq and Hateway but will an experienced computer technician (or someone who actually cares about overclocking) really look towards a Duron? I doubt it.

    Durons are cheap processors ($100 for 650MHz) so you really shouldn't expect to get a lot out of them. Sure you *can* play Quake with them but they're not meant for professional or gaming use, they're meant for I-Just-Want-to-Buy-The-Internet-And-Get-On-With-My -Life people. People who don't care if they can get 35.1 but not 35.2 FPS, people who *won't want to overclock* their computer.

    My $.02

  • At the rate clock speeds are rising, you'll be able to get the speed you want soon, without overclocking.
  • by gUmbi ( 95629 )
    Doesn't AMD have a responsibility to limit overclocking in order to eliminate the fraudulent sale of overclocked systems?

    Most retail PC buyers couldn't tell if a system has been overclocked or not. And if John Smith's home PC eventually burns out, doesn't it negatively effect AMD's reputation?
  • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Saturday September 09, 2000 @08:16AM (#792467) Homepage

    This is hardly a cause for concern, seeing as how Tom's Hardware has an article [] on how to change the settings without needing the pins.

  • What the article really means, as far as I can tell, is AMD have relocked the FSB multiplier or something. They are still just as overclockable as an equivilent Intel chip, and some say they perform better from the box.

    If all chips were rated on the number of Floating Point Operations (FLOPs), I could give a better post, but they don't so I can't.


    ...another comment from Michael Tandy.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I just finished reading the article mentioned in the story, but I found a small lesser known hardware site with a wonderful article on the duron and overcoming the limits AMD imposed. It's on the main page. []
  • "(I have experience in this arena, I used to work in the anti fraud group for a x86 mIcroprocessor maNufacTurer that will remain namELess)"

    Cute, but are you sure it wasnt "(I have experience in this arena, I used to work in the anti fraud group for a x86 microprocessor mAnufacturer that will remain naMeless to this Day)"?

    Mark Duell
  • if the high end chips are also overclockable, it does not screw up the business model, it would enhance it.
  • You clearly haven't used a computer based on a Duron. This chip is very, very fast (especially for the price) - it works great as a gaming rig and for other so-called professional uses (web serving, file/print server, etc).
  • The high-end chips are way less likely to be overclockable, as they're already pushing the edje of what's possible. The "low-end" chips are often just as capable as the high-end, just clocked and priced lower to target a different market.


  • I had a friend buy one, the company even SAID it was OC'ed, Then, when the Chip Did die (after like 1 week) the company tried to blame them for not having it in a Well Cirulated Area.. Altho OC'ing can be Good Clean fun, it can be used for the Purpose of Evil, sorta like Marry Jane..... hhmm...
  • Intel did *no* tests of the 1.13GHz. No, wait, that's not true; they did test it: There's a very simple test for CPU's; they call it 'install linux and try compiling the kernel'. Doesn't take that much time, really. Intel performed this test (or a similar one), discovered that the processor _FAILED_MISERABLY_, then decided to go ahead and market it anyway.
  • If you have a look at these pictures posted by DrR0M in the : 0163.html You will notice that they look quite similar and would tend to indicate that the 'pin-less' pictures on InsaneHardware are in-fact fake. Take a look and see for yourself. I have also asked Jai (from InsaneHardware) to comment about the apparent similarity of the two pictures, and hope to hear a reply soon.
  • It seems that my HTML skills were a little lacking in my last message.

    Here is the proper link to the - Forums []
    - where it appears that the AMD 'pinless' are pictures are infact a fake.

    http://www.overclockers []

  • This article is almost 2 months old. AMD just made the method shown here impossible.
  • AMD know fine well that most of us (spare the die hard freon cooling bunch) would likea bit of extra CPU power.

    My next system upgrade was planned to be a duron 700 running at 900mhz which would give me 87% or so of the power of a 1ghz Thunderbirdie.

    I could afford the thunderbird. Sure it would have meant no voodoo5 and maybe even no film scanner but by locking the duron they want to push me into spending a higher proportion of my budget on a cpu that I otherwise would.

    Plus it will raise the overall percieved stability of their cpus since as mentioned before the vendors will get away from it.
  • That's still pretty naieve to think that that eliminates the problem.

    Ultimately the BIOS in most modern systems can easily be replaced since it's only software.

    If a manufacturer is sufficiently dodgy to be selling marked up cpus then they probably woudln't realy mind flashing the bioses to hide their sins.

    Anyway you are already expecting all motherboards to have their existing bioses replaced with new ones that support this extended CPUID. No novice user is going to recognise that their motherboard is a few months older than it should be...!

    Anyway there is also the further problem of how the fsck do u expect AMD to do this. I guess they'd have to generate difference wafers for each speed of CPU.

    At the end of the day AMD and Intel only manufacture a few different chips and then sort them by tolerance to feed the different markets.

    In transistor terms theres really no difference between a 700 and an 850 but in order to keep the overclocking market you want AMD to double their overheads..?
  • On second thought, this might still work.
  • Wasn't CompUsa selling white box PC's for a while, under their own name? That may have been what he was referring to.
  • According to Anand, the Duron 750 beats the 850 celeron. The Celeron 850 barely beats the Duron 700. I'd rather have the Duron.
  • How about changing the design where overclockable chips will be clearly distinguishable. So people would know what they are actually getting.
  • Yea man, chips are getting cheap. The differance between Intel and AMD CPU's is getting closer and closer.
  • OOh, in a motherboard manual. Than it MUST be true!
  • one of my friends worked in an intel fab lab over the summer, and he is all worried about overclocking now... the smaller the pathways get on the actual chip, the larger the risk is that overclocking can actually destroy the chip.

    In stopping overclock, AMD is merely doing the same thing that manufacturers did when they made a safer system for electrical outlets: protecting the end user from damaging their product or themselves. Granted, overclocking a chip and burning it out is not going to physically hurt the end user (not compared to sticking a finger into an unprotected wall outlet) but when you find out that you just melted your new processor--you might punch a wall rather hard--which could physically hurt you ;)

    mov ah, 0
    mov al, 13h
    int 10h
  • I was thinking that AMD at least could have made more customers by allowing overclocking still so we would invest in socket A motherboards and therefore, kinda lock us up in an AMD upgrade path for future processors

    Would they have really made that many more customers? Does your average joe schmoe care about being able to OC his duron? No, of course he doesn't. He cares that processor A, at X MHz, will stomp the pants off processor B running at the same speed. Sometimes not even then. Sometimes he just cares which CPU has the bigger number before the MHz

    Overclockers probably don't compose 5% of the people who buy Computers, and probably compose even less of a percentage of those who buy AMD. AMD wants to sell to everyone. They do this by producing a better product than the competition.

    They don't do it by allowing vendors/retailers to alter the state of their chip and selling it as something it's not. If they want to protect the end user from shady vendors (and there ARE shady vendors (I admit, I just like typing 'shady'))by disallowing people from altering the operation of the chip AMD sells them (or at least impeding alteration), and that doing so will lose them a very small amount of customers, do you think they're not going to do it?

    The fact is, AMD makes a better product than Intel. And a cheaper one. If the only thing keeping you from "switching" is the fact that they now don't want you messing with their CPU, something's wrong.
  • I agree with you about the "there oughta be a law" sentiment, but I think you're offbase here. I don't think any chip has gotten a reputation for being unstable due to hacker overclocking. Though, some do get the +karma for being so overengineered that the overclocking range is phat.

    I think AMD is underestimating the value of the positive word of mouth they get when they allow maximum overclocking. the more the powerusers walk around talking about overclocking an AMD, they more they are saying "AMD". Reminds me of the old saw, "advertising is when you say you are good in bed. PR is when your ex-girlfriends say it. PR is better."

  • AMD is working with AMI and Award on having the BIOS be able to recognize the clock that the chip is supposed to be running at as well as the current clock speed. So when you boot up you'd see:
    Duron 700 running at 1003

    or something along those lines. Would be a big plus, as it would allow them to let us overclockers have our way with our chips, and prevent oems from being able to sell chips at clocks they arent supposed to be running at.
  • by arnoroefs2000 ( 122990 ) on Saturday September 09, 2000 @08:26AM (#792491) Homepage

    The multiplier pins may be gone on your new Duron, but the multiplier can be unlocked anyway!

    Read about it here: p?Document=150 []

    Woohooo 900Mhz, here I come!
  • No, they don't. Whoever builds the system has the responsibility to not defraud their customers. This is the same misguided logic that says products which "facilitate" copyright violation should be illegal. Copyright violation and fraud are already both illegal. Prosecute the crime, don't criminalize something peripheral. That a system builder can misuse a CPU to defraud a consumer does not make the CPU manufacturer responsible for preventing it, which isn't to say it wouldn't be a good PR move and entirely within their rights to do it.
  • I was talking about plain old (bulk) diffusion, in that case no voltage is required. AFAIK usually one gets MTBF figures by artificial aging, which is baking at certain (higher) temperatures. Baking speeds the aging process and makes large MTBF figures measureable in finite time. This method is used with all kinds of other goods, I assume chip manufacturers use it as well. Of course the "aged" samples are not sold! (unless one wants to pre-age for some reason)
  • For those of us who can't afford an Athlon of the same clock speed ($200 difference at 700 MHz)

    $200 dollar difference? I just got a T-Bird 800 for less than $200, so unless you know of someplace that's paying people to take Durons, you are either geting screwed or you're full of @#*!.

    BTW, I can OC that puppy to 1 GHz without any cooling besides a cpu fan.
  • And on top of that, I've heard that this Insane Hardware article is a hoax...

    So until I actually see a chip for myself that's missing these pins, I'll continue the direction I was headed before I read this crap.

    Of course, there has never, ever been a hoax or rumor posted on Slashdot. ;-)
  • People who are afraid of heavy armour? What a strange group to be antagonistic towards.


  • How can you be sure if its the chip? Most DIY overclockers overclock to make thier Direct3D games run faster, which implies Microsoft Windows.

    Maybe you just need a clean reinstall.
  • Simple. AMD's yields on the processor were TOO GOOD. So they got way too many chips capable of running higher speeds and not too many that only rated at the lower speeds, but their marketing needs chips of low through high speeds.

    Solution: Mark chips that passed higher speed tests with the lower rating.

    So you can (could) reliably overclock many lower-end Durons without needing special cooling since you are within the actual, rather than labeled, operating range. Free speed.

  • There's something wrong when people think their customers should be OBLIGATED to do things the company's way.
  • You're getting performance THAT bad on Half Life? I've got almost the same setup as you, but 80 megs, and I'm getting playable performace (Software or OpenGL) at 500 and something by 300 and something. (My video card, which I got for X-wing Collector Series, doesn't agree with half-life, so I have to use Software for TFC, though...well, it's playable)

    My FPS jumped up a bit when I reinstalled windows (I'd been running the same install for 3 years). You might try that. Also, make sure you kill as many other tasks as you can. Search the web for "pview95.exe" if you don't already have it. Kill anything that doesn't crash that machine before you try running half-life.
  • I know there's a large (or small but vocal?) contingent of people who think that overclocking is Sticking It To The Man, but it's a pretty pithy form of rebellion. You'd be hard pressed to find someone who really benefitted in a measurable way from a 10% speed boost. Does Word load faster? Are you getting 357 frames per second instead of 348 in timedemo? Is your internet connection faster? Are you saving months of time running those complex numeric simulations you're always running, the kind that take months of computer time?

    Heck, you already bought your Athlon or Pentium. You're giving money to AMD and Intel; you're not putting one over on them. They love it if you run your CPU too hot and have to get a new one more frequently. So let's stop acting like this is subversive, okay?
  • here []'s one. Unfortunately not for the faint of hart. It requires some soldering...
  • So, I dont' blame one bit for AMD to stop as much as they can on OC'ing their chips. It's not to stop your or me from taking one of their chips up a few extra mhz. It's for the bonehead local OEMs from selling a Duron OC'ed to 850+ as a genuine 850+ chip. Which sadly to say, I've seen it done all too often.

    Well, it's interesting that you would say that. It's hard to tell how much AMD is actually stopping remarkers by doing this, compared to making it harder for overclockers to changer their multipliers...

    Taking out the pins only disables the functionality about being able to easily adjust the clock multiplier in BIOS. The other way to change the Tbird/Duron's clock multiplier is to modify the copper bridges on the top ceramic of the processor, by cutting some with an X-acto knife and closing others with a conductive pen (or even pencil lead).

    When the processor is overclocked in BIOS, it's much easier to tell, since you can go into the section that has FSB and multiplier adjustments and see if they're set at default or at a specific clock lock. If the bridges were modified, you can't tell at all until you open up your computer, take off the heatsink, and look at the top of the processor's die.

    So as far as remarkers are concerned, I'd imagine that they'll go ahead and do the bridge modification, especially since it's harder to detect. Meanwhile, the overclocking hobbiests can't take advantage of the overclocking features of their new Asus K7A or Abit KT7 motherboards they just bought.

  • by glowingspleen ( 180814 ) on Saturday September 09, 2000 @09:16AM (#792513) Homepage
    Does no one else remember an article posted just last month dealing with this? AMD has already announced that its future chips will DECLARE ON BOOTUP what speed they are made for and what speed they currently are. This will make it blatantly obvious for any users who buy an OC'd processor w/o knowing it. So with this technology being implemented, why hurt the OC niche market? I imagine that AMD gets a TON of great word-of-mouth advertising from AMD fanatics (myself included), so why shoot themselves in the foot on this one? I don't get it...

  • As for games, sure, some of those kiddie demand the fastest performance they can get their hands on. So they're running 1GHz Athlons if they're dedicated. Compared to most computers in most regular consumer homes, the Duron is very fast. After all, it's mainstream, and it's relatively new. You might expect Intel's next major Celeron upgrade to run a little faster than the Duron, if they can swing it.

    It's not just the cheaper end that the Duron is good for, though. Since it has such good FP, it's a slick chip for a rendering farm - It's cheap, motherboards are now or soon will be cheap, and it has very good Floating Point math. I bet you could slap them into some 1U or 2U rack cases and get some sick flops that way, running NT/Win2k or Linux, depending on what software package you're fond of. Ahhh, ScreamerNet...

  • by Accipiter ( 8228 ) on Saturday September 09, 2000 @08:35AM (#792523)
    The problem was that nasty resellers (like CompUSA) would grind the original markings off the faceplates and mark it up one jump...

    Disclaimer: I worked for CompUSA for over a year. I don't work for them anymore. I didn't hate my job, but I didn't adore it either. I was a Business Sales Representative, made obsolete by the centralization of corporate accounts in Dallas.

    Now, I'm going to defend CompUSA against your ignorant accusations. (By the way, where did you learn that CompUSA does this?)

    1: CompUSA advertises a computer, let's say a Hewlett Packard Pavilion 8775C.

    2: The model number of the HP designates the specifications of the computer. In this case, the 8775C has a Pentium III 933 MHz processor. It's shipped to CompUSA in a sealed box directly from HP's distribution channels.

    3: Now, if CompUSA (Or any other large retail chain for that matter) were to get this shipment of 8775C computers, and wanted to overclock them, they'd have to crack open EVERY BOX, Pull out the processor, "grind the original markings off the faceplates", overclock the machine, replace the processor, and re-seal the box.

    4: What do you think will happen if you see an 8775C advertised as a 1 GHz computer? Not everyone will catch it, but SOMEONE will. And that would cause problems for CompUSA.

    You'd have to be a complete idiot to think this is actually what happens. Also, if you're referring to individually packaged processors, you're wrong there as well. CompUSA doesn't regularly keep processors in stock, as they're "Special Order" items. These are ordered from distribution centers, and what you ask for when you place the order is what you get when the order comes in. No remarking, no grinding, nothing.

    Don't you think that if a huge chain like CompUSA was doing this (and somehow you found out about it), they'd have a tremendous problem on their hands? The answer is: THEY WOULD! But since they're not doing what you claim, they're not in trouble.

    Now, if the MANUFACTURER of that computer was remarking the chips, THAT'S a different story.

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • by CukO ( 215293 ) on Saturday September 09, 2000 @08:42AM (#792527)
    When Intel released the Pentium there was a huge trade in remarked Pentium chips.
    In my opinion the Pentium was a robust chip, but when an OEM was putting a remarked chip into a customers machine they might have been effectively reducing the MTBF of the device.

    Whilst the majority of users will never know that they have been conned, (whats a few blue screens between windows anyway) the ones that do find out tend to do so after a terminal failure.

    All this did is hurt the Intel trademark, whilst some users came to the conclusion that Intel chips inherently fail, other users realised that their chip was in fact remarked and they thought to themselves why isn't Intel doing anything to protect me as a consumer?
    It turned out to be a double edged sword which hurt Intel.

    I imagine that this phenomena has been a significant factor in the development of AMD's market share.
    This is the reason that Intel released the 100Mhz pentium II's with a multiplier lock.

    Now that AMD have managed to release high quality chips (shh be quiet you RISC zealots) which are capable of overclocking. They are facing the same scenario.

    Its important to note that they aren't trying to put an end to enthusiast overclocking, they are trying to put an end to large scale remarking cartels.

    PS:- I am not implying that overclocked chips are the cause of all bluescreens in Windows :)
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Saturday September 09, 2000 @09:32AM (#792528) Homepage Journal
    I can understand that they'd be worried about unethical retailers. There seem to be a lot of them around. I'd think that they could come up with some method of verifying the chip's true speed without locking it, so the folks who like to do that sort of thing could still do it. AMD's in a great position to stomp Intel at the moment (as I've said before) but they really need to keep all the friends they can keep.
  • It's all relative. The Duron, for one, is a fairly fast chip -- nothing more or less than an Athlon "Thunderbird" with less L2 cache. The floating point still smokes a PIII.

    As for "professional", unless you're involved in video/MPEG-2 rendering, realtime digital audio processing, or heavy-duty CAD rendering, there's a fine chance that any CPU still made will be just dandy for professional use. Most professionals spend their time in compilers, word processors, spreadsheets, or other non-CPU-intensive apps.

    Most people find Internet just dandy on anything made in the last 5, maybe 10 years. Despite all of Intel's consumer ads, most of the time you're bandwidth limited... and I'm saying this from the other end of a serious optical pipe, not a 56K dialup.

    As for games, sure, some of those kiddie demand the fastest performance they can get their hands on. So they're running 1GHz Athlons if they're dedicated. Compared to most computers in most regular consumer homes, the Duron is very fast. After all, it's mainstream, and it's relatively new. You might expect Intel's next major Celeron upgrade to run a little faster than the Duron, if they can swing it.

  • by MightyTribble ( 126109 ) on Saturday September 09, 2000 @07:40AM (#792533)

    Those Wackos at AMD have done it this time! Now they're just some chip manufacturer who sells CPU that are better, clock-for-clock, than their Intel equivalents, for less money!

    I don't know if I can continue to give them business in light of this news.


  • by HomerJ ( 11142 ) on Saturday September 09, 2000 @07:44AM (#792534)
    AMD, like Intel, doesn't give a rat's ass what you do to your own cpu. Burn it out? They don't care one way or another.

    It's the grey market area that they want to stop. These shaddy OEMs, and local PC shops that like to OC a 600 chip to 800, then sell it off as a genuine 800mhz system. While the novice computer user that buys these secretly OC'ed systems isn't any the wiser.

    What happens? Their cpu burns out way too eary, and when their computer stops working due to a dead cpu, they don't give any though out to OEM that sold it. The consumer just thinks that AMD makes crappy cpus, and will just get an Intel chip the next time.

    So, I dont' blame one bit for AMD to stop as much as they can on OC'ing their chips. It's not to stop your or me from taking one of their chips up a few extra mhz. It's for the bonehead local OEMs from selling a Duron OC'ed to 850+ as a genuine 850+ chip. Which sadly to say, I've seen it done all too often.
  • by goldmeer ( 65554 ) on Saturday September 09, 2000 @07:44AM (#792537)
    Tier 1 OEMs and authorized vendors were pushing for this. You see, if a part is readily overclockable, it is easily remarked as a higher speed part and sold at a higher price.

    (I have experience in this arena, I used to work in the anti fraud group for a x86 mIcroprocessor maNufacTurer that will remain namELess)

    Remarking microprocessors can be big business for remarkers. Once fully automated processes are put into place, they can "reprocess" (that's the term they use) hundereds of processors a day.

    When housed got raided, there would be many hundreds of parts in process of having their appearance altered.

    Remarkers don't just focus on the chips. They have the ability to produce retail boxes, appearing to all but the most highly trained eye to be authentic.

    Remarking the chips and making phony boxes is the easy part. Getting the parts back into distribution is the hard part.

    Just how many computer shows are there on any given weekend? Not many. How many mom/pop computer shops are just itching to save $5 on each processor, not really caring if the parts don't come from the authorized channel? Tons!

    You see, if the grey market proliferates, it does so at the expense of the authorised distis and the tier 1 OEM markets.

    Expect to see an even greater embrace of AMD's processors by big name manufacturers now.

    Joe Goldmeer
  • a 650mhz for "they're meant for I-Just-Want-to-Buy-The-Internet-And-Get-On-With-My -Life people" ?? ...i do lots more and all I have is a 166mhz oc'd to 200, 64 ram... 1996 mobo ..... sure it sucks, i can play quake2 ok, software rendering... cant play q3, and any new game either crashes when starting, or gets like 1.7FPS (half life for example) ..... if i could have a 650mhz duron im sure id do more than browse the net, but i cant afford one anyway

    $mrp=~s/mrp/elite god/g;
  • My guess for why they take this business strategy is that they make more money on the faster chips. I can think of three possible reasonings behind their strategy (all of which anyone here can refute, and probably will :)

    If you spend less money on the slower chips and make them faster, in theory AMD is losing money.
    It also allows you to stay on the trailing edge of technology by buying last year's chip and keeping it for as long as you would a new chip.
    The final reason may just be a preemptive strike against returns/ An o/c'd chip is more likely to show manufacturing defects, too.

    I don't know if any of these reasons lose them money because they are creating brand loyalty by selling o'clockable chips and you will also buy a new one when the old one burns out.

  • oh contrair...

    I had an athlon 300a overclocked to 450 for a little under a year. It never got terribly hot, but eventually it just died. By being dead I mean that it just started spewing out errors, more and more often until I got a new chip. Then all was ok.
  • I have always wondered if a company A could make a chip with the same performance as company B, but send it out on the market at 100mhz faster than it's rival. (which would then be compared in price with company B's faster chip)

    *COUGH* 1.13GHz PIII *COUGH*

    2) they are pushing a bit too much on their new chips and don't wan't people to notice their "safety margin" is smaller?

    This has nothing to do with it. The only way to judge the safty margin is stability and failure rate. The multiplier can always be figured out by dividing the rated chip speed by the FSB speed.

  • by NortonDC ( 211601 ) on Saturday September 09, 2000 @08:58AM (#792545) Homepage
    There is more to bin sorting (determining CPU speed grades) than stability or other technical considerations.

    Currently AMD is marking chips at LOWER than they are capable of running in nearly all cases due to marketing strategies, not technical limitations. AMD's K7 class chips (Athlons and Durons) are known to run stably at higher speeds, but AMD is biding it's time and keeping this headroom available for the coming mindshare fights with Intel's Pentium IV.

    This is smart for AMD. The top chip, whatever speed it is, will sell for about the same price. So they can sell the lower clocked chip until Intel is able to counter with something with a faster clock speed. When that happens, AMD just changes the speed marking on the the chips they are already producing.

    Yes, technical concerns are a limiting factor on chip speed ratings, but they are not the operative one for AMD right now.
  • Why don't chip manufacturers like AMD and Intel simply put an instruction in the CPU that can be called to get internal information about the chip? (e.g. Company, intended clock speed, etc.) This especially goes for Intel, seeing as how they've already done it for serial #'s.
  • by delmoi ( 26744 ) on Saturday September 09, 2000 @10:05AM (#792547) Homepage
    Would be to burn the CPU spec in some kind of ROM on the CPU. I know intel puts some scrach ROM on their chips for info, and both of them have CISC->Microcode lookup tables on their chips. Return that number with some of the other CPU-ID stuff. Instaid of "Athlon 800" the system would say "Athlon spect @ 700mhz (Overclocked to 800)" at boot.

    Bios's could even be set up to display a warning if the chip is running out of spec.

    Anyway, I doubt that Remarking is really what the chip-makers are worried about. I'm sure AMD would rather have us pay the $500 for an Athlon 900 then get a Duron 600, overclock it to a Ghz and get the same performace for a tenth the cost. Sure, these chips would cheap if AMD just gave them away, but I think they are more intrested in making money then being good semaritans.

    I ordered my Duron 600 today, I hope I get a good one, but if I don't, I won't be to pissed, I only paid $50 for it, I certanly wouldn't think of myself as stealing anything if I can run it faster. I havn't got any money at all, and I couldn't afford to get a highpowered athlon. but if I could, I still wouldn't if AMD didn't pull these pins.
  • by Palin Majere ( 4000 ) on Saturday September 09, 2000 @07:46AM (#792550)
    The submitter read the article wrong. AMD hasn't blocked overclocking. What they've done is re-locked the front-side bus multiplier on their chips.

    This renders the AMD Duron supporting just as much overclocking as your favorite Intel CPU. Before this, they were _more_ overclockable.
  • by rkent ( 73434 ) <[rkent] [at] []> on Saturday September 09, 2000 @07:48AM (#792553)
    I'm sick of stories that are all like "Intel vs. the overclockers" or "AMD vs. the overclockers" whenever a chip manufacturer changes their design like this. It's not some kind of conspiracy to take away your "freedom" to use your hardware however you want. It's about AMD releasing a stable product.

    Remember, Intel just got burned a few weeks ago (remember the 1.13 G pIII recall?) by pretty much deliberately overclocking chips that couldn't take it. So, it really shouldn't come as any surprise that AMD would do some testing, figure out how fast these chips can run SAFELY, and then take steps to ensure that they run at those safe speeds.

    Sure, they might lose a bit of favor with the geek crowd, but the money, especially concerning the Duron, is in run-of-the-mill discount PCs. Having them stay sturdy does a lot for AMD's bottom line. All hail the dollar!

  • AMD has that funky 200mhz fsb that doesn't overclock well though.
  • Ok. I'm entering the fray quite late and nobody will pay attention to this post.. but it has to be said..

    with AMD and Intel, this whole MHz race is bullshit. There is no *real* advancement in technology when all these guys are doing is tweaking these old technologies to run faster.

    But its this "hype" about MHz, driven mostly by you stupid overclockers, that keep AMD and Intel locked in this MHz race that makes everyone lose.

    I mean, go look at MIPS who actually give a hoot about decent design - their R12k 400MHz is twice as fast as a PIII 800MHz at seti! And go check out PPC's Altivec, which is pretty much MMX except 10 times better.

    But of course, the rest of the world seems to neglect these achievements in computing, and think that more MHz == better. WRONG. Go have a look at SPEC and see the current trend which shows that even though intel and AMD are making their chips run at a higher MHz, the performance gains really aren't that much.

    So, we have this whole overclocking and MHz frenzy, which is basically driven by a bunch of clueless kiddies who believe that making a 5 year old technology run at a fast clock rate is the be all and end all of chip fabrication.

  • Folks,

    While some of you folks want to overclock the heck out of the CPU, have you all considered that there are other ways to speed up your computer?

    How about installing more RAM and a faster hard drive? Getting more RAM into a computer can make a BIG difference, especially in graphical environments. And definitely get a 7200 RPM ATA-66 hard drive, too, because you want to be able to read and write data on the hard drive faster.

    In my personal opinion, once CPU's went past 500 MHz in speed, for most home users they would be better served by getting as much RAM as they can afford and making sure the system has a decently fast hard drive.
  • AMD right now is hurting a little because a LOT of people are returning chips that have "gone bad". Now, do you think the chips really just "GO BAD" or do you think they're overclocking their chips??

    AMD needs to save money to beat out Intel. I love AMD, and if they think they need to disable the OverClocking of their chips to stay ahead of intel, so be it.

    Plus now the chip differences in price are praticly nothing. You can afford a 900MHz T-Bird these days!!!!

    AMD is doing everything they can to get us the best chips possiable and keep compitition with Intel realistic.
  • Frankly, if I spend $500+ bucks for a processors, I'd be less inclined to take risks with it. Cheap processors on the other hand make it easier for us to experiment because if we burn one up it's no great loss and replacing it isn't a wallet-emptier.

    When I spend a lot of money on a CPU specifically for performance, I tend to lean towards the reliability of it's stated speed rather than the risk and relative unreliability of overclocking - after all, I've already got performance. But if I want to see just how far I can push a CPU - well, I expect unreliability and I expect to crater some chips. That's part of the fun...


"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990