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A better means of Athlon overclocking

Scott Wasson
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The mad, mad Dr. Evil is back with more Athlon overclocking madness. After last year’s golden fingers rampage and the ol’ FAQtion from the Slot A days, I wasn’t sure I’d ever get him to write about this stuff again. But never underestimate a cheapskate PC freak. Overclocking will prevail over slower speeds and—worse still—spending money.

Turns out Socket A overclocking has been a frustrating experience for the bad doctor. Earlier this week, he rushed over to Damage Labs with two potentially wounded T-birds, just to confirm his worst fears. Feel his pain:

In my experience, “simply unlock the multiplier” is an oxymoron of grand proportions. Unlocking the multiplier on the Socket A chips requires reconnecting four tiny, laser-cut bridges on the top of the chip package. A seemingly simple prospect, yet it’s not nearly as easy as it sounds. The most popular method going involves using a mechanical pencil to “draw” them back together. The graphite conducts electricity well enough to complete the circuits and unlock the chip.

Of course that assumes you can get them all connected correctly. A bridge might look sufficiently penciled over when it really isn’t. The only way to test it is to plug the processor in, install the heatsink, power the machine up, and set a variety of multipliers to ensure everything is conducting properly. If not, power down, remove the heatsink and the chip, and try, try again.

And pulling the heatsink off a T-bird or Duron is risking a chipped or cracked processor core. Read on to get Dr. Evil’s take on PK-OCK7 Overclock Trace Tape, a nifty little product that may save you some hassle.

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