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How the hell… do you overclock the Athlon?

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Do you have an Athlon microprocessor and want to speed up your chip to run from between 750MHz to over 1GHz for the price of a 550MHz chip?

Since Athlons were announced, it has been clear that the technology has some really good overclocking potential inside that seventh generation processor core.

At the end of 1999, AMD shrunk the Athlon from .25 micron to .18 micron and gave us lots of reasons to celebrate. These .18 micron Athlons are extremely overclockable. As you can now buy Athlon 550MHz processor for just $137, with some extra small investments you can overclock this processor up to a scorching 1GHz.

First you need to be aware that in some extreme and rare cases, you can burn your processor. So if you decide to embark on the overclocking route, neither myself nor The Register can accept responsibility for your actions.

If you want higher megahertz or gigahertz speeds, you need to do some risky work on your own. For AMD Athlons there are two elements you need to overclock your processor. First, you need a good cooling system, for example the Arctic Circle Cooler, which you can find on this page and which costs around $33. This device will cool your processor and let you take it to the megahertz limits.

The second investment you will need is an Athlon overclocking card, such as the k7oc (see this page), which costs around $37 and will take you to a gigahertz.

The 1GHz Athlon costs over $1200, so you can really save some money for just a few dollars more.

My personal experience spans clocking the Athlon to 750MHz without dividing the cache from one half to one third. I haven't clocked to the higher rates because I'm waiting to get a better cooler for the microprocessor.

For higher rates than 750 you need to restrict your cache core speed (For example, the cache in 750 Athlon works at 375MHz) to one third of the core speed which is currently the cache speed of all Athlons higher than 750.

Some people around the world have clocked their chips to over 1000MHz using these methods. See, for example, this page or this page.

Not all processors are the same, and you cannot overclock every Athlon up to 1GHz, but most of them can easily clock to 750MHz, which will save you between $100 to $200.

Here are some additional links to help you get extra horsepower from your Athlon. This page is about Athlon cores, while this page covers most of the basics of Athlon overclocking.

Enjoy your bigger megahertz....

Comments about this article? You can email Fuad here.

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