PIII 600E - cB0 Stepping User Review

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I was amazed by my PIII 550E’s and my PIII 500E’s overclocking abilities in the past. I’ve managed to overclock the first at 825MHz and the second at 740 MHz, but I was surprised by the abilities of a PIII 600E Slot 1 I received from a vendor who’s a close friend of mine.

The CPU was an SL44Y one – yes, with the new stepping cB0.
Here is the CPU’s id:

PIII 600E BX80526H600256ESL44Y
FPO BATCH: 10150376

It’s the traditional Slot 1 Single Edge Contact Cartridge 2 (SECC 2). I wasn’t surprised at all when I was told recently that Intel has no plans to stop producing SLOT 1 CPUs in the near future, and why should they? Some of us still like the SLOT 1 version of the PIII. Sure the new FC-PGA package has it’s advantages (better cooling) but it has disadvantages (extremely fragile, and some say less overclockable).

The new steppings for the Pentium III 600E are SL44Y and SL45U (FCPGA) for the boxed processors and SL43E and SL3XU (FCPGA) for OEM. These are the new steppings,so be careful out there.

When I got the CPU right in my hands, a thought crossed my mind: “This CPU will never know its default speed!!!” So I installed it on my ASUS P3V4X mainboard and fired it up. I was really curious about this chip; I wanted immediately to know its overclocking abilities so I booted up in Bios and set the FSB to 133MHz, memory set to 1-1.

And it did boot, it booted right into Windows without complaints!
“Good start!!!” I said to myself. “Lets do some benchmarks now” I thought. I fired at him with all the guns…hmmm……I mean benchmarking utilities I had in my PC. SisoftSandra2000, Norton2000, Madonion 3Dmark2000 and everything proved to run perfectly with good results.

I decided then and without allowing the chip to breath cold air to fire up some “torturing ” utilities like SETI@Home and Prime95. I ran both of them (at the same time) and the CPU never complained!
Afterwards, I fired up the big guns: Quake III Arena, Unreal Tournament, Need For Speed 5 – everything rAn with extreme stability.

“800MHz, huh?” I thought “Now let’s find out from what kind of silicon this CPU is made of.” I rebooted my machine, went into BIOS and tried the 140FSB setting; everything went perfectly! I tried everything, I ran everything (I just wanted to make this chip bleed) and the beast never complained! I decided to push further the FSB step by step using small increments; 144FSB, 146, 148 and finally 150 MHz – it did boot into Windows!!

Unfortunately it locked (after two minutes and only at 150 FSB) when I loaded SETI@Home but “Hey! No complaints, right?” Be aware that all the attempts were made with the default voltage 1.65v; only when I tried 150 FSB did I have to increase the voltage a little bit (1.7-1.75v) just to make sure that the lock was a result of heat and not of the voltage.

Conclusion:

The CPUs with the latest steppings are extremely overclockable, but of course you can never know before you buy them what to expect. Luck is unfortunately a part of the game. This overclocking attempt was made with the CPU’s retail heatsink and fan and believe me, the retail HS&F are the smallest I’ve seen.

It reminded me the HS&F of a Celeron 300A, I am not kidding!!! The average temp with the CPU at idle was 37-38 Degrees Celsius and when the CPU was at full load the temp sometimes reached 60-65 degrees Celsius. That was pretty high for me; I wrote to many friends (Joe, Kyle, Daniel) about this CPU’s temperature and everyone replied that I should install a more aggressive heatsink. I couldn’t agree more and I decided that a GlobalWin VOS32 would be ideal for this nasty type of job.

One thing I have to say is that I can’t understand what’s going on with the Temp monitoring of the ASUS P3V4X, the temp is at 38 C (at idle) but after a second it jumps at 44-45 C and the next second down to 38-39 C!!! I use both ASUS Probe and Motherboard Monitor 4.17 with the same results! Weird huh?…go figure!!!

I was also surprised by one more thing: I’ve never had any kind of registry corruption while overclocking this particular CPU. I had errors with registry corruption when I was trying to overclock my old PIII 500E, the 550E and now I’ve experienced registry corruption with a PIII 600E FCPGA BX80526F600256ESL3NL (unfortunately cA2 stepping) which refuses to go higher than 116 MHz no matter what I do. This one must be the worst CPU has ever Intel produced!!!

I used three types of converter cards (the ASUS Smart Slot-1 converter card, the Iwill II and a Gigabyte GA7+) and two types of memory (to the three FCPGA CPUs) and nothing changed. I got registry corruption no matter what! I fear that when something interferes between the CPU and the mainboard (like a converter card) it affects the system’s abilities to go higher, further when trying to overclock, but that’s only a suspicion based on my personal experiences with these CPUs and the particular mainboard (ASUS P3V4X). This might never happen to someone else.

As I said, this overclocking attempt was successful (It was! Wasn’t it?) with the CPU’s retail HS&F; I might update the review when I will install the GlobalWin VOS32 on the CPU.

If you check the CPU database of the Overclockers.com, you will see people that managed to overclock CPUs with the new stepping higher than 900MHz (my stop). These guys were extremely lucky or they adopted more extreme and aggressive methods of cooling, like peltiers, water-cooling pumps and Kryotech or Asetek Vapochill cases.

I am not an extreme overclocker, I am just an ordinary person that is trying to make the best out of his war machine without spending a lot of money (a new heatsink doesn’t cost much, but a 1GHz CPU does) without risking a catastrophic accident (water on the mainboard or CPU) and without putting so much effort to his work (hobby).

People who are trying to make the best out of their systems with exotic methods of cooling deserve my respect and attention. They are risking their property (no, they aren’t all wealthy), they are putting too much effort and love to their work (girlfriends or wives complaining?) and they are experimenting to achieve and feel the most valuable feeling of all: FREEDOM.

A locked multiplier is a kind of PRISON, isn’t it? Keep up the excellent work guys, you have our eyes on you.

My system specifications are:

  • Pentium III 600 E (100MHz )
  • ASUS Smart Slot-1 Converter Card
  • 3DFX Voodoo3 3000 AGP
  • SBLive! Value.
  • Real Magic Hollywood Plus.
  • Generic 128MB PC-133 memory.
  • WD Expert 18,6G (7200rpm UDMA66)
  • Quantum EL 5,1(UDMA33 5400rpm)
  • Pioneer A03S DVD
  • Ricoh MP7060A CD-RRW

George Ios


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