Poor Man's Overclocking - Part 1

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First off, I want to say that this is not overclocking how to; it is for those who are familiar with overclocking and to some degree hardware, and just don’t have a lot of money. Many us of out there are poor students, recovering from being a student, or our wives just don’t let us have any of the money we earn, so we just don’t have the funds to go buy an Athlon (but oh it would be nice to have one) and experiment on overclocking it and possibly destroy it in the process, nor can we afford some nice vapor-phase equipment.

This two-part article is going to focus on how to get the most bang for your buck. In this first part, I will be dealing for the most part on acquiring parts. The second part will focus on the construction of a cooling unit for your chip. The actual unit will be similar in its design to a MC1000, but it will be much less expensive and hopefully have better results.

What to Buy?

I am going to assume that you already have a system that just needs to be upgraded, so I will be focusing on three main components, CPU, Motherboard and RAM. But if you also need a video, my recommendation on a card that still looks great is the Voodoo2. You can get two of these babies and SLI them for about $120. All you then need is some cheap 4-8mb AGP video card. In this article I am going to focus on one chip, one board, and one type of RAM.

CPU

First off the CPU that I am going to focus on is the Celeron 366 ppga. This is because the ability to overclock it successfully is great and it is real cheap. The first place that many people are going to recommend to you is AZZO’s. They do have great prices, if what you want is a pre-tested chip. Something that you will have to remember is that you are going to have to get a Slocket if you want to do some real overclocking.

As I mentioned before, the Celeron 366 is inexpensive and you can buy it for as little as $38. $38 is nothing when you consider the fact that it is easily overclockable to 550 MHz with air-cooling, but I intend on taking you well beyond that. The slocket that I am going to recommend is the ABIT slocket. Hey it’s great and it works real well.

Motherboard

The motherboard that I am going to recommend to the frugal overclocker is the ABIT BX6 2.0. There are a few simple reasons why I recommend this board. The first reason is that there is a ton of room between the cpu’s socket and the first ram slot. Speaking of RAM, the board has 4 slots for RAM, supporting up to 1 gigabyte of RAM. I remember back when that was huge for a hard drive. The board also has Soft Menu ™ II. All this does is eliminate the need for jumpers and dip-switches on the motherboard.

Another thing that makes this board pretty nice is the fact that it contains a decent amount of FSBs (front-side-bus). These are 66, 75, 83, 100, 103, 112,117(1/3), 117(1/4), 124, 129, 133, 138, 143,148, and 153. The BX6 2.0 also contains 1 AGP, 5 PCI, and 2 ISA slots. The board also comes with a temperature sensor built onto it, and a second one that is on a pretty long cable that can be placed anywhere to monitor temperatures. Now the price – this board is in about the middle range when it comes to Slot1 motherboards. It typically goes for just over $100, the required slocket for under $20.

RAM

I hardly know where to start, it seems as if the price of RAM will never get back to the prices of this summer and spring. A PC100 128mb chip used to go for $70. I bought one like that way back then and a second from some guy for $50. Now that same stick goes for over $130, and was up at $250 recently. Right now at the prices RAM is at I am going to recommend getting two PC133 64mb chips. This is being recommend for two reasons. First because PC133 RAM achieves better overclocking results than standard PC100 RAM, and secondly two 64mb chips are cheaper than one 128mb chip.

Where to Buy?

This is probably one of the harder parts to write, so I will just list a couple places and their prices (prices subject to change). Also as a side note, look to see in which state the dealer is located – if you choose one within your own state you have to pay taxes, and if it is out of state there is no tax. Shipping really doesn’t matter too much; it all depends on how fast you wish to receive your product.

Celeron:

PC Nut: Their price is $40
Azzo: Their price ranges from $49 to $100
Access Micro: They sell it for $39.
Paragon Computers: They sell the chip for $38

Slocket:

Azzo: They sell the ABIT slocket for $20
Paragon Computers: They sell the ABIT slocket for $21.95
Microx-Press: They sell the ABIT slocket for $16.00

Motherboard:

Micro Barn: They sell the BX6 2.0 for $102.00

Azzo: They sell the BX6 2.0 for $129.00

Memory Media: They sell the BX6 2.0 for $106.00

RAM

Access Micro: They sell PC133 64 MB RAM for $87

Accubyte: They sell PC133 64 MB RAM for $87

Stay tuned for Part II – Aaron….


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