No better than Intel

Yes, you can overclock with an A7V. No, you can’t overclock with an A7V. Never mind, yes, you can, and more mobos are coming.
No, you can’t, because bad kangaroos are remarking our chips.


Ridiculous Remarking Rubbish

You set up a chip that was designed to start off and show the true speed of the chip. If you had designed the chip correctly, that’s all the remarking protection you would have needed. Want more? Your evil competitors managed to come up with a CPUID program to take care of
their problem. Can’t you do the same?

If you were serious about this, why do your own datasheets say that the multiplier can be changed after the initial period? Why did you put that out on a datasheet? Why would you ever put that feature in if you were serious?

If you were truly serious about locking the multiplier, why are the bridges that determine the multiplier and voltage exposed? What foolishness is that? Isn’t that begging for trouble?

It took hardly any time for some bright hobbyists to figure that one out. You think remarkers are dumber?

Maybe it will be really hard to cut some of those bridges, but who is more likely to be able to get the proper tools? An organized remarker who’ll make enough money to afford whatever it takes, or a little overclocker?

For that matter, I bet that once Mr. Organized Crime Remarker gets his laser weapons and attacks the bridge of the starship Thunderbird which you left wide open, and changes those bridges, your remarking protection goes right out the window, outside of some cosmetic print on the CPU.

So you are either spreading bullhickey about this wide and deep, or you are remarkably incompetent.

If this remarking were so bad, why wasn’t the chip designed to be completely locked in the first place? Can’t you make a truly multiplier-locked chip like Intel? No one’s broken that. They can send out unlocked engineering samples without exposed circuits.

We certainly wouldn’t have liked it, but, if you had done that, we would have at least respected that and known you took this problem seriously. At least you wouldn’t have chased a number of motherboard manufacturers and enthusiasts around by the nose.

Vain Via Vagueness

Of course, there is more than one way to overclock a CPU. If you can’t increase the multiplier, you can increase the FSB. But you can’t really do that on an Athlon board, can you? Somebody hits 120Mhz with one, and it’s like they’ve found the Holy Grail.

Most of these boards are made by Via. Via makes boards using much the same circuitry for Intel chips, too. They do better than 120Mhz. They get to 133, 140Mhz, sometimes even 150Mhz. How come?

There once was a boy from NC
Who went on a Taiwanese spree
The Vias confessed
“We can’t let you mess
With Athlons at 133.”

For a more prosaic account, see here.

To quote:

“VIA seemed to indicate that the reason current KX133/KT133 motherboards can’t reach the 133MHz FSB is because they physically made it impossible to reach that FSB setting on current designs. According to the representatives we talked to they claim that they “didn’t want people messing around with [the setting].””

Funny, they don’t seem to have that problem when it’s an Intel chip.

Even funnier, some Japanese overclockers don’t seem to have a problem, either, once they do some surgery on their Athlon boards with something called Turbo-PLL. Want to see a KX with an FSB of 155Mhz (310Mhz in Athlon DDR doubletalk)? Go here. It’s a big page, and it’s towards the end of the page,

Wonder who might be pressuring Via into being so worried? Are any of you thinking “one, two punch?”

A much more disturbing piece of news from the same source:

“Getting Socket-A motherboards to work at 1GHz and above is quite tricky according to the motherboard manufacturers we spoke with. Iwill was convinced that unless a Socket-A motherboard is very well designed, getting 1.1GHz and faster Thunderbird CPUs to work will be a difficult task.”

Interesting . . . maybe AMD is afraid their chips will break. Then why a 12.5X multiplier or more?

Asinine AMD Ambiguity

From some unknown AMD spokesperson writing to Tom’s Hardware.

“As you know, we have had too many people make a business of overclocking and remarking our products so we have had to take drastic measures to prevent this. We wish there was a solution that allowed the legitimate enthusiast to experience the headroom in our products without the liability of out-of-spec parts being resold to unsuspecting users. Enthusiasts know the risks and some motherboards will allow general overclocking outside the CPU.”

We’ve already seen the remarking remarks are nonsense.

But look at this sentence closely . . . :

“We wish there was a solution that allowed the legitimate enthusiast to experience the headroom in our products without the liability of out-of-spec parts being resold to unsuspecting users.”

then look at the next sentence:

“Enthusiasts know the risks and some motherboards will allow general overclocking outside the CPU.”

The two sentences together make no sense. They contradict each other. How can you say “We wish there were a solution (but there isn’t),” then say, “there is a solution.”

“Overclocking Outside the CPU”

It’s not quite as alliterative, but for sheer silliness, this beats anything I’ve come up with. Just how do you overclock the CPU outside the CPU?

There’s two possibilities.

  • The rest of the piece about multiplier locks are pure moonshine, and you overclock by setting jumpers or BIOS “outside the CPU” or
  • You overclock by increasing the FSB “outside the CPU” (and if you only get to a whopping 105Mhz or 110Mhz, that’s officially an overclock).

Which is it?

Makes a big difference, doesn’t it? Makes a big difference in whether you buy or not, doesn’t it?

But who are you? I guess to AMD, you’re just a customer, what right do you have to know? Their job is to make it, yours is to buy it. So what if you have to buy a new mobo every three months? Be quiet, and be grateful. KX133s make great ornamental pieces.

Don’t Buy

Until you see reports from websites who went to the store or their friendly Internet retailers and picked up “production” models of both CPU and motherboard, don’t buy this stuff. Even if this turns out to be balderdash, maybe you wait for a while. Teach somebody a lesson. They play games, you play games.

“We wish there was a solution that allowed the legitimate enthusiast to experience the headroom in our products without the liability of out-of-spec parts being resold to unsuspecting users.”

Well, let me tell you something, Mr. or Ms. AMD Person. We wish we could buy CPUs from somebody honest. We wish you wouldn’t spread FUD. We wish you wouldn’t be sneaky and behind-the-scenes, like it appears you are with Via. We wish you didn’t use overclockers as a springboard to get the Athlon going, then treat your initial fans like dirt. Yesterday, the KX133, today, this?

It’s not this website personally. It’s the loyal AMD websites I feel badly about, the people who stuck with you during the thin times. They, and your loyal fans who kept you afloat, are the ones you are kicking in the teeth. They’re the ones who have to defend the indefensible.

What for?

Why are you even doing this? Whom do you think you’re fooling? Do you really think anybody remarking chips is going to be stopped by hot air? I can just see some organized-crime boss saying, “Kill this one, beat up that one, how did the last drug run go, but stay away from those Athlon chips! I’m scared of those guys!”

Stop playing games with your loyal fans. Stop giving them bunk; stop making them worry. They’re going to find out the truth in a couple weeks, anyway. If they can be overclocked through the motherboard, the remarkers will know as soon as the enthusiasts.

If they can’t, then you haven’t stopped the remarkers. They already know what needs to be done. You told them, right in your datasheets. It will just cost them a little more to do it.

All you’ve done is stopped and alienated your fans, plus a bunch of people who really thought they could now switch from Intel.

But if it’s a choice between two demons, why not stick with the devil you know?

Email Ed

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