Trial And Error

Got this email:

I have something you need to let your readers know.

I got one of those great $51 XP1500s from Newegg. It is a TBred B.

Now, I have a Palomino XP1400 in my motherboard now, so surely an XP1500 would work, right? Wrong.

People NEED to know that these new TBird B models will not work in older motherboards that WOULD run other AMD XP cpus. From the research I did seeing if there was a way to get it to work, it also appears it wont even work in some of the recently newer models (first run of the 333 motherboards). Not all or most, but some as little as 6 months ago.

There is a big difference in $51 vs. $120 mobo + $120 DDR Ram +$51 chip.
$300 vs. $50 is a big jump, and one that I am not going to take yet.

Not everyone has paid for a new mobo just so they could get DDR… at most, what, 15% improvement? Some of saw no reason to pay for a new mobo and 512+ MB of ram for a 15% increase. USB 2.0? 333DDR? Sure, if there’s a need, but up until NForce2 there really wasn’t a big payback. My Iwill KK266 has done everything I needed. Sure it was default 133 FSB, but it was changeable in the bios, just like the newer ones, so I didn’t bother to upgrade. There were very few reason to do it… until now.

Please let your avid readers know before they do what I did. This was supposed to be an interim upgrade until a decent (usually Via’s “A” version) Barton motherboard came out. As it sits, I got a $51 CPU I cant use, and probably wont by the time I can.

The Surface Lesson

If you have an motherboard, before you buy any TBred (whether A or B), you should ALWAYS check to see if the motherboard supports it.

You look that by looking at the BIOS updates for your motherboard. Here is a simple way to find out whether it does or not.

If a BIOS update indicates that the motherboard will support a 2200+, that means the motherboard has TBredA support. It should be able to run TBredAs rated at lower speeds.

If a BIOS update indicates that the motherboard will support a 2400+, that means the motherboard has TBredB support. It should be able to run TBredBs rated at lower speeds.

Do NOT assume that because a TBred has a lower rated speed than what the product sheet shows that it will work.

For instance, the product sheet for this processor shows support for up to XP1900+ processor. That’s an old sheet that hasn’t been updated in quite some time. If you have a motherboard that only has support for a 1900+ or 2000+ or 2100+, don’t buy a TBred for it. Those references are to Palominos.

Even if the BIOS supports that type processor, that doesn’t mean it will support the processor at whatever FSB speed you like.

For instance, if you have a KT266A board that happens to support TBredBs, that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to run a 166MHz FSB processor fine and dandy at 166MHz. The board isn’t meant to run at a default speed of 166MHz. That chip will run fine at 133MHz. It may work at 166MHz, but you’ll be overclocking your hard drives and PCI devices 25%, and they likely won’t work properly at that speed.

The Deeper Lesson

Guilty Before Proven Innocent

Whenever I look at an upgrade like this, I never, ever, EVER assume that an upgrade will work. I assume that it WON’T work until I find written proof that it does.

Usually, that comes from the websites from the products involved. Sometimes that’s not clear. When it isn’t, I usually do a search on Google to see if someone has gotten the processor and motherboard to work.

If that doesn’t work, the next step is to write the company’s tech support staff and specifically ask. If you don’t get a clear, positive answer, don’t buy it.

The $300 An Hour Mistake

I like to do my own research, but in this case, even if you skipped steps one and two and just wrote an email to IWill, how long would that take? Ten minutes, if even that?

In this case, that ten minutes was not taken, and it cost the person $51. Take $51 and divide that by ten minutes, and you come up with an hourly cost of $306.

Do you make $306 an hour?

It could have been worse; imagine if a 2100+ had been purchased instead. That would have cost the equivalent of $600 an hour.

Do you make $600 an hour?

The only thing worse than doing homework is not doing it.

Some may say, “I won’t make a mistake without doing homework every single time.” This is true.

Let me be very generous and assume that you come up with the right item 80% of the time, and the wrong one twenty percent of the time. That means I should reduce the figures above by 80%.

Do you make $60 an hour? Do you make $120 an hour?

If you make somewhat less than that, it would be a really, really good idea to adopt as a motto: Look First, Buy Later. Not just for computer equipment, but for just about anything.

This person paid at a rate of $300 a hour to learn that. Do you need to learn it, too? If so, how much will it have to cost you before you do, too?

Email Ed

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