What You Need To Know About AMD Reviews Next Week

AMD is supposed to announce two items on Monday.

  1. Its DDR chipset, the 760 and

  2. its 133Mhz/266Mhz CPUs

I don’t doubt you’ll see a ton of reviews very shortly on this.

What I do have some doubts about is getting answers to the three questions that need to be answered, and they are:

Can you run current chips at 133Mhz/266Mhz with these motherboards?

Up to now, the preliminary reviews have been very coy about this. They say something like “since AMD hasn’t released 266Mhz chips yet, we only ran this at 200Mhz.”
That’s NOT the same as saying, “we tried running them and they didn’t work.” As an overclocker, you really should insist that the reviewer attempt this.

Now it could well be the case that they don’t have a TBird that will O/C 33%, but they should all have a Duron that can. Just try to run at 6X133, that’s all you should ask.

If it can’t (and that’s what I suspect will be the case with the AMD 760, much like Intel doesn’t make overclocking-friendly mobos), and you currently own an AMD chip, then you’d better cross that mobo off your overclocking list and wait to see if the Ali or Via offerings can.

If it can, then we move onto these new chips and ask the second question.

Does It Have Two or Four Legs?

That’s a cute way of asking if it’s a TBird, or its successor, the Palomino. You obviously would rather get the successor chip, maybe not these particular chips because of their FSB, but a 200Mhz version you could overclock to 266Mhz (see above) would be best. However, that won’t matter all that much if the answer to the following is “Yes”:

Can you adjust the multiplier?

Easy enough, if you can, great, if you can’t, look into why. If the reason is the mobo, just pass on it. If the reason is the CPU, this could be either a not-too-bad (if you can FSB overclock the latest chips) to killer (if you can’t) problem.

Let’s summarize:

If you already have a current AMD chip:

Ideally, you’d like to FSB overclock to get the maximum advantage from DDR.

If you can’t, stick with what you got and see what the other guys have to offer.

If you’re looking to buy a CPU/mobo/memory combo:

You want a Palomino

The motherboard ideal is to be able to FSB overclock and change the multiplier.

Not being able to FSB overclock isn’t too bad provided you can change the multiplier, and AMD makes relatively low-end (low-end being 1-1.1Ghz) Palominos.

Not being able to change the multiplier isn’t too bad provided you can FSB overclock and AMD makes Palominos in 200Mhz flavors. If that’s not the case, you pass.

What I Think We’ll See

I don’t think we’ll see FSB overclocking for current chips.

I don’t think we’re going to see a Palomino, because AMD just updated their datasheets, and didn’t mention them.

I think if they’re TBirds, we’ll still have the L1 bridges intact. The Palomino chips will determine whether AMD is truly serious about stopping overclocking or not.

What I Think You Should Think

IF we see a Palomino and IF we see multiplier adjustments, and IF the reviews indicate the boards are solid and IF you are hellbent on getting a computer under the Christmas tree, then maybe you might consider

Lot of “ifs” there, and they all have to go the right way. You can hope, but don’t expect.

Email Ed

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