Somebody sent me an email asking me “Which 1200 TBird should I get?” I glanced at it, didn’t really look at it.
Being persistent, the person sent it to me again, and this time I looked.
The place was a U.S. retailer that usually has very competitive Pricewatch products and unusually a reasonably decent ResellerRatings.com rating.
Do you know how many listings this place had for 1200 TBirds?
Each listing indicated it was something different, and had a separate price.
No wonder why he was persistent!
No doubt you are wondering just how anyplace could possibly come up with fifteen separate items.
Imagine a newbie trying to figure out what the differences mean.
So to satisfy the curious, and inform the puzzled, I’ll go through them.
1. AMD THUNDERBIRD ATHLON 1200 MHZ/[email protected] OEM SOCKET
A (30 DAY WARR) $215.95
This is a chip that does not come with a heatsink/fan; that’s what OEM boils down to when it comes to CPUs. The [email protected]
means that this is a chip that is set to run at a 100Mhz/200Mhz bus speed (don’t ask why they call it 200Mhz). The multiplier
on this chip is set at 12X (that’s 12X100; don’t ask where the 200Mhz comes into this, it doesn’t matter for practical purposes).
If you wanted this run this chip on a new KT133A board (which runs normally at an FSB of 133/266Mhz, you would have to change the default multiplier from 12X to a lower number.
To do that, you first have to check to see if the L1 bridges on the CPU are all connected. If they are, you don’t have to do anything to the CPU. If they aren’t, you must connect those L1 in order to
change the multiplier. This is what’s often referred to as “unlocking the CPU” or a “pencil job.” For instructions as to how to do this, including pictures, go here
Most KT133A motherboards should have no problem with this change, but some do. Go here for a discussion about that.
2. AMD THUNDERBIRD ATHLON 1200 MHZ/[email protected] OEM SOCKET
A (1 YEAR WARR.) $236.95
This is the same as the the CPU mentioned above, except that the company is giving you its warranty of a year rather than AMD’s warranty of 30 days for an extra $20.
3. AMD TBIRD 1200 MHZ/[email protected] SOCKET A OEM -BLUE
COPPER DIE (30 DAY WARR) $226.95
There are two kinds of TBirds. One kind is made in Austin, Texas, and uses aluminum interconnects. The other kind is made in Dresden, Germany, and uses copper interconnects. (For our purposes, all you need to know is that copper is better.)
All 1200Mhz chips are made in Dresden and use copper interconnects, so there is no difference between this chip and the first chip I described except that you pay $15 more to see the words “Blue Copper Die” next to it in the ad.
4. AMD TBIRD 1200 [email protected] SOCKET A OEM-COPPER DIE (30 DAY
Most of the TBirds have come “locked.” All that means is that all the L1 bridges aren’t connected, so you can’t change the multiplier unless you do the pencil job as mentioned above.
However, just about all if not all 1200Mhz TBirds come “unlocked.” So here, not only are you paying $15 extra for the words “Blue Copper Die,” you’re also paying ten extra bucks for the words “Unlock.”
5. AMD TBIRD 1200 MHZ/[email protected] SOCKET A RETAIL – COPPER
DIE(3 YEAR WARR) $259.95
“Retail” means you get an AMD fan/heatsink besides the CPU plus a 3-year warranty from AMD for the extra money. Since you invalidate the warranty by overclocking, if you’re honest, there’s hardly any point in paying extra for it.
If you’re dishonest, then I guess it’s a matter of whether or not AMD can figure out that you did, which largely depends on how insane you were in your overclocking attempts.
6. AMD TBIRD 1200 MHZ/[email protected] SOCKET A OEM -BLUE
COPPER DIE (1 YEAR WARR) $246.95
This is the same as Number Three, except that instead of charging you an extra $15 for using the words “Blue Copper Die” in the ad, they’re only charging you $10. What a buy! 🙂
7. AMD THUNDERBIRD 1200 MHZ/[email protected] OEM SOCKET A (30
DAY WARR)-IN STOCK $227.95
This one (and all those following) is the first 133/266Mhz processor listed. What this means is that instead of having a multiplier of 12X and being set to run at 12X100; it has a multiplier of 9X and is set to run at 9X133.
Otherwise, it’s the same as Number One, just $12 more. If you’re buying a motherboard that seems to have particular problems running 100Mhz CPUs at 133Mhz, spending the extra $12 to avoid the potential hassle might not be a terrible idea. At least it’s better pay for that than for a couple buzzwords on a page.
8. AMD THOUNDERBIRD 1200 MHZ/[email protected] OEM SOCKET A (30
DAY WARR)-UNLOCK $239.95
Same as Number Seven except they’re charging you $12 for using the word “Unlock.” See Number Three for what “Unlock” means.
9. AMD THUNDERBIRD 1200 MHZ/[email protected] SOCKET A RETAIL
W/FAN(3 YEAR WARR) $264.95
This is the 266Mhz version of Number Five. Here, you’re paying $5 more to have the multiplier set at 9X rather than 12X.
10. AMD THUNDERBIRD ATHLON 1200 MHZ/[email protected] OEM SOCKET
A (1 YEAR WARR) $249.95
Same as Number Seven, except that you’re paying $22 extra for a 1 year warranty. See Number Two for a discussion of this.
11. AMD TBIRD 1200 MHZ/[email protected] SOCKET A OEM -BLUE
COPPER DIE (30 DAY WARR) $239.95
See Number Three as to why this costs $12 more than Number Seven.
12. AMD TBIRD 1200 [email protected] SOCKET A OEM -COPPER DIE (30 DAY
See Number Four as to why this costs $22 more than Number Seven.
13. AMD TBIRD 1200 MHZ/[email protected] SOCKET A RETAIL – COPPER
DIE(3 YEAR WARR) $274.95
See Number Three as to why this costs $10 more than Number Nine.
14. AMD TBIRD 1200 [email protected] SOCKET A RETAIL-COPPER DIE(3
YEAR WARR) UNLOCK $284.95
See Number Four as to why this costs $20 more than Number Seven.
15. AMD TBIRD 1200 MHZ/[email protected] SOCKET A OEM -BLUE
COPPER DIE (1 YEAR WARR) $257.95
See Number Six as to why this costs $8 more than Number Ten.
Pretty disgusting, isn’t it?
I looked at the other processors, and there’s none of this nonsense there, which tells me one thing:
This is a newbie trap.
This place figures there are plenty of people looking to buy 1200s, and who have just learned a couple buzzwords. And that’s just what they’re giving to them, and charging a nice amount for them.
It must work. If it didn’t, they wouldn’t waste the time.
But now it won’t work on you.