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The different colors of the Coppermine

To this day, two different formats are available for the Coppermine, each offering two different types of performance features. All is resulting in four different flavors of the Pentium III Coppermine. First is the FC-PGA format. With its 0.18 process, mentioned earlier, the Coppermine is smaller in size and has bigger potential. Since Intel chose to implement the L2 cache memory on the chip, they can now start manufacturing them in socket versions, eliminating the need of using a PCB.

Officially no old PGA-370 motherboard can officially support the Coppermine core, but this doesnít mean we canít run them on BX chipsets or VIA Apollo 133A mainboards featuring the slot1 interface. Several manufacturers have released adapters that allow a socket CPU's, such as the PPGA Celeron, to be inserted into a Slot-1 motherboard. Iwill and several other mainboard manufacturers went one step better by allowing their adapter to run the FC-PGA Pentium III.

Main Requirements for older PGA-370 motherboards to support the Coppermine Core.
  • Must support the VRM 8.4 DC-DCGuidelines
  • A BIOS update to recognize the CPU and its new L2 technology is required.
  • Must support the 1.60v core voltage.
  • Must of course feature a PGA-370 Socket.

Basically the Slocket allows the adjustment of the core voltage of the CPU down to as low as 1.3 volts and adjusts the pin outs of the CPU so that the new FC-PGA processor can run on a motherboard with the BX chipset. This is especially useful considering many BX boards cannot adjust below 2.0 volts. All that is needed is the Slocket and an update to your motherboardís BIOS in order to recognize the FC-PGA chips.

If looking at the most recent availability, newer VIA Apollo 133A boards and the new 815 motherboards already focused on the FC-PGA format as a standard. By the end of this year, Intel expects to see over 50% of the Coppermine based processors to be available under socket versions. As mentioned earlier, the FC-PGA version offers two different sets of processors. First is the standard 100MHz Front Side Bus also knows a "E" and the 133MHz Front Side Bus known as "EB or B". Speeds from 500MHz to 933MHz are currently available.

The second type is of course the cartridge version. This type is practically an identical product to the FC-PGA version, but is built on a PCB and can be only used on the slot1 interface. This kind is generally more expensive because of the extra PCB. It also requires more voltage for certain newer types of Coppermine processors, including the slot version of the 933MHz. The cartridge versions of the processor offers speeds from 550 to 1000MHz and here too two different kinds are available, 100MHz (E) and the 133MHz (EB) versions.

We would recommend you to stick with the newer FC-PGA format because of its lower price and somewhat better flexibility. If for some reason you decide to go back on a slot1 mainboard, you can always do that by purchasing an adapter, like the one offered by Iwill. But if you go for the slot1 interface and decide to upgrade to a FC-PGA motherboard in the near future, you will end up being stuck.

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