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Different Formats

With itís .18 process, as 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 socketed versions. However, Intel has not yet given up on the Slot 1 architecture so you can get your Coppermine in different flavors. The first is what is claimed by Intel to be the low cost FC-PGA370 format, and at this time there are only two variations available in the FC-PGA format (550E/550E). Officially no PGA-370 motherboard can officially support them, but this doesnít mean we canít run them on our latest BX chipsets. Several manufacturers have released adapters that allow a socketed CPU, such as the PPGA Celeron, to be inserted into a Slot-1 motherboard. Iwill went one step better by allowing their new adapter to run the FC-PGA Pentium III. Basically the Slocket II 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. The Slocket II will even allow you to use the extra SMP instructions built into the new Pentium III chip. All that is needed is the Slocket II and an update to your motherboardís BIOS in order to recognize the FC-PGA chips.

Intel decided to stick with their cartridged versions for 600MHz+ versions. There are no special reasons for that, any Coppermine on todayís market could fit on socketed version but Intel decided to keep their old strategy for now. Two kinds of cartridged versions are currently available, the first one is the "E" which defines: that the CPU is a Coppermine core running on a 100 MHz bus speed. They are available starting at 600Mhz.

The third, and last, is the "EB", which is another cartridged version. The "B" stands for 133MHz FSB, so the CPU is running at 133MHz. They are slightly more expensive than the "E" and generally perform better on "i820 - i840" chipsets. But for a BX user, this is far from being his right choice for several reasons. First of all, BX chipsets officially don't support 133MHz FSB. Even if your BX board does, the overclocking rate will probably be very low and your hardware will have to be compatible running at these kinds of FSB speeds. For more info you can read our overclocking guide.

How Does It Run?:

Initial testing was done with a PPGA Celeron 366 @ 550 MHz and with a GlobalWin CPM25603-32 heatsink/fan unit. This is probably the smallest heatsink made by GlobalWin for Socket370 applications. I have used an Abit Slotket to allow the use of this CPU in my Slot-1 Abit BX6r2 board previously. I had hoped to take advantage of the available 2.05 v setting of the Slocket II to try to reduce CPU heat further but I found that, just with the Abit adapter, the CPU required 2.1 v to reach 550 MHz. Once up and running with the Slocket II I had no problems with the Celeron whatsoever. The unit performed exactly as advertised using the Slocket II PPGA jumper. Another benefit of this adapter is that it is almost Ĺ inch shorter than the Abit Slotket. I liked having the small increase in space allowed by the new adapter.

The final testing was done with a Pentium III 550e. With the correct jumper settings I ran into a problem with Windows locking up every time I tried to reboot. After close exam of the CPU and heatsink I noticed a tiny airgap between them. If you attempt to use a heatsink that is larger than the stock Intel heatsink, as I did, you will probably find that the heatsink gets hung up on the locking bar of the CPU socket. My solution was to use pliers to bend the locking bar down and out of the way. Make sure you use two pliers, one to hold the locking bar close to where it attaches to the plastic socket, and the other to bend the end of the bar. Be careful since you can damage things quickly if you donít pay attention.

I know that many of you are dying to know how the 550e overclocked. How does 682 MHz (5.5 x 124) @ 1.6 volts sound? All with that small GlobalWin heatsink. I ran several benchmarks and let RC5 run for 14 hours with no problems noticed. With an FDP32 or Alpha I think it could have hit 733 MHz. All my attempts to reach 733 MHz locked up after the Windows splash screen. This CPU was not a preselected ringer either. It came in the plastic wrapped box and the sealed plastic container had not been opened or tampered with. This most likely is a very representative 550e. For all bus speeds above 100 MHz I used the 1/4 divider available with Abit's SoftMenu. That kept my PCI bus speeds in spec. Since the BX chipset doesnít support the Ĺ AGP divider I used a PCI video card for testing. Simply set the Slocket II's FSB jumper to "Auto" and you can use your motherboard's FSB settings instead.

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