Athlons, motherboards, and a web of deceit!
Several interesting facts regarding the new KT133A motherboards and the most recent versions of the Socket A Athlons came to light this week. For starters, many people are reporting that the new KT133A motherboards misreport core voltage figures. If you select 1.5V for your shiny new processor, the 'board actually goes ahead and gives it an extra 0.08V for good measure. Nobody is really sure why just yet. This is of course relatively harmless to the majority of users, but if you overclock above and beyond the level of most folk, you may want to take note of this. Another interesting thing that raised its ugly head this week is the question mark that now rests on the latest Socket A Athlons. A couple of weeks ago, everyone's favourite hardware retailer, Overclockers UK, started running a bundle deal that included an Athlon "guaranteed" to 1.4GHz. According to the dealer, this amazing result was achieved by using "an Abit KT7A-RAID motherboard and the latest wz01 BIOS". Furthermore, "this special batch of TBird's add +5MHz to the chosen FSB. Therefore at 107 they actually run at 112MHz." Some of the more intelligent Usenet posts on the subject claim that the Athlons use a new "red core," or as some people have said, the first batch of DDR Athlons are all just "rebadged 1.3GHz units." AMD are naturally extremely quiet about the subject, and unwilling to make any comments on or off the record. In the meantime, HardOCP has reported that DDR Athlon processors at 1.3GHz and above will be officially unveiled "on the 17th or 18th of this month," although our money would be on this coming Monday. It's not all one-way traffic though - Intel also has the odd bit of news to spread. The Pentium 4, ever the object of the hardware world's contempt, is due to see its first show of brute marketing force this week. PC World and other OEMs will run (allegedly Intel-funded) TV advertisements for their Pentium 4 systems, and groups like Dell are already selling systems online at Dell.co.uk. Ironically, thanks to the extremely high cost of using Pentium 4 processors, RAMBUS and Intel i850 motherboards, most of the components in these systems will be relatively weak. The Dell machine boasts a 10Gb hard-disk, and a 17" monitor, whereas the PC World "Advent" unit will sport a 20Gb hard-disk. Several of the Dell machines use GeForce 2 MX cards, stunting performance in 3D applications and games, the areas that the Pentium 4 is just about able to shift some weight in with the right support. Related Feature - Pentium 4 Review