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Overclocking 4 PIII 500Es

by johnd - Jan. 29, 2000

UPDATE: One of our fellow overclockers shares his experiences in overclocking a 500E that had striking similarities with CPU #3 in this review. Click here to jump to the update, or if this is your first time reading this article, read on. The update is at the end of this article. Also, the title on one of the benchmark charts on page 2 has been updated to accurately reflect the video card being used in the chart. An additional benchmark chart has also been added that was omitted from the original review. Thanks to Rain for pointing out the discrepancies in the charts.

Are you looking at possibly buying a Pentium III 500E with your sites set on overclocking it? Want an idea as to how far the CPU that you buy might overclock? Will it overclock or even run on an older motherboard like the ABIT BH6 revision 1.02 motherboard? Our experiences with three retail PIII 500E CPUs may help you answer some of your questions.

After reading favorable reports on the overclockability of the PIII 500E CPUs, we purchased 3 Pentium III 500E CPUs from 3 different online vendors hoping for the same good results. We weren't dissapointed.

We put theses three CPUs in three different systems using three different motherboards, and two different speeds of RAM. All three were mounted in Iwill Slocket II socket 370 to slot one converters. Two of these CPUs were featured in previous articles on Hardware News Net (the Soyo SY-6VBA 133 Review and the Overclocking and Upgrading guide).

With two of the CPUs, it was simple as installing the CPU, bumping up the FSB and letting it fly. We used no voltage tweaks and kept the stock retail fan. We had to tweak the voltage on the third CPU and tried a different heatsink/fan combo.

One of the CPUs (CPU#2) was installed on an ABIT BH6 rev. 1.02 motherboard for testing. CPU#1 was also installed temporarily on a second Abit BH6 rev. 1.02 motherboard, but was tested on a Soyo motherboard. Both CPUs ran fine on the BH6 motherboards. Contagion told me that since these were not revision 1.1 or higher BH6s the 500Es weren't supposed to run, but they did. He recalled seeing several messages in forums at various web sites concerning this.

So, I figured I'd go straight to somebody who should know, Abit. Here's a question and answer taken from a FAQ at Abit's web site: "Question: Do the BH6 Rev. 1.00, 1.01, 1.02, 1.03, etc. and up (BUT NOT 1.1 and above) boards and the BX6 Rev 1.00, 1.01, 1.02, etc. (BUT NOT BX6 Rev 2.0) boards support Coppermine CPUs? Answer: No, the BH6 Rev. 1.00, 1.01, 1.02, 1.03, etc. and up (BUT NOT 1.1 and above) boards and the BX6 Rev 1.00, 1.01, 1.02, etc. (BUT NOT BX6 Rev 2.0) do not support Coppermine CPUs due to the native design of power for the CPU core voltage probably not being sufficient. So to avoid instability, we advise that the afore mentioned boards do not support Coppermine CPUs."

We didn't find any instabilty problems running the 500Es on the two BH6 boards. We ran CPU#2 on one of the BH6 boards clocked at 667Mhz (133Mhz FSB) in a Quake III demo loop playing demo001 and demo002 at a setting of timedemo 1 for 30 minutes without a lockup or any apparent problems. At the end of the loop, the system was rebooted. Windows 98 started without any problems and has continued to run without any problems. This does not necessarily mean that the rev.1.0x BH6 that you have will run with a 500E, but it does show that it is possible to run a PIII 500E with a reasonable level of stability even though Abit is cautioning us about possible instability from the "core voltage probably not being sufficient." Check with the manufacturer of your motherboard to get any information they may have concerning whether a coppermine CPU will run on your motherboard. Then check with other users to see what experiences others have had with the same motherboard and a coppermine CPU even If the motherboard manufacturer has cautionary statements such as the one from Abit about the BH6,

The Pentium III 500E

The PIII 500E is one of the new coppermine CPUs from Intel. It runs on a 100Mhz front side bus (FSB) wtih 256Kon-die full-speed L2 cache. The PIII 500E is a Flip Chip PGA socket 370 CPU. We used three of Iwill's Slocket II FC-PGA to slot one converters to mate the three PIII 500Es to the slot one motherboards we tested them on.


CPU#1

The first CPU was very easily overclocked. After initially booting at the 100Mhz FSB setting, the CPU was stepped up a few Mhz at a time until the max FSB setting of 155Mhz for the Soyo SY-6VBA133 motherbaord was reached. The Soyo SY-6VBA133 motherboard has an AGP clock divider of 2 and a PCI divider of 4 that helps keep the AGP and PCI bus speeds in a reasonable range. The voltage on this CPU was set on the Iwill Slocket II at 1.6v and never tweaked. Heat never became a problem with the CPU temperature running at 34.5C using the retail heatsink/fan.

I was very pleased to see this CPU purr along at 775Mhz. The CPU, Soyo motherboard, 2 sticks of 64MB Corsair PC133 RAM, and other components in the system ran without any problems. No lockups, crashes, or any apparent problems. I have stated many times since the testing that the system has run the most stable of any Windows 95/98 system I have ever used. I now use this system for my everyday use and continue to get solid stability from it.


CPU#2

I put the second CPU in a one year old Abit BH6 motherboard that had been flashed to the latest BIOS available for the board. The voltage on the CPU was set on the Iwill Slocket II at 1.6v and never tweaked. The retail heatsink/fan was used with the CPU. The system has Samsung PC100 RAM and a Voodoo3 3000 video card. The Abit BH6 board supports 112, 124, and 133Mhz FSB bus speeds. It has a max AGP clock divider of 2/3 and a max PCI divider of 1/3). I expected the Samsung PC100 RAM to max out at the 124Mhz FSB setting and not allow the system to push the PIII 500E any further than 620Mhz, but I was again presently surprised to see the system boot and run Quake III benchmarks without any problems at the 133Mhz FSB speed. Everyday use of this system has not shown any problems as this system continues to run very stable. This made the PIII 500E plus the Iwill Slocket II a very economical upgrade to a 667Mhz PIII for this Abit BH6 based system.


CPU#3

Contagion carried the third CPU home and put it on a Abit BF6 motherboard. The system has one stick of 128MB Corsair PC133 RAM. The Abit BF6 like the BH6 has an AGP clock divider of 2/3 and a PCI clock divider of 1/3. The BF6 also has a 1/4 PCI clock divider.

The CPU ran stable until it reached about 650Mhz keeping the voltage at 1.6v. After experiencing some application lockups in Windows 98 at speeds higher than 650Mhz, the CPU voltage was changed to 1.75v. This allowed the CPU to run very stable at 675Mhz. The system would post all the way to 720Mhz, but would lock trying to start Windows 98 at that speed.

The stock retail heatsink/fan was removed and replaced with an Alpha PFH6035/Global Win 27cfm fan. With the stock heatsink/fan the system had been running at 37C. Putting the Alpha on dropped the temperature to 34C. The CPU will run at 690 or 700Mhz for a few hours of use before Windows 98 decides to lock down tight. 720Mhz was still the point at which the CPU would fail trying to start Windows 98, however the system did run stable enough at 710Mhz to do some Quake III benchmarking. After finishing the benchmarks at that speed, the system was rebooted, but would lockup trying to load Windows 98 at that point.


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