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PIII Overclocking Problems, Solutions, & Results

by johnd - Feb. 10, 2000

with contributions by:
James Anderson, Clayton Brazil, Mark Hammond, Eduardo Chaves Rosas, Dylan Thomas, and Paul aka "Topshelf"

Solution #4

Paul R, aka "Topshelf", passed along his overclocking experiences with his PIII 500E. Here's a listing of Paul's system: Abit BX6 v2, 2 128MB PC133 DIMMs with Infineon chips, a Creative Labs GeForce DDR, Promise Technologies Ultra 33, 2 14.4GB IBM 7200rpm hard drives, an Asus 50X CD-ROM, HP 8110 CD-RW, LS-120, MX-300, and a Hauppauge Win-TV tuner card all in a In-Win Q500 case with an Antec PP-303X 300w power supply. {Whew!! That'll run you out of breath. Just kidding Paul. ;-) ..}

Here's how Paul related his story:

"I first installed it into a BX6 v2 on an IWill SLocket II. I flashed the Abit BIOS to the newest, set the core coltage to 1.6v on the slocket, moved the jumper to fc-pga and popped it in. Then, with my fingers crossed I started up the pc hoping the voltage was correct so I didn't smoke anything. After getting into the BIOS, I checked the Soft Menu to see that it was set to 1.6v and all was great. I set it up for 5x100 just to get things moving. Everything booted and ran perfect. After some quick testing everything was 100% stable as should be since that was the default speed. Then using SoftFSB I jumped right to 133fsb(667). I was a little worried about the GeForce causing problems here, but after loops of 3DMark2000, Q3 and a few hours of online Half Life not a single problem :). At this point I had only one choice, go for more. I bumped it up to 138fsb which is the next choice on my mobo. It took the setting, no BSOD's or anything at first. After about 5 minutes though, the entire system began to crawl and I lost mouse control. Finally I had to reboot. Not sure what would cause a problem like that, but no matter what I did, 690 was not stable, even while just sitting at the desktop. So 667 from a 500 was my limit and I was pretty happy....That is until my MSI 6163-Pro showed up the next day.

I swapped out the BX6 v2 for the MSI, and used everything exactly as it was on the Abit mobo. After getting all the BIOS options set up, I booted up at 667 and again...100% stable during all tests. Hoping for better results from this board, I set it to 140fsb (702) and again it took the new speed with a problem. I spent about 30 minutes cruising around waiting for an error to pop up, but nothing. Now I was getting excited. So I started up 3D Mark 2K and about 15 seconds in it locked. After rebooting I tried it again and the same thing happened. So I took out the GeForce and put my trusty V3 2k PCI in. After getting all the drivers swapped, I started up 3D Mark again at 702 and ran loops for over 3 hours. My GeForce didn't like to go past 133fsb :( I did try to go higher, but after 140fsb anything else would cause the system to crash. I don't know if this is the CPU or the RAM, but I was told the Infineon chips do 150.

Well, the good news is that my 500e can run at 700 with no problems, and that's with the stock cooler. The bad news is the GeForce doesn't like high FSB speeds. All in all though, 667 for a $200 investment isn't bad at all...even though I just bought a 700e =) Hoping for 931 with this."

Paul also mentioned that after switching to the MSI motherboard a lot of strange problems disappeared. His system is more stable, the LS-120 drive shows up as the A: drive now instead of the G: drive, the system boots in almost half the time, and the system seems to run a lot smoother, but what makes Paul the happiest is "the fact the I no longer have USB problems. With the BX6 v2 my hubs would just stop working for no reason. Now everything is perfect."


Conclusion

The PIII 500Es and 550Es generally have been overclocking with very little effort from their users. Most users of these processors should be able to get approximately a 30% Mhz gain at the least. If you aren't getting that, then from all the accounts I've read, you are one of the unlucky few. As with most users who overclock their systems, the users in this article got their CPUs to overclock as much as they initially could, and then set out to find what they could change or tweak on their system to allow them to overclock the CPU a little more, and/or gain a little more stability. Most of us who have overclocked systems can relate to these issues as we are faced with them on our own systems. Reading articles like this one and the many other related articles around the web can sometimes give us the one little missing thing that we haven't tried with our own systems that can lead to those few extra Mhz.

Good luck and keep me posted. -johnd


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