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OC'ing an ancient machine?

Last response: in Overclocking
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May 20, 2006 8:07:05 PM

I have in my hands a 7 year-old Gateway.

Specs:
Intel Pentium III 500mHz
256mb PC100 SDRAM (64/64/128)
NVIDIA RIVA TNT2 Model 64/Model 64 Pro
Creative Sound Blaster Live! Value
20GB IBM ATA/IDE Hard Drive
Windows XP SP2
200W Power Supply

Surprisingly, it can get quite a bit done. I'm looking at what I can do to squeeze just a little bit more out of it without really spending any money on it. I've taken a close look at my hardware and I think I have few options. First, some pictures:





There's a sort of vent thing covering the power supply fan, directing the airflow over the processor. There's also a spot for an 80mm vent in the back, directly behind the processor. If you look on the left side of the second picture, you'll notice there's a piece of metal screwed on over that.

I was thinking i might unscrew that plate, put a fan there, and remove the vent on the power supply. Then, it should stay a bit cooler and leave me open to do a bit over overclocking (?)...

So my question is, is it practical to do this? Would it make any sort of difference in my system's performance (internet surfing, photoshop, starcraft)? Like I said, I don't really want to put any money out (except for about $10 for a fan). I'd like to give a shot at messing around with my system, particularly overclocking, so when i build my own system (about six months down the road), I won't be completely aimless.

Oh, and if there's any more information you would need to know to help me, just let me know. I can grab more pictures, too. Thanks in advance!

*edit* fixed the pic, used the wrong one.

More about : ing ancient machine

May 20, 2006 9:38:03 PM

It probably will make little difference, and if that processor has external cache that runs at half the cpu speed, then it probably won't OC much, if any. I'd leave it alone.
May 20, 2006 11:58:42 PM

Aye I agree :-D

Sorry to be negative but..... I don't think it's worth it.

PIII's do not OC very well.

PII Celerons did OC well.

Gateway boards are certainly not made for OC'ing either.

Besides you only have a generic 200W PSU.

What are you trying to do with this beast?
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May 21, 2006 12:29:02 AM

I don't think you'll be gaining much but more heat.
May 21, 2006 12:54:47 AM

I'm in a similar situation. I'm trying to overclock my brother's 450MHz PIII Dell using ClockGen, but all I get is a message saying that the program has performed an illegal operation and must shut down (the joys of Win98). I first tried CPU-Z to get some more info on the RAM and chipset, but I had the same problem. Installing XP on it is not an option, due to the 128MB of RAM. Any ideas?
May 21, 2006 1:29:54 AM

Quote:
I'm in a similar situation. I'm trying to overclock my brother's 450MHz PIII Dell using ClockGen, but all I get is a message saying that the program has performed an illegal operation and must shut down (the joys of Win98). I first tried CPU-Z to get some more info on the RAM and chipset, but I had the same problem. Installing XP on it is not an option, due to the 128MB of RAM. Any ideas?



Sorry not a lot you can do... :-(

PII Celerons OC ok, PIII Celerons may OC a bit too.

But I wouldn't expect any miracles.
May 21, 2006 2:39:33 AM

I remember way back last year when I overclocked my P3 from 411 MHz to 500. There was no more heat than before and stability was still good. All synthetic benchmarks showed a good increase in speed and I noticed a general increase in everything. If you just go into the bios and change the multiplyer and/or the fsb then you're golden. The older processors were very well built and could handle quite a bit without showing signs of stress. I once put a blowtorch to an old proc for 30 seconds and there were no visible signs of damage and it still ran. Just play around with it, it's not like you'll be throwing out thousands of dollars if something screws up.
May 21, 2006 3:02:08 AM

Quote:
I remember way back last year when I overclocked my P3 from 411 MHz to 500. There was no more heat than before and stability was still good. All synthetic benchmarks showed a good increase in speed and I noticed a general increase in everything. If you just go into the bios and change the multiplyer and/or the fsb then you're golden. The older processors were very well built and could handle quite a bit without showing signs of stress. I once put a blowtorch to an old proc for 30 seconds and there were no visible signs of damage and it still ran. Just play around with it, it's not like you'll be throwing out thousands of dollars if something screws up.


I'm not sure if I believe there was ever a P3 411 Mhz processor. That's just plain weird/wrong.
May 21, 2006 8:11:58 AM

If your mobo allows for overclocking, you should be able to get a healthy
increase out of it, and have fun at the same time. Since it's a P3 100FSB, not133 FSB, you can up them alot. The only thing getting in your way will be theAGP/PCI bus ratio. The highest you're likely to get is 125 FSB, before things start acting up(HD, GPU, NIC). If you can get it to 133 bus(not entirely
impossible), the AGP/PCI divider will change to 4, and they will drop back to
normal(33/66). You will also have it running at 665 MHz. Don't expect a beast
but hey, free power, and always fun to push things to the limit, Right?

GL :wink:
May 22, 2006 1:00:50 PM

Based on my experience with a nearly identical machine, you are limited to what you can do to this system. Overclocking is basically out of the question. That is an Intel OEM mainboard, so there is no easy way to increase you FSB speed past 100MHz. I have had good luck with upgrades from PowerLeap. They currently offer a 1.2GHz Celeron for about $100 that should just plug right in your system. You will probably find yourself GPU limited at that point, if not already. Your maximum RAM is 768MB, easily enough to handle most any game or application that a 1.2GHz chip can run well.

You can safely ignore the opinions of those who call that a 'generic' power supply. First off, it's made by Astec. Not the generic 'Aztec', but Astec, one of the best power supply manufacturers in the world. They do not sell retail. Second: it's in an older OEM machine; the likes of Dell, Gateway, & IBM are not about to allow a cheap power supply affect the perceived quality of their machines. How many times have you really heard of an older OEM system fail becasue of a power supply? It's virtually unheard of.

I've used that same power supply model to run some fairly beefy systems without an issues. Specifically, I cut out the OEM I/O panel so I could use the custom one specific to my Asus A7N8X-Deluxe mainboard. With an overclocked Athlon XP 3200+ at 2.2GHz, 2GB of PC3200 RAM, an ATI 9800Pro, 4 hard drives, DVD-ROM, floppy, Gigabit NIC, and an IDE RAID card, it wasn't exactly a 'light' system 2 years ago. Eventually I upgraded to the Zalman CNPS7000B-Cu cooler, so size restraints necessitated that I to move to a bigger chassis. For the 18+ months I ran in that smaller chassis, it ran very well. I frequently ran Distributed.net for weeks straight. I ~never~ had any reliability issues with that system.

Unfortunately, the power supply isn't good enough to run a P4 or Athlon64 systems, so it's useful life is effectively over. Still, with that temperature controlled internal 90mm fan, it can make for a very quiet file server for many years to come, particulary with a SATA RAID card and some big hard drives.

Side note: 411MHz is possible, with an Intel allowed overclock of 3% for testing purposes by the vendor.
If you'd like, I can go into why that power supply is actually better then most 350 Watt models available on the market for the last 4-5 years.

Gadzooks
May 22, 2006 10:27:08 PM

Well, from what you guys have told me and from what I've gathered on the net, it might just be a little too much work to mess around. I have a nice little Athlon X2 3800+ planned out for myself that I'm currently saving up for, and with my new job, it might come sooner than I previously expected. I'll get my hands dirty on that beast.

Thanks anyway, everybody!
May 22, 2006 11:00:33 PM

Quote:
I'm not sure if I believe there was ever a P3 411 Mhz processor. That's just plain weird/wrong.
I agree; 411 is about as random a number as they come.

Oh, yeah; why did Intel make some P3s w/o a socket; just using that funny thing that seems to be growing off the board?
May 22, 2006 11:28:15 PM

An Athlon XP 3200 is not overclocked at 2.2 GHZ.
May 26, 2006 6:50:58 PM

Quote:
I'm in a similar situation. I'm trying to overclock my brother's 450MHz PIII Dell using ClockGen, but all I get is a message saying that the program has performed an illegal operation and must shut down (the joys of Win98). I first tried CPU-Z to get some more info on the RAM and chipset, but I had the same problem. Installing XP on it is not an option, due to the 128MB of RAM. Any ideas?


Actually XP can be installed with only 64MB of ram, though it would move at a snails pace. 128 MB of ram would be okay, lower than the 256MB minimum I would reccomend, but it would work.
May 26, 2006 7:36:52 PM

You could use that PC as a server or just storage (the CPU should be fast enough to handle some nice RAID 5/6 array).
May 26, 2006 7:57:56 PM

I bet you have the performance 500 gateway. I Have the performance 800 gateway and it is basically the same thing as yours, but I upgraded mine. It is the same case as yours to. It had originally came with 128 mb of ram, I had the same gpu as you did same soundblaster same HD excpet mine was 45 gig and it has a 250 watt psu. The mobo that comes with it will not overclock anything assuming it is the WS440BX. But you can overclock the gpu with powerstip thats the only thing I have OC'ed.
May 26, 2006 8:19:09 PM

well duds i had a PIII i made a small upgrade which included


RAM, Installed a geforce 4 in those olden days
and installed a copy of xp. worked fine though
for about 2yrs

then had to get format coz of viruses. but during transportation, the ram chip seem to be given me trouble and after a couple of restarts the mobo died


So i sugest keep the ur gateway and start sav'n some bucks and get a AMD64 Socket 939 thats the best options

the duds in here will help u about for a buget pc
May 27, 2006 5:07:16 AM

I use to have a pIII slot 450 Mhz and it OC very easy, on a i440bx motherboard to 600 perfectly stable on stock cooling and voltage. This was done without locked AGP/PCI wich OC ed them to with thw FSB.
Performace was visible increased (especialy in games).
However if the motherbord is not alowing you to modify FSB you sould forget it.
May 27, 2006 5:43:41 AM

Quote:
PII Celerons OC ok, PIII Celerons may OC a bit too.

But I wouldn't expect any miracles.

That kickstarted some memories, and is not really true at all.
May 27, 2006 7:45:14 AM

well i didn't Do that upgrade myself

some one i knew did the upgrade

and i beleive it had some oc in it coz it worked better than it was with win98
and also this person added a heatsink to my fan which hadn't have before

and had only some blue screen crahes once in a moolight
May 27, 2006 7:51:55 AM

Quote:
An Athlon XP 3200 is not overclocked at 2.2 GHZ.

     Yes, that is correct.  Default specs are 200MHz FSB with a multiplier of 11.

     I should have been more clear.  I'm running a voltage-modded 1.04 A7N8X-Deluxe board at 220MHz FSB and a 10x multiplier.  It's a prerelease 3200+ Barton, and it seems to have some pretty good legs for first rev silicon.  I might water-cool it and see how far it'll go before meltdown.
May 29, 2006 9:03:59 AM

I remember my Uncle cranking his 300mhz celeron up to 600mhz. Either that or he was feeding me cow crap when I was little. And that is where my p3 knowledge ends haha.
!