I purchased some used P3-1.4 GHz Tualatin processors to upgrade my Dell Dimension 4100 (A11 BIOS). My Dell 4100 is as it was built originally with the exception of a larger hard disk and Windows 2000 Professional. I have several general questions I was hoping people here might be able to help me answer.
1 - First, I need to test these processors to ensure they work (as described) and I have a 90 day warranty. Is testing as simple as removing the P3-866 and inserting the P3-1.4 GHz? I doubt it is this simple,, but do not know. Please advise or cite existing references.
2. Evaluating this upgrade. Can anyone also advise me regarding how I can be certain this processor works in my Dell 4100 after I make the CPU substitution?
3. Over clocking - From the little I've read regarding this subject these CPU's can be over clocked reliably. Any references to this subject?
1) & 2) Swap the CPUs and try to load into windows. If that works, run Prime95 for a little to stress the new CPU. You may or may not need a bios upgrade to get the new CPU working. I guess you should be able to get that from Dell's website.
3) Check the overclocking section of this forum and read the guide to OC'ing.
As I wrote above, there are socket adapters that can enable a Coppermine-supporting board to run with a Tualatin chip. I'm sure if you Google it you'll find 'em.
Regarding the 'find some ... motherboard' idea - if you aren't looking to upgrade, I don't think that building a new PC using P3 chips is a great idea. They may be faster than what you've already got but they're not going to be quick. Even if you have a 2 processor board giving you lots of available CPU clock cycles, you'll have substantially slower memory, a much slower bus, and smaller on-chip cache than if you use current generation CPUs, because the old chipsets on those P3 motherboards supported slower older standards. You'll also be very limited in your choices vis-a-vis graphics cards as those boards used the AGP standard instead of PCIe.
If you choose a quad or hex core chip, you'll have two or three times the cores as well, with each running about twice as fast as those P3 chips.
I used to run a P3 866Mhz chip overclocked to around 950 Mhz. It was 'good enough' but hardly a speed demon, just about as fast as my droid smartphone is now for most tasks. I now have an i7-920 overclocked to 3.44 and it's silky smooth.
If you're determined to get use out of those Tualatin chips, get the socket adapter and reuse your old board (up the memory to the max too). You'd probably also want to get an SSD for your system drive; it will dramatically speed up your access times, which I suspect will be particularly valuable for a system that has a chip with small cache and a motherboard with small memory.