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Upgrading Inspiron MMC1

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October 21, 2004 7:56:21 AM

Hi, I own an old Inspiron 3000 with Pentium 233 MMX, bus is 66Mhz. I believe it is mounted on MMC1 factor. Does anyone know if I can fit an MMC1 with a Pentium II 400Mhz on this system even with a little tweaking (not sure if there are jumpers on the board yet)?

Many thanks for any insight.
October 21, 2004 3:02:54 PM

AFAIK, Pentium (up to 233MMX) was Socket 7, Pentium 2 used either slot1 or some other socket, i.e, with a pentium 233 that's as fast as that motherboard can go unless you find an AMD K6-2 or K6-3.

Don't know what the MMC1 factor is, but I've never heard of a socket 7 board that could use a Pentium 2.

Mike
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October 21, 2004 10:33:52 PM

Sorry the last guy didn't know about MMC, but yes, I'm fairly certain there were MMC1 PII400 cards. MMC has the northbridge, the link between the BX northbridge (MMC with PII 400) and the southbridge is the same link as used by the TX northbridge (MMC with Pentium MMX).

I think the big difference between MMC1 and MMC2 was that MMC2 had an AGP connection as well. That would make the MMC1 PII 400 a rare find, since AGP was a touted feature, but like I said I'm fairly certain there was a MMC1 PII 400, so happy hunting!

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October 21, 2004 10:38:55 PM

MMC1 and MMC2 were mobile CPU cards that had the northbridge and CPU on the same card. That means a 440LX northbridge an Celeron or PII with 66MHz bus would be on a card. A 430TX northbridge and Pentium MMX would be on a card. A 440BX and PII with 400 bus would be on a card. All those cards contained ONLY the CPU, clock generator, and northbridge, all used the same connection to the same southbridge. That's how MMC systems could support either processor on the same board, because changing the processor also changed the northbridge.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
October 22, 2004 8:45:50 AM

Crashman, thanks very much for this. I found some MMC1 PII 400 to buy. Seems to me it would work in my 66mhz 430tx PCI set then.
Only remaining concerns would be: 1. where is the BIOS? so that the new CPU is recognised. Would you happen to know if the BIOS/chipset is on the MMC1 as well - in which case, I would think the BIOS there would automatically recognise the CPU as it comes along with it - or the main board - in which case, I would probably need to flash the existing one which is for PI 233MMX (unless it'd recognise the PII also).
2. Is a voltage regulator on the MMC1 or am I going to fry the new PII with the current 2.5V core which the MMX uses (I think)?

Thanks very much for looking into this.
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October 22, 2004 9:12:31 AM

Tom's did an article a couple years back with the EXACT type of upgrade you're doing. Since the MMC module has the northbridge, the entire FSB is on the MMC module (66MHz for TX, 100MHz for BX, ON the module), so no problems there. No problems with the VRM, Intel designed the entire thing so a simple module change would allow 1 notebook to support several processor configurations.

It looks like Intel thought of everything on this one, the only thing I'm not sure about is the BIOS: It should work by recognizing the module itself, but check the old article in THG just to be sure.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
October 22, 2004 2:25:12 PM

Ever have one of those vague recollections... But I don't recall :( 

Thx for filling me in.

Mike
October 22, 2004 4:43:15 PM

Sounds great. I have checked the THG article. I think it'll work. And I have found a BIOS for the 440bx if i need to flash the current 430tx in case it doesnt.

Thank you a bunch for all this!

'He who adds not to his learning diminishes it'
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October 22, 2004 9:23:18 PM

Hehe, you know what's even funnier?

Sure you can upgrade your lappy with a PII. But most Pentium MMX lappies were Socket 7. The Mobile Pentium MMX runs 1.9v core, 2.5v I/O. The K6-2+ 450 ran 2.0v and 3.3v I/O officially, but would work fine at 1.9v/2.5v. All the faster K6 series processors (from around 350MHz on) had a 2x=6x multiplier conversion. And to sum it up, if you had a cheaper lappy you could have gotten away with simply swapping out the processor for a K6-2.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
October 27, 2004 3:33:43 PM

That's interesting. I'll keep that in mind. Coming back to BIOS (the article suggests it might need to be changed but only refers readers to vendor.. I doubt Dell is going to help me on this!), I dont know anything about how this works and have 2 questions.

1. It seems to me the new MMC1 PII400 has on-die cache 256k when the old one P233 MMX only has external cache 512k. What will the current BIOS reaction be? Confusion? Seems to me would be safer to flash to be sure hence second question..

2. If I flash, should I flash the new BIOS for BX/PII BEFORE replacing the MMC or will it be still be possible to flash (from floppy) AFTER replacement of the MMC? Just wondering since if the current TX/P55C BIOS doesnt recognise the new MMC or boot, it might also be that the floppy with the BIOS flash doesnt work either...

'He who adds not to his learning diminishes it'
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October 27, 2004 8:37:22 PM

1.) I'm fairly sure both had the cache on the card. I know for certain desktop PII 400's did NOT have on-die cache, that's why they had to be Slot-1 (the cache was on the card for desktops too).

If you look at the PII and PMMX desktop CPU's, you'd see the PII had off-die cache on the Slot 1 card running at 1/2 CPU speed (between the core and the bus), while the PMMX had off die cache running on the Front Side Bus between the CPU and northbridge.

Considering the MMC1 cards had the northbridge on the MMC1 cartrige, placing the PMMX cache between the CPU and northbridge would mean it's on the MMC1 cartridge. And placing the cache between the FSB and CPU core for the PII would also mean the cach is on the MMC1 cartridge. So cache placement shouldn't be a problem.

2. The new BIOS would contain the codes for both Pentium MMX and PII processors, so you'd do the flash before replacing the CPU. Of course, your current BIOS might be new enough to already contain the PII codes.

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October 28, 2004 2:42:18 PM

The MMC-1 I got is Intel # PMF40002001AA. It seems to have On-Die Cache (ftp://download.intel.com/design/mobile/datashts/2451090...) but I am a bit confused now between L2 and on-die. Seems this one has 256k L2 on-die (from the spec doc above), whereas my P233MMX has 512 'external' according to Dell (which I assume is what you refer to as off-die). If it's the same, do you think a 400 with 256k is going to be much faster than a 233 with 512k (I can probably overclock it to 292 with SoftFSB anyway)? What do you think?

'He who adds not to his learning diminishes it'
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October 28, 2004 4:41:07 PM

That is a bit confusing, because desktop PII's had 512k of cache sitting next to the die. And Pentium 1's had the cache further down the bus. Either way it wouldn't matter with MMC cards because the cache would be on the card.

But if the PII in question here is actually a beefed up Celeron (more cache), it COULD be on-die. That would make it a special core, something Intel doesn't do very often. Still, on-die cache would be on the CPU, which in turn, is on the MMC card.

So any way you look at it, your cache gets changed with the module. The PII is clocked much higher than the P1, works better with 32-bit code, and the cache is always faster.

Consider this: The cache on the Pentium 1 ran at 66MHz. The off-die integrated cache of desktop PII's ran at 1/2 die speed, which would be 200MHz with a 400MHz PII. And on die cache runs at full speed, which would be 400MHz.

So whether the cache runs at 200MHz or 400MHz, it's still significantly faster than the 66MHz cache of the Pentium 1.

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October 28, 2004 5:08:02 PM

Thanks a bunch. I hope it works then. I'll stop boring you with this. Only way to know is to try, I guess. I was just a little concerned because of the cache (that's fine now) and the new Northbridge which appears to be a 82443DX on this module while the replacement BIOS I found is for 443BX bridge (better than 430TX but not exactly DX). It is supposed to fit into a PIIX4E/M bridge, the 430TX and 440BX have a PIIX4E bridge (but I cannot find a single pin with a different function though).
If it doesnt work, I hope I can flash back to 430TX, that's all.

'He who adds not to his learning diminishes it'
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October 28, 2004 11:47:10 PM

Tom's did the same type of upgrade without problems...

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<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
November 8, 2004 9:12:01 AM

Just to let you know the upgrade worked with a flash of the BIOS to make it think Inspiron 3200 instead of 3000.
I need to find enhance cooling as it appears the Mobo and CPU run at 56-61C on average.
Thanks for all the good advice Crashman. I now have a greatly enhanced CPU and cache speed (up to 6x on some Sandra benchs), even the RAM access is 70% faster.

'He who adds not to his learning diminishes it'
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November 8, 2004 9:39:41 AM

Glad I could help!

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<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
!