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KT7-raid--worth replacing my Duron 700?

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March 4, 2002 3:09:54 PM

Wella, after happily replacing my GF2MX with a GF3Ti200 (yes, yes, shoulda waited for the GF4 4200... but I ran out of patience!), I'm starting to realize that my mighty little Duron 700--while still quite respectable, mind--is on the low end of gaming gear again.

The setup is an Abit KT-7 RAID (though I'm not using the RAID feature) with 512MB of good ol' PC133 memory. With that much memory, replacing the mobo/memory with a faster model (DDR or whatnot) would be prohibitively expensive at the moment, so I'd like to prolong the life of this combination as long as I can. Since the XP series of processors isn't compatible with the KT-7 RAID, I'm not sure I gain anything by waiting any longer.

So my questions (after all that)--will I see a strong noticeable difference in speed by simply replacing the CPU? Is there enough difference between the Duron 1300 and the Athlon 1400 that the $10 difference in price is way worthwhile? Do the high-end Athlon/Durons increase heat enough that the sink I'm using for the 700 (pretty stock sink) will need replacing? And is the Athlon 1400 (200MHz FSB) indeed the fastest chip that works with this bleedin' mobo?

Jes' curious, and thanks for your time...

-->Stitch
March 4, 2002 3:53:55 PM

hi there!
used to own a duron setup with the exact same mobo and setup...
i then upgraded to a tbird and noticed differences with the mx, it performed better. then i upgraded to a gts and that was quicker again... then upgraded to a ultra (which i think is the same as the ti 200 isnt it?) and it was quickier again...
i manage to get 3dmark2000 score of 10374 3dmarks i think, so the jump was worth the upgrade... I would say anything tbird or even xp would be a great upgrade to do as you do notice the performance increase (or at least i did !!) the board i had supports 133 fsbs and this helps as well, if you get the older type of tbird (not the xp i mean) and get one that you will be overclocking, you'll notice a bit more of an increase again... not to mention playing about with the memory settings and everything else thats tweakable in the mobos bios...
well, if thats any help, then i hope you know where to go from now... talk again soon!
let me know of the result !!
March 4, 2002 4:10:01 PM

I'd get an Athlon rather than a Duron because an Athlon has more cache and the slower 200MHz FSB won't be holding you back as much with more cache. If the 1.4GHz Athlon B isn't priced at premium too high over the Duron then I'd get that.

AMD technology + Intel technology = Intel/AMD Pentathlon IV; the <b>ULTIMATE</b> PC processor
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March 4, 2002 4:27:21 PM

The T-bird 1.4 C runs at 266 FSB, and is probably more suited for you than the B at 200. It is well worth the cost to upgrade if you want to keep the same MB.

If you MB will take an XP (IE It would work at a T-bird, with no SSE Support), the 1600+ should still be a bit better than a 1.4 T-bird (same speed, better core) with less heat. However, wait on the XP till the t-bread comes out, as that should drop prices a bit on the XPs and other chips.

This is a non-smoking forum.
If your computer is smoking, please extinguish it immediately.
March 4, 2002 4:31:05 PM

Actually, his KT7 can only handle the T-bird (it's based on the VIA KT133 not the KT133A). Also, an Athlon C 1.4GHz will only run at 1.05Ghz on his system. The 1.4Ghz Athlon B is the way to go.

AMD technology + Intel technology = Intel/AMD Pentathlon IV; the <b>ULTIMATE</b> PC processor
March 4, 2002 7:46:15 PM

>Actually, his KT7 can only handle the T-bird (it's based
>on the VIA KT133 not the KT133A)

Yep. It's the KT-7 RAID, not the KT-7A RAID. Abit's site specifically says only AMD Athlon/Duron chips running at 200MHz FSB, specifically excluding the XP chips (and pretty sure all 266 FSB chips as well). If it could handle some of the XP chips, I'd probably hold out waiting to see how high they got, but since AMD isn't making any new chips that work with this mobo... I figure I better take what I can get now and get the benefit.

I'm pretty sure I've seen Athlon/TBird 1.4G chips at 200MHz FSB on a couple of places (New Egg seemed to have one for $100, which ain't bad compared to a new mobo)). Seems like that's the choice, because the Duron at a close clock speed was only $10 cheaper. Any place recommended to make sure I get what I think I'm ordering and make sure it works with the mobo? I've had great luck from NewEgg in the past, as well as Motherboard Express...

Next question: haven't done a cpu-only upgrade in a while. Do the 1.4GHz chips run that much faster than a 700MHz that they need a higher class of cooler than the wee sink the 700 shipped with? Or do the OEM/boxed versions come with a decent sink anyway? (I'm not planning on an aggressive overclock until I'm ready to possibly toast the thing).

Thanks a bunch. Been a few years since immersing myself in the upgrade haze; always takes a bit of catching up.

-->Stitch


<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Stitch on 03/04/02 04:53 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
March 4, 2002 7:47:18 PM

I was in almost the same situation 3 months ago. KT7 and fairly sizable investment in high performance SDRAM.

I needed to put together a computer for my nephew so he got the KT7, the overclocked Duron, and a Geforce256 card.

I bought an Epox 8KTA3PRO, a Tbird 1.0, and I use a Geforce2 GTS-V. I kept the high-perf memory and picked up a 256MB stick of Crucial memory for my nephew. (Can't believe the price, $38 in December, is now $95). I overclock this rig to 1.5 ghz (150*10).

My old rig, with duron at 1007mhz, scored about 3400 in 3DMark2001. My new rig only improved the score to about 4000. Now I went a Duron on a 106mhz bus to an Athlon on a 150mhz bus and only got a modest 600 point gain. It's clear that my video card limits performance.

If I didn't need to build the second computer a better video card would have been the better choice.

You already have a better video card so more CPU performance will definitely help.

(I got a little sidetracked). Before you spend more money I suggest trying to overclock the Duron. You should easily get to 900 mhz. 1000mhz will require a fairly decent HSF and not all Durons can overclock that high (but most can). <A HREF="http://www.nexfan.com/29/118.htm?25" target="_new">This HSF is excellent</A> for a Duron on your motherboard but not recommended for CPUs above 1.3ghz. The HSF is very pretty efficient for it's compact size (60x60x25mm) and design. (The clamp is too tight in my opinion so I recommend bending it to reduce the tension a little).

Overclocking may give you enough performance gain for now. If not it will at least allow you gauge how much is to be gained by a faster processor.

Incidentally, before I overclocked my Duron 600, I originaly scored about 2700 3DMarks. I scored about 3400 overclocked at 1007 mhz. (In both cases, the Geforce2 GTS-V was clocked at 205/340). That's a 29% gain in 3DMark performance for a 67% gain in CPU clock speed with a low performance video card.

Don't fret about the GF4 4200. It's not available yet and it's not even in the nVidia product line-up (<A HREF="http://www.nvidia.com/view.asp?PAGE=geforce4ti" target="_new">see here</A>).

<b>We are all beta testers!</b><P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by phsstpok on 03/04/02 04:51 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
March 5, 2002 1:57:05 AM

>Before you spend more money I suggest trying to overclock
>the Duron. You should easily get to 900 mhz

Well, I decided that since Soft-Menu makes it so easy, I had to at least try this... heh.

Unfortunately, despite reading some guides, I didn't have much luck, which leads me to believe that I'm doing something wrong.

Changing the multiplier did absolutely nothing. Now, as I recall many of the Durons had multiplier locks, so that's not surprising. I read a couple articles that suggested bumping up the FSB, often as high as 133 (!).

Well, THAT refused to post (heh). Took me a while to find my manual and figger how to get back to the BIOS.

So I tried it in smaller steps...

Best I could get was 110 fsb, for a RIPPING clock speed of 770 MHz, woot. Anything past that refused to post. Tried upping cpu VCore to 1.85, no dice.

Now I'm pretty convinced that I'm obtuse and missing something obvious, but can you knowledgable folks point me to a good KT7-raid overclocking guide?

(of course, at only $100, that 1.4GHz is looking better and better... chuckle).

-->Stitch
March 5, 2002 3:05:30 AM

Sorry, no links it's been too long since I looked at the basics. (They are here somewhere at THG). However, let me be your guide.

My KT7 was good for FSB overclocking to 106mhz only. I've heard of some reaching 115mhz but generally 110mhz is tops.

The way to overclock a Duron on that board is definitely by multiplier. The best way to start is the old "pencil trick". I'm sure you've heard about it. Take a mechanical pencil and connect the four L1 bridges on the Duron (a magnifying glass helps). I really recommend using conductive paint because I feel it is more permanent but a pencil is quick and a little easier.

The bridges look something like this

L1 .::::

Make them look like this

L1 .||||

I dug up one of my old posts which you may find helpful.

<i><font color=green>In my opinion below is the best procedure.

Boot the system and go into BIOS setup. Set the core voltage to 1.85. Set the multiplier options to User Defined. Before you start messing with the FSB we want to find the fastest speed of the CPU. I don't recall what speed your Tbird but assuming is 800 then the multiplier is 8. Leave the FSB at 100 for now. Increase the multiplier to 8.5. Now the CPU speed is 850. Boot the system and see if it runs stable. Run several programs. Install the Via Hardware Monitor software to check the CPU temperature. Keep notes. Eventually you will figure out what is the maximum speed and temperatures for your CPU. If your system runs stable go back into the BIOS setup and move the multiplier to the next level. In my example, that would be 9. Keep doing this, testing and increasing the multiplier until the system becomes unstable or until the temperature fails stabilize (i.e. the temperature keeps rising and doesn't stop). The multiplier just before either of these happens will tell you maximum with your existing hardware. If your current multiplier setting is say, 10.5 then 10 is the setting you will use. 10 means your maximum CPU speed is 1000, 10 x 100.</font color=green></i>

From this point you just want to fine tune. You already have found your maximum CPU speed (give or take 50 mhz). Play with FSB speeds between this number back down to 100mhz and also play with multipliers near the number you just found above.

If you take your overclocking too far remember the KT7 as a fail-safe boot mode. Just hold down the <b>Insert Key</b> while powering on the system. The system will boot at minimal clock speed but will leave all your BIOS settings intact (except multipler, FSB, and voltage settings). Occasionally even the Fail-safe mode won't work. In this case resetting the CMOS will work but then you will have to restore all you customized BIOS settings manually.

For stability testing, a program called Toast will really be helpful. (Sorry, I don't have a link but maybe Calv will chime in. Or you can search his previous posts for a link). This program runs a Duron (or Athlon) to maximum temperatures.

Good luck!


<b>We are all beta testers!</b><P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by phsstpok on 03/05/02 00:10 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
March 5, 2002 9:39:27 AM

>The way to overclock a Duron on that board is definitely by
>multiplier. The best way to start is the old "pencil trick".

(chuckle)--I was afraid of that. Not that I'm squeamish about writing all over my processor, but given my usual adeptness (or lack of same), this has "have a backup processor handy" written ALL OVER it... but what the heck, probably worth a try.

-->Stitch
March 5, 2002 9:40:37 AM

YOu CANNOT harm the proc with the pencil trick, if the thing does not post, just erase the pencil lines and redraw them.

NO risk at all, comprende?

"The Cash Left In My Pocket,The BEST Benchmark"
No Overclock+stock hsf=GOOD!
March 5, 2002 1:31:38 PM

Get a Retail Box CPU, and it will come with it's own cooler which will be up to the task.

This is a non-smoking forum.
If your computer is smoking, please extinguish it immediately.
March 5, 2002 10:56:10 PM

What a coincidence!

Today my Tbird just stopped overclocking. This is the second time this has happened. Instead of the "pencil trick" I've been using conductive paint expecting it to be more permanent than pencil lead.

The first time I tried the paint I was meticulous (well I can be meticulous even if I'm not sure how to spell it LOL!) I improvised a paintbrush with 3 bristles from a real brush and taped them to a tooth pick. I closed the L1 bridges so cleanly that you'd need a magnifying glass to see that the processor had been tampered with. The result, a couple of months of overclocking and then the paint crumbled off.

The second time I just globbed as much paint as I could over the L1 bridges without interconnecting them. Then I put tranparent tape over the bridges to protect my work. This time overclocking last about two weeks. The tape loosened and it lifted the paint with it!

Now I've gone back to basics, pencil lead! LMAO! If I stuck with it in the first place I probably wouldn't have had this much trouble. This is what happens when I over think problems.

<b>We are all beta testers!</b>
March 6, 2002 3:07:56 AM

Just do the pencil trick, then cover the whole thing with superglue, makes a hard shell which will never come off, protecting your bridges for all time.

"The Cash Left In My Pocket,The BEST Benchmark"
No Overclock+stock hsf=GOOD!
March 6, 2002 3:17:08 AM

Good tip! Thanks.

<b>We are all beta testers!</b>
March 6, 2002 3:36:15 AM

I was weeeaakk...

Heh. Figured that if I was going to have to go through the trouble of opening the case, popping the heatsink, getting a new heatsink (was already running fairly warm at stock speeds, much less overclocked), scribing the pencil marks, replacing the heatsink, testing, etc, etc, for a 200 MHz improvement, I may as well just cash out the $100 for the new athlon Tbird 1.4ghz and get a 700MHz improvement plus the slight move from Duron to TBird. But many many thanks to the helpful hints, and when the TBird gets close to the end of its life (and there's nothing faster to replace it in that mobo), now I know how.

Thanks again--will post how the upgrade goes when the parts come in (went with the Thermalright SK6, which is rumored to be loud as hell with the fan Newegg ships with, but I may well replace the fan, as the HS is still pretty good and less expensive than the alpha).

Hopefully this will be at least worth it. We'll see, I s'pose.

-->Stitch
March 6, 2002 3:55:42 AM

Good heatsink, good vendor, good luck.

I have a Tbird 1.0 @ 1.5ghz (150*10) and a KT133A motherboard (Epox 8KTA3PRO) which I also purchased from Newegg.

<b>We are all beta testers!</b>
March 6, 2002 4:10:47 PM

One question:

I heard great reviews of the SK6 heatsink with the AMD chips. But a couple of them highly recommended "shims" to protect the CPU core. I'm a tad concerned about this... any inputs on whether those are necessary, desirable, or a waste?

Thanks-->Stitch
March 6, 2002 5:23:53 PM

These are my thoughts (and I welcome all other opinions).

Shims are not necessary if one is careful. The little rubber pads on AMD processors provide reasonable protection during heatsink installation. Keep the heatsink flat and level during installation (some tend to snap upward when one side of the clamp is fastened) and you shouldn't have any problems.

I suppose accidents can and do happen. Still, I have not seen any testing that provides any proof that the core will be protected by a shim. (If someone wants to give me a handful Durons and some shim samples I'll tell you how effective they are).

Shims do not improve die cooling. In fact, a poorly designed shim can degrade cooling if the shim impedes proper heatsink to die contact. (Watch out for unproven shims. I've heard stories about shims that are too tall preventing any heatsink/die contact).

It may be true that some people get lower temperature readings (although I am dubious of this). However, I wonder if the shim just helps wisk away some heat from the ceramic/organic packaging thus lower the bottomside temperature (where most temperature sensors are located) without actually lowering core temperature (top). If you can't trust bottomside temperature readings I don't know how to test the thermal effectiveness of shims. I suppose overclocking with and without the shim is the only practical way.

I think shims are unneeded, useless, and manufacturers are playing on people's anxieties to sell product (but that's my opinion).


<b>We are all beta testers!</b>
March 12, 2002 3:00:37 AM

>I think shims are unneeded, useless, and manufacturers are
>playing on people's anxieties to sell product (but that's my
>opinion).


Well, NERVOUS though I was, I went unshimmed. Upgrade was clean, new processor does double frame rate in some games, worth the expense.

SK6+arctic silver 3 is very effective; CPU temp tends to be around 42C. Also gave me a chance to clear out a TON of dust and replace the fan on the North Bridge heatsink (er... had to just zip-tie it in place, I'm afraid, but it seems secure).

One thing, though (for a new thread)--the Delta fan that shipped with the SK6 is LUDICROUSLY loud. Ah well. Such is the price of progress.

-->Stitch
March 12, 2002 5:47:26 AM

Hmm, to upgrade just the cpu or what?

Bear in mind that anything you drop on that CPU is the system's 'last gasp'. There will not be any further upgrades for it.

From looking at it, the Duron 1.3 may be a smart move. You get a palomino core, so SSE and prefetch are included and looking at OEM prices, the 1.3 Duron is $78 v.s. $98 for the 1.4TbirdB. If you wanted to, in the future you can then move your Duron 1.3 to a cheap(ish) MPX board (once USB is fixed) and add a second, giving you a very strong budget duallie. Or, you only dropped $78 on the Duron anyway when you finally take the full upgrade.

I wouldn't spend any more money than you have to. Another option is to take a 1B or 1.1B at sub $80 and pencil them (if they are not already unlocked) to up the multiplier on the board. This may cost you more in cooling than you save though!

-* <font color=red> !! S O L D !! </font color=red> *-
To the gentleman in the pink Tutu
March 12, 2002 11:31:59 PM

42 degrees is good result. If the noise is really getting to you pick up a 31 CFM fan (usually 5500-6000 RPM) which to my ears are about 33% quieter. Your CPU will only run about 2 degrees hotter.

<b>We are all beta testers!</b>
March 13, 2002 12:13:20 AM

Replaced the Delta with a Sunon (about 5700 rpm according to MBM), which is MUCH MUCH quieter. Unfortunately the cpu core DID rise a fair amount, to 46C, which is actually a substantial increase (with the delta it stabilized at 40-42 as mentioned).

What sort of limit do I have on the CPU temperature? 46 seems fairly high, but I've heard of much higher temps...

-->Stitch
March 13, 2002 12:35:50 AM

46C is great for a tbird 1.4!! Dont worry about it unless it gets alot hotter. Mine runs in the 50s (cuz I have several 10k drives that are as hot as the CPU blowing through the case) and I have zero problems, rock stable!

Jesus saves, but Mario scores!!!
March 13, 2002 3:51:54 AM

It varies from CPU to CPU but I guarantee 46 degrees should not ever be a problem for a 1.4 at stock speed. Plenty of people run their retail Athlons, with retail heatsinks, at temperatures in the 50's even 60's.

If you decide to overclock it might be different.

<b>We are all beta testers!</b>
!