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KryoTech's Cool Athlon 900 MHz

Introduction

It's only been a couple weeks since AMD released their Athlon processor at 700 MHz. With the launch of the 650 MHz CPU, KryoTech was able to push this CPU to 800 MHz. Now that AMD has launched the 700, KryoTech now is able to offer a 900 MHz unit. We were excited to get this system up and running with the latest and greatest equipment to see what this thing could do.

KryoTech's 800 MHz unit was the fastest unit ever to be powered up in our labs. Back in August we provided all the details and photos in our KryoTech's Cool Athlon 800 MHz Review. This time, with the new 900 MHz model, I decided to team up the fastest PC-platform with the fastest 3D-card available, and plugged in the new GeForce 256 with 32 MB 150 MHz (300 MHz)DDR memory.

Here is an illustration showing the guts of the unit.

The new $2200.00 model is shipped in a bare bones configuration which includes a chassis with an Athlon approved 300 watt power supply, KryoTech's specially designed refrigeration hardware and CPU cavity, Athlon motherboard (our unit has a Microstar MS-6167) and a 900 MHz AMD Athlon processor. As with the 800 MHz version, this new unit is endorsed by AMD and backed by KryoTech's 1year warranty.

Besides being an extremely fast system, the KryoTech is also one of the heaviest PCs around (60+ lbs.). So for all of you serious gamers out there that plan on hefting this thing to all of the LAN parties, you better invest in some sort of dolly so that you can roll this monster to its destination. Many people have inquired about the noise the KryoTech system produces. Yes, the tower does provide a bit more noise than a typical system. The best way to describe the noise produced is to compare it to one of those dorm room miniature refrigerators. The unit however, is much quieter in comparison to our lab's main server that has a front mounted chassis fan. How long does it take this thing to boot? Actually, it's not as time consuming as one might think. The two Athlon based KryoTech's we have boot rather quickly, usually within about 30 - 45 seconds. Once you hit the button on the chassis the KryoTech refrigeration hardware starts first and chills the CPU to down to -36 degrees Celsius, then supplies power to the system board. Also, because the Athlon CPU is contained in the KryoTech cavity and the heat from the processor is removed via the refrigeration units conduit, the inside of the system chassis runs cooler than a standard Athlon system that uses a typical fan and heat sink. Less heat in the system chassis is obviously a good thing.

The Effects Of Cache Speed

Another important note in regards to the 900 MHz KryoTech is its L2 cache speed. All of the shipping Athlon processors to date have a cache speed divisor of 2. So an Athlon running at 500 MHz would have an L2 at the speed of 250 MHz.

However, the cache on this 900 MHz computer could not run at 450 MHz. Getting cache modules that can even tolerate a 400 MHz speed is a tough thing to do. So to solve this problem, the Microstar MS-6167 automatically sets the L2 cache speed to a divisor of 3 when an Athlon 900 MHz processor is installed. This puts the L2 at 300 MHz for the 900 MHz Athlon vs. a 400 MHz L2 for the KryoTech 800 MHz Athlon. With the slower L2 cache speed of the 900 MHz platform the Athlon's performance should start to flatten with certain applications. Let's look at the results and see where the performance of the 900 MHz Athlon sits.

System & Environment Settings

Hardware Information
Intel Pentium III500,550,600,(650-Over Clocked)
MotherboardABIT BX6 2.0 (440BX)(BIOS date 7/13/99)
Memory128 MB Viking PC100 CAS2
NetworkNetgear FA310TX
Intel Pentium III533B, 600B
MotherboardIntel VC820 (i820, preliminary)
Memory128 MB 800 MHz RDRAM (64x2)
AMD Athlon500,550,600,650,700,(750-Over Clocked),800,900
MotherboardMicrostar MS-6167
Memory128 MB Viking PC100 CAS2
NetworkNetgear FA310TX
Driver Information
NVIDIA GeForce 256120 MHz Core, 300 MHz DDR-RAM 32 MB4.12.01.0347
Environment Settings
OS VersionsWindows 98 SE 4.10.2222 AWindows NT 4.0 w/Service Pack 5
DirectX Version7.0
Quake 3 ArenaV1.08command line = +set cd_nocd 1 +set s_initsound 0
DMZG Demo Versioncommand line = -bench -tl on