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Socket A Is Coming: Test of 10 Boards

Overclocking

The overclocking features are important characteristics to differentiate motherboards, and many manufacturers have already recognized this. Only about half of the companies master it satisfactory. Two conditions must be fulfilled.

a) Adjusting of the Front Side Bus (system bus) in 1 MHz steps

The current Athlon and Duron processors are officially specified for a system clock of 100 MHz. Our tests showed that most processors can take up to 110 MHz. Therefore the motherboard should allow adjustments in 1 MHz steps, especially in the range between 100 and 110 MHz. Values that are above or below this range are only valuable for marketing purposes.

b) Adjusting the core voltage (VCore) in 0.05 Volt steps

For successful overclocking the motherboard must also offer the option of at least 0.05 Volt steps. Increasing only the Front Side Bus can quickly lead to instabilities. Only if the voltage is raised slightly the system becomes stable again.

Here are the standard-voltages for available Socket A CPUs:

Socket A CPUStandard Core Voltage (VCore)
Duron 600 - 7001,50 V
Athlon 700 - 8501,70 V
Athlon 900 - 11001,75 V

No motherboard offers more than 1.85 Volts. This certainly makes sense because otherwise the processor could be destroyed very easily. Be careful when you increase the voltage of Duron. 1.85 Volts can quickly become dangerous. The motherboards Abit KT7, Asus A7V, DFI AK74-SC, Epox EP-8KTA and Soltek SL-75KV offer 1 MHz settings and VCore settings.