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Unlocking an AMD Thunderbird Core Athlon/Duron
Review Date:4th March 2002
Author(s): Leigh "Grim Reaper" Gardiner, Clinton "SileNceR" Warburton
Our Rating: 10/10, invaluable for older AMD Cpu's.

Well I know this is a bit out-dated but if you want to get the most out of your AMD Duron/T-Bird (provided it hasn't already been unlocked either at the factory or by yourself) then I suggest you read on!

To overclock your CPU traditionally one would change the FSB but Athlon and Duron Processors's often cannot handle higher "non-standard" FSB overclocks. The best way to overclock a Thunderbird core Athlon or Duron is to do a small modification called 'The Pencil Trick'.

The Pencil Trick is used to unlock the CPU's multiplier; I guess you could say this effectively 'unlocks the full potential of the CPU'. Say if you take a 1GHz (100x10) CPU and raise the FSB to 133 and the default multiplier is 10, that's 133 multiplied by 10. That gives you the new CPU speed of 1.33GHz. If you tried this style of overclock with your Athlon or Duron, it would be likely to run unstable and crash. By implementing the pencil trick you can change the multiplier from 10 to higher settings, such as 11.5, allowing you to take the FSB to a stable and standard level such as the default 100MHz and still have a nice overclock.

Often this is of great benefiet to your peripherals, for you see; your PCI bus is run at a speed derived from the FSB, often FSB/3 in the case of a 100MHz FSB. (The standard PCI clock is 33MHz - this is also the standard rating for PCI devices) Now when one runs at for instance 112MHz for overclocking purposes, your FSB/3 causes the PCI bus (and IDE devices) to be run at 37MHz. This is not a good thing and it can serve to shorten the life of system components. For this reason we recommend you try and stick to standard FSB's such as 100 and 133MHz.

The Thunderbird Core was not designed to handle abnormal or 150MHz+ FSB settings, thus it often runs unstable when the FSB is too high. It is however, possible for one to reconnect the L1 bridges - in turn allowing you to alter the CPU multiplier.

I guess we might as well get straight into how this wonder-mod is performed!

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