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Combo Of The Year: The Abit BM6 & Celeron 366 @ 550

For those who havenít been following Intelís Celeron success since last year, a small ruckus must be made. Over a year ago, Intelís little wonder, the Celeron 300A (the "A" stands for 128KB of L2 cache) started the excitement. At the same time the 300 MHz socket-370 chip was being produced, so was the Pentium II 450 and shortly thereafter, the unveiling of the Pentium 3 lineup followed. So, the question is how can the chip giant push a seemingly slower version of the P2 and P3? The short answer is they didnít. Since the Celeron was just a "cheapened" Pentium II, the 300 part was off. The "366" indicates the actual clock speed of the processor. The "550" indicates what it can really do, given good surrounding components.

I wonder who was the first overclocker that bought a 300A and accidentally had the front side bus (FSB) set at 100 MHz instead? yeah sure, 450 out of a little 300! Why spend more? That statement has had revolutionary consequences in the computer tweaker department even if the retail world never took much notice. Now, the 366 MHz Celeron, the "A" is assumed, has stolen the spotlight on the venerable 300. The king is dead; long live the king!

Motherboards

Just because I single out the Abit BM6 donít think for a minute that other socket-370 and Slot 1 (with an adapter) motherboards canít accomplish the same feat. They can and your choice will depend on what features you require in addition to stability. Technically, it makes better sense to get a motherboard with the actual slot/socket configuration you will use rather than using an adapter. All adapters introduce an extra set of connections, which decrease the chances of reaching overclocking nirvana. But, if youíre stuck with the wrong slot/socket sometimes adapters are the only route.

The Abit BM6 is a great package. Socket-370 only, it uses Intelís ubiquitous 440BX chipset and has bus speeds up to 133 MHz. For more detailed info on this product, click here. What is crucial to ramping up a 66 MHz chip to the next level is support for the 100 MHz FSB and AGP 2/3 divider. Unfortunately, like many other socket-370 MBís, the BM6 FSBís have huge leaps in the lower range. The BM6ís list starts with 66 MHz, then 75, 83, 100, 103, 105, 110, 112, 115, 120, 124, and ends with 133. Until you manage to reach to 124 FSB, the PCI divider stays at 1/3 which means that your add-in cards need to be extraordinarily stable if youíre lucky enough to venture into the 110-120 FSB area.

The Chip

My sample is from the far off country of Malaysia. Some interesting numbers are SL36C, and L9421011-0632. The first alphanumeric signifies Intelís "S" spec and the L942 indicates the year and week of manufacture. In this case, my sample was birthed in the 42nd week of 1999. While some S specs are better/worse than others, the SL36C gets the nod for being the overall champion of consistent overclockability. Of course, the Celeron 366 still sports 128KB of L2 cache running at full clock speed (whatever you can get it to run at).





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