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IWill Slocket II


You have to give the computer industry credit. Just when you think you have up to date components, low and behold the industry will find a way to make sure you spend more money to keep up with the latest available technologies. A prime example of this is the CPU sitting in your computer. Every generation of CPU offers some way of making sure it is unable to run on the previous generation of motherboards. When the industry went from the original Pentium to the Pentium MMX the CPU core voltage was adjusted so that the older motherboards out at the time would damage the MMX CPU if inserted into them. Recently Intel did a similar adjustment when they released the Flip-Chip PGA Pentium III processors. While the FC-PGA retains the 100 MHz bus of the Pentium II, and adds models that use 133 MHz bus, the lower voltage and unique pins of the FC-PGA render it unable to be used with the last generation BX chipset. That is until iwill released the Slocket II adapter.

Several manufacturers have released adapters that allow a socketed CPU, such as the PPGA Celeron, to be inserted into a Slot-1 motherboard. iwill went one stop better by allowing their new adapter to run the FC-PGA Pentium III. Basically the Slocket II allows the adjustment of the core voltage of the CPU down to as low as 1.3 volts and adjusts the pin outs of the CPU so that the new FC-PGA processor can run on a motherboard with the BX chipset. This is especially useful considering most BX boards cannot adjust below 2.0 volts. The Slocket II will even allow you to use the extra SMP instructions built into the new Pentium III chip. All that is needed is the Slocket II and an update to your motherboardís BIOS in order to recognize the FC-PGA chips.

Features:

The Slocket II is able to allow all these adjustments from several jumpers on the slocket. With the Slocket II the jumpers can be adjusted to allow:

  • Adjustment of the core voltage from 1.30 volts to 3.50 volts. 1.30 volts to 2.05 volts can all be adjusted in .05 volt adjustments. From 2.10 volts to 3.50 volts the adjustments are in .10 increments
  • Selection of 66/100/133 FSB, or simply let your motherboard set the FSB
  • Use with either PPGA Celeron or FC-PGA Pentium III
  • Support for the future socketed Cyrix Joshua processor

How Does It Run?:

Initial testing was done with a PPGA Celeron 366 @ 550 MHz and with a GlobalWin CPM25603-32 heatsink/fan unit. This is probably the smallest heatsink made by GlobalWin for Socket370 applications. I have used an Abit Slotket to allow the used of this CPU in my Slot-1 Abit BX6r2 board previously. I had hoped to take advantage of the available 2.05 v setting of the Slocket II to try to reduce CPU heat further but I found that, just with the Abit adapter, the CPU required 2.1 v to reach 550 MHz. Once up and running with the Slocket II I had no problems with the Celeron whatsoever. The unit performed exactly as advertised using the Slocket II PPGA jumper. Another benefit of this adapter is that it is almost Ĺ inch shorter than the Abit Slotket. I liked having the small increase in space allowed by the new adapter.

The final testing was done with a Pentium III 550e. With the correct jumper settings I ran into a problem with Windows locking up every time I tried to reboot. After close exam of the CPU and heatsink I noticed a tiny airgap between them. If you attempt to use a heatsink that is larger than the stock Intel heatsink, as I did, you will probably find that the heatsink gets hung up on the locking bar of the CPU socket. My solution was to use pliers to bend the locking bar down and out of the way. Make sure you use two pliers, one to hold the locking bar close to where it attaches to the plastic socket, and the other to bend the end of the bar. Be careful since you can damage things quickly if you donít pay attention.

I know that many of you are dying to know how the 550e overclocked. How does 682 MHz (5.5 x 124) @ 1.6 volts sound? All with that small GlobalWin heatsink. I ran several benchmarks and let RC5 run for 14 hours with no problems noticed. With an FDP32 or Alpha it could have hit 732 MHz. All my attempts to reach 732 MHz locked up after the Windows splash screen. This CPU was not a preselected ringer either. It came in the plastic wrapped box and the sealed plastic container had not been opened or tampered with. This most likely is a very representative 550e. For all bus speeds above 100 MHz I used the 1/4 divider available with Abit's SoftMenu. That kept my PCI bus speeds in spec. Since the BX chipset doesnít support the Ĺ AGP divider I used a PCI video card for testing. Simply set the Slocket II's FSB jumper to "Auto" and you can use your motherboard's FSB settings instead.

Conclusions:

The Slocket II is a great little piece of work. The only problem I encountered was with the locking bar of the CPU socket. You can use the stock Intel heatsink or simply bend the bar a little as I described. A quick check at Azzo showed the Slocket II retailing for $35. With other adapters retailing in the $20 range it would be an unwise investment not to get an adapter that could run PPGA and FCPGA CPUs. All my testing shows the Slocket II to be completely reliable and I recommend it to anyone who wants to upgrade to the new FC-PGA CPUs. Recent reports of an erratum with a few Pentium III processor was traced back to the CPUs themselves by Intel and were not caused by the adapters used to mount them to Slot1 boards, so you too can enjoy the latest developments in CPU technology without having to replace that motherboard that continues to give you good service.

Victor Oshiro
victor@targetpc.com
00/01/17
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