Evercool PPGA/FC-PGA slocket
quite a stir when they released the FC-PGA Coppermine
CPUs. Only problem was that few consumers were willing to give up their BX boards
and switch to the Intel i810 or i820 boards just to update to the latest Pentium
design. Then Iwill hit the scene with their Slocket II, which allowed a FC-PGA
CPU to be installed on a slot-1 BX board. Not only did the Iwill unit correct
the voltage problems many BX boards would have, but it more importantly corrected
the pin-outs of two critical pins on the FC-PGA
to allow it to interface with the BX chipset. Shortly thereafter the market
saw many new FC-PGA adapters hit the market from different manufacturers.
sent us their new FC-PGA
adapter recently. What struck me about this unit was its total lack of jumpers.
The Iwill unit I had reviewed earlier had no less than nine jumpers on it. The
jumpers on the Iwill slocket were used to designate the CPU voltage, PPGA or
FC-PGA CPU, FSB,
and whether the CPU was an Intel or Cyrix chip. So I scratched my head and kept
staring at the Evercool unit. It looked just like an ordinary PPGA slocket,
but silk-screened on it is PPGA / FC-PGA. Its beginning to look like Evercool
has one of the easiest to use slockets to date.
all Intel PPGA and FC-PGA CPUs
- Works with
BX Slot 1 boards
- Auto detects
I want to tell
you right up front that the installation of this slocket went without a hitch.
I had some trouble with the original Iwill FC-PGA slocket because of the handle
on its CPU socket. Once the Coppermine
was placed in the Iwill unit I had a problem with the aftermarket GlobalWin
heatsink not sitting flush on the CPU. As a matter of fact, there was quite
a noticeable gap when the heatsink was held up to the light. After a little
tinkering my solution was to bend the arm of the CPU socket with pliers to get
a good fit with the heatsink. I let out a sigh of relief when I mounted the
same heatsink onto the Evercool slocket. The fit is very tight Ė but the heatsink
does clear the socketís arm. This unitís PCB is just slightly shorter than the
Iwill unit Ė about the width of a nickel. That isnít much, but it does help
in extremely tight situations like I encountered with the Palo Alto ATCX case.
Likewise, the PPGA Celeron mounted without problems. Anyone who doesnít like
the idea of taking hand tools to their new electronic toy will like this unit.
One area where
I was concerned was with FSB support. Iwillís jumpers allowed the selection
of 66, 100, or 133 FSB with an additional feature that allowed the motherboard
to select the FSB. This unit has nothing like those jumpers, and even stranger,
in the upper right corner of the PCB is a soldered on selection of Auto or Overclock.
Mine was soldered to the Auto selection. I was beginning to wonder if I had
to resolder that connection to the Overclock position to allow me to use some
of my motherboardís available FSBs. Good work Evercool,
the slocket not only worked at normal PPGA and FC-PGA FSB speeds, but handled
odd speeds like 138 and 144 MHz without a problem. As a matter of fact, my 500e
FC-PGA previously only reached 690 MHz (138 MHz FSB) with the Iwill Slocket
II. The Evercool slocket ran 690 MHz
without any problems and I hit 720 (144 MHz FSB) MHz at which point it locked
up at the Windows splash screen. The Iwill unit never even posted at this setting.
I donít have to tell you just how out of spec that is compared to the normal
100 MHz this CPU is designed to run at. I fired off an e-mail and was assured
by Evercool that the "Auto" setting will allow the motherboard to
determine the FSB.
The only thing
I can see on this slocket that may be a problem is its lack of voltage selection.
While most BX boards are now supporting 1.6 v (and lower) with their latest
BIOS flash, if your board doesnít you may be in trouble. Both of my BX boards
support the new lower FC-PGA voltages natively, and I would venture to guess
that most of the BX motherboards on the market do, also. Make sure you are sure
though, since waiting for another adapter to come in while your FC-PGA processor
sits in its box could really test your patience.
Iím not an electrical engineer.
If I had to come up with a reason why I had better overclocking experiences
with this slocket over the Iwill unit I would guess it had to do with Iwillís
jumpers. To make the jumpers easy to access they are located together on the
PCB. This means that some of the tracings have to travel to the jumpers before
they can return to their destination. That can cause signal degradation. With
no jumpers, the tracings on the Evercool slocket are kept to their shortest
necessary length. This helps to maintain signal strength and quality. I suspect
some "noise" may be introduced with Iwillís jumpers.
jumperless Ė and it works
- My big
heatsink fit without problems
better than the Iwill unit
- May be
hard to locate under the Evercool name (see below)
- No Cyrix
slocket is by far easier to use. Iím glad to see that a jumperless design works
so well. Cyrix Joshua chips will be giving the Coppermine
a run for their money soon, and since their architecture is specifically designed
to be compatible with Intelís, you would think that it would be an easy swap,
right? Wrong. This slocket wonít support the Joshua chip. At this point I canít
tell how much of a hindrance this will be for this slocket. If you have any
plans to upgrade to a Joshua processor then look elsewhere. If you decide youíd
rather just stick with Intelís PPGA and FC-PGA
then by all means pick one of these up. Keep in mind that your motherboard needs
to support the lower voltages that FC-PGA
processors require so that you too can be running with this jumperless FC-PGA
When I contacted
Evercool for a distributor of their
products in the U.S. they recommended CWC
Group. I went to CWC-s
site and didnít see this slocket listed. I wrote to CWC,
but after a week of not hearing from them I canít give you the pricing or
availability of this unit. A few vendors are selling jumperless FC-PGA
adapters so you may want to find out if it is the same unit I tested here.
I couldnít find Evercoolís name on
the packaging, so vendors may be listing it as a generic unit. Hopefully theyíll
let you know who supplies their generic unit. Now thereís something I like
to see, the new guy beating the established favorite, and probably for less