Studying for the A+, Network+ or Security+ exams? Get over 2,600 pages of FREE study guides at CertiGuide.com!|
Join the PC homebuilding revolution! Read the all-new, FREE 200-page online guide: How to Build Your Own PC!
NOTE: Using robot software to mass-download the site degrades the server and is prohibited. See here for more.
Find The PC Guide helpful? Please consider a donation to The PC Guide Tip Jar. Visa/MC/Paypal accepted.
|Take a virtual vacation any time at DesktopScenes.com - view my art photos online for FREE in either Flash or HTML!|
Tired of the boss? Ever wanted to be an independent freelancer? Not sure how to get started?
The all-new Online Freelancing Guide can help. Tons of useful info, and it's free! Join the online freelancing revolution today.
Intel Pentium OverDrive
In order to allow the easy processor upgrades of earlier motherboards, Intel has made available Pentium-class OverDrive chips. These are internally Pentium chips, but have subtle changes made to them to accommodate the unusual sockets and motherboards they are designed to work in. This allows them to be used where a regular Pentium would not work, which is the whole idea behind the OverDrive product--their interfaces appear to the motherboard like an older chip, so you don't need to worry about whether or not the motherboard supports the higher speed of what would be a native chip, in most cases.
Note: In general, if your
motherboard can support a higher-speed regular (non-OverDrive) Pentium, that is the better
way to go as opposed to an upgrade, because the regular chips are cheaper than the
OverDrives. Your motherboard manual will tell you what your system's limitations are.
OverDrive processors have several changes made so that they can be used in older machines. First, when necessary they include integrated voltage regulators (sandwiched between the chip and the heat sink) so they will work with the voltage of the socket they are intended to go into. Second, they of course have the right pin configuration for the socket. Third, they are hard-wired to a specific clock multiplier; they do not set their multiplier based on motherboard jumpers like regular Pentiums do. This saves the user from worrying about what jumpers to change when replacing the processor.
The Pentium OverDrive comes in three basic flavors:
Except where noted above, the Pentium OverDrive has the same design and internal functioning as the regular Pentium. Refer to the section on the Pentium for more description of the Pentium's functions and features, and improvements over 486-class chips.
For many systems, OverDrive processors are the simplest way to get a performance increase at a reasonable price. Since those who need to use OverDrives are somewhat of a "captive market", Intel has traditionally priced OverDrives significantly higher than equivalent regular Pentiums. In some cases, the price difference can be exorbitant, with OverDrives selling for double what the street price is for the regular chip. The best time to buy OverDrives is after they have been on the market for a while and the prices have begun to decrease. Still, an upgrade of the motherboard and processor is often less expensive than an OverDrive processor, and yields better performance (at the cost of more work and risk, of course).
It's important to remember that increasing the performance of the processor is only part of the solution to increasing overall system performance. Many other factors impact on system performance, and increasing the processor clock while leaving the system bus speed the same is an exercise in diminishing returns, because the processor is increasingly stuck waiting for the rest of the system.
Note: Many older 486
motherboards do not support write-back primary cache. They will run the Pentium OverDrive
slower than those that do.
Look here for an explanation of the categories in the processor summary table below, including links to more detailed explanations.