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HighSpeed PC Athlon XP Unlocking Kit: Overclocking Athlons is an effective, and free way to get more out of your rig. FSB is one part of the equation, and unlocking the multiplier is another part. It isn't that easy to unlock an Athlon XP, but we look at a kit that makes unlocking a snap to do.
Date: November 7, 2002
Manufacturer: Supplied by
Written By:

Even since the days of the Pentium, people have always been on the lookout for ways to get that one small extra Mhz out of their processor - that one 3d Mark out of their computer. With the original Pentiums, one could simply flip a dipswitch or two on the motherboard to change the multiplier. The celerons could also be overclocked with a simple setting in the BIOS. Yet, CPU makers advanced to fixed multiplier clocks, and overclocking became a little more difficult than just flipping a switch or two. With the slotted AMD CPUs, one only had to slip a small device onto the CPU, and then dipswitches could change the multiplier. With the Athlon Thunderbird, the "pencil trick" became notorious - by connecting metal leads on the top of the CPU (known as bridges) one could unlock the clock multiplier. During the production and testing of a CPU, the clock has to be manipulated to see its stress points and how stable it is - to make this a simple process for AMD, there are bridges on top of the CPU that unlock the multiplier. After the CPU is tested, a laser cuts the electrical connection between the leads, thereby locking in the multiplier. The pencil trick reconnects those leads, thereby once again unlocking the CPU multiplier.

With the Athlon XP, the overclocking game changed quite a bit. No longer could one simply use a pencil to connect leads - AMD changed the housing of the CPU to a nonconductive organic material. In the production of the XPs, the leads that unlock the clock are cut, but because the housing for the CPU is organic material, a small "valley" is now created in the processor by AMD, stopping anyone from using the "pencil trick" again.

I have seen many people recently using super glue, crayon, really anything nonconductive to fill in the valleys, and then using a rear window defroster repair kit to link the bridges. I have also heard some bad stories about this - if the paint dries and two sets of bridges are touching each other, the unlocking won't work and might have to take turpentine to your processor.

Enter HighSpeed PC. They sell an for $12 USD. In the kit comes a Cleaning Agent, Gap Filler, Conductive Grease, a pin with a round head, and a magnifying glass, as well as instructions.

The contents of the kit

First and foremost let me warn you not to use an anti-static bag in the unlocking process, unless it is used to transfer the CPU from one location to another. Anti-static bags are coated with a metallic film on the outside that conducts electricity; thereby preventing static electricity from contaminating whatever is inside the bag. So, by placing anything on an anti-static bag, you risk the possibility of leads being connected, and increase the possibility of damaging the CPU due to static electricity.

Next Page - Application & Procedure


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