Overclocking PII
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Overclocking Pentium II
It's hard not to be enticed by the idea of overclocking your CPU. Greater performance at no extra cost: what could be better? Whether to stave off obsolescence or to squeeze every last frame per second out of a newer system, the appeal of overclocking cannot be denied.

Although often portrayed as some secret, mystical art, overclocking Intel's Pentium II lineup of CPUs is relatively easy, and it nets a large performance gain when done successfully. This guide will take you step by step through the process.

Note: This guide covers only overclocking Pentium II-series CPUs and the Intel 440LX and BX-based motherboards they run on. Similar performance gains can be achieved by overclocking Intel's Celeron line or AMD's K6-2, but that's beyond the scope of this guide.

The Types of Pentium II
In 1998, Intel has made several improvements to its Pentium II series of CPUs, culminating in the Deschutes Pentium II processor lineup. Manufactured using a 0.25-micron die, the Deschutes CPUs offer enhanced speed and consume less energy than the previous generation of Klamath Pentium IIs, which were manufactured using a 0.35-micron die.

Klamath CPUs leave Intel's fabrication plants rated to run at clock speeds of 233 MHz, 266 MHz, and 300 MHz and have a default frontside bus (the bus that connects the CPU to main memory) speed of 66 MHz. Deschutes CPUs leave the fabs rated to run at clock speeds of 333 MHz, 350 MHz, 400 MHz, and 450 MHz. The 333-MHz Pentium II is the only CPU in the Deschutes line that still uses a 66-MHz frontside bus (FSB); the rest utilize the newer 100-MHz FSB that Intel introduced--along with its 440BX motherboard chipset--in April 1998.

Although the older Klamath Pentium IIs run much hotter than those in the Deschutes family, this doesn't mean that the Klamath is necessarily a poor line to overclock. Many users have reported overclocking their 233-MHz Pentium IIs to 333 MHz, their 266-MHz Pentium IIs to 350 MHz, and their 300-MHz Pentium IIs to 375 MHz. Because CPUs rated for lower clock speeds are less expensive than those rated for higher speeds, the attraction to overclocking is obvious.

Almost any Pentium II in the Intel lineup offers great overclocking potential, and with the proper cooling and technique, it's easy enough so that just about anyone can do it. But that doesn't mean that everyone should. Allow us to direct your attention once again to the disclaimer and warning on previous page. Overclocking is dangerous; I am not kidding.

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