Intel 925X: Exploring the Overclock Lock

by Wesley Fink on 6/23/2004 12:05 PM EST
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  • artifex - Saturday, June 26, 2004 - link

    Did you read about Intel's new recall of 915 and p25 chips? Please look into whether boards shipping afterwards might be modified in such a way as to affect the performace you're reporting... Reply
  • Xentropy - Friday, June 25, 2004 - link

    I find it kind of amusing how people react to something they had predetermined to love vs. predetermined to hate. It's not like AMD hasn't enacted limitations on overclocking as well. They continued to use more and more difficult to defeat multiplier locks on the Athlons (the whole tape and superglue thing, for instance). But the reactions of many heavily biased members of Anandtech have been approximately as follows:

    (AMD implements overclocking limitations.)
    Anandtech Readers: Oooh, cool!! A new puzzle to solve and get around the limits!

    (Intel implements overclocking limitations. Asus and most other enthusiest board mankers unlock the puzzle in under a week.)
    Anandtech Readers: NO FAIR! INTEL SUCKS!

    I mean, come on people. Are people really so blind to double standards these days? Or are you just mad that the mobo makers are doing the unlocking for you instead of whole threads forming on forums all over the net to figure out which capacitors to bridge or lines to cut?
    Reply
  • AtaStrumf - Friday, June 25, 2004 - link

    Early silicon = problems

    I egree that 248 MHz could very well be chipset's limit right now.

    I'm glad that AMD isn't making their own chipsets or else this is exactly what we would be seing in their next chipset.

    BTW, according to overclockers.com's pool the major reason many enhusiasts buy Intel is their chipset, so this OC lock/limit is a definately a big thing. On the other hand Intel probably doesn't care much for overclockers anyway, so loosing some or even most of them to AMD isn't that big a deal for them. I'm sure they have bigger problems to worry about.
    Reply
  • Pumpkinierre - Thursday, June 24, 2004 - link

    Wesley #27, you did'nt mention the ABIT 9xx boards in your article. Are they getting the same 248MHz limit? It just seems strange that if they have overcome the Intel 10% o'clock limit why they would hit another one at 24%. Given Trog's #26 comparison to earlier A64 boards could it be due to failure of the AGP/PCI/PCI-E lock/dividor?

    Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Thursday, June 24, 2004 - link

    #27 - Wesley:

    Yeah, I understand that the 10% overclock limit is real. It sucks, but it's not a deal-killer to me since I generally only boot my system once a day. (Not that I'm really looking to buy any P4 system right now anyway....) Hopefully it doesn't get worse, or on the other hand this might give alternative P4 chipsets (i.e. Via, SiS, etc.) a better chance. I'm just wondering if the 248 MHz overclock with the "fixed" boards is still limited, or if that's due to the early nature of the chipset, boards, etc.

    So, forget all that: how about getting an Abit AS8 and getting us some results from that? I can live without PCIe for the time being. Sure, Athlon 64 is going to be cheaper and faster, but I am very curious to see what sort of overclocking results can be achieved with 875P + Socket T. :)
    Reply
  • araczynski - Thursday, June 24, 2004 - link

    i'll reiterate, WE as enthusiasts are on the bottom of Intel's 'care about' chain, they don't start any design with US in mind, everything is about the Dell's/Gateways/Systemax/Sony/etc., they don't even give a rat's ass about the small potatoes of Alienware/Voodoos/etc.

    and quite frankly, whether i choose to buy an intel or amd for my own personal computer at home, guess what i'll be (continuing) to buy for everyone at work....Dells with intels. who do you think wins in the end? What do you think intel's gonna care about in the end?
    Reply
  • rjm55 - Thursday, June 24, 2004 - link

    The ONLY advantage Intel had left was that their Pentium 4 and Prescott chips overclocked very well. Since they have removed overclocking as an option with the 925X & 915 they have also removed my last reason to buy Intel. Reply
  • Fr0zeN2 - Thursday, June 24, 2004 - link

    #25 - Yeah. I'll admit P4's OC very well, and certainly better than Clawhammer C0 steppings, but the point of this article is to highlight Intel strongarm tactics. I, for one, hate having my options artificially limited on some wanker's whim. Who knows if AMD would have done the same if they had majority market share, but for now it's Intel in the lead and as such they deserve fanboi bashing for doing things like this!! =) Reply
  • Anemone - Thursday, June 24, 2004 - link

    So basically Intel doesn't give a hoot.

    I'll repeat - it's just time to buy AMD then. MS backs the AMD as a "great chip", and in effect forced Intel to be compatible with that instruction set.

    Now it's just time for the consumers to tell Intel what they really think "support us, because we're the ones paying for your products or 'goodbye'"

    It's really not all that hard to just you, and everyone you can possibly talk to, just buy AMD instead and watch what happens on the market. See what Intel fails to realize that the the ones who overclock talk to a LOT of folks about hardware recommendations. For me it is only in the thousands but I know its more for others.

    A shift of marketshare is the only real way to make Intel do anything. Now just go talk to people... :)
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, June 24, 2004 - link

    #25 & #26 -
    There is definitely a 10% Overclock Lock on the new Intel 925X and 915 chipsets. It is not a matter of early chipsets, as the Overclocking has been intentionally limited to 10% by the Intel design. The point of the article is that a few of the majors have found ways partially around the Intel 10% lock, but the smaller players have not and are stuck with the 10% limit.

    It appears the majors, like Asus and Abit, have gotten around the lock by delaying the FSB set until after the boot sequence passses the settings as OK. We did notice the boot times on the Asus and Abit were very long when they were overclocked. The computer seems to sit at idle a very long time before a boot screen finally appears.

    All of these are bandaids for the 10% lock. The 10% limit is real and a part of 925X/915. That may or may not be important to you.
    Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    Going along with my last post, look at overclocking with the newer Athlon 64 chipsets. On socket 754 with second generation chipsets, what was the maximum overclock achieved? Anandtech managed to get 248 MHz, oddly enough.

    [H] had this to say when using the Abit KV8 Pro: "To put it frankly, this is the first time I have ever been excited about overclocking the AMD K8 core. This is the first time we have really seen tangible results that I think are going to be within the reach of the mainstream enthusiast that wants to experiement a bit with performance gains without having to reinvent the wheel in order to get there." Note that they had to run the HyperTransport bus at 3*245 for stability.

    What I'm trying to get at is that with the numerous changes to the platform, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see that initial overclocking is not able to match the mature 865PE/875P overclocking results. Perhaps we'll see some BIOS revisions that allow adjustment of the NB-to-SB bus speed, or maybe PCIe in general is causing problems with overclocking right now? As usual, this is revision 1.0 hardware we're looking at, and there are plenty of bugs left to work out.
    Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    I think the article gives a pretty good representation of the current status, but it might be a bit too anti-Intel right now. Remember, we're dealing with a BRAND NEW chipset that has all sorts of changes. New Northbridge and Southbridge, PCIe support, DDR2 support, and a new interconnect between the NB and SB, to name a few points. So, all you AMD fanboys, answer me this: how well did the first generation Athlon 64 chipsets overclock? And they didn't even add new RAM or PCIe support; all they did was moved the system bus to HyperTransport!

    I'm not saying Intel is perfect and AMD blows; just giving perspective. On the Asus board, AnandTech was able to reach a 248 MHz bus speed on 16x, 15x, and 14x multipliers. As the article pointed out, either the multiplier lock still exists but has been raised to 248 instead of 220, or else the bus simply doesn't run properly right now at speeds higher than 248. Until we get more information, it's a little premature to make a final judgement. We're looking at ONE Asus motherboard right now - they didn't even have several boards to try the CPU on! There's still a very good possibility that further tweaks to the BIOS will allow more than a 248 MHz bus, but Asus is working with version 1.0 hardware right now.
    Reply
  • Pumpkinierre - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    I was wondering why those 865/S775 board like the ABIT AS8 were appearing. It could be because of Prescott's power consumption that could blow mobos but it just may be that the new mobos are real screamers (already tuned to higher bus speeds for DDR667). I mean, it seems strange that ASUS can only unlock the FSB to 248MHz. You either circumvent the lock or not. So ASUS might be playing politics as well, not raising the ire of Intel too much while being still ahead of the other mobo manufacturers as far as enthusiast appeal goes.
    Reply
  • Creig - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    Intel - "Additionally, from time to time, Intel may choose to implement functionality that helps to ensure that the Intel product experience is not degraded by those who may try to run our products out of spec."


    "from time to time"? When HAVEN'T they attempted to suppress enthusiast overclocking?

    Their so-called "Intel product experience" is simply them telling you what system you want and how you want to run it. Irregardless of what you ACTUALLY want.

    What a bunch of weenies.
    Reply
  • vedin - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    Wow..Anandtech got a responce from Intel in under 24 hours..you guys are fast. ::thumbs up:: Reply
  • Fr0zeN2 - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    #17 - I've seen thermal comparisons elsewhere on a [H] link, and yes, 64's unclocked gives off about 50 and prescotts give about 80-90. My Northwood gives off 130w though, and that's not even with a wild oc. Reply
  • sprockkets - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    Overclocking a 2.4ghz prescott to 3.6 is no accomplishment when that was a low frequency on the Northwood. Prescotts slower than 3.2ghz are in my opinion underclocked, since why would a new generation of processors have to be clocked lower than its predecessors, WAY LOWER? Reply
  • rjm55 - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    #18 -
    What a load of horse manure!! You would think Intel could just say "Yes, we added a 10% OC lock" instead of that convoluted explanation that leads to the same answer.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    The article has been updated on Page 1 with Intel's Official Reply to our question of whether they have implemented a 10% overclock lock on the 915 and 925X chipsets.

    Intel declined to directly answer the question, but provided a statement which is quoted on Page 1.
    Reply
  • dvinnen - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    Normally I don't, but they are the only ones I see with such a comparison. Plus, they are usally a Intel favoring site, so anything that shows AMD so far ahead, I figure most be alright. Hard to skew a temperature test unless you attach the dio in some obscure place. So, AMD could be more ahead. Reply
  • Margalus - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    I can't believe how many clueless amd fanboy's there are here Reply
  • Falco. - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    dvinnen

    u TRUST toms to put out info that holds some truth to it ?? everyone i talk to wouldm't trust toms with a 2 car parade, they'd prob mess that up some how :-)
    Reply
  • dvinnen - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    #4: I'm not suggesting the they drop Intel all together, I'm just saying drap their chipsets. SIS, VIA, ATi, ALi, and nVidea (rumor) all make alternatives to Intel's chipsets. If a teir one maker like Asus or Foxconn drops intel's chipsets, all the teir 2 and teir 3 mobo makers will probaly follow suit (espically if foxconn does it considering they make most of the lower teirs motherboards for them). I know it would be finacll sucide to drop intel all together, but rember, Intel needs the mobo makers (chipset wise) a hell of a lot more than they need intel. As long as intel keeps licening other people to build intel chipsets they don't need to intel at all.

    #8: Athlon64 does not come anywere close to giving off 89 watts of heat. That's the max that it will give off ever. When intel gives off thermal guides, it is generally the average, not the max. See this artical by toms:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/motherboard/20040619/s...

    While they might be lowballying the numbers a bit (hard to tell because they don't tell you how they test it) it's showing prescott giving off ~90 watts of heat. Intell says they will give off 93 watts, so it is about right.

    Now AMD says 89 will be the most the Athlon64 will ever give off at 130nm, as you see in the chart the newer CG steping gives off just over 50 watts in real world testing. Should be odvious that they have no real heat issues. Hell, they just release a line of 35w processors for blade servers and labtops.
    Reply
  • ZobarStyl - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    Intel is shoving crap after crap down our throats this year, and we have no choice but to stomach it until the computer-buying populace as a whole gets a little smarter and does their homework. Your average computer user has no idea that there is a company besides Intel who makes processors, and they aren't interested in "upstart" companies like AMD =/. But although the enthusiast market is a tiny sliver of Intel's sales, we do talk quite a lot =). And when people keep hearing from all around that Intel is screwing them over then we might see that gradual market shift happen. Combine that with the fact that Opteron is making it clear to businesses that AMD is a worthwhile investment, and you push the trend even faster. Intel isn't going to see immediately big losses but they are slowly but surely eroding away at their market share by telling the consumer what is best for them.

    More expensive RAM for no perf gain? No thanks.
    More expensive graphics card interface for no gains? No thanks.
    Processors that don't overclock? No thanks.
    An entirely new form factor that requires me to get a whole new case and power supply so that you can safely market your flamethrower? No thanks.

    Yeah but before you think that Intel is going to come crashing down, remember that there are many many people out there who think their Celerons are faster than A64's.
    Reply
  • thatsright - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    Yet another of the endless reasons this useless new Intel technology, sucks, Sucks SUCKS!!!

    (and this is coming from the proud owner of a 875 chipset P4 rig)
    Reply
  • araczynski - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    My feeling is this article is making too big of assumption without further studies about the overclockability of these. Somehow I don't see a 50% overclock on ALL cpu's coming out of the pipe for the rest of your life as something intel cares about leaving in there, and i much less think they're going to waste any resources to make sure it can or can't happen. they're focusing on maximizing yields and stability, not whether you can or can't get a 50% OC with a line.

    i guess what i'm trying to say is i doubt they're doing this to spite anybody, specifically the enthusiast crowd who they would knowingly push to the amd side, not that the enthusiast crowd makes or breaks their quaterly profit results.....

    stop dreaming everything is/will be a C300 or P4/2.4.
    Reply
  • mostlyprudent - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    I suspect that this means Intel has something up their sleaves. I would not be suprised if a few months from now we see Intel with an FSB bump up of over 25%. This will mean a new chipset which will probably have no other new features. "Make'm buy a new board every quarter" should be the Intel theme. Reply
  • Filibuster - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    >#2 - An all-out clock lock? It'll be funny to see how many people actually buy Intel after that. Actually, it'll be funny to see how many people still buy Intel after THIS.

    Not as funny as you think. All but a tiny sliver of Intel sales don't care about overclocking. Business is their bread and butter, not enthusiasts. Even most home users don't even know what it is. I'm not saying that it doesn't matter to us, but it really won't hurt Intel.
    They aren't like Alienware/FalconNW, who depend on gamers/etc.
    Reply
  • Anemone - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    And regarding the Intel issue, part of the problem that still exists with AMD, now given that they have a rather superb chip on their hands, is that their advances in mfg technology, and issuing of new chips is always getting delayed. They are just so far behind in that area. It's looking like the FX-55 which was supposed to be 90nm will be 130 instead. And that a 90nm FX chip at all won't happen for a year longer than they (last Fall) promised, which you can expect to also delay the dual core chips. They have no plan yet for cache sharing on dual core chips, and the 939 socket has 89w dissipation that dual core has to fit into if its to go in that socket, which might well mean it can't go there.

    Lots of issues - still the FX of today is a stellar chip. People still going AMD because the issues are far more palatable than the Big Brother attitude of Intel regarding how we use their products.

    Mfg's of motherboards for Intel chipsets are just giving what the market needs, and have to cater to it. When AMD is at 50% market share or higher, which at Intel's current rate of innovation shouldn't take long, then things will change and it will get very ugly for Intel. Intel will have earned every bit of that ugliness imo...
    Reply
  • Anemone - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    I care VERY much! And this kind of information transparency to the end user (enthusiast version) is extremely precious. A ton of folks are just getting pushed over to the AMD side of the fence - as if Intel needed to lose yet more customers, heh...

    But breaking the lock, they still don't tell you where they stopped, which I hope the bigger folks will be honest in saying. They've all hit a limit, just need to let us know what it is.

    Thank you Anand - and /bird Intel for not giving a hoot

    Reply
  • Fr0zeN2 - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    #2 - An all-out clock lock? It'll be funny to see how many people actually buy Intel after that. Actually, it'll be funny to see how many people still buy Intel after THIS. Reply
  • MAME - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    Intel sucks like that but mobo manufacturers have no choice; Intel is #1 by a long shot Reply
  • overclockingoodness - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    dvinnen,

    The motherboard companies have to support Intel. The motherboard makers know that they are useless without Intel. Intel is the top chip maker in the world so they can't just leave Intel even though they hate their starategies so much. It's called business. As much as you hate one of the key players in the industry, you still have to work with them. These motherboard makers might lose close to 50 percent (just guessing) of their profit, which is not good for them.

    When AMD did not introduce new processors for 1.5 years (except for new models of Athlon XP), motherboard makers still supported them with new motherboards. Of course, after a while mobo makers don't have much to add as they already have all the new features out so they develop something unique.

    That's how the industry lives on. :-)

    To answer the above two posts, Intel is definitely a loser this year in the desktop market. Their mobile market is secure, BTW. The prescott core is a failure, the new chipsets and technologies are a failure. And I am already scared about the BTX technology. It would be funny if BTX technology doesn't show high performance margins.

    To conclude...Intel has failed in the year 2004.
    Reply
  • dvinnen - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    What I don't understand is why the mobo makers take so much crap from Intel. First intel keeps charging more, then R&D for BTX, R&D for this new socket, they are going to have more returns because of this new socket, now the new crap that got to spend R&D to figure out how to get around. I keep thinking one of the big boys over there will grow a pair and stand up to intel and stop making their boards. I would inmagin their margins on intel boards are more than a 5th of what their margins are on a SIS or VIA board. Reply
  • ViRGE - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    A thought: Last time we got "clever" and bypassed an Intel clock-lock mechanism, it was the B21 trick, which resulted in Intel removing the 66/100 multiplier lock, in favor of the constant multiplier lock we deal with today. If we get "clever" again, who's to say Intel won't repeat history, and implement an all-out clock-lock? Reply
  • Zebo - Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - link

    Slower, generates more heat, uses more power, enthusiast unfreindly, no memory controller, no 64 bit future....why are people catering to this company again? Reply

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