In a word: WOW! After last week's report I thought I'd been mail-bombed! My already high level of respect for Anand just ballooned exponentially. I've got a hunch he added that extra GB of RAM to his server just to handle his e-mail load.
The vast majority of you proved, once again, that the Anandtech family cannot be matched anywhere for intellect or knowledge. I'm very grateful to those of you who sent valuable information and insights. Much of that is included in this weeks report.
For those who respectfully disagreed with some of the information contained in the report, my gratitude also. Many of you brought to light information and/or points that I hadn't thought of. I don't think highly enough of my own opinion to believe that I can't be wrong.
And, lastly, for those who chose to express their opinion with, shall we say, a colorful use of one-syllable vernacular; hey, can't we just all get along?:-)
This week's report covers quite a number of chips compared to previous weeks. It seems that all my time was spent in the Celery kitchen! For the first time, I received a batch of the retail, SL32A CPU's and the results are very interesting. I also did a little experimenting with memory modules on the BH6 in an effort to confirm or deny the reported sensitivity of this board to RAM type/configuration.
One last thing before we move on. The information contained in these reports is simply a discussion of my experiences testing these CPU's. As is the case with all things in life, your results may vary and nothing here is unequivocal.
COMPEQ, Cloverleaf and other symbol trivia
If you remember last week's report, you know that I noted a difference in performance between 2 different symbols on the PCB of the CPU. The first is the COMPEQ symbol and the second, for lack of a better description, I called a Cloverleaf.
This issue generated a lot of mail. Many people provided information to help decipher the symbols, many argued that the PCB itself was not relevant, many related similar experiences, and still others reported no problem overclocking their COMPEQ chips.
It appears from this feedback that the chips with a PCB date prior to 9838 are equally as overclockable as the Cloverleaf CPU's. The majority who stated that theirs worked well, and provided the date, fell in to this category. The majority who experienced problems had a later dated chip. Typical of the latter group is this letter I got from Erics at Fastgraphics:
"Just wanted to let you know that my experience is about the same as yours: I didn't oc 77 of them ;-), but I have one with the second symbol which requires 2.2 volts, a huge PII heatsink with 3 fans and a dedicated air tunnel to run stable at 450.
I recently bought two more Celeron's (with the first symbol) and they appear to work just fine on a dual mainboard running at 450 MHz."
Now, I can't speculate as to whether or not the same would also apply to the "Cloverleaf" PCB as I haven't received enough feedback. It could just simply be that PCB as well as silicon quality was at a higher level in earlier production. This weeks testing, however, doesn't seem to indicate that to be the case.
I believe that the quality of the PCB varies week to week, just as does the quality of the silicon. I also believe that this quality variance can affect the overclockability of the CPU. While I am certainly no expert on this issue, I know that this theory applies to memory modules, so I see no reason why it wouldn't also apply to processors.