Super7 Upgrade Guide: The K6-2+ and K6-3+ Processorsby Matthew Witheiler on January 24, 2001 1:16 AM EST
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It was two months ago that we first took a look at the upgrade options available to older Super7 motherboard owners. Understanding that many out there have a somewhat aging Super7 based system that seems to crawl now, rather than fly like it used to, we felt it important to show users not only how to revive system performance but also how to do so most cost effectively.
Realizing that many Super7 system owners were faced with a variety of upgrade paths, we investigated the performance gain achieved when replacing common bottlenecks in older Super7 systems, namely the memory, the hard drive, the video card, and the CPU itself. By replacing each component separately, we were able to judge which upgrade provided the most bang for the buck. As it turned out, the most performance was gained when upgrading to a higher speed CPU or a faster video card.
There was no question that upgrading the video card to a GeForce2 MX or equivalent card provided the largest speed increase in 3D game play. The GeForce2 MX hit a "sweet spot" of sorts, as any higher performing (and thus more expensive) video card turned out to be CPU limited in all cases, providing no more speed than the budget GeForce2 MX.
As far as the CPU upgrades went, speed just kept increasing. We experimented with a K6-2 300 MHz, a K6-2 400 MHz, and a K6-3 450 MHz to see how each processor increased performance. In 2D applications, like Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop, increasing to the faster processors increased performance a good amount. In addition, in all games with the exception of Quake III showed a marked increase in performance even when using a rather aged NVIDIA TNT based video card. Unlike what we saw with the video cards, higher performing CPUs seemed to always result in performance gains.
Soon after publishing our initial results, where we recommended the K6-3 450 MHz for those wanting additional 2D speed as well as some increase in 3D gameplay ability, a few of our readers brought to our attention that we left out a very powerful and attractive CPU upgrade for Super7 system owners: the K6 + series CPUs.
What are these + series processors and how do they perform in Super7 systems? Initially left out of the original upgrade guide due to incompatibility and unavailability, we now take a look at both the K6-2+ and the K6-3+, two more options for those wishing to revitalize their Super7 based system.