The Base System

In order to examine the costs and benefits of upgrading various parts of an aging K6-2/3 series system, we first needed a baseline system. What we did is assembled what was in a typical system upon the launch of the K6-2, which resulted in a system with the following components.

Base AMD K6-2 System

Hardware

CPU

AMD K6-2 300
Motherboard Epox MVP3G2
Memory

64MB Samsung PC100 SDRAM

Hard Drive

Western Digital Caviar AC35100 5.1GB ATA-33

Video Card

NVIDIA TNT 16MB

Software

Operating System

Windows 98 SE

Video Drivers

NVIDIA Detonator3 v6.31
Benchmarking Applications
Gaming
Unreal Tournament 4.32 Reverend's Thunder.dem
Quake III Arena 1.16n demo001.dm3
MDK2 Timedemo
Productivity
BAPCo SYSMark 2000
Ziff Davis Content Creation Winstone 2000

We assembled the above components by estimating what may be in a typical K6-2 system out there now. The 64MB of memory, ATA-33 hard drive, and TNT video card are all items that are found in many existing K6-2 systems. The choice of the Epox MVP3G2 motherboard may be a stretch for many, as this was one of the last Super7 boards released, however it was chosen for a reason we will explain in following sections. The most important thing to note about this motherboard right now is that it comes with 1MB of L2 cache, soemthing found on the vast majority of Super7 boards out there.

We figured that the K6-2 300 MHz would make a good starting point for an upgrade. Although it is one of the slower K6-2 processors out there, it provides a good baseline for performance and leaves lots of room for a CPU upgrade. The TNT video card was chosen simply because many K6-2 owners chose this card as the card of choice. In the video card section of this review you will also find performance numbers for other popular cards from the time of the K6-2, such as the Voodoo 3 2000.

As hard as it may be to believe, at the time of the K6-2 launch and even up until later K6-2 processors were released, 64MB of memory was pretty much standard. We recently moved our CPU testbeds to 256MB of memory, so it is hard to imagine that only 2 and a half years ago, 64MB of memory was considered standard.

Our final piece of hardware on the base system is a Western Digital Caviar hard drive. Rotating at 5400 RPM and meeting the ATA-33 specification, the Caviar drive was highly regarded as one of the best.

Next comes software. As we mentioned earlier, one possible way to eliminate the stress placed on a system as it gets older is to continue to use older software. In many cases this would mean never upgrading the software, something which seems unavoidable in this day in age. Thus, to simulate the performance of the K6-2 system on a typical home computer platform, we choose to use the same applications and games we use for every other review. This way, we can see how improvements can be made to our base system in order to speed up current applications.

Gaming benchmarks are a bit different. In order to test the effect, if any, of a component upgrade in gaming situations, we had to establish a desired resolution. With many owners of older systems attempting to go beyond 800x600, it only made sense to set 1024x768 as the ideal resolution. Thus, for all gaming benchmarks the desired resolution of 1024x768 was established, with 32-bit being preferable to 16-bit.

Now that we know what our baseline for performance is, let's find the best way that one should go about upgrading a K6-2/3 system to revive some of that long-lost pep.

The K6-2 and K6-3: A revolution for AMD CPU Upgrade - Content Creation Performance

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