VOGONS


First post, by SETBLASTER

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I wonder how many of you overclocked their PCs back in the day. from 486 to pentiums and athlons.
Do you rember the AMD Palomino (i think it was palomino or duron) era where you did the pencil mod to overclock the cpu?

crazy days huh?

Yesterday i was buying a really nice ati videocard very cheap, i thought i was getting a 9800SE model, but it was really hard to find an image on google that matched exactly the pcb color and the shape of the corners of the heatsink. So i came home with the card, installed everything and windows detected it as an ATI 9500..... and then I remembered that there was an era in PC history where manufacturers actually used the same PCB and parts from lower end models as the higher end models, so people using soldering and cable mods and pencil mods transformed some of tha ati cards into higher end models. ( I never understood the pocess since i never had one of those ati cards back then i used lower end nvidia models)

i wonder if this card can be modded or not.

if you have overclock stories please share!

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Reply 1 of 22, by Koltoroc

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The thunderbird was the one with the pencil mod, later models had some laser etching to make it more difficult and you needed conductive paint to do it reliably. And yes, I did that to mine, just not very succesfully. The thunderbirds I got were not very cooperative while overclocking. My 1200 did 1350 max, but I got better performance going 133 FSB and 1333 CPU clock.

I did overclock my K6 before that from 166 to 200 and it still runs like that today. I did dable a bit with OC on my first athlon 64 as well, but once again my CPU didn't have much headroom.

The Athlon 64 was the last CPU I did overclock, Money has been tight over the years and a reliable system lasting as long as possible has been my priority over maximum performance.

I did overclock old GPUs as well, 57Mhz on a Voodoo 1, more and I got occasionally artifacting, Voodoo 3 2000 from 145 to 166, and some nvidia cards over the years.

Regarding the Radeon 9500, the mod was a simple(ish) bios mod, early 9500 (non pro, the pro was a different chip) used the same chip and PCB as the 9700 (pro) and could unlock to a full 9700 (pro) card.

Mods including soldering were mostly done to the geforce 2 (not mx cards) cards IIRC, as you could turn them with a simple soldering job into a quadro card. I never had a geforce 2 and never did that mod and I don't actually remember what the advantages were.

Reply 2 of 22, by frudi

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That 9500 looks like it's using the 9700 PCB, so it might be unlockable. The simplest way to check would be to install Omega drivers from back then, they had the option of unlocking 9500, 9800 SE and later also X800 GTO cards.

As for overclocking, yup, been doing that with basically every CPU and video card since the Pentium 100. Imagine my surprise when, at 15, I first started exploring the insides of a computer, only to realise you could change the CPU speed by just moving a couple jumpers around 😲. Mine turned out to only be stable up to 120 MHz, but it was still an awesome feeling to get that upgrade for free. That lead to me overclocking every single CPU I've owned since then, except the current one (Ryzen 2700X, since it basically boosts up to its max clocks already). The P100 got upgraded to a K6-2 333 that I ran at 380, then followed by a Celeron 366 at 500, Celeron 633 at 950, Duron 1100 at ~1400, Athlon XP 1700+ at ~2400, A64 3000+ at 2700, A64 X2 4400+ at 2x2800, Core 2 Duo E6320 at about 3 Ghz, E8400 at 3.6 Ghz, i7 860 at 3.8 Ghz, i5 3570k at 4.2 Ghz and then to the current Ryzen. I never did the pencil mod on any of my own CPUs, since I skipped that generation of Durons and Athlons, but I did help a friend unlock his Duron 650 by doing it. The most exciting times for me were definitely the late '90s to early/mid '00s, when some CPUs could easily overclock by 50% or even more. And since back then the only major difference between cheap and expensive CPUs was the clock frequency, it meant you could make your 100€ CPU run as fast as the top tier ones costing 5 or 10 times as much.

I also did the same with my video cards. I remember even the Cirrus Logic or Trident card I had in the P100 system came with some utility that allowed changing its frequency. But if counting only 3D cards, then the first one I overclocked was a Creative Labs Graphics Blaster Riva TNT. And that continued with every single card since then, including the current one. Along the way I also had a couple cards that could be unlocked, such as a Sapphire Radeon 9800 SE that unlocked to a full 9800 and then overclocked beyond 9800 XT frequencies and a Sapphire Radeon X800 GTO2 that unlocked and overlocked to beyond X800 XT PE clocks. I only used the Omega drivers for the unlocking, not bios or hard mods. Those two were also two of my favourite cards to own. Now regretting having sold them all those years ago.

Reply 3 of 22, by retardware

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6502 could be overclocked easily by 100% and more.
But nobody did that back then on the Apple II, as tape and disk were CPU speed dependent.

The PC and XT could be overclocked a bit too, but the issues weren't worth it (clock dependent software was common back then).

My first 386 1989 was a DX20.
It was in a C&T mobo, and as some of you might remember, the timings were very loose.
So it was possible to run the thing reliably with 24MHz with keeping in the specified signal timings.
So boards sold as 24MHz were substantially cheaper than 25MHz ones 😉

Later I got a board equipped with the bugged 386/16. It ran fine with 25MHz and an additional heatsink. But that got too hot, so it died a few months later.
My first 486, AMD DX2/66 I overclocked to 36MHz, respective 72MHz. But the chipset died soon.

Since then, the time where memory error checking was dropped in the consumer market, I only overclocked only [now vintage] graphics cards, just to get better refresh rates. Sometimes this was only possible when replacing RAMs with faster ones and adding buffer caps directly over the chips.

Nowadays the chips have little headroom, and the damage done by overclocking isn't worth for me.
And on systems where memories do not have error detection, overclocking can easily destroy your data.

Reply 4 of 22, by cyclone3d

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I've been overclocking pretty much everything I could since the days of the 486SX-25. That CPU in a friend's system is what got me started. Saw a 25/33MHZ jumper on the motherboard and decided to change it to 33MHz to see what would happen.. It worked.

On a 486 DX2-66 setup I had, I installed a jumper on the front of the case so I could easily change between 33Mhz and 40Mhz FSB.

Ran my 5x86-133 at 160Mhz.

Heavily volt-modded an nVidia 7900GS that let me overclock it really high. It lasted a year before it finally died. Not bad considering that when I got it it artifacted at stock speed and voltage.

I experimented with building my own water cooling systems back in the day as well. Even still have the 30W Peltier as well as a home-made waterblock that I used back in the day.

Basically, name a CPU or video card or RAM that I had/have, and it was/is overclocked.

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Reply 5 of 22, by amijim

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Another interesting point would be how much fun is tweaking and overclocking the hardcore way and how many more CPUs and motherboards and video cards we have bought due to failures.

I think AMD did good for allowing us to overclock its CPU series the hardcore way. Back in 1999 i had bought a week 52 Dresden fab Athlon slot A 550 MHz with an actual 750 MHz 0.25 micron unreleased core.

I had it overclocked since first day to 900 MHz which works until today. It was the days with the Goldfinger devices. Later on I overclocked it to 1 GHz only to find out it would not post on my Epox K7XA motherboard, the first KX133 motherboard. I thought the CPU was busted so I bought a 900 MHz CPU only to find out it was a 1 GHz Thunderbird core inside it. Again no post in my Epox. I had to buy a compatible 1 GHz AMD 750 motherboard as I did only to find out that my first CPU was also working.

Later on I bought an FIC motherboard and then a Biostar, both of which I had sold with "testing CPUs" but I kept a remaining MSI K7VM.

To conclude, my low-priced 550 MHz lead me to 900 MHz around 1999 which was a miracle... I still have the Globalwin VOS38 heatsink.... and later on my 1 GHz lust cost me 5 new CPUs , two of which I had sold as second hand and 5 motherboards... speaking of, I think i had destroyed one or two CPUs trying and testing.

Oh boy, I paid a lot for that 1 GHz barrier before Intel could do it. But it was a lot of fun, so much that I always prefer and suggest AMD for the fun side of computing. Also let us not forget the unlocked Barton 2500XPS converted to 2800MPS overclocked to 3 GHz....

Oh boy, I destroyed one new 2500XP trying to blow the bridges with the 12V power supply shortage. That XP to MP story cost me... one Gigabyte dual MPX motherboard , and one IWill MPX2, one Tyan S2668 , two 2800 mobiles and two original 2800MPS and of course to try to find a third unlocked Barton 2500XP.

Oh boy, I just remembered the 4X Thermaltake Tower 112 full copper heatsinks...

Oh boy, if only I could have been an Intel fan... but no... I would join this hardcore computing again and again.

For sure, overclocking with warranty voided tactics gave a financial boost to AMD and I guess Ryzen is here as a result. If there would be no AMD venture, we would be cruising at Tualatin's blazing speeds by now, P4 technology would be the new puppy in the industry. Vive AMD!

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Reply 6 of 22, by Cyrix200+

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Absolutely!

Celeron 300A @450MHz on an Abit BH6
AMD K6-2 450 @500MHz on an Asus P5B
AMD Athlon Slot A 700 @850MHz (I loved the GFD)
Intel Pentium III 700 @933MHz on a MSI 694D Pro (Dual CPU)

Never really did GPU overclocking, never really worked for me.

Reply 8 of 22, by clueless1

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Yep! I always tried to overclock, sometimes the gain was worth it and I left it, usually I didn't get enough boost for it to be worth it, and I'd go back to stock. Both on cpus and graphics cards. I was attempting it as far back as the 486 days, but the first time it was worth keeping the OC was with my Celeron 300a. Good times.

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Reply 9 of 22, by torindkflt

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The only CPU I've ever overclocked was the AMD Duron 1GHz in my first self-built system, and it was entirely unintentional. I had replaced the motherboard with a newer one, but forgot to change the FSB from the factory-shipped 133MHz back to 100MHz. So, it was kind of an unexpected surprise the first time I booted it up and saw it running at 1.33GHz. It ran perfectly fine like that for a year or so, until I upgraded the CPU to an Athlon 2400+ (The Duron didn't die or anything, I just wanted something faster).

Reply 10 of 22, by rmay635703

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After the 486 era was mostly over 1997+

I got a bunch of ISA micronics dx2-50mhz systems

I didn’t have many oscillators but found the easily went to 66mhz,
I also found I could speed up video a lot overclockong the ISA bus

Reply 11 of 22, by AlaricD

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My favorite overclock was my Celeron 300A @454MHz. I'd had it at 450MHz for years and was finally ready to replace it so I finally nudged it up to 454. I replaced it with a Tualatin-core P3, 1.4GHz. I didn't overclock that.

It was replaced by a Barton-core Athlon 2500+ which I overclocked but I can't remember by how much.

Reply 12 of 22, by blurks

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I had numerous computers beginning with a 286 in 1990 but I began to overclock with a P55C in 1997 when I tried to set the multiplier from 3.5 to 4 for my Pentium 233 MMX. My model sadly couldn't handle the 266 MHz stable. Lost interest in overclocking afterwards as I always had access to computers with sufficient speed.

Reply 13 of 22, by Tiido

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I had a Compaq ProLinea 4/25 with 50MHz 486SX2 that ran properly at 66MHz and later I ran my P166 at 180MHz, it never ran stably at 200MHz unfortunately. My PIII-S went as high as it could on the mobo I had, which was 1.5GHz IIRC. I tried to overclock my Athlon 64 X2 but it didn't really like it at all and I gave up. I haven't overclocked much since, except now on my 486 boards by using 40MHz FSB whenever possible.

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Reply 14 of 22, by CrossBow777

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My AMD 16mhz 286 was clocked to run at 20mhz with some dipswitch changes on the motherboard. That was my first overclock, though I didn't know that is what it was called back then. My first officially overclocked processor would have been my 486-DX2 66mhz. I changed the jumpers on that packard bell motherboard and had it running at 80mhz all without any additional cooling in fact? And I ran it that way for many years until it finally died completely in the late 90s when I gave it to my aunt.

I've been overclocking my CPUs ever since. Still use an (ancient) i5-2500k running at 4ghz and have for like 7 years now?

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Reply 15 of 22, by Asdfguy86

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Back when my main system was an Athlon II X2 240 and a 9500 GT, I had both the CPU and GPU overclocked. I remember putting the CPU at about 3.6GHz, and I would usually run the 9500 GT at 640MHz core and 535MHz clock. Anything higher would result in artifacts. Of course that system is long gone, but recently I got some GT 120 cards (9500 re-badge) that can go higher than my original EVGA 9500 GT...
There was also a time where I overclocked a TI-83 plus by hooking a different capacitor up to it, was no more than a novelty but graphing + games did run a little bit faster.
With my Dell Optiplex 755, I've done the tape mod on the Core 2 Quad Q6700 to trick the board into thinking it's a 1333mhz FSB chip, so that gives me a tad OC on an OEM dell system.

Reply 16 of 22, by xeon3d

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Overclocking? What's that? 😁

Core 2 Duo fun... (Aircooled)
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This one got me a toastie sig on the now defunct DFI-Street forums...
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Had some fun with an Athlon 64 too:
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Reply 17 of 22, by tayyare

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Only overclocking that I ever did was an unintentional one.

In late 1995, I purchased the last 486 class upgrade for my rig at that time: A Cyrix 5x86-100 CPU. What I did was setting the jumpers wrongly and instead of 33MHz, ending up with 40MHz by mistake. So, it became a 5x86-120 instantly, and Absolutely stable and problem free in that, so much that, I became aware of the mistake much later. And of course didn't corrected it. 🤣

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Reply 18 of 22, by Scali

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Yes, I tried various mods/overclocks/tweaks back in the day.
First one was my 486DX2-66, which I ran at 80 MHz, which was easy by just using a good enough heatsink+fan and jumpering the motherboard accordingly.
I also ran my Pentium 120 at 133, and a Pentium II-333 at 400.
In all cases I also tried to find the best possible BIOS settings for memory timings etc, to make the systems run as fast as they could.

But I think the coolest mod I ever did was on my Asus GF2GTS. I desoldered some components from the low-pass filter of the VGA output. Before the Asus, I have had a number of Matrox cards, and I had trouble accepting the lower quality image of the Asus. After modifying the low-pass filter, the output was much sharper, especially in higher resolutions/higher refresh rates. Close enough to the Matrox cards.

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Reply 19 of 22, by Kamerat

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Started overclocking when I changed the motherboard of my first rig from an Asus P2L97 to a P3B-F due to compatibility issues with the GeForce DDR. Ran my Pentium II "Klamath" 300 @ 350MHz (2,5x140MHz) on the P3B-F.

One of the crazier things I did back in the day was to feed 14V to my Radeon X800 Pro @ XT into both the 12V and 5V part of the molex connector. Blew one capacitor rated for 6V, but replaced it with a higher rated one. This did improve the overclock of my watercooled and voltmodded card, think I ran the core @ 2,05V while benchmarking and reached the first page of the ORB in 3DMark2001. The card worked a couple of years after the abuse too.

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