In the Forums...
Posted: March 29, 2000
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
The Saving Grace
Their tech support is excellent. And Iím not just talking the usual, "nice people didnít argue with me and helped me resolve my problem" excellent, Iím talking, "they told me how to hack my old LX motherboard that could only support up to a 333 MHz processor so that it now can support a 500 MHz processor" excellent. Here was the situation:
As you guys might very well know from the About page, my "old" system was a Dell XPS 300. It has the relatively outdated LX chipset in it and is one of those "customized" boards that was really just a stock Intel board with a new sticker and a different BIOS. Now, Dell, in its version of the BIOS, doesnít support anything above 333 MHz, and refused to run the Celeron 500 no matter what I did. However, it appears that there is an undocumented feature (ok it doesnít appear, I know itís there) that allows you to do a special kind of BIOS flash to allow the board to support up to the 500 MHz Celeron.
Yes, this information is available freely upon the net. Intel even has a technical document on their web site describing the whole thing. But I, like most normal consumers, assumed that my computer would never be able to support anything above the 333 MHz setting. I had the latest Dell BIOS update, A09, but there was no improved CPU support with that BIOS. Dell had moved on to the faster and greater BX chipset across the board and had forgotten about their older systems.
Okay, so now you might be wondering why this thing makes the extra eighty or so dollars worth it. From what I have been able to gather from the tech guys over at Evergreen, they have "hacks" for more than just the standard Intel stock boards, but for boards designed by other companies as well. Having this kind of support might just make the extra cost worth it for even the tweakers amongst us.
Originally, I was going to do an in-depth performance comparison between my Dell system before and after the upgrade, but as I started doing the benchmarks I realized one thing -- the only difference was that the Performa 500 is 66% faster than my old PII 300. And considering the MHz ratings on both cards, that is right on target.
This product is virtually identical to a Celeron 500 on a Slotket riser board if all you take into account is the hardware. And if you already own a BX-based motherboard that will support one, you are probably better off just going out and getting a boxed processor and a riser card. However, if you are drawn by the 3-year warranty, or you have an LX or older PII motherboard that doesnít support the newer processors on its own, Evergreenís Performa series might be something you should check out. If your motherboard doesnít already support the clock setting you have chosen though, check with them first and see if they have a workaround for your system. It may save you a lot of time and aggravation in the long run.
Overall Score: 7.8/10