Kingston Technology has released the TurboChip 400, a processor upgrade solution designed to support such motherboards, replacing the original Pentium I or 686 chip with a much faster and more modern one. The Kingston kit costs $375 - generally cheaper than buying a new chip, motherboard and memory separately. It works by using a special circuit board attached to its AMD-K62 400MHz chip that changes the voltages and sets the multipliers automatically, so that the modern chip will work with an older system.
We tested this by upgrading a Pentium 166MHz PC with a Gigabyte GA-686HX motherboard, 32MB of EDO RAM, 4GB HDD, and a 2MB S3 PCI graphics card running on Windows 98 SE. Configured as such, a PC WorldBench 98 score of 84 was achieved.
You are guided through the upgrade process step by step. According to the instructions you should attempt to run the front side bus at 66MHz. For us, that didn't work, but we got it working at 55MHz. This equates to the new chip running at 330MHz due to the TurboChip's fixed 6x-multiplier.
The motherboard, being an older model, doesn't understand the AMD-K6 and consequently reported the new chip as a 486 DX2-66; however, Windows 98 identified it correctly. The upgraded system obtained a benchmark score of 118, roughly a 40 per cent increase in 2D performance. Another benefit of the AMD chip is the 3D Now! Technology which can improve 3D speed.
Overall, this Kingston upgrade solution is good value and will help to lengthen the life span of your computer investment.
Kingston Technology TurboChip 400
Distributor: Kingston Technology (Australia)Phone: (03) 9690 9699URL: www.kingston.com