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Athlon500 Editorial

"There's not a thing you can't change on this beast and it's quite a heavy piece of silicone as well."

There's something very different about today, it's not the weather or the fact one of my cuddly cats has slithered into the corner of an open ATX case, no its because I'm using an Athlon. Previously I had hoped to be reviewing one of big cycle kickers, yet sadly my 500Mhz chip is a bit below par for anybody to really be interested. Fact remains that this is my first Athlon and so instead of reviewing it I'm going to plague you with my own little editorial on what I think about it. What are its good points, its bad ones and most importantly how does it fair? Make no mistake, this is no review but merely my personal feelings about this wondrous piece of cpuage.

An Athlon is for life, not just for Christmas

Having previously owned AMD CPUs before rather than my more common place P2/P3's that lie dormant around my office in various states of completion, I am fairly accustomed to how they work. That was until my Athlon500 came squeezed tightly in the holdings of an Asus K7M motherboard, yes the overclockers paradise one. There's not a thing you can't change on this beast and it's quite a heavy piece of silicone as well.

The Athlon CPU itself stands out as looking somewhat like one of the higher grade P2 CPUs and as such is quite a bulky and heavy in design. My now secondary Pentium3-450 is about 1/3 lighter then the A500 (Athlon 500) and is slightly better designed to expel heat over the A500 with it's closed off casing. Just to make sure I got the most out of this new system I pushed in two slices of 128MB PC133 ram and a brand new Creative DVDx6 Encore kit (review coming soon). Added to this I connected up one of the fast IBM ATA66 15GB drives to get the most out of the IDE bus for my O/S.

Upon the initial boot I decided to zap into the Bios and set up all the settings so they were correct. I also zapped up the bus to 110, thus giving me 550Mhz from the CPU. Make note that the 200Mhz FSB you get with all Athlons is not a universal one, only between the CPU and some other areas (oops forgot) and not the whole system. After setting everything up I left the bios and restarted, my eyes lit up when I saw how fast the system got past the bios checks.

A fair contender

Within a few minutes I had formatted the new HD and was well into installing Windows98SE. Take note that Windows98SE has been known to have problems with some Pentium2/3 boards and CPUs (Gigabyte owners be weary), where as Windows98 original is fine for some reason. The installation was swift and completed within only a few minutes and most importantly without any hassle. One problem I continually notice is that if you own a USB Mouse, the set-up doesn't detect it at the early stages so you have to painstakingly do everything by hand.

Finally 98SE booted and from the bios into the O/S it only took about 10-15 seconds all the way, I was stunned. All in all I can tell you now that I didn't have much in the way of trouble with this new system, however there are a couple of points that did only come into play under the rule of the mighty Athlon500+MB combo.

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