Unlocking the Athlon XP
With the advent of the Athlon XP processors, it was thought that we wouldn't be able to unlock the processors anymore. If you use the tricks listed previously for the Thunderbird chips, then you'll have created yourself a very light paperweight. It seems that AMD got a little tricky and created an intricate electrical pathway under the processor's outer covering. This created some possible shorts in the processor if you messed around with the bridges.
Another nasty surprise was that there was now a small hole between each of the L1 bridges. If you filled this valley with a conductive material, you would successfully short out the processor and destroy it. Things were beginning to look bad for the AMD enthusiast crowd.
But then one of the tech sites (sorry, but I don't recall which one made the initial discovery) discovered that if you filled these valleys with a nonconductive material and then made a pathway over this material and connected the L1 bridges in that manner, well, you could unlock your processor again!
In the beginning of this discovery period, there were several different methods that were developed to unlock this new Athlon XP, but many of them were nearly as suicidal as shorting out the processor. But after the water cleared, there were two basic ways to unlock your Athlon XP. The first was to fill the holes with Super Glue and then use a conductive ink or similar material to connect the bridges. While this will give you a permanent solution, the small size of the valleys makes it a difficult proposition.
This brings us to the second method, using a third party kit to unlock the processor. The connection isn't permanent, but this allows you to wipe off any mistakes that you make while applying the compounds and begin again. I have also found that while not permanent, it does not wear off over time and should last quite a long while. About the best product I've found so far for this purpose is the Athlon XP Unlocking Kit available from HighSpeed PC.
To see exactly how to unlock the Athlon XP processor, check out the TweakTown review of the Athlon XP Unlocking Kit. It not only covers the kit itself, but also works as a reasonable guide to unlocking your own processor. But so that you can see the finished product, here is a quick picture for you.