The installation of the AMD Thunderbird went without a hitch. One good thing about these FIC SD11 boards is the amount of room between the SLOT A and DIMM area, there is so much more room compared to a Intel 440bx reference board. I'd roughly say there is a good 5cm more difference in room on this FIC SD11 Northbridge compared to a MSI BxMaster motherboard. This is great for those who wish to strap a decent Alpha or Globalwin to their new AMD Tbird. Below is a birds eye view of the FIC SD11, to help explain what I mean...
Once the AMD Tbird was installed (with back face plate off and GFD installed) firmly into the SLOT A position I booted up and was told I have a AMD "Unknown" 700. This is because FIC haven't bothered creating a new BIOS to "name support" the AMD Tbird. I was a little worried when Windows booted with a Blue Screen a quick tweak to the voltage fixed that. Since Windows was booting fine I thought what the hey and decided to overclock this beast already. Using our Free Speed Pro 2 we pushed the voltage up to 1.75 from 1.65 and clock it up to 1Ghz to see how it would go. No go... So I tried pushing the voltage right up to 1.85v @ 1GHz but still no luck. I managed to get this AMD Tbird running pretty stable @ 950MHz using 1.75v. Not bad for active air cooling, I was although hoping for 1GHz or more... But we'll work more on this "problem".
Athlon -vs- Thunderbird
The AMD Athlon and Thunderbird chips are pretty much identical, except for one major difference... The AMD Thunderbird carries 256kb (not including L1 Cache) L2 Cache which runs at full speed (same speed as MHz clock) and is Ondie meaning it is embedded directly onto the core. Whereas the original Athlon has 512kb L2 Cache running at 1/2 CPU MHz clock. The original Athlon core is manufactured on a .25 and .18 (there are more .18 micron Athlons than .25 micron Athlons) micron and the Thunderbird core is manufactured on a .18 micron which means that the Thunderbird draws less power then the original Athlon and also produces less heat. If the Thunderbird were to have L2 Cache external from the core the Thunderbird could have been manufactured on a amazingly small .13 micron which draws even less power and heat. This is indeed the way of the future, I was once told, "Bigger is better" but in this case, "Smaller is better". The main bottleneck of the Athlon CPU is the off die L2 Cache which can NOT be accessed as quickly as the ondie L2 Cache of the AMD Thunderbird. These are the main differences of the Thunderbird compared to the Athlon CPU, apart from that the PCB and casing are exactly the same in both CPU's. The main things to remember is all Thunderbirds are manufactured on a .18 micron process and the L2 Cache is on die meaning it runs @ full speed clock.
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