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Evergreen PerformaSE 766 CPU Upgrade
Author: Chris Oh
Date Posted: June 14th, 2001
URL: http://www.slcentral.com/reviews/hardware/processors/evergreen/performase766

Introduction

There are a lot of stubborn people out there, people that claim that they paid $3000 for a good system 3 years ago and it's not economical to buy a new one. Those are the people that help slow sales of computers and computer parts =). Of course, there are a lot more of theses people out there than we think (i.e. baby boomers). Until they learn that computers are a technology that moves faster than light and keeping the same one for over a year and a half is suicide, they will stick to their old, run down computers, trying to squeeze more than enough life out of it and complain when the newest, greatest software and games run slow on it. Computers are a worthwhile investment for the most part but a power system meant to be the best at everything probably wont be the best in 3 months. You have got to love that about computers, they are machines with a limited life span but there are always the trusty old beasts you keep for a lifetime, be it the one you wrote your first program on or the first computer played DOOM with. These legacy machines are just sitting on the floor in the basement collecting dust (mine is). So what is there to do to make your machine more up to date? Surprisingly, a lot… upgrades can be made to almost every aspect of the machine including processor, ram, hard drive, cd-rom/dvd-rom/cd-rw, etc… that's the beauty of computers and standardized parts, you can upgrade them to you hearts desire. But what if you have an old Slot-1 system tat runs on the aged LX chipset? They cannot support the new, faster 100MHz and 133MHz Pentium's and they sure as heck can't support the FC-PGA Coppermines. That was the common consensus until we discovered a product from Evergreen Technologies, long known for their processor upgrade kits. Evergreen has made a processor kit that lets you upgrade that old Slot-1 66Mhz LX chipset computer (333Mhz maximum) into a 766Mhz Celeron processor (Coppermine). A great idea and a great potential increase in speed. Of course we had to check it out and we have had one in the labs for a while now and we were quite impressed with the speed of the new processor but how does it stack up in value and speed?

The Product

The Evergreen Performa kit comes with everything you need to upgrade your LX Slot-1 motherboard up to 766Mhz. It is supposed to be an automatic upgrade as in your BIOS should recognize it as it's own chip and everything will instantly be sped up. Plug and play installation can be applied to this chip upgrade.

Specs

  • Upgrades 233 MHz and higher Pentium II processor-based systems
  • Supports Slot 1 Pentium II motherboards
  • Enables high quality enhanced imaging with iSSE And MMX technology
  • Exceeds performance needed to run Microsoft 2000
  • Supports popular Operating Systems such as Windows and DOS
  • Requires no software or OS reinstallation
  • Includes step-by-step illustrated guide for easy installation
  • Automatic clock multiplier
  • 1 year warranty

Installation

The kit comes with everything you need to install the upgrade in any legacy computer. Upon analysis, the Performa basically looks like a CuMine slocket with a Celeron chip inside. Although slockets like these are available from other manufacturers, none comes with the processor as a kit and carries a warranty. Although you might be paying more for this upgrade than buying it, the support factor and warranty should make up for it for most people. Installation was done on an old Pentium II 333 computer.

Specs:
  • Intel Pentium II 333Mhz
  • 64MB PC66 SDRAM
  • 8.4GB Maxtor Hard Drive 5400RPM
  • Intel 440LX chipset motherboard with integrated video and sound
  • 5X DVD-ROM drive

Installation was mostly painless although a little trying. The people this upgrade is aimed towards might not feel comfortable opening up their systems to upgrade this themselves so that's a minus since it involves removing the old processor and inserting the new kit into it's place and reconnecting the HSF's power connector. Self-installation, however, can be easily done following the instructions carefully. Once installed properly, I was concerned that the computer might not like the new upgrade and display some bugs. To my good surprise, my computer immediately showed signs of increased speed in all tasks without any installation or additional software. This is a true plug and play device.

Hardware-wise, the device seems to be well put together, it comes with both the processor and the CPU mounted on the slocket and basically all it requires is to be inserted into the slot and connected to the motherboard's power connector.

Usage

Although many tasks were greatly increased in speed, there were some bottlenecks in the computer that slowed potential performance. This includes the slow (5400RPM) hard drive, the meager (64MB) SDRAM and the integrated sound and video. Upgrading the RAM next should be top priority followed by the hard drive. The added speed was very good in all applications and helpful in every aspect of using the computer. The great thing is that now the computer is recognized as a Celeron 766MHz and has all the benefits including the new instruction sets for the new Coppermine processors and the increased efficiency of MMX. Windows boot speeds increased by 4-5 seconds, which is good but not great because of the slow hard drive. Quake III framerates almost doubled from 35FPS to 68FPS at low resolutions but high resolutions basically stayed the same because of the cheap video. Quicker response time was experienced in every test we did and we are happy to say that every processor test we ran showed the increase of more than 50% from the previous tests. When upgraded with 64MB more RAM and a faster hard drive, the old system seemed like one of our SystemLogic.net workstations in response time and raw speed which is impressive.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Really does increase computer performance
  • Easy to install
  • Plug-and-play
Cons
  • Might lead to other upgrades
  • High price
  • Manual installation not appealing to some people

Conclusion

Although this is a good upgrade for Pentium II systems, it might lead to more upgrades in terms of RAM and hard drives as needed to guarantee maximum efficiency of the upgrade. Most Pentium II systems shipped with only 64MB RAM, barely enough to run Windows 98 effectively and sure as heck not enough to run Windows 2000 at it's best. Upgrading your processor will show benefits but it will not be worth the money unless you are planning to upgrade your ram or hard drive. Upgrading the hard drive from 5400RPM to 7200RPM will result in faster access times (up to 30%) and upping the RAM to 128MB guarantee another good 15%+ increase in performance. But when it comes down to the numbers, upgrading the processor to the 766 will garner the highest performance increase just because of the brute power of the processor. So what am I saying? Having a fast processor without complementing the other parts of the computer is a waste, why only upgrade half the system when you can do the rest, especially when prices on RAM and hard drives are so low. Overall, the upgrade is a great way to add some life to that old system and the only thing that sets it back in our book is the high price and also the self-installation and how it can be overwhelming to most people.

Rating: 7/10 SystemLogistics

Re-Printed From SLCentral