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Introduction

Most everyone in the PC hardware scene nowadays will have heard of the AMD Duron and its 'legendary' overclockability and speed. Often beating Intel Coppermine CPUs at equivalent clockspeeds, the Duron has become one of the most sought after upgrades of choice. In my personal opinion, the name AMD has become synonymous with the work OVERCLOCKING. With the advent of the Athlon CPUs, and the discovery of how easily overclockable the CPUs were, hardware enthusiasts and newbies alike rushed to own one, all for *free* MHz. Who wouldn't want to buy a CPU rated for, say, 650MHz and run it at 900MHz, only paying for the 650MHz and getting the extra 250MHz literally for free.

One of the main plus points of the Duron solution is that the Duron costs a much less than Intel based CPUs at equivalent clockspeeds. For instance, the Duron 650 would go for roughly RM 170 whereas the Celeron for RM 339. The P3 700 goes for roughly RM 500+, providing you can still find any. (RM 1 = USD 3.80 ). The major downsides of getting a Duron based system is that one will have to get a Socket A based motherboard which is considerably more expensive than Intel CPU-compatible motherboards. Socket A motherboards from the likes of MSI, ASUS and ABIT go for at least RM 350 - 500+. Socket 370 motherboards would go for maybe RM 300-400. Possibly, you would also need to get better RAM to go with the Duron system, as some AMD motherboards tend to appreciate the use of better quality SDRAM. Generic SDRAM should work, providing you don't try and push the RAM any higher than the SDRAM specifications. Then again, there ARE cheapy SDRAM modules that won't run on the KT133 and above motherboards. Preferably, one should use quality pc133 SDRAM as its become a common feature for AMD motherboards to be able to run FSB speeds and SDRAM speeds independently.

Now onto a little bit on the architecture and design of the Duron CPU in general. If you feel you've read this before, the feel free to skip it. Basically, AMD took the core of the classic Athlon CPU and moved it to the 0.18 micron process, obviously allowing for higher clockspeeds in a smaller package. The L2 cache was reduced to 64KB, but could run at full speed due to being integrated on the die of the CPU. The L1 cache was retained at 128KB, thus the total cache of the Duron came up to 192KB. One important speed enhancing feature of the Duron's cache is that the cache is mutually exclusive, in the sense that whatever data thats in the L1 cache isn't duplicated in the L2 cache. As with all Athlon CPUs, the Duron also retains the 200MHz EV6 memory bus. The Duron is limited only to Socket A motherboards. In the early stages of design, the Duron was actually codenamed 'Spitfire'. Eventually, they took two Latin words, 'Durare' meaning 'lasting', and 'On' meaning 'unit', and combined the two together to come up with the name 'Duron', literally meaning 'lasting unit'.

Points to Ponder >>


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