Overclocking the Athlon
One of the main snags that prevents any Pentium III or Celeron owner from overclocking their processor to its full potential is Intel's multiplier lock first instituted on the Pentium II line. With the multiplier lock, the CPU's clock multiplier can't be modified. As a result, when overclocking the processor the only setting you can modify directly related to the processor's speed is the system bus. This frustrates many users when overclocking, especially when dealing with the Celeron.
Intel's reasoning for this was to cut down on CPU remarking. Remarking CPU's is the process of selling a CPU at a speed higher than it was originally designed for.
AMD on the other hand, has never instituted any form of lock on their CPU's. When overclocking an AMD CPU you can modify the bus speed and clock multiplier to achieve a desired speed. With the Athlon release, overclockers everywhere dreamed of the performance potential of an overclocked Athlon setup.
Overclocking the Athlon
Unfortunately, overclocking an Athlon system isn't as easy as changing a few jumpers and booting up the system. The problem lies in the design of the Athlon CPU itself. While previous AMD and Intel CPU's allowed users to modify the core voltage and clock multiplier via the system BIOS or jumpers on the motherboard, with the Athlon your only option is on the Athlon cartridge itself.
First off, you'll have to remove the plastic black housing surrounding the Athlon cartridge. After that, you'll have to know which resistors control each CPU setting and adjust them with a soldering iron to the proper position. After investing $500 on a brand-spanking new Athlon CPU, it's pretty obvious to see that even the most experienced overclocker will be hesitant to attempt this.
For this reason, we're a little disappointed with the Athlon. AMD representatives stated to many online journalists that the Athlon CPU's would be very overclockable. As a result many Athlon followers falsely believed that the Athlon would be just as easy to overclock as previous AMD processors.
If you're a little hesitant to modify the Athlon itself, another overclocking option lies in the motherboard. At the time of writing, the Asus K7M and FIC SD11 are the only motherboards that allow you to modify the frontside bus speed. (FSB) Unfortunately, many users are reporting difficulties overclocking their FSB above 110 MHz. Until chipset manufacturer's release products that officially support 133MHz bus speeds and above, Athlon users will have a hard time overclocking their FSB to the same speeds many BX users are currently enjoying.