Overclocking has come a long way since the first PCs rolled out. From trying to squeeze out an extra half MHz on an XT, the more daring have gone on to dropping their systems in liquid nitrogen and other exotic coolants. One thing is for certain, this is no longer only the domain of the uber-geek. If there was ever a point when overclocking became somewhat mainstream, it would have to have been when the Celeron 300A was released.
I'm sure most of us reading this article have had some sort of Celeron that was overclocked to hell, be it the 300A or the 366. The amount of effort involved in overclocking a Celeron was almost negligible. The gains? Oh lordy! Back when the 300A was out, the fastest Pentium II released was the PII 450MHz. For a little over $100, that little 300A took you right to the top. Gems such as these don't come too often. A 50% overclock with nothing but a hunk of metal and a fan is a lot to ask from any processor, but to take you to the top? That was just unthinkable before.
The Money Factor
Sure, we've had our usual crop of processors that overclock really well. The 700E and the older Durons and TBirds come to mind. The key thing is that few of them gave the really high-end processors a run for their money. A 700E hopped up to 933MHz may close the gap with a real 1 GHz, but it didn't quite give that same feeling to your wallet that the 300A did.
The Durons are cheap power, but they could never compete against the TBirds or Pentium 4s. Sure you can overclock the hell out of them for no money at all, but in the end you end up with something that still can't go toe to toe with the top dogs.
So what's the hullabaloo about now? Four letters my friends. AXIA. These four letters denote the processor code on the AMD Thunderbird. There is a bit more to this code as well. If you take a look at the picture of the processor below, you will see AXIA0110TPEW. The most important part of this lettering is the AXIA code. If you don't get one of those, your attempts at overclocking in the upper echelon of speed ranges will probably be rather short-lived.
AXIA action, I got a little excited.
My messy lines for unlocking the CPU.
The second set of important information involves the numbers following the AXIA code. 0110 - in our case. These numbers denote the date the processor was manufactured. The first two numbers denote the year, in this case 2001. The second set of numbers tell us what week the processor was manufactured, in our case this is the 10th week. That places the production date of our particular processor around mid-March. Hot off the presses! This processor popped out of the oven not 2-3 weeks ago. We've been raving about Durons and Thunderbirds for quite some time now. With the newest batch of Thunderbirds, it sure as hell isn't going to stop anytime soon.