AMD’s Athlon has been enjoying its new Thunderbird core for a little over a month now and it has been blessed with the company of its younger brother, the Duron, for a couple weeks as well.  In spite of the length of time that we’ve known about both of these CPUs, it seems like we’re discovering new things about AMD’s flagship and their value processors almost daily.

The most recent discovery happened to be made by the very source that originally cracked the code on how to overclock the original Slot-A Athlons.  Tom’s Hardware Guide, one of the founders of the online hardware enthusiast community that we have today, published an extensive article on how the ASUS A7V allowed for the multiplier on both the AMD Athlon (Thunderbird) and the Duron to be adjusted. 

Even more recently, the Guide published information from AMD relating to the fact that only “engineering samples” of Thunderbird and Duron processors would allow their clock multipliers to be altered by the A7V and final shipping parts would not be as overclocking friendly. 

While we have yet to prove that the limited number of Socket-A Thunderbirds and Durons currently on the market do in fact fall in line with AMD’s claim that they are completely multiplier locked, we did manage to discover that ASUS’ A7V wasn’t the only motherboard capable of manipulating the clock multiplier on the engineering sample Thunderbird and Duron CPUs we have been using in the lab for the past few weeks. 

The first Socket-A motherboard we ever received was VIA’s KT133 reference board, which we got our hands on weeks before we even had a Thunderbird to play around with.  The reference KT133 board interested us because it did feature clock multiplier adjustments on the board itself, but upon testing the board with our Thunderbird CPUs we quickly realized that the multiplier settings had no effect on our seemingly clock locked CPUs. 

Shortly thereafter, we received a handful of other Socket-A motherboards, the Gigabyte GA-7ZM, the FIC AZ-11 and its OEM counterpart, a motherboard from a Compaq Thunderbird/Duron system.  Little did we know that the AZ-11 we received back in May featured the same settings that ASUS’ A7V was discovered to have. 

The First AZ-11

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