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- Posted on
December 29, 2007, 6:09 pm
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I am attempting to upgrade this computer to its absolute limits for
use in elementary school classes at a small private school. According
to Gateway, the max RAM is 256MB (2x128MB) PC66 and the max CPU is a
Celeron 400 with a 66MHz FSB.
It has a Phoenix Bios 4k4UE0X1.15A.0007.P07.
When I recieved the computer it was a Celeron 366/66Mhz with two DIMMs
installed and was counting to 384MB on post. I opened it up and it
had one 256MB PC100 DIMM and one 128MB PC100 DIMM. I have now placed
two 256MB PC100 DIMMs in the system and it counts to 512MB. Obviously
the manual was written before 256MB DIMMs were available for testing.
According to Gateway's guide "Maintaining and Troubleshooting your
E-1200 System" (http://support.gateway.com/s/manuals/servers/eseries /
8503413.pdf), you can jumper the mobo and get into a maintenance mode
in the bios and configure the bus speed. In a later document (http://
addendum is made that the Celeron CPUs can automatically configure the
board to the correct bus speed. This seems to be the case, because
the option to change the speed doesn't appear in the bios setup
utility, even in configure mode.
It makes me wonder, however, if that board was designed for a
different cpu and if so, if with a different cpu than the Celeron 333,
366 or 400 were installed, if the options to change the bus speed
would show up. Does anyone have any insights?
Re: Gateway E-1200 Series Computer with 4000508 Motherboard
You can find some info on the SC242 connector in documents from Intel.
On PDF page 22 of that document, you can see a table of "BSEL" values.
There are two signals delivered by the processor, to the motherboard,
that are encoded to indicate the proper bus clock to use. The
motherboard has a clock generator on it. You look up the clock generator
to see whether it can synthesize the various options (66/100/133MHz).
You also judge the capabilities of a system, by the chipset used.
A 440BX has been run up to 150MHz for example. Some of the precursors
are only really good for much lower frequencies.
The BSEL signals can run from the processor slot, to the clock generator
chip, and maybe even to the Northbridge. (I don't remember what all now.)
On more modern systems, there have been various schemes to intercept or
modify the BSEL signals. (Intel intended for the hardware chips to be
directly connected, but various motherboard schemes involve preventing
that from happening, and driving the signals with general purpose
I cannot find any other details about that machine, as to what
chipset it runs. If I wanted a system with more performance,
and it didn't look like more clock rate was attainable, I
might look for a processor with more cache on it. Celerons
usually have less cache than Pentium processors.
Another item is Vcore. While there are lots of different flavors
of processors with SC242 connectors on them, the supply voltage they
use changed with the tech level. For example, a Tualatin ((S370 mounted
in a slocket adapter) uses 1.5V. A relatively high speed Coppermine
might be 1.65V. Some of the older processors used 2.0V or more.
The Vcore circuit on some motherboards, is not capable of providing
the lower voltage values mentioned in the previous paragraph. At
least in one case, what happens is, the Vcore circuit is programmed
to deliver zero volts, in the incompatible cases (no harm done). But
there is always the possibility, if mixing really new and really old tech,
of an "accident" and "magic smoke" appearing. You should know
a bit about your system, before becoming reckless with it.
As an example, I have a 440BX motherboard from Asus. I did the research,
and discovered that there were pin compatible Vcore regulator chips
available. I actually unsoldered an older chip, and put a newer one
in its place. That allowed me to use a relatively cheap "slocket" adapter,
so I could run a Tualatin processor in my older system. That is an
example of the adventures you can have, if there is enough tech
info available for the motherboard. You can even do stuff like
change the clock generator chip, but for me, that was a bit too
risky (many pins, fine pitch).
But if the chipset (Northbridge) is one of the poorer efforts from
Intel, for those, just leave them alone. The 440BX at least, had
more room for fun and games.
Re: Gateway E-1200 Series Computer with 4000508 Motherboard
The max is 256MB per slot of low density (normally PC100)
memory. Max CPU might've been a Celeron 400 or around
Pentium 600 because of the slot and 100MHz FSB, but in
theory it might be possible to use a slotket adapter and run
a Coppermine Celeron - possibly requiring a slotket adapter
jumpered to 1.8V if the board can't support lower than that.
Reasonably speaking, the time and experimentation to get
this system from it's present 366MHz up to a higher speed
may have diminishing returns. Since it probably has only
two memory slots I would just replace the 128MB DIMM with a
256MB DIMM for 512MB total.
I think this was a legacy setting for back when Intel wasn't
sure or didn't yet disclose what FSB and multipliers it
would use, then they proceeded to multiplier-lock processors
so the manual adjustments weren't needed anymore - except by
The reasonable limit to your board is a Katmai P3 or Celeron
up to 533MHz, though the Celerons over some speed - perhaps
400MHz or thereabouts, only came in socket 370 format and so
would need an adapter to work in a slot 1 board. Given the
extra time and increasing expense (unless you happened to
have a bunch of processors lying around), it's probably not
worth the time relative to looking for a bit newer
motheboard instead, which would of course support faster
processors without an adapter. An adapter plus shipping
might cost as much as such an old (but newer than that one)
motherboard, or nearly so.
Seems to be 440EX chipset? Meaning it runs the AGP slot and
PCI/IDE controller out of spec past 100MHz FSB. Some people
did successfully run them at 133MHz FSB and higher but it
hardly seems worth the experimentation or stability risks to
try it today.
Using a google search for part of the bios string I found
several references to 440EX chipset.
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