Max processor support for 440BX Gateway?

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I have an older Gateway E-4200 machine with a Intel 440BX motherboard.
BIOS revision is 4MPB0X1.15A.0018.P09

It originally had a P2 300 MHz, which I replaced with a spare P3 Katmai
500 MHz I had. It worked fine except the BIOS reports the processor as
a "Pentium II 500 MHz".

I was curious if anyone knows the maximum processor this thing can take
as I am planning on upgrading the system. I've seen postings in the 600
MHz range but I'm curious if it would also support the P3 Coppermine
processor line. Ideally I'd like to get the 1 GHz model :)

Any ideas?


Re: Max processor support for 440BX Gateway?

The 440BX can only recognize Pentium II's.


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Re: Max processor support for 440BX Gateway?

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Dave, at the bottom of this page is a 440BX based board.
It is running two PIII-S processors 1.4Ghz/FSB133/512KB cache,
at a bus speed of FSB150. The board is equipped with three
sticks of PC150 RAM. The AGP video card runs at 100MHz (whereas
the normal value is 66MHz). I think the 440BX is worth a
bit more credit than "can only recognize Pentium II's".

The motherboard design and the BIOS have a part to play too.
The newer processors need a Vcore circuit that can deliver
1.5V , and that is something you can retrofit (I did that
to my board). Or you can use a Powerleap slocket.

In the case of the OPs Gateway box, the real question is
exactly what is the BIOS capable of.

If you go to and
select "Powerleap Upgrade Configurator", when you enter
Gateway E-4200, the tool returns:

   "We offer the following compatible upgrades for the Gateway E-4200.

    PL-iP3/T 1.2 GHz/100 MHz FSB Intel "Tualatin" Celeron $119.95
    Note: Installation of the CPU upgrade requires a Universal
    Retention Mechanism (URM)."

So the OP does have some options. The Powerleap board has its
own VRM onboard, so the regulator on the motherboard is not an
issue. The BIOS can still be an issue with solutions like this,
so it would pay to email Powerleap first and check if a particular
BIOS is needed. Powerleap used to have a separate database that
contained customer feedback and some notes, and that is the info
you'd want to get before purchasing.

I've used a 1.4Ghz and a 1.1GHz processor on my board (without
a Powerleap), and my board still works. I just don't use it any

Is it worth spending $120 to fix up an old board like that ?
I upgraded mine, but that was a few years ago.


Re: Max processor support for 440BX Gateway?

Edward wrote:

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Is this your chipset? /

Re: Max processor support for 440BX Gateway?

Edward wrote:
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You're very close to the limit already.

Re: Max processor support for 440BX Gateway?


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Many 440BX boards could run Coppermines (100MHz FSB version
only as 133FSB version was technically overclocking the
chipset which some boards could do but is an unnecessary and
likely complication at this point in time).

The board would need appropriate voltage regulator support
(typically 1.5, 1.6 or 1.65V used by Coppermines) OR to use
a slotket with adjustable voltage AND set that slotket to
1.8V.  I suspect your board does support down to at least
1.5V though, as others had ran Coppermine in Intel boards
fine... Intel was a bit ahead of the pack, engineered better
440BX boards than anybody else in that era, IMO.

2nd issue is the bios, it "might" need be new enough to post
with the Coppermine, but after a certain point Intel *fixed*
their bios to unnecessarily halt the system if a Coppermine
was detected.  Here is an example of a post I made regarding
that a few years ago, but my memory of the particular boards
on any given OEM box is not so good today, I don't know
which board your system has. &
AND as importantly, I don't know if the bios being from
Gateway is a problem, often the bios version # still
corresponded to what Intel had released on their retail
board but Gateway might not even offer (if they ever did)
the newer bios for your board beyond a few scattered updates
(install of all that Intel released).

Hre is a thread with a report by someone who used bios
version 21 and had results even with a Tualatin CPU, but the
powerleap adapters tended to have onboard voltage
regulation, I don't think it a good idea to try a Tualatin
instead of Coppermine.

Overall though, it may not be worth the time to try faster
CPUs than what you have.  There is a reasonable chance of
getting a Coppermine to work but also that it won't.  The
board also had the other significant limitations such as
ATA33, AGP2X, and 512MB memory (more only if buffered).
IOW, installing a faster CPU could be a bit of a mismatch
for the rest of the system.

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