The End Is Near
By now we are pretty much at the end of the sweet days of overclocking. The upcoming Intel chips Katmai and the socketed Celeron will not allow any form of overclocking anymore and it would be no surprise if even the well known Pentium II and Celeron chips we know now, will soon also be equipped with Intel's new overclocking protection. AMD seems to consider the same, so that there will be hardly any new chip available that will allow us to tweak its performance by running it faster than it is supposed to.
In the last three years rumors have been many. You could read many times that Intel would finally put an end to overclocking, but so far nothing much has happened. Intel's old strategy of locking the multipliers of CPUs has become pretty common these days, but many of us were still well able to run our CPU a lot faster than specified. Now Intel has made reality of what many people foretold and feared already months and years ago. The upcoming CPUs are of course multiplier locked as we already know it, but now there is also a circuit included into the processor that checks the bus speed or FSB clock. If this clock exceeds the specified limit, the CPU simply refuses to run. That will put an end to people running their CPUs for 66 MHz FSB at 75, 83, 95, 100 or even 112 MHz, a 100 MHz FSB CPU will not do 112, 124 or even 133 MHz anymore as well.
A Beetle with a 12 Cylinders Engine
Now why is that so irritating? After all everyone gets the CPU he paid for and if someone wants a faster CPU he will have to pay more. Well, it's not quite as easy as that.
Imagine you are buying a car. You don't want to spend that much money, so you go for a small engine. This engine could e.g. a 1.8 liter engine with 4 cylinders and maybe 120 horsepowers. You will have a pretty hard time getting 400 bhp out of this engine unless you get a specialist putting in turbo chargers or compressors, costing you a lot of money.
Your friend spent more money for his car and he got a cool 7.3 liter V12 engine with 580 bhp. This engine is a lot bigger and a lot more expensive to build, so it's pretty much fair enough that the engine costs a lot more than your 4-cylinders engine. It's a lot different with Intel CPUs though. If we want to continue with the car example, you would have to imagine that your cheap car would also have the 7.3 liter V12 in it, but the manufacturer was changing the engine so that it produces only 120 bhp, although it could do more. In the past you could open the bonnet and fiddle around with this engine a little, so that your cheap car would finally run as fast as the expensive car of your friend. Why would the car maker do that? Well, for him (Intel) it may be cheaper producing 7.3 liter V12s only, rather than manufacturing a wide spread of different engines. He only includes a few tricks and can adjust this big powerful engine to any kind of performance he likes. He is making good money selling this engine in a cheap car already, but he is making really great money if someone should be so crazy paying double or triple for the same engine with nothing else but a different label on it.
The most recent proof that the above comparison is almost correct, is Intel's Pentium II 300 processor with the S-spec 'SL2W8'. Those CPUs carry an almost complete 7.3 liter V12, but are sold as 1.8 liter 4 cylinders engine. In other words, these PII 300 CPUs are almost perfect PII 450 CPUs. Don't worry that Intel is losing money here, as a matter of fact they just enjoy people paying more than double for the 'real' PII 450, because that will increase their quarterly earnings considerably.
This article is meant to advise you on how to avoid paying too much for the so-called 'real McCoy'. The times of overclocking will be over soon and you may want to grab one of those bargains before it's too late.