Tom’s Hardware France have published a really interesting article / slide show for anyone with a taste for old PC hardware, especially older CPUs. The article is in French as you might expect (Google Translate to the rescue…) and is entitled ‘Les 17 processeurs mythiques de l'histoire de l'overclocking’. Written by Don Woligroski it basically offers a trip down memory lane from a strictly overclocking perspective. Well worth a look if you are of the retro inclination.
The slide show goes back as far as 1992, looking at the Intel i486 DX2, a single core 32-bit chip that arrived in three versions; 40 MHz, 50 MHz and 66 MHz. In classic overclocking fashion it was possible for enthusiasts to buy a cheaper i486DX2-40 (40MHz) then change the bus speed from 20MHz to 33MHz via a jumper on the motherboard to basically get the same performance as the more expensive i486DX2-66. A nice free upgrade with a boost of 65%, a massive boost when you’re paying $600 a pop.
Other classic chips include the AMD Athlon Duron series from around the turn of the millennium. Back then it was possible to unlock the multiplier of a cheaper Duron CPU by using a pencil or even better, conductive ink to alter the golden bridges present on the CPU. This allowed you to crank up the performance of the $80 budget CPU to something much closer to a $300 Athlon part. The old good days really were pretty good, no?