Our Russian friends from OverClockers.ru web-site have just done it again! If you remember, they were the first to overclock the new AMD Duron microprocessors and they were the first to transform RADEON 9500 128MB into fully-featured RADEON 9700 graphics card, now they pushed the limits further and tried to perform a nearly impossible trick: to turn the new AMD Duron CPUs into AMD Athlon XP microprocessors. I do not have to tell you that they succeeded!
There is hardly a point to transform a $45 Duron processor into a $60 Athlon XP one, but, on the other hand, such modification is very interesting from theoretical point of view. We remember that AMD Athlon XP “Thorton” processors are set to appear in the market pretty soon, given that Thorton core is an altered Barton core and has only 256KB of L2 in contrast to Barton’s 512KB of L2, we assume that there will be a way to transform Thorton into Barton winning a massive gain in performance. Hence, the Duron is only the beginning!
If you take a closer look on AMD Duron and AMD Athlon XP processors you will notice only tiny difference: an L2 bridge is not locked on the Duron processor. If you lock it again, everything should work and the processor will have an L2 cache of 256KB!
Believe it or not, but, at least, some of AMD Duron microprocessors functioned very well with re-soldered L2 and functional 256KB of L2 cache! Unfortunately, not all Duron CPUs may work absolutely correctly with 256KB of L2, and the report tells us about a Duron processor with enabled 256KB of L2 that crashed system again and again until the guys switched the L2 off in BIOS. Another Duron chip worked absolutely stable with 256KB of L2 even when overclocked, thus, there is a lottery with Duron processors with functional 256KB L2 at this point.
According to the web-site, the Duron processors 1.60GHz with 266MHz EV-6 FSB and functional 256KB L2 performs as fast as the AMD Athlon XP 1900+ (1600MHz, 266MHz FSB) chips that have 256KB of L2 by default.
To sum up, we now know for sure that the new Duron processors utilize the Thoroughbred core with 256KB of L2 and sometimes capable of working at 2.20 – 2.30GHz. We also have just learned how to switch on the L2 cache on AMD Duron processors and we are ready to meet the Thorton and enable 512KB of cache. Unfortunately, we still do not know about the correlation between L2 bridges and CPU pins and in case Thorton chips utilize the new packaging without bridges, there will be a lot of difficulties with their modifications...