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RaQ3 / RaQ4 CPU Upgrade

Document Version: 001d. last update 11-November-2007 Howie Dines


[Anatomy of the AMD K6 in a RaQ]

The AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) K6 processor has been a firm favourite for clocker's over the years. To this end, there seems to be an overload in documentation about what can be achieved.
This document isn't going down the clocking route, but will concentrate on the options available to be used in the RaQ 3 & 4 appliances.

The following 3 processor types are the ones or particular interest to the RaQ user.

K6-2
  • 64KB L1 cache
  • 0.25 micron manufacturing process
K6-2+
  • 64KB L1 cache
  • 128KB L2 cache 4-way full speed
  • 0.18 micron manufacturing process
K6-III+
  • 64KB L1 cache
  • On-chip 256KB L2 cache operating at full processor speed
  • Up to 1MB of L3 cache on the external 100MHz front-side bus
  • 0.18 micron manufacturing process

The K6-2(K6-3D) is the standard processer used in the RaQ, be it the 300MHz or the 450MHz. It has a core voltage of 2.2v

The K6-2+ had 128KB of L2 cache. The core voltage was reduced to 2.0v and so runs cooler.

The K6-III+ had double the L2 cache of the k6-2+ (256KB). It also allowed for L3 cache. The core voltage remained at 2.0v.

Info    If you happen to have a RaQ4i, you will notice it's fitted with a 475MHz processor but underclocked to run at 450MHz.





[Identification Numbers]

To illustrate the various parts of the identification number, the standard RaQ3 processor AMD K6-2/300AFR is expanded in the following table. Other useful options for RaQ are also included.


AMD-K6-2
 
Processer Number
   K6-2  K6-2 processor
 K6-2+  K6-2+ processor
 K6-III+  K6-III+ processor
300
 
Frequency (MHz)
     
A
 
Package Type
   A  321-pin ceramic PGA
F
 
Core Voltage
   C  2.0V 0.1V
 F  2.2V 0.1V
R
 
Max Operating Temp
   K  80C
 Q  60C
 R  70C
 X  65C
 Z  85C

A complete list of all K6 identification numbers can be found at cpu-world.com.






[The upgrade Process]

There are 3 options than can be followed.

  • 1) Known as the 'Thin Wire' option.
  • 2) 'Soldered link', to the underside of the motherboard.
  • 3) Removing / adding surface mount resistors/link wires.

1. 'Thin Wire'

If you have a RaQ3 and do not like the idea of attacking your system with a soldering iron. Then this is your option.
With this option all you are doing is changing the processor multiplier from x3 to x5.

You would need a couple of dollar CPU from eBay
(say the AMD K6-2/500AFX) and a piece of thin wire.
The core voltage is kept the same (2.2v) so you have to keep an eye on the resultant higher running temperature.

With the processor removed, the wire is inserted into the top of the socket 7 connector. The location for the wire can be see in the following picture.

I won't go into the details of the pin numbers etc... as this is well documented on Zeffie.com or on Cobaltfacts.

2. 'Soldered link'

This version is just a more 'robust' version of the first 'thin wire' option. It's now been superseeded by adding a soldered link at point R209(P).

This method was used before details of resistors at points R207(M) / R208(N) / R209(P) became common knowledge.

3. Changing The Surface Mounted Resistors

The third and final method is now the recommended route for a robust system. It is actually very simple to make the required changes to processor core voltage and the frequency multiplier.

This method involves removing 'zero ohm' resistors or adding straight wire links. This work will involve soldering on the motherboard, but on the top surface ! You don't even have to remove the motherboard from the case, just unplug the RAM and the working area is revealed.

The following section explains the required changes and shows the location of the connections.






[Core Voltage & Frequency Multiplier]

Both core voltage and the processor speed multiplier are set via the presence of a zero ohm resistor. In the following charts the location of the zero ohm resistor is represented by "0"

A zero ohm resistor is another way of making a direct link, so for any modifications made, a straight piece of wire can be used.

Core Voltage Selection

Info    The example picture in the following table shows a resistor at location R197(B) this represents the standard Raq3, 2.2v core voltage.

(Usage)
Volts
Resistors
  
 

 
   
R196
A
R197
B
R198
C
R190
D
R200
E
 
1.8
 
0
 
0
0
 RaQ4
2.0
 
0
0
0
0
 RaQ3
2.2
 
0
     
 
2.4
   
0
   

Bus Frequency Multiplier ( x100MHz)

Info    The example picture in the following table shows a resistor at location R208(N) this represents the standard Raq3, 3.0x(100)MHz.

(Usage)
Feq.
Resistors
  
 

 
   
R207
M
R208
N
R209
P
 * See Note Below
x2.0
0
   
 
x2.5
0
0
 
 RaQ3
x3.0
 
0
 
 
x3.5
     
 
x4.0
0
 
0
 RaQ4
x4.5
0
0
0
 
x5.0
 
0
0
 
x5.5
   
0
 * See Note Below
x6.0
0
   

Info    (x2.0/x6.0), Note that the x6.0 setting only works on the K6-2CXT, K6-III, K6-2+ and K6-III+ CPU's. Other CPU's will only do x2.0 with this setting.
 
Info    CS51311-D-3.pdf Page 3 of the data sheet from the Onsemi website, showing all voltage and frequency settings.
Info    CS51311-D.PDF The direct link to the full data sheet (now obsolete) on onsemi.com

Many forums have people stating that they can't get a 500MHz CPU runing on a RaQ4. Some even state it's not possible.
The answer to this is simple. They are trying the 'thin wire link' in the Socket 7 option.

What in reality they are trying to do is make the R209(P) contact, but as you can see all 3 zero ohm resistors would already be in place on the motherboard. Adding an extra link does nothing and the clock speed is fixed at 450MHz.

The correct procedure would be to remove the resistor at location R207(M).






[What's the Ultimate CPU for the RaQ ?]

If you could have the ultimate CPU and you wanted to keep away from clocking, I guess it would have to be the AMD-K6-III+/550ACR. It has the most cache (64KB L1 cache, an on-chip 256KB L2 cache operating at full processor speed, and up to 1MB of L3 cache on the external 100MHz front-side bus) the 550MHz Speed and has a 2.0V core voltage, making it run cool.

 

There is one main problem with the AMD-K6-III+/550ACR, they are a little rare and we you do find them they are expensive. On eBay they go for as much as you can pick up the whole Raq3/4 !

If you are prepared to have a 'play' with clock speeds and core voltages. As a rule of thumb, go for the K6-III and the K6-III+ processors with a core voltage of 2.0v or 1.8v
These will give you an amount of headroom to push the processor above it's rated speed and still be stable.






[Keeping your Processor Cool]

Whatever processor you end up with in your RaQ, you should check it's operational temperature.
If you find you are near to the maximum operating temperature, you should consider upgrading the heatsink or the system fans. A 1U heatsink / fan maybe a viable option.

You can check the processor temperature on a standard Raq with the following command.

# cat /proc/cpuinfo

[root@new admin]# cat /proc/cpuinfo
processor : 0
vendor_id : AuthenticAMD
cpu family : 5
model : 8
model name : AMD-K6(tm) 3D processor
stepping : 12
cpu MHz : 499.02
cache size : 64 KB
fdiv_bug : no
hlt_bug : no
f00f_bug : no
coma_bug : no
fpu : yes
fpu_exception : yes
cpuid level : 1
wp : yes
flags : fpu vme de pse tsc msr mce cx8 pge mmx syscall 3dnow k6_mtrr
temperature : 40.25
bogomips : 991.67

		

Depending on what kernal you are using, you may find that the temperature info is missing.

[root@new admin]# cat /proc/cpuinfo
processor       : 0
vendor_id       : AuthenticAMD
cpu family      : 5
model           : 8
model name      : AMD-K6(tm) 3D processor
stepping        : 12
cpu MHz         : 498.042
cache size      : 64 KB
fdiv_bug        : no
hlt_bug         : no
f00f_bug        : no
coma_bug        : no
fpu             : yes
fpu_exception   : yes
cpuid level     : 1
wp              : yes
flags           : fpu vme de pse tsc msr mce cx8 pge mmx syscall 3dnow k6_mtrr
bogomips        : 997.32


		

In this case use the following command.

# cat /proc/cobalt/sensors/thermal

[root@new admin]# cat /proc/cobalt/sensors/thermal
0 [CPU]: 44.50
		

If you are running one of the BQ installations you can always check the temperature in the GUI.

>Server Management>Active Monitor>Status>Temperature



 


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