timmy's systems:

This page describes my personal M571 3.2 and M571 3.2a systems, and also my home network.

M571 3.2 with a K6 III 400

Describe your M571, timmy.

My first M571 system was a version 3.2 board purchased in late 1997. It came equipped with an AMD K6 200 MHz processor, 2 x 32 MB PC 66 DIMMs for 64 MB total system memory, a Samsung 3.2 GB HDD and Win95 OSR 2.1. (This version of Windows was Microsoft's first implementation of USB and FAT 32 and was only available in an OEM version with a new computer purchase.) This M571 3.2 system had the following configuration when tested and obtaining the performance figures cited below:

Describe what you did to your M571, timmy.

I purchased an AMD K6 3 AFR (this model has 2.2 core volts) processor in 1999. Processor core voltage was adapted to the M571 3.2 by snipping resistor R88 from the motherboard with a toenail clipper. After carefully removing the wreckage, I placed jumpers on JP6 at R92 and R93 (the former 2.8 and 2.9 volt settings, together), which provided 2.16 - 2.17 core volts as measured by a digital VOM at JP8, jumper A, pin 3 and J2, pin 3 (ground). A little more core voltage was required to overclock the processor to 450 - 458 MHz, so J6 at R91 (the former 3.2 volt setting) alone was strapped to provide 2.28 - 2.29 core volts (still within AMD specifications). After installing Windows 2000, the system again became unstable at 458 MHz, so I added a 240K ohm resistor across the pins for the 2.8 volt setting, which effectively places a 270K ohm resistor in parallel with the 11.5K ohm resistor, for 2.35 core volts, again making the system stable.

(Note: While this core voltage modification has worked well for me, I do not recommend it. I suggest you use the voltage modification methods outlined on the Upgrade Page, if necessary.)

The rationale of the modification is this: Referring to Franc Zabkar's schematic of the core voltage regulator (the 3.2 version is different from the 3.2a - 7.0 version - be careful!), you will note that a 10.2K ohm and 10K ohm resistor (R79 and R88, respectively) are connected from ground to 5 volts in series. These are the only resistors connected if no straps are placed on the voltage selector pins, and since they are nearly the same size, the voltage at the point between them is nearly equal, or 2.5 volts. Placing straps on any of the voltage selector pins creates a parallel circuit to R88 and less resistance on the upper half of the R79 - R88 network. This causes the voltage drop across R79 to increase and the voltage drop across R88 to decrease. The voltage regulator "looks" at the voltage drop across R79 to "know" what level of voltage to feed to the processor core. By strapping in various resistors in parallel to R88 with jumpers, various voltages can be set, but never lower than 2.5 volts. One must drop less voltage over R79 and more over R88 to get the regulator to send less voltage to the core. Franc suggests adding a 39K ohm resistor in parallel with R79; this drops less voltage across R79 and the regulator this produces less core voltage.

My solution was to increase the resistance of the upper, or R88 half, of the network. Doing this required more resistance than R88 offered. Removing R88 and using R92 and R93 in parallel provided 12.8K ohms (22.1 x 30.1 / 22.1 + 30.1 = 12.8) for 2.17 volts and R91 alone, at 11.5K ohms provided 2.29 volts (both measured by VOM).

I installed a high capacity processor cooling fan with thermal grease between it and the processor.

The 2.17 volt arrangement was stable when running a Front Side Bus rate of 66 MHz for almost 2 years. 75 MHz Front Side Bus rate caused lock ups after 5 minutes or so. Research indicated that K6 2 and 3 chips were sensitive to low core voltage, so I increased the core voltage to 2.28. The system is stable at 75 MHz and 83 MHz Front Side Bus speed. Increasing the Front Side Bus speed to 75 MHz provides faster video performance and disk drive access, due to the PCI bus and IDE channels operating at 37.5 MHz (instead of its specified 33 MHz). Increasing the Front Side Bus speed to 83 MHz, for a PCI bus speed of 41.7 MHz, provided even better results, which are easily seen. The ATI video boards I have used are all stable at 41.7 MHz. The K6 3 400 is set at 5.5 times FSB speed for 458.3 MHz. (My system would not boot at the 6x setting, or 500 MHz processor speed.)

It was necessary to add a 486 heat sink - cooling fan to the Soundblaster Live Value card, since the overclocked PCI bus (from 33 MHz to 41.7 MHz) caused the system to lock after about 5 minutes and the sound board chip ran very hot. My card worked well at 33 and 37.5 MHz, but would lock up the system at 41.7 MHz. To solve this problem, I obtained a 40 mm heatsink/fan meant for a 486 cpu. The Soundblaster processor chip is 20 mm square, but the 486 cooler was the smallest one I could find. I carefully studied the Soundblaster card for components that would prevent the 486 heatsink from completely contacting the Soundblaster processor. Several components were identified, so I relieved about 5 mm of one edge of the heatsink to a depth of 1 mm with a file. Heatsinks are anodized and surprisingly hard; a good file was needed for this process. I attached the heatsink to the processor with a small amount of Arctic Silver epoxy and connected the fan to 12 volts. The Soundblaster board now operates properly at the 41.7 MHz speed.

Using an application called wpcrset, I've tweaked my chipset settings and have obtained a 15% increase in memory performance, as measured by Sandra 2001te. These modifications are outlined on the Tweak page.

At this point, I had considered that my M571 upgrading activities had reached an end when I bought an Apple iBook laptop for my consulting business. However, I found that the client's requirements included the ability to read and correct Visio documents, so I upgraded one more time! Visio and Office suite applications are "memory hogs", and previous experience indicated that 128 MB of memory would not be sufficient.

Also, after using the new Mac OS X, which is based on BSD UNIX, I was no longer satisfied with the unreliability and clumsy networking of Windows 98. My options seemed to point toward Windows 2000 and 256 MB of system memory.

Running Windows 2000 at overclocked speeds, I noticed that the system was much more sensitive. I stepped up the core voltage to the processor to 2.35 volts to correct this. This actually was not an “overvolting” situation for the processor, since the upper level specified for the cpu by AMD is 2.3 volts, and it is safe to assume that .05 volts are lost between the measuring point and the actual cpu core as installed in the socket. This modification obtained system stability.

The increased performance obtained from installing CAS 2 memory was instantly noticeable, and with 256 MB of system memory, no problems were encountered when working with complex Visio network diagrams as large as 23 MB.

So far, the system is more reliable and faster than before, and I am able to successfully use it to perform the tasks required. So much for those who say overclocked old systems are not suitable for use! For my own uses, at least, I have proven them wrong.

I intend to continue observing system performance and reliability with the Office suite and will report on that as appropriate. I'm also on the hunt for a new video card and will report on that installation also.

The ATI Radeon video card was obtained to work with Visio documents in conjunction with a 20” Sony monitor, since the original card “ran out of steam” at the resolutions that were needed for document creation. The PCI version of the Radeon product works very well and had no problems with an overclocked PCI bus, both at 75 and 83 Mhz front side bus speeds. I found that the Radeon board could be tweaked successfully for better performance by using the utility available at this website: radeontweaker homepage

What sort of performance have you achieved?

Here is a table of tests I've run on my overclocked system with Sandra 2001se:

 Boot Indication 



 CPU speed 

 CPU perf. 

 Perf Rating 


 Memory perf 













































Would Not Boot

Same configuration as above - retested with Sandra 2001te









Performance after chipset register tweaks - Sandra 2001te









Performance with Windows 2000 and 256 MB system RAM









Benchmarks such as Sandra are not always indicative of real world performance, but these figures reflect how my M571 3.2 runs at these settings. As might be expected, processor speed directly affects processor performance numbers, and Front Side Bus speed affects memory performance. Since FSB also affects disk access and PCI bus speed, the performance of these devices is also increased as FSB is set to higher speeds.

The system now is nothing like what I had first purchased. Quick boots, snappy disk reads, and reliable performance are available, in addition to the ability to run large cpu and memory intensive applications.

I now use this system for a variety of tasks around the house. It is my intention to attempt to run some popular games with it and see how well it performs.

What is the present configuration of this system?

My original M571 3.2 has an ATI Wonder Pro PCI TV tuner card for watching and recording TV shows. This card is so much easier to use than the old Dazzle DVC II card that I used previously, and for which support is no longer available. Finally, I use the system for several Windows applications that I either cannot use on my Mac or that I don’t care to run on my Mac. For instance, there are some web sites that do not adhere to open standards, and my Mac’s Safari browser will not work with correctly. I use Mozilla Firefox on this system to access those sites. Even though the CD RW drive is old and slow, with an old copy of Nero, I can do extended burns up to 84 minutes with it.

This system is also connected to an old Zoom 56K Faxmodem and used with the Phonetray Free to screen my incoming calls from pesky telemarketers and announce important phone calls. This is a very effective remedy for obnoxious calls. (google “phonetray free” and be sure to get the other files you will need to install on your system. I use v1.20 – it works fine.)

The system is also connected to a pair of old Logitech USB video cams. I run DCAM v8.2.6 available from Sourceforge. This works fine as a web server on my home LAN, enabling me to watch outside from a browser window on any computer. However, the web server is not at all secure. Making it available on the web invited problems, so I use it locally only.

The system is configured like this:

M571 3.2a with a K6 III 333

I purchased an M571 3.2a motherboard in the summer of 2001 for $7.50 USD. It is now running a K6 3 333 MHz processor overclocked to 400 MHz that I obtained new for $20 USD. They are rated at 95 MHz Front Side Bus speed, a limitation that is immaterial on an M571. Here is the configuration of this system:

When I got this system, I wanted to duplicate the sort of system a young person might inherit as a hand-me-down or a system that someone might purchase on the used market, needing a low cost computer for their work or home. An expenditure of less that $50 USD (K6 3 333 and 128 MB of CAS 2 PC 100 memory) has made it into a system useful for serious business applications (it happily runs FrameMaker 5.5.6 and various web browsers) and games.

After loading Windows 2000, I found that this system would overclock to 366 MHz (66.7 x 5.5 = 366), but it would not overclock to 400 MHz. I increased the processor core voltage to 2.3 volts by adding a 100K ohm resistor across the 2.8 volt setting, and now the system is completely reliable and stable at 400 MHz. (Note: This K6 3 333 is a 2.2 core volt processor.)

The Dazzle DVC II digital video capture card is a low end (about $200) product for this use that still provides acceptable quality for recording VCD and SVCD media form TV broadcasts and VHS tapes. The card is a bit of a handful to work with and the vendor support is practically non-existent. There is an unofficial website and bulletin board that provides invaluable assistance. Browsing the board during the recent soccer World Cup matches was an ideal time to work with settings, since the varied combinations of intense color and substantial amounts of movement provided a real test for the system. I have not yet found that the digital video capture capabilities are processor limited with this system.

The Dazzle card is connected with audio/video ins and outs as the second VCR of my Harman Kardon AVR 320 home theater system. I record TV shows directly to disk. I use the TV out capability of the Radeon video card to connect to a 27” Sony TV, using it as a monitor for the system.

Although the AMD K6 333 has been overclocked to 400 MHz without any problems whatsoever, I have not stepped up the front side bus of this system, due to the sensitive nature of the Dazzle video capture card.

Originally, I used my K6 200 MMX cu to run some baseline tests before installing the K6 3 333 cpu. Here are my results, using Sandra 2001te:

First test: M571 3.2a, K6 200 cpu set at 66.7 x 3 = 200 Mhz, 128 MB system memory consisting of 2 x 64 MB CAS 2 DIMMs, onboard video & sound, and Windows 98 FE.

·      Performance rating: 201

·      CPU benchmark: 471/240

·      Multimedia benchmark: 432/126

·      Memory performance: 62/76

Second test: Same system, with K6 III 333 cpu, set at 66.7 x 5 + 333 Mhz.

·      Performance rating: 401

·      CPU benchmark: 788/407

·      Multimedia benchmark: 1098/1434

·      Memory performance: 76/81

Note here that the CPU performance about doubled, which is what would be expected. However, the K6 III’s larger MMX instruction set and 3D Now! Support has greatly increased multimedia performance. Memory performance is increased somewhat.

Third test: Same as second test, except windows 2000 Pro was installed as the OS and the chipset registers were tweaked.

·      Performance rating: 401

·      CPU benchmark: 809/409

·      Multimedia benchmark: 1078/1407

·      Memory performance: 73/77

Although it may seem that performance has not been improved with the new OS and tweaking, there are two issues to consider here. First, Windows 2000 drivers are often not optimized, especially for use in the M571. Secondly, by switching to Windows 2000, one gains a great deal in system stability. Finally, I believe that the reason for the poor performance in this test is the use of on board video, since these results were opposite what I had obtained by switching to Windows 2000 in my first system. That testing is described above.

Fourth test: Same configuration as test three, except the on board video was turned off and video was provided by an ATI Rage Pro xpert@play 8 MB PCI video board.

·      Performance rating: 401

·      CPU benchmark: 809/409

·      Multimedia benchmark: 1078/1407

·      Memory performance: 107/116

Here it is clearly seen in the benchmark how sharing system memory with the on board video function impacts performance. In all cases where I have used on board video and then installed a video card, the performance increase was always very obvious. I believe that using a video card is one of the best first steps to take for increasing M571 system performance under any circumstances.

What is the present configuration of this system?

I am currently using this system as my home network server. It has a 1.5 TB drive, 2 x500 GB drives and 2 x 400 GB drives for a total formatted storage capacity of 3,034 GB. (That’s 3 terabytes.) One 500 GB drive is partitioned into a 3.2 GB C:\ drive for the operating system and several applications, along with a 500 MB swap file. The rest of the disk (462 GB) is used for data storage.

Because I have purchased these drives on sales, the whole server setup has been much cheaper than a network device and a little more flexible, due to being a full-fledged system.

I have no problem streaming video files to the two iMacs over the 100mb/s LAN using Plex on the Macs. VLC will work with most any file as well except 720p and 1080p .mkv files, but the buffering used by the Plex application will handle any file I’ve tried without skipping or any other problems.

M571 3.2a with a K6 2 333

My third M571 system was purchased in February, 2004 on Ebay for $10.55 for use in 802.11b wireless networking experiments.

This system is equipped with an AMD K6 2 333 processor overclocked to 400 MHz (66.7 Mhz x 6 = 400 Mhz) and 2 x 64 MB PC100 CAS 3 DIMMs. Since it uses on board video, I thought that overclocking would help video performance, and it does to some extent. In normal operation, the Windows Task Manager reports CPU usage at about 30%. The result of this is a very inexpensive system that performs tasks competently and reliably. The configuration of this system was:

I’m not using this system for the moment. I have been working with a couple of Logitech USB cameras and intend to use this system as a means to watch my front door from my office. I will use the K6 3 333 CPU from my old second system at that time, but right now I am looking for an old, small case for mounting this system.

More M571 Systems

Recently, Dale wrote me and offered to send five M571 systems to me if I would pay for the shipping. Naturally, it didn’t take me too long to cut a $10 check, and a week later, a box arrived in the mail with five M571 motherboards: Three version 7.0 boards, a 7.0a board, and a 3.2a board. Also included in the package were three K6 2 300 cpus and a K6 2 333 cpu, along with four heatsink/fans and assorted cables.

I used the K6 2 333 cpu in the third system described above.

I am intending to use these systems in a Linux-based cluster as a fun project, maybe to run a Biotechnology database.

Thanks, Dale!

I also use an ancient IBM P100 system with 128 MB SIMM ram. It is not connected to the LAN. It is in the garage with a 15” Monitor and is used for automotive diagnostics with an OBD II-to-RS232 converter. Software and hardware available from OBD II Automotive Diagnostics.

System/Network Layout

At some time in the future, I intend to post a network diagram showing how all of this is connected and used. For now, I’ll provide a verbal description.

The basis for my network is a D Link DSS 16+ 16 port 10/100 switch. This switch connects to the following devices:

1.    A Linksys switch/ATA device. This connects to a broadband modem, supports a hardware firewall, and VoIP phones.

2.    A Compaq Proliant 7000 server. This piece of hardware is the size of an under-counter dish washer and is equipped with four Pentium Pro 200 processors, each with 512 KB of onboard L2 cache. The system has 2 GB of system memory. The OS, which is Windows 2000 Advanced Server, runs on a 9.1 GB SCSI 10,000 rpm HDD. Sandra rates it as equivalent to a Pentium III 750 MHz single processor system, however, since the Pentium Pro processors have no MMX instruction sets, the multimedia performance very slow

3.    A 20” screen Apple iMac 2 GHz Core 2 Duo with a 250 GB hard drive and 4 GB of memory. This is my primary system.

4.    The Original M571 System #1 with the K6 3 400, described above. An external 20” Sony monitor, Compaq industrial keyboard and mouse are shared with the M571 systems and my Proliant 7000 server by means of a two KVM switches. This keeps my desk clutter down considerably.

5.    A 24” screen Apple iMac 2.16 GHz Core 2 Duo with a 250 GB hard drive and 3 GB of memory. This is my Wife’s computer. This iMac is used to watch videos in conjunction with the home theater system. It connects with a TOSLink optical cable to a Harman/Kardon AVR-320 head.

6.    The M571 system #2, described above. I manage this system from my iMac using SMB login, transfering files between all systems and both iMacs.

7.    An IO Gear Ethernet-to-USB printer server, which supports a Samsung ML 1210 laser printer

8.    The M571 system #3, described above. Currently, this port is wired to the closet under the home theater system, so that visitors can plug into my LAN.

9.    An Apple Airport Express wireless switch. This device allows streaming .mp3 music from either of the iMacs or the 1st M571 system (it has iTunes running on it, too) to its IP address, and then it converts the stream to either analog or optical digital format for input into the Harman/Kardon AVR 320 home theater system.

A home LAN is a wonderful convenience and can be used for so many things. I can’t imagine living without one.


This page was last modified on 15 September 2009