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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | The Processor | Processor Physical Characteristics | Processor Sockets and Slots ]

Regular vs. OverDrive Processors

OverDrive processors differ from regular ones in an important respect. They are designed to be used for upgrading older motherboards, and therefore they normally go into sockets that regular versions of the same processors don't fit into. For example, the Pentium processor fits "natively" into a Socket 5 or Socket 7 motherboard, but different versions of the Pentium OverDrive can be used in Sockets 2 through 7. In particular, Socket 5 normally only handles up to a Pentium 133; to use a higher-speed Pentium in one of these sockets typically requires an OverDrive. Similarly, the 486DX4 is a Socket 3 processor, but Intel made a 486DX4 OverDrive for use in Socket 1 and Socket 2 machines.

Because different OverDrive processors fit into different sockets, it is important to make sure that you obtain the correct one for your system; there is no single Pentium OverDrive for example. Another important point to realize is that 486DX4 OverDrives have three rows of pins, while Pentium OverDrives have four rows. This means that the 63 MHz and 83 MHz Pentium OverDrives designed for use in 486 systems will not work in a Socket 1 motherboard (because that socket has only 3 rows of pins).

OverDrive processors also take care of regulating voltage differences between the motherboard and the processor. For example, 486DX4 processors run on 3.3 volt power, but 486DX4 OverDrives run in 5 volt motherboards because they incorporate a special voltage regulator, usually between the surface of the chip and the active heat sink normally attached to it.

Next: Intel Socket 1 Specification

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