:growl: Friggin' Athlons

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by deusexaethera, Feb 16, 2006.

  1. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    [rant]

    Y'know, I really like the Athlon XP. It's a great processor. But damn if it isn't the most fragile chip on the planet! I've had...(thinks)...three of them die on me. One of them was part of my Christmas present to my brother. Yes, I used shims. Yes, I used suitable heatsinks. Yes, I used the best heat paste I could find. They just...stop...working; turn them off one night and nothing happens the next morning when you turn it on. (sigh.) The P4 computers I built for my parents are rock-solid.

    [/rant]
     
  2. Tomash

    Tomash Active Member

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    I've had a Barton since February 2004.
    Mounted a fat HSF on it, no shims, it was mt first time too.
    It's still working fine.
    :dunno:
     
  3. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Oh I know, they work great, sometimes indefinitely. Until they stop. And like all precision electronics, there's no warning. They just stop. The fact that I've had so many crap out (I have four in use right now, so 3/7 have failed) aggravates the hell out of me. I have an old Duron 850MHz that's mounted on a ceramic carrier, and it's been in and out of all the computers that have had flimsy plastic-mounted Athlons fail on them. It still works fine.

    Why, AMD, why did you have to cheap out on the chip carriers! And would it have been so hard to armor the silicon itself? Intel managed to.
     
  4. CanadianCrazy

    CanadianCrazy New Member

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    My 2100+ is years old and still runs wonderfully!
     
  5. 4W4K3

    4W4K3 New Member

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    Still have a working 1700+ DUT3C, pushed 2.1GHz (stock 1.4GHz) have a daily 2400+ still kicking, and had a XP-M 2600+ that pushed 2.7GHz. None died, all overclocked. You ave bad luck my friend. Actually have an XP-M 2400+ in this laptop, but it's not mine ~2yrs old.
     
  6. MrMan

    MrMan New Member

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    My AMD never had a problem, and it's been about 5 years. So you just replaced the CPU and the computer boots up again?
     
  7. CyberBullets

    CyberBullets I reach to the sky, and call out your name. If I c

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    if you had 3 die... i don't think it's the processor
     
  8. eideteker

    eideteker Who jarked off in my frakkin' coffee? OT Supporter

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    My 1ghz T-bird (old school!) is still rocking out in overclocked form this far past it's expiration date. I bought a shim when I first built this system becuase I know I'm a klutz, and I've still never munged up the core. Sorry, but I have to agree with the others in saying that it might not be the procs...
     
  9. RyanL

    RyanL OT Supporter

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    :werd:
     
  10. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    The reasons I've concluded that it's specifically the design of the Athlon CPU are as follows:

    - I have, in the past, used every concievable pointy object to pry older CPUs out of their press-fit sockets. Athlons have zero-force sockets, so there's no pushing or pulling involved in moving them, yet they are the only CPUs I've ever used that have failed. I've even had the misfortune of pulling a P4 right out of its locked socket because the heat paste had glued the CPU to the heatsink. No damage whatsoever.

    - Older CPUs (even as recent as Durons and Thunderbirds) were mounted on very rigid brown ceramic carriers. Athlon XPs are mounted on plastic circuit boards.

    - Due to the small contact area, Athlon XP heatsinks require fairly substantial clamping force to ensure that they don't tilt away from and/or chip the corners of the silicon when they are mounted vertically. The silicon is supported against this force by nothing more substantial than the plastic circuit board it is mounted on. (I've played with the failed CPUs, it takes very little force to bend the plastic.) That's why companies sell shims for Athlon XPs -- to distribute the heatsink's clamping force across the edges of the carrier, where the pins and the socket can provide rigidity.

    - Newer Athlon XPs have exposed electrical conductors-- that are only fractions of a millimeter thinner than the silicon itself -- mounted on the top side of the chip carrier where they are practically guaranteed to contact the metal heatsink and short out should the heatsink tilt even slightly.

    When you combine the flimsy chip carrier, the lack of support directly under the silicon, the exposed resistors, and the lack of armor to protect ANY of the electrical components, it's almost like AMD wanted these things to fail. There's no robustness built into the design to compensate for non-ideal circumstances.

    Saying that your Athlon has given you no problems thus far is great, but it doesn't disprove widely-known flaws. Take note that Athlon 64s look exactly like larger P4s -- the rings of pins come much closer to the center of the chip carrier, providing better support against the force of the heatsink clamp, and the silicon is covered by a metal shield that undoubtedly provides much more surface area than the silicon itself. I love the Athlon XP, but they really cheaped out on the packaging.

    Anyway, I was just venting frustration in the first place.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2006
  11. 4W4K3

    4W4K3 New Member

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    The small die area does suck, it should have been wider. And until they came up with the "thumb clamp" heatsink, getting a HS on and off was hell. I impaled a motherboard with a screwdriver once :big grin:
     
  12. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Ironically, heatsinks as far back as 386s (yes, I saw one that had a heatsink) used thumb clamps. The only reason the Athlon XP heatsinks used screwdriver clamps was because the force needed to attach the clamp using your thumb was painful. I had a couple. I hated them. That wouldn't have been the case if the clamps hadn't needed to be so tight in the first place.
     
  13. dorkultra

    dorkultra OT's resident crohns dude OT Supporter

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    that sucks. i've never had trouble with my athlon 64...but thats different from yours
     
  14. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Yeah, the Athlon 64's are made quite differently.
     

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