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"Back to me now and the question that you all want answers for, so why a 550?"

Being British I only know of two places to buy from that know a lot about K7 CPUs and they are both in the UK, so you might need to do a little hunting if outside of the UK. The ones in question are http://www.powercomputing.co.uk (where I got my 550) and http://www.overclockers.co.uk. If you ask either before you buy then they can hook you up with the CPU for your needs. Not forgetting http://www.ninjamicro.co.uk, who are the people behind the O/C card in question.

Back to me now and the question that you all want answers for, so why a 550? Having decided that most Athlon boards only have 100Mhz REAL FSBs anyway, I decided that the cheapest, most energy efficient and simple method would be to get the lowest CPU I could find with the highest core. I searched in vein for the illusive 0.18Micron 550's with a 750 core and in the end 'Power Computing' (above) managed to find me a 550 with a 700core. It may have only been built on 0.25micron, yet I was quite able to take it to 700Mhz and (a 150Mhz increase) and still be on the base 1.6 core voltage.

Wow, but is it really any good?

These days Athlons have a huge fan base and since the invention of the 'Free Speed Pro' the lower end modules have been selling like hotcakes. People have seen that you can save around 200 ($320) on cost vs performance by taking the CPU up to it's core speed. My K7-550 physically acts like a real 700Mhz K7 and it makes me quite proud; if I had a board that allowed changing of the FSB then I could have taken it to 750 and possibly 800.

Not only does this keep older K7's in the race with the newest of Pentium3's but it's much more cost effective and your friends will die of envy. Remember you will have to lash out about 30 ($45) on a top cooler and heatsink combo and a further 30 ($45) on the 'FreeSpeed' card, yet you still save money.

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