Practically all of us have been in a situation where we’ve tried to upgrade a PC to its maximum capacity and had no choice but to replace the machine in order to get any more power. If you have a Pentium II PC, however, I’ve got a technique that just might prolong its lifespan.

Before I get started, let me admit that I’m not a hardware guy. I stumbled onto this technique totally by accident. I had a 400 MHz Pentium II machine that I needed to squeeze some more processing power out of. I had planned on replacing the processor with a 450 MHz Pentium II chip because that was as high as I thought I could go. However, I noticed that my socket was the same size as the socket that the Pentium III chip used. I plugged a 500 MHz Pentium III processor into the socket, and it worked. Now, my system works like a 500 MHz Pentium III. Although I haven’t run any benchmark tests yet, the performance gain is very noticeable—and I didn’t have to change any motherboard settings!

Some friends who are knowledgeable about hardware told me that this trick works with Pentium II systems that are designed to run at 350 MHz and above. They said that, as long as people stick to the non-Coppermine chip set, anyone can jump up to 600 MHz. I can’t testify to the accuracy of this information personally, but I am curious to know if anyone else has tried this technique.

Know of any good ways to speed up your computer? Post a comment to this article.

Brien M. Posey is an MCSE who works as a freelance technical writer and as a network engineer for the Department of Defense. If you’d like to contact Brien, send him an e-mail. (Because of the large volume of e-mail he receives, it’s impossible for him to respond to every message. However, he does read them all.)

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