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Evergreen Technologies Spectra400
Page 1 - Bring that old hunk of junk back to life!
Author: Dan Podhola (WebMasterP)
Date: May 06, 2000
Category: Hardware
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Evergreen Technologies Spectra400

All right, here is the scenario. Your computer is aging, fast. The computers being sold currently are 10 times faster than your current one. You would like to upgrade to a new machine but you are either too lazy or do not have sufficient funds. Here is where the Spectra400 comes into play.

The Spectra400 is an AMD K6-2 400 MHz processor moded to fit in your Socket 5 or 7 motherboard to allow for easy upgrade. The old processor can be as low as a Penitum 75 MHz CPU. With the K6-2 you gain MMX, 3D Now!, and up to 325 MHz. Now that you know what it can do, let me show you if it's worth the purchase.

The Box In All Its Glory
The Box In All Its Glory
It's a Cool Box
It's a Cool Box

One of the first questions that should occur in ones mind is whether or not the price is right. Should one upgrade with the Spectra400 or get a new motherboard, processor, and probably RAM. The lowest I could find the Spectra400 for was $145.95 + Shipping at Buy.com. To perform the multiple component upgrade would cost $48 (K6-2 400) + $60 (AT Style Mainboard with or w/o AGP) + $50 (64 MB PC-100 SDRAM) = $158 + Shipping. Hopefully you have a sound and video card and not on board audio and video. If not, you can purchase an AT motherboard w/ both for just a few dollars more. Well, it would appear to me that it would also depend on how much RAM you had in your old system and how much effort you're willing to put out on which route to take. But, it's not that easy. There's performance to take into consideration.

It's an AMD Alright
It's an AMD Alright
Here's the ass end of the deal
Bottom Side of The Adapter

Installation was a snap for me and it probably would be for anyone. The instructions were plainly laid out and the disk that comes with it auto checks you computer to see if it needs a BIOS update. Our 100 MHz Cyrix system (see WebMasterP's Computer Saga for a good laugh and more info on the Cyrix box) did not need a BIOS upgrade so I stuck it in and put on the stock heatsink and fan (you pretty much have to use it as the adapter makes it too tall for a standard heatsink and fan unit). The only complaint I have is that there is no thermal grease. Though it has been running strong for the past two weeks without any heat problems, I would have felt better with some thermal grease.

The Old Cyrix
The Old Cyrix
Pretty Blue
The New Pretty Blue Spectra

This review is primarily about how this puppy will/does perform. I'm not going to bore you with anymore bothersome information. I'm going to jump straight to performance. You already know the options here: this upgrade or a system upgrade.

I kept the benchmarks as general and straight forward as possible. I focused mainly around Desktop applications because an upgrade of this type is probably going to be mostly for business users and not for hardcore gamers. However, I did include some 3D gaming benchmarks for my fellow gamer's pleasure.

The Systems

System #1 (the Old Box):
Windows 98
a) CPU - Cyrix 100 MHz
b) CPU - Evergreen Spectra400 (AMD K6-2 400 MHz)
Acer Motherboard (proprietary?)
1.0 GB Hard drive (speed unknown)
Voodoo3 3000 PCI
Sound Blaster 16

System #2:
Windows 98 SE
a) CPU - Celeron 366@562 MHz
b) CPU - Celeron 366@396 MHz
128 MB Corsair PC-133 SDRAM
12.0 GB Quantum Fireball CR (5400 RPM)
Voodoo3 3000 AGP
Sound Blaster Live! Value

The Tests

ZD Winbench 99
- CPUmark 99
- FPU WinMark

WinTune 98
- CPU Tests
---- MIPS
---- Floating Point Application Simulation
---- MMX Application Simulation
- Video Test
- Open GL Test
- Direct 3D Test
- Memory Test

Half-Life: Xtreme Demo (xtreme.dem)
- 640x480x16 (Open GL)

You might be asking, "Why no SiSoft Sandra results?" Well, I'm not sure what the problem really is but it seems with the Spectra installed any program/application that detects or, let's say, sorts through the hardware locks up the system (e.g. Add New Hardware, SiSoft Sandra 99, etc.) For this reason WinBench 99 worked well as did Half-Life.

Main Page
Bring The Benchmarks

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