Iwill Slocket II

With their first foray into the socket 370-to-Slot1 converters, theIwill Slocket extended the capabilities of the average converter by providing support for SMP (Symetrical Multi-Processing), allowing you to control the Vcore voltage and external CPU frequency. Iwill's newest socket 370-to Slot1 converter, the Slocket II, builds on those capabilities by widening the Vcore range (from 1.30v to 2.05v in 0.05v increments and 2.10v to 3.5v in 0.10v increments) and adding support for Intel PIII FC-PGA (Coppermine) and Cyrix Joshua processors giving users more choices than ever for choosing an upgrade CPU for their Slot-1 mainboard.

Iwill's Slocket II ships in a colorful cardboard sleeve which houses the unit in a static-proof protective envelope and includes a small 4 x 6 datasheet which provides instructions for all of the settings available. The cardboard sleeve itself provides the simple six-step instructions for mounting your socket 370 CPU into a Slot-1 mainboard.

The Iwill Slocket II makes use of 9 3-pin jumpers to offer a multitude of configurations. The first five of these are for setting the Vcore voltage from 1.30v to 2.05v in 0.05v increments or 2.10v to 3.5v in 0.10v increments. The next 2 jumpers allow you to set the external CPU frequency. You can leave it set to auto and let the mainboards BIOS determine the FSB or force the FSB to 66MHz, 100MHz or 133MHz. Jumper #8 allows you to set the slocket to support either FC-PGA or PPGA processors. The FC-PGA package is used on the new PIII socket 370 processors, and is referred to as the Flip Chip Pin Grid Array package. The PPGA package is used on Celeron socket 370 CPUs which are known as the Plastic Pin Grid Array package. The PPGA package used on the Intel® Celeron™ processors has the actual silicon core facing down towards the motherboard. This silicon core is covered by a heat slug to help dissipate heat from the core by transfering heat from the core to the heatsink. As processors get smaller and faster, the ability to dissipate heat from the processor core is become more and more critical. The FC-PGA package, flips the silicon core over facing up. The core sits on top of the actual package and is exposed. The silicon die is exposed and makes direct contact with the heatsink. The CPU socket on the Iwill Slocket II is fairly roomy and can support oversized heatsink/fan combos. Jumper #9 sets the Slocket II to support either Intel or Cyrix socket 370 (Joshua) CPUs. The Iwill Slocket II still provides support for SMP with PPGA Celerons if you have a dual Slot-1 mainboard and wish to use socket 370 Celerons but as to the abilty to perform with FC-PGA PIIIs their is no reference.

As far as we tested the Slocket II performed as advertised.  Since there are no 133MHz FC-PGA or Cyrix "Joshua" processors  available as yet we could not test this capability,  However, the functionality of the Slocket II is extraordinary.  We popped off a few Ziff-Davis' Winstone 99 scores just to check using the following configuration:

Test Configuration for Iwill Slocket II

Mainboard Gigabyte BX2000 Slot-1
Chipset Intel 440BX
Processor(s) Intel PPGA Celeron 300MHz
Intel PPGA Celeron 500MHz
Intel Pentium III 500MHz (Slot-1)
Intel Pentium III 500E (socket 370)
Memory 2x64MB PC100
Corsair CM 654S64-BX2
Hard Drive Western Digital Expert 9.1G
Ultra ATA/66 7200RPM
Graphics Adapter Matrox G400 SH OEM 32MB AGP
Operating System Windows 98 SE

The Slocket II handled all we through at it without a glitch never failing to boot.  While this examination is purely cursory, we will be using the Iwill Slocket II more and more in our upcoming reviews of Slot-1 mainboards on our sister site PC Hardware 2000 and we'll keep you posted.

Update 12/17/99: According to technicians at Iwill, the voltage settings on Slocket can support all processors, especially Coppermine, which is re-defining technology with lower voltage settings. However, voltage settings on the mainboard are related to the IC chip used on that mainboard.  In other words, if the IC chip on mainboard doesn't support 1.6V, then it doesn't support Coppermine (although in some cases it is possible to change the IC chip to one that will).  The good news is that Slocket 2 does support higher voltage processors, such as Celeron, that remain compatible with higher voltage motherboards.  So, depending on what users want in terms of overall upgrade, Slocket 2 is still a good investment in the long run.

The Iwill Slocket II offers system configurations previously unavailable to Slot-1 mainboard owners and seems a valuable and useful tool for getting the most out of your Slot-1 mainboard.

To get more information about pricing and availability, check out Iwill's web site at http://www.iwill.net  

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