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Thread: Making P5WDH ready for Conroe: An Illustrative Guide

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    Making P5WDH ready for Conroe: An Illustrative Guide

    Making your Asus P5WDH (Deluxe) Ready for Conroe: An Illustrative Guide
    brought to you by xtremesystems.org

    There's no doubt about it. Intel's new Core2 Duo "Conroe" has brought the enthusiast community interest to new, never before seen heights. Not in many years has there been such a monumental architectural change such as this one. Along with that change comes a new peak in performance. There's also no doubt about it; this new CPU family has gotten the attention of many new people, that well....don't have that much experience with "xtreme systems." We're here to help change that. Who knows....you may be our next XL in waiting.

    Like most skills (and I do mean that), overclocking has a good foundation in science, math and just good plain old common sense. Increase the voltage, remove the heat, set the right parameters and you have a fast system with a little patience, some practice and a little good guidance too. This guide is intended to provide those that have little to no experience with overclocking with a solid reference for some of the more basic fundamentals needed to succeed.

    With that being said, let's move on to the goods!




    Our victim (i.e. candidate) is a brand new Asus P5W DH Deluxe. Of course you can substitute just about any motherboard here although the illustrative part is obviously catered to those with this board. A special thanks for EnJoY for supplying the board, thought I still think he's getting these best deal here.

    Note: Always place the MB or any other hardware/electronics on some type of anti-static surface when working on them. The bag that the MB comes in is a great surface.






    In these first few pictures I've laid out everything I think you will need to do this job correctly. You can make substitutions for some items, others are crucial (like the rubbing alcohol). Yep, two things I could never do without: isopropyl alcohol (I recommend 90% or better) and q-tips...that's cotton swabs for you foreign boys. You can most likely find Goo Gone in stores like Target. Brand names aren't that important, just get some kind of adhesive solvent remover, if it smells like citrus that's a bonus! The Artic Silver Thermal Surface Purifier is something that I like. Others don't think it's worth it. Enough said about that. In the end it's your choice.












    The first thing we're going to do is remove the stock chipset (Northbridge and Southbridge on Intel) cooling solutions and re-install them with some better thermal compound. Installing new cooling solutions is always nice though. We'll talk about this in another guide sometimes. It all just depends on how crazy you want to go. I have found this guide will do you 99% to where I am with the system in my signature. The only other thing remaining is a volt-mod for vMCH (which we will do later, too).

    First, flip that bad boy over and locate the SB heatsinks retaining pins. Give them a little squeeze with your needle-nose pliers to push the wings in. The natural spring force from the other side should suck them through the board. If they need a little help just give them a nudge with your finger. They will go right through.








    Now flip the board back over and position a large flat-head screwdriver as seen below. The trick is to get the tip under the edge of the heatsink and to leverage against the IDE header. Just give it a little pressure while making sure not to make contact with the board. There are a lot of small, delicate traces and SMD components that we would hate to damage so early in the game. The heatsink should come off with a little 'pop.' Notice Asus' use of what we can only describe as "crappy" thermal compound (I'm told by the manufacturer that that's the technical name.)








    Flip the board over yet again. This time target the pins for the NB heatsink located are the MOSFET seating area. Using the same technique as descrived above, compress them and push them through the board. Back on the topside again you can now complete the task of removing the NB heatsink by pushing down, then in on the U-clips so that they clear the retaining rings. Spring pressure will bring them up and out of the way. You are now free to move the cooler out of the way. There should be noticeable less resistance here as the heatsink is not really affixed in any way now.










    Now to learn one of your more timeless skills. Cleaning/prepping for thermal solution installation. If there's one thing I can't stress enough its that you MUST WORK CLEAN. Thermal junctions become thermal barriers when foreign material and other resistances to heatflow are present. This includes, but is not limited to: hair, lint, dirt, old and dry thermal compounds, even the natural oil from your fingers! So again, WORK CLEAN!

    Here's how you do it. (1) Take a clean q-tip, (2) dip it into your rubbing alcohol, (3) start cleaning! Really, it's that simple. And don't think you need to clean an entire core, etc. with only one q-tip. Seriously, there's 500 in the damn box. Feel free to throw that dirty one in the trash while you grab another. I'll probably go though about 30 of these prepping one MB.

    Clean the NB. Use a little pressure. The only part you need to worry about is knocking those SMD capacitors of the top of the chipset wafer. Even that's going to take A LOT of force though. Be gentle, yet forceful (whatever the hell that means). After I clean with alcohol, including the top of the chipset, I always finish off with the AS thermal surface purifier. I find it removes any final traces of any chemicals that may have been deposited on the bare die surface.












    Now clean the SB. Using a small flat-head screwdriver to scrap off the caked up layer of thermal compound will make this task go by faster. Don't worry about scratching the surface of the SB (if you do). You won't hurt anything, that's just the plastic casing. The actual chip is tucked safely away inside. Once you're done scrapping, clean with q-tips and rubbing alcohol again. We add one step: use some of your adhesive compound remover to finish the job off. Then one more clean with the alcohol followed by the thermal surface purifier (if you decide to use it). Here are the results. Clean!










    Next step is an easy one. Let's remove the wireless control module. You can keep this if you want. I choose to remove it because its just more clutter than I need. Rule of thumb when going for maximum overclock: if you don't need it, ditch it! The picture explain this step pretty well. Once the screw is removed just pull the board straight up to release it from the MB.










    Next, we're going to remove the CMOS (BIOS) chip and hotflash it in another board so that we can post with our Conroe. Now, if you have a different Intel LGA775 CPU that you can use to flash then you can skip this step. I find this is one of them more frequently asked questions though ("How do I hotflash?"). Those that just got a Conroe and this MB will be disappointed when they can't POST because none of the Asus shipping BIOS' are Core2 Duo compatable.

    First, pop the CMOS chip out using a tiny flat-head screwdriver.



    You are going to need two disk prepared. One will be a standard Windows boot disk:
    (1) Put in the blank disk to be formatted in the floppy drive and start Windows Explorer.
    (2) Expand the tree on the left and right click on the "(A" drive or whatever corresponds to your floppy drive.
    (3) Select "Format..." from the menu.
    (4) Check "Quick Format" and "Create an MS-DOS startup disk"
    (5) Click Start.
    (6) When completed you now have a boot disk that will allow you to boot to a psuedo-DOS prompt instead of Windows.

    The second will contain 3 files. Nothing more is needed. (This disk cannot be bootable as it will not fit all the files needed to flash if it is.)
    AFUDOS.EXE - Asus Flash Utility
    P5WDH.ROM - Asus P5W DH Deluxe BIOS 0078 (this is the BIOS that I recommend)
    FLASH.BAT - A simple batch file that I have written for flashing



    Now we have everything we need. Except for another computer. By definition you need a second system if you are going to hotflash for a board that you can't boot or would otherwise need to remove a CPU from another system for booting. I'm too lazy to take apart another system just to get the CPU to flash in the P5W DH, that's why I choose to do it this way. Much quicker in the long run.

    Now, boot the operating system with the boot disk we just created. When you're at the DOS prompt.....take the CMOS chip out of the running system. Yep, that's right. Use that same small screw driver to pop it right out. Be careful not to contact any other conductive surface on the rubbing MB. Now, put in the CMOS you want to update. Finally, exchange disks for the floppy containing the flash code and type "flash" and the promp and press [Enter]. You should now be flashing. Let it finish and then shutdown the operating computer. You are now free to swap the CMOS chips returning each to it's rightful place. You may need to reset the BIOS in the flashing system as the NVRAM tables get jumbled during the flash. Don't worry, nothing permanent has been changed. Note that this procedure only works if the host BIOS is of the same size as the target flash chip. In this case 8Mbit. I recommend you use another current generation Asus board if at all possible.

    Once you return the CMOS chip to the P5W DH you should now clear the CMOS manually. First remove the battery, then move the jumper as shown below. Leave it for a minute just to be sure. Don't forget to return the jumper to the original position, then install the battery back into the MB.










    This next step is more cleaning. This time we are cleaning the underside surfaces on both the NB abd SB coolers. I highly recommend that you remove the "covers" on these heatsinks as they are nothing but a hiderance to direct airflow if you have a fan point near them. The cover is nothing my thinly shaped gold-anodized aluminum held on with a very weak adhesive. Pull them right off...and into the trash they go.

    Cleaning is performed in the same way as above. Scrapping the surface first with a small flat-head screw driver will speed up this step considerably. Follow this with a cleaning with rubbing alcohol and then finish off with the thermal surface purifier if you desire.















    As a final preparation for re-installing the heatsinks we need to replace the thermal compound that we removed. I use Artic Silver 5. Use whatever you prefer. Spread the thermal compound thinly and evenly using a CLEAN razor blade. Clean the blade with rubbing alcohol and don't touch the surface just as you wouldn't touch the surface of the chips that we just made ready.

    The NB core uses far less thermal compound for two reasons. One, it's much smaller. Two, it is a bare core. Spread the thermal compound as thinly as possible. The compound is only meant to fill in the small microscoping crevices in the mating surfaces. The bare core is about as flat as they come. Although the NB cooler can be a little rough it is pretty damn good for the time being.










    Replace the heatinks and you are done! You now have optimal heat transfer conditions for your NB and SB (without installing after-market coolers or going with something more exotic). This is a good first step especially for those that plan on overclocking their Conroe on air. Those that want to build a budget system will be especially happy with the results.




    In the next guide we will look at the vMCH mod. A MUST if you plan on pushing your Conroe to the limits.


    -FCG

    Last edited by freecableguy; 01-08-2007 at 10:43 AM.

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    Making your Asus P5WDH (Deluxe) Ready for Conroe: An Illustrative Guide
    PART II: Completing the vMCH mod (aka vmodding 101)

    brought to you by xtremesystems.org

    Introduction and General Disclaimer

    Completel ANY modification is at your own risk. This guide is intended to provide direction only and does not constitute ANY responsibility on my or the site's (XS.org) behalf with regarding to possible damage to a) your board, b) yourself, c) ANYTHING. Remember, nobody knows your limitations better than you. Have fun but play safely!

    Here's our board again. Conroe installed and waiting. You know how important it is to work cleanly now (at least you should after reading my original guide). I recommend lightly cleaning the working area...in our case...as shown below.







    Here are our two (2) solder points:




    I have numbered the pins. Pin 1 starts at the "dot" marker. Then, continuing down the same side of the IC...pin 2, pin 3, etc...when you get to the end, continue counting from the pin directly across from the last on that side....when you get to the end...STOP. This particular IC has 8 pins (SOP-8 package). We will be soldering to Pin #3 and Pin #6

    If you care to know more about the theory involved in our particular modification...we can cover this more at a later time. Right now just understand that we are forcing the regulated output voltage, in this case the voltage feeding the NB, higher by inserting a manual offset in the circuit feedback loop. The system will work to compensate by increasing the output voltage in response to our handwork.

    You can find the PDF datasheet for the RichTek RT9214 (5V/12V Synchronous Buck PWM DC-DC Controller) here if you care to read more about this particular component. (You're highly encouraged to read.)

    First, everything you will need. (I think I forgot to include a single straight razor blade in the pictures.) If you haven't figured it out, yes, that's the part number for the potentiometer from Digi-key there. Please don't everybody PM me asking for the part number.... For those that have stash or perfer to deal with some other reseller, it's a 25-turn 10K ohm potentiometer.









    If you don't deal with Digi-Key I highly recommend that you check them out. Create a login and order a catalog (FREE). You will get a new one about every quarter or so. Digi-key has just about EVERYTHING you could ever need and great prices, too. Tell them Kris sent you (just kidding, they will have no idea who I am).

    OK, turn on your soldering iron now. I don't use anything fancy. I believe it's a 45W Weller. You don't need to crank it up as high as it will go. Go to about 3-4 to start. Really, we don't need more than about 20W of heat. Before we begin soldering there are a couple of things we need to go over. This should be your mantra when working with computer electronics:

    1) My hands are my rock, I shall not shake.
    2) I shall apply heat no longer than absolutely necessary.
    3) I shall act sparingly with my solder, too much and I shall certainly bridge a few pins.


    BTW, please, don't let your brand new $275 motherboard be the first thing you solder on. Practice on something else.....please.....pretty please.... And if you don't think you can behave and follow the three simple "rules" above, by all means, don't attempt this. Maybe think about finding someone who can help you out...


    Step 1: Prepare your potentiometer

    Start by turning the set screw on your potentiometer at least the maximum number of end to end turns in the counter-clockwise direction (we will cover why later). This will ensure that you have reached the maximum value for at least one of the "two internal resistors." Yes, there is only one "resistor bank" inside and only one wiper arm. For the purpose of describing what is happening we will model this system as two resistors as illustrated below.

    The object on the left is the IC that we will be soldering to. The red lines will be the wires that we solder in. The object on the right is the potentiometer.

    Just remember this:
    A + B = 10K ohm ALWAYS (sometimes 10K will be a little off...like 10.3K....this is normal)

    What this means is that if B = 5K then A = 10K - 5K = 5K. If we turn the set screw and move the wiper blade A or B will increase (or decrease, depending on the directing of motion of the set screw, clock-wise or counter clock-wise) such that A + B is a constant. If A goes up then B goes down and vice versa....Got it?



    Now that's all well and good. Except that we just want to insert some parallel resistance from the FB (feedback) line to ground. Any ground will work. We chose Pin #3 of the IC because it's 1) close, 2) easy, 3) did I say close?

    The red "x" means that we won't be connecting that leg of the potentiometer. The middle leg is the wiper leg and the two on either side are the other sides of the "A" and "B" resistances that we create by moving the set screw. Not all potentiometer are setup exactly the same that's why I have provide you with a part number. I recommend you buy the same type that I have used in this guide.

    Since there is no potential developed across "B" we get no current flow through "B." For all intents and purposes we can model the system as if "B" didn't even exist:





    So, turning the set screw from one maximum to the other makes "A" go from 0 ohms (minimum, a short - a no-no) to 10K ohms (max). Here's what we are really doing to the system. We place "A" as labeled. The second placement of "A" inside of the dashed-line box is the same as that which we show as going straight from Pin #3 to Pin #6. Why? Because all grounds in this picture are the same, which I have further illustrated by connecting them together with the longer red lines.



    Why not just insert a resistor and be done with all of this? Simple. We want our modification to be adjustable....hence the use of the potentiometer.

    Now that we've established that we only need to two legs all we need to do now is determine which two legs. Well, we already said that we had to keep the middle leg. Measuring the resistance between the outer two legs is always 10K...remember...A + B = 10K. No matter how we move the set screw the total resistance of the "resistor bank" doesn't change, only the resistance from one end to the tap-off point (the middle leg).

    -> Here's how I choose which outer leg to keep. I make a standard convention, such as: clock-wise motion on the set screw is an increase in voltage (not necessarily an increase in resistance, usually just the opposite...)

    -> In this case a decrease in resistance causes an increase in voltage. So, turning the set screw clock-wise should cause the resistance between the legs I chose to go down.

    -> Since I want to install the modification at a minimum I have already pre-set the potentiometer by turning counter clock-wise the maximum number of turns. (remember this from before?)

    -> That means that since I have already set a maximum from one outer leg to the middle I just need to determine which outer leg is at a maximum! How? Measure with a multimeter from the middle leg to each outer leg separately. One should be ~10K and the other 0K. Yes? If not you have not turned the set screw couter clock-wise enough times.

    -> Once again, maximum resistance is minimum increase in voltage. So find that outer leg that measured as a short to the middle leg and clip it off! Here's what you should end up with:

    Note: I also cut the other two legs a little shorter, we don't need all that length.


    Another way to look at it:



    See the legs labeled? "CW" means that clock-wise set screw motion moves the wiper in that direction. We moved it "CCW" so the wiper moved to "1." So the middle to "1" was a short and "3" to the middle ("2") was a maximum. So we cut of "1" since we want a maximum for CCW motion since CW motion from this point lowers resistance (from a maximum) from 3 to the middle leg ("2"). And lowering resistance is an increase in voltage since the FB pin on the IC uses a pre-amplified inverting input! If you don't like this method use the method descrived above.

    In the end, it really doesn't matter which way you turn the set screw to change the voltage. I strongly recommend that you have a convention so that you don't start cranking up the voltage by accident thinking you are lowering. Since raising and lower the resistance may have different responses with different PWM controller ICs you will need to think through this process every time. Be careful. Installing a potentiometer with the legs shorted can kill a board if a minimum resistance on the feedback pin sets a maximum output voltage...BOOM.


    Step 2: Prepare your wires

    I use small wire. I think 28 or 30 gauge. Black is my favorite color (disappears the best) but red is all I have. Onward!

    Cut off a couple of short lengths...think like 1" or so. Generally, the shorter the better. If you have to mount the potentiometer farther from the modification site then you will obviously need more wire.





    Now using your flat straight razor strip a small section from the ends of each wire. If you have a wire stripper that can handle this guage then by all means go for it! (wow) When you are using the razor you should be making more of a scraping motion as you turn the wire....if you press down too hard you will probably just cut the wire outright. Here's what it should look like when done as well as a short with one done and one remaining:






    Step 3: Solder everything together!

    We'll start by soldering the wires to Pin #3 and Pin #6 on the IC. Remember, don't use any more heat than you absolutely need to and don't hold the soldering iron directly on the IC legs an longer than necessary (2-3 seconds maximum.) Just remove the iron in between soldering attempts to allow the IC to cool. High heat for too long = damage. Heat head for soldering in short bursts = fine and dandy.

    "Tinning" your soldering iron head will help. Do this by allowing the solder to coat the tip of the iron. Allow a little to accumulate so that you can move this to the leg of the IC you are working on. "Tin" the leg as well as the wire end that you will be join it. Work clean. If the heat causes the flux in the solder to burn and make a dark residue remove this from the iron tip by quickly running it across the wet sponge you have nearby.

    Once you have both wires attached they should be secure enough that you can raise the board off your work surface by lifting with the wire you just soldered to either IC leg.


    -> Not my best job there but this is some small stuff!

    Once the wires are soldered in we simply line up the other end with a leg of the potentiometer. Which one doesn't matter.




    The apply a blob of solder (good thing that looks don't matter in this case!):



    And repeat:





    Now simply move the wires so that they are positioned as you like. Don't use too much force. Don't want to break a line. Just get them out of the way and in a safe place:





    Last step is to use a small drop of super-glue to firm attach the potentiometer to the board. This is about the only real part of the mod that makes it non-removable. Of course, if you want to be able to remove it later to sell the board to someone that want it stock you can always use something a little less permanent when securing the pot in place.

    When you boot the board you should see very little change in vMCH (via BIOS) since the potentiometer is set to maximum resistance. I recommend that you set the BIOS vMCH to 1.65 before you adjust up. This way you can't set 1.8v when BIOS is at default and then later send 2.1v through you NB when you pick 1.65v in BIOS.....I've seen worse....lol.

    If you care to learn more about how the NB/MCH responds to voltage with this board this would be a good place to start!:

    Asus P5W DH Deluxe MCH Overclocking Response

    -FCG

    Last edited by freecableguy; 01-08-2007 at 10:41 AM.

  3. #3
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    *Reserved for vDDR mod*

  4. #4
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    Nice!

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    Pics are a little darkness

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    Sweet guide! I call this a sticky!

  7. #7
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    Very nice... I definetly plan on using this guide when i get my board.

    Hopefully by then they'll be shipping with conroe compatible bios because hotflashing scares me =/
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    Quote Originally Posted by Movieman View Post
    I don't beleive in passive cooling.

  8. #8
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    Nice post man, though add a disclamer for those who f-up their CMOS chip when they take a much too big screwdriver and drive it along the MBs surface

  9. #9
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    FCG very nice guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Charloz24
    Sweet guide! I call this a sticky!
    i second that nomination for a stickey

  10. #10
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    :bowdown:

    Thanks FCG! Looks like i'll be busy tomorrow when my P5W DH arrives.
    Donate to XtremeSystems!

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  11. #11
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    Holy crap. Thank you so much, seriously!
    I don't know why (or i do...) but wow, I think you are seriously fncking awesome! Thanks FCG!

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    Excellent post! This NEEDS to be stickied!

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    Very nice guide

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    An excellent guide which will only get better by the time is finished. Good work!

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    Very good writing and pictures FCG.


    If you have a cooling question or concern feel free to contact me.

  16. #16
    Xτræmε ÇruñcheΓ
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    awesome guide, glad i found this early.

    i know its not really on-topic, but should i get this board, or will there probably be something 10x better out within the next month?
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  17. #17
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    INCREDIBLE GUIDE!
    can't wait to see the mod guides

  18. #18
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    Very nice ... plan on doing it this weekend

    Question: Did you put any AS5 on the Vreg Cooler ? whats on the bottom of that ?
    Last edited by Silver Bullet; 07-10-2006 at 08:35 PM.
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  19. #19
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    That must have taken _forever_ to document.

    Your pliers look like they've seen better times, though. Just don't use them to pull out splinters .

  20. #20
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    Very nicely done and informative.
    Of course; warranty becomes void, correct?
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  21. #21
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    I would think so, but didn't do any physical damage so .. maybe still good ?
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallman
    Very nicely done and informative.
    Of course; warranty becomes void, correct?
    i didnt even think of this, that could ruin the whole thing for me. i think even DFI lets you redo the TIM on the chipset... and pulling off those stupid covers had BETTER not void warranty...

    oh so dumb. if only they just used deacent TIM in the first place then none of this would be a problem. however that WOULD cost them an extra $.50 per board, if no more! thus jacking the price from $260 to $320...
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  23. #23
    Xtreme Member
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    The covers on the nb and sb had some kind of plastic stuff over them I guess to prevent scratching, not good for heat transfer thou.

  24. #24
    Xtreme Member
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    Mar 2005
    Posts
    235
    excellent stuff

  25. #25
    Xtreme Enthusiast
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    Apr 2004
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    Very nice!

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    Quote Originally Posted by FUGGER
    ROFL, the "retail" clause now.

    Let it go man, Conroe is gonna punk AMD bad.

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