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I acquired some used AMD 1200 MP cpus (processors) at a good price. Having some trouble making them work consistently, so collecting some notes. My first suspicion is a temperature problem.



Part Number and Interpretation

Here are the numbers I can read off the chip (the actual die, I guess, the little square in the center. (I'm ignoring some things like a graphic in the lower right, a C in a circle, and something else in a circle. Good thing I recently bought a decent magnifying glass.)

AMD Athlon

From an AMD page on part numbers, etc:

Hmm, I suspect that URL will not be repeatable. You want to:

  • go to http://ask.amd.com/
  • choose a knowledgebase, in this case "Processors"
  • then look for various "Problems", like "What are the operating specifications (temperature, voltage, frequencies, etc.) of my AMD Athlon? Processor?", or "Solutions", like "AMD Athlon? Processor Specifications", which leads you to the following information:

AHX1200AMS3C is the OPN (Ordering Part Number), and parts of it can be interpreted as follows:

A = 
H = 
X = 
1200 = 1200 MHz
A = PGA package
M = 1.75 volt
S = 95 degrees C max temperature
3 = 256 KB cache
C = 266 MHz FSB

Other Useful Ask AMD Problem / Solutions

  • Problem: "How do I resolve system stability issues on my AMD Athlon? or AMD Duron? family processor-based system?" Solution: "Troubleshooter's Guide to AMD Athlon? and AMD Duron? Family Processor-based Systems"


So far, the symptoms of the problems have been like this:

  • Processor not recognized (by the PNP BIOS) as a 1200 MHz Athlon, instead recognized as a 900 MHz Athlon (and maybe a Duron on occasion?). Will book OK as a 900 MHz Athlon, but run into problems later (see below)
  • If I "force" the BIOS to recognize it as a 1200 MHz Athlon (by switching some things including, IIRC, the memory type (133 MHz vs 100 MHz), the machine does not boot up.
  • If I boot up at 900 MHz, I get various strange happenings. In Windows 98, with several browser (IE5?) windows open, the machine hangs and must be rebooted. In Linux (Mandrake 9.1), the machine also hangs at various times, usually with one or more browser windows open (Galeon or Konqueror). Also in Linux, there have been various anomalies with the network card (a Realtek RTL 8029, IRQ5, I0 D000) (no problems with the original Duron 700 MHz processor) — on various occasions the card is not recognized on boot and must be reinstalled, or part of the configuration is lost (like the DNS servers). I don't really see any logical connection, maybe it just happens that those files are open when the machine freezes and are consequently damaged.


The motherboard is a Matsonic 8308E (one is serial 698AM10900094 -- it is rated to handle up to a 1.4 GHz Athlon) and uses the SiS 730 family chipset.

It is not on AMDs list of recommended motherboards. Only one SiS chipset motherboard is, and it uses the SiS 735 family.

Hmm, maybe I need to update the BIOS? I'll have to get the rev number next time I reboot.

Heat Sink

The heat sink I'm using is (to me) very big -- aluminum about 2 x 2.25 x 1.5" high, plus a fan on top of that. Using the white heat sink grease that came with the original processor and is on the old processors.


Will be the subject of another WikiLearn page, maybe LmSensors — was not installed, I've tried to install it, but apparently not correctly so far.

Update: Looks like it might be running — sensord is now listed as a service and is running, it successfully loads something like a SiS730 driver, fails loading a SiS5595 driver (IIRC) — maybe what I need to do now is install gkrellm so I can read out the data?


After a failure, we restart the machine as quickly as possible and check the temperature in the BIOS. Temperatures are typically around 45 degrees C, but on one occasion I found a temperature of 49 degrees C. From everything I've read so far, that should not be too hot for the processor.

Resources re Temperature

Linux Kernel Bug with AGP Graphics

  • According to an AMD Applications Note, Linux kernels before 2.4.19 have a bug that causes freezeups on systems with AGP video systems. (2.4.19 apparently has a workaround, not a permanent fix.)

Is RAM Relevant?

At the time I first installed one of these processors, I also installed a stick of 256 MB PC133 RAM. I also experimented with installing just the PC133 (because I'm not sure what the other stick is) in hopes the processor would be recognized as a 1200 MHz Athlon, but no luck.

After a few trials with the 512 MB RAM, I returned to using the original 256 MB stick to ensure RAM is not the problem.

Current Status

Right now, neither Athlon 1200 MP processor is installed. If I reinstall a processor, I may leave the side of the case off to see if improved cooling makes things better.

Other Resources

  • Linux hardware stability guide, Part 1: CPU and memory troubleshooting; Daniel Robbins; March 1, 2001 — good article, read again, suggestions to pinpoint whether a flaky machine is due to CPU, temperature, RAM. (Part 1 which implies there is a part 2 somewhere, other interesting sounding articles on the same site, like a compiling the kernel tutorial (one of the tests here involves compiling the kernel repeatedly)

  • CPU Burn-in Homepage; "CPU Burn-in v1.01 by Michal Mienik is the ultimate stability testing tool for overclockers. The program heats up any x86 CPU to the maximum possible operating temperature that is achievable by using ordinary software." — I've never tried overclocking, but this looks like a good testing tool for a suspected flaky CPU.

  • [[http://lists.suse.com/archive/suse-linux-e/2001-Jun/2201.html][Re: [SLE] CPU Temperature]]; post from a SuSE mailing list, with conflicting opinions: "Anyhow, 55C is too hot for an AMD CPU to be running..." "So for an Athlon(,) 55C is quite tame"

  • Thermaltake Volcano 6 Cu Review; January 26, 2002; Cooling/Heatsinks; Graham Lane — article on one particular heatsink, with performance data and so forth.


  • () RandyKramer - 21 Jul 2003
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Topic revision: r3 - 2003-07-22 - RandyKramer
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