Hacker ups Eee to 1.2GHz

February 27, 2008 // 7:38 a.m.

Tags: #12ghz #asus #eee #guryhwa #mod #overclock

An enterprising hacker by the name of 'guryhwa' has decided to ditch the rather weedy Celeron processor in his Eee PC and replace it with a much more powerful Pentium-M. The good news? Battery life is pretty much unaffected. The bad news? You need to be pretty good with your soldering iron.

The processor inside an Eee PC is a standard Intel laptop chip, but Asus has taken the decision to solder it directly to the motherboard rather than use a socket which would allow for the processor to be swapped out in the field. However, with a steady hand the chip can be unsoldered and replaced with – in this case – a 1.2GHz ultra-low voltage Pentium-M CPU.

Using a piece of software called mmtool guryhwa was able to deduce that the standard BIOS on the Asus Eee PC 701 would support up to a 1.6GHz 'Dothan' CPU, although he opted for a 1.2GHz unit owing to the lower power usage and heat output – 5.5W compared to 7.5W. By removing the existing processor and soldering the new one directly to the motherboard guryhwa can certainly wave bye-bye to his warranty but was lucky enough for it to be detected in the BIOS first time.

The Eee PC runs at a 70MHz bus speed instead of the more common 100MHz, meaning that the default 900MHz Celeron chip actually runs at 630MHz. This bus speed is used by the new chip too, meaning that the 1.2GHz processor used in the mod actually runs at 840MHz. It is, however, possible to use a custom BIOS or one of the software tweaking tools to 'overclock' the bus to get the full 1.2GHz out of the chip.

While this mod isn't for everyone – heck, the very thought of trying to solder that many pins by hand on a multi-layer PCB has me in cold sweats – it just goes to show what a little ingenuity can do to a seemingly closed platform.

Any expert solderers tempted by the speed boost this would give your natty little portable, or is it too much risk for too little gain? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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