Geekspeak: October 29, 2001

New brains for an old body

Evergreen Technologies spectra and performa processor upgrades add new life to old PCs without a lot of pain—either installationwise or out of pocket. Evergreen has been doing this for years, but now that Windows XP is out and cost cutting abounds, the Evergreen chips look pretty good.

The Performa line replaces Slot 1 processors, and the Spectra replaces the Socket 370. Both of these chips work on motherboards that support 100MHz front-side buses, so, to my chagrin, I couldnt upgrade my 1.5-year-old Toshiba Equiium.

Evergreens products are fairly inexpensive. The Performa 1GHz, a Celeron II, costs $200 and comes with 128MB of RAM. The Performa III, a 1GHz Pentium III, costs $300 and comes with 256MB of RAM.

Both work quite well—I ran Dr. Hardware, a quick and dirty test, which showed that the Performa 1GHz ran about twice as fast as a 533MHz Pentium III in processor and memory tests. For normal word processing and browsing, things are a little snappier, but not by much.