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Ever since the early days of computers when the 286 supplanted the 8088 companies have been coming up with various adaptors that would allow one to install newer processors into older sockets. Usually, these adaptors did not meet with great success as it generally made more sense to just buy a newer machine than to buy the usually expensive upgrade adaptors with gimped performance.

In the late 1990’s Intel released the Celeron, Pentium II and then the Pentium III in the slot 1 form factor. Processors designed for Slot 1 motherboards came in various cartridge like form factors which used an edge connector to interface with the Slot 1 connector on the main board. In 1999 Intel went back to a more conventional socket with socket 370 AKA PGA370 for the later Pentium III and Celeron CPU’s.

Comparison of a Slot 1 CPU (on right) and PGA370 (on left)

Slot 1 motherboards only officially supported front side bus speeds of 66MHz and 100MHz and finding the 100MHz FSB versions of the later slot 1 P3’s could be difficult and expensive. 100MHz FSB versions of the Pentium III in socket 370 form factor, as well as the 100MHz FSB Celerons, were much more abundant and in time much cheaper. This is where the “slocket” came into play which was a fairly cheap and simple adaptor that allowed you to use a cheap and abundant PGA370 Pentium III / Celeron on a Slot 1 motherboard.

In the early 2000’s though Intel released their Tualatin Pentium III and Tualatin based Celeron CPU’s which were designed on a smaller 0.13 processes and were released in speeds exceeding the 1GHz and 1.1GHz of the earlier Pentium III and Celeron processors.  These new Tualatin processors though required a modified socket 370 known as FCPGA 2 socket 370 and were not usable on older socket 370 motherboards or Slot 1 boards by use of a slocket adaptor.

This is where the Powerleap PL-iP3/T, the T standing for Tualatin, Slot 1 to socket 370 Slocket Adapter came into play and allowed users of older Slot 1 motherboards who were perhaps still sporting sub 450MHz Pentium IIs to upgrade to the latest and fastest Tualatin Celerons.

Although I can not find concrete information on the original selling price the initial PL-iP3/T adaptors with 1.2GHz Tualatin based Celerons I have seen some sources indicated that they retailed for $169 which was cheaper than the P3 1GHz chips at the time. Later versions of the PL-iP3/T came with the option of the 1.3GHz and 1.4GHz Celeron CPU. Even though these Celeron processors ran on a lower 100MHz FSB then their big brother Tualatin Pentium CPUs they sported a full 256 KB of L2 cache just like the Coppermine Pentium III processors.  Tualatin Celerons were also known to overclock fairly easily to 133MHz FSB if your motherboard allowed it. I have read of individuals having issues getting the Powerleap to operate at 133mhz on most motherboards and I can attest mine would not POST when set to 133MHz FSB even though my board supports it via switch settings. My PL-iP3/T is version 2.0 with a 1.3GHz Celeron installed.

On the left side of the adaptor is the header for the fan as well as jumpers to set FSB speeds. The Powerleap can be set for 66, 100 and 133MHz FSB as well as Autodetect which mine is currently set to.

On the right side of the heatsink is the power connector as well as the jumpers for setting the voltage. The Powerleap supports several CPU core voltages.

The connector at the top right is for extra power and mine uses a 3 prong connector though I have read earlier versions of the adaptor used a floppy power connector. Unfortunately, my Powerleap did not come with an adaptor for the power connector so I was forced to make my own rather haphazard adaptor from a molex power extension.

Be sure to connect the cables from left (closest to the heatsink) to right as yellow, black, red.

I used some electrical tape on the ends to help prevent any shorting but if you want to put some more effort into it you can buy the correct 3 prong plastic end piece here. Note that the Powerleap does require this power to be supplied to it as all my attempts to run the Powerleap from the CPU slot with the fan plugged into the motherboard resulted in no POST screen.

For convenience here is a chart with all the jumper settings for both FSB and voltage.

 

The PL-iP3/T also came with different heatsink fans depending on the version. Mine has the Intel fan and I have to admit I’ve been very reluctant to remove it to replace the CPU with a 1.4GHz Celeron or even a 512KB L2 cache version of the Tualatin due to the slightly awkward mechanism it uses to attach to the board and the tight grip.

For a host motherboard I decided to use the Asus P3B-F Ver 1.3 slot 1 motherboard. I have found this motherboard to be rock solid as far as stability goes and it also supports overclocking the FSB via a switch all the way up to 150MHz through the manual warns against any speeds over 100MHz as “unofficial” slot 1 speeds may result in decreased stability. I want to note that initially, I could not get the motherboard to POST with the PL-iP3/T installed. After flashing the board to the latest BIOS however I had no issues and the board POSTed and detected the Powerleap (although incorrectly as a Pentium II 1200MHz) without issue.

As for the other specs of this machine

512MB of PC100 RAM

Geforce 2 Ultra AGP

AWE 64 value ISA

Matrox ATA100 card PCI

USB 2.0 card PCI

below are some comparisons of this setup running first a Pentium II 350MHz and then with the PL-iP3/T Celeron 1.3GHz. Remember this chart isn’t to prove the 1.3GHz Celeron can beat a 350MHz Pentium II, that is very obvious, but it is to show how much a typical slot 1 build from the late 90’s like this could have improved with this upgrade.

I performed all of these tests minus 3DMark 99 at 800x600x32 with high detail settings (3DMark 99 used 16bit color depth) but the Powerleap showed significant performance and left plenty of room to play with higher resolutions.

I also managed to overclock the CPU and FSB to 112MHz via the motherboard switch giving me a speed of 1.45GHz. I had no issues with stability at this speed and my Asus P3B-F ran happily along without issue. As mentioned earlier though bumping the FSB to 133MHz resulted in the PC refusing to POST.

The Powerleap PL-iP3/T does what it claims and if your intent is to drag your slot 1 motherboard into the early 2000’s and early Windows XP era it will do the trick. Unless you can find one for a good price though these adaptors are pretty hard to find these days (2018) as well as pricy.  A slocket adaptor with a 1GHz chip should do almost as well for upgrading your slot 1 board unless you simply demand the fastest, though in that case your likely better off just tracking down a Tualatin compatible motherboard or a Pentium 4 board for early 2000’s gaming.

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One Comment

  1. I got two of these Powerleap adapters. When I bought them, they were AUD$100 with a supplied heatsink but no CPU. I then bought a pair of 1.2Ghz Celerons (B-stepping Tualatin). They had no trouble being overlocked to 1.6Ghz (133Mhz FSB) on stock voltage. They ran on my Abit BF6 (440BX) and ASUS P3C-D (i820) motherboards.


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