Another Gold Finger device comes in for a review, but from our past to reviews we have seen that they deliver identical performance, but they differ in ease of use. So far the Afterburner is our Gold Finger device of choice, but could this new boy change all that? Let's find out.
When we got this Gold Finger device in, we were stunned by the size of it. It is physically impossible to get a Gold Finger Device that is any smaller, since the PCB is as big as the GFD connector. While size isn't really that much of a problem to most, it did enable us to use our VOS32 ducting when we had the Tweeking Device on the Athlon. This was not possible with the Freespeed or the Afterburner.
Another very nice feature is the fact that there is no need for a power connector. This means we had one 3 pin fan connector spare (from the Afterburner) to use for an extra fan on the CPU (woop). However, we thought that this was a very good design feature and that it was worth commending
The sheet that was supplied gave us good help (although we didn't need it), the instructions were clear and concise with bullet-point instructions as well as more detailed, explained sentences. One thing we did like about the set of instructions was that it included information on how to open your Athlon. The other two devices never gave any hint of this and really left it to you.
Because the Tweeking device is based on DIP switches it isn't as easy to adjust as the Afterburner, and the table that is supplied in the instruction sheet is very similar to the one that is supplied with the Freespeed Pro. However this is where it differs from the Freespeed. While the Freespeed has 16 DIP switches, the Tweeking device one has 8, the first 4 controls the frequency while the other 4 controls the core voltage.
There is quite a few paragraphs detailing how you should set your core voltage and how you should overclock your Athlon in steps, rather than going for the highest frequency at the start. While most overclockers know about this and how to burn in their system, either running game demos or seti/dnet. We thought that this was good advice for the 'new overclocker'.
The main problem with DIP switches is that if you want to increase or decrease any value (either the frequency or the core voltage) you have to change several switches. The Tweeking device is easier to handle in that respect since it only has 8 switches, compared to 16 the Freespeed Pro had. The best device we've seen that takes care of this tedious task is the Afterburner. You can simply just turn the dials and be done with it. It has to be said though, the Tweeking device is a step up in ease of use when compared to the Freespeed Pro.
As usual we used our Athlon 550 (revision 2, stepping 1) and our trusty Globalwin VOS32 cooler, the same setup we used for the previous experiments.
Holding to form, we reached 700 MHz at 1.7v but couldn't boot into Windows 95 (osr 2), Windows 98 SE and Windows 2000 (Professional) at any higher, even when we increased our core voltage to a dizzy 1.9v.
From this we see that in terms of performance there is no deference between the three devices we tested. You will not get a higher clock speed if you buy a different clock speed, this is mainly because they all work in the same way and in essence do the same job, but employ different methods of working.
If you already have a gold finger device, there is no need for you to rush out and buy this one, however if you are in the market for one of these devices, then we recommend the Tweeking device. We recommend it on several grounds, the small size means that it can be used with the VOS32 ducting, and it can be easily fitted. There is no need for power connectors which is a step up from the old power connector problems we had with the Freespeed Pro.
The thought of transatlantic postage might have come into your head, but HighSpeedPC sent this via their Priority Mail for $9.00 (the box was larger much larger and heavier than it would be if you ordered just the Tweeking device, due to another product being in there), and it took 5 days to arrive in London. The # $9 (or roughly 6) isn't much more than the usual 1-3 day delivery we pay to some mail order companies.
Moving from that point we take a look at the price. At $45.00 (which equates # to about 28.00) means that is little devil is very well priced, and comes below the Afterburner and on par with the Freespeed Pro.
If we had to make a choice between the three gold finger devices we have reviewed so far, then it would be a two horse race, between the Tweeking device and the Afterburner. However between those two we would go for the Tweeking device since it is more cost effective and does not require a power connector.
The Tweeking device has to be one of the best devices of it's kind on the market. The only thing that would make it better would be if they replaced the DIP switches with the Afterburner's dials, however that might require a power input, so this might be the best solution.