The Processor Identification Number: Danger or Paranoia?

As mentioned in AnandTech's original Pentium III review, the Pentium III is the first processor to boast Intel's new processor identification number technology that basically gives your processor an individual identification number which is unique to your processor alone. This number can allow your processor to be tracked down via the Internet for a variety of purposes, and at the same time the number has obviously caused a lot of commotion in the industry.

Motherboard manufacturers have quickly jumped on the bandwagon of supporting the ability to disable the number via their BIOS setup utility, so if the number's presence is that bothersome to you then you should write your motherboard manufacturer if an update to your BIOS hasn't already been made. At the same time, programmers are saying that there are methods to enable the number even if it is off already. This poses a problem as many believe that the ability for your presence to be tracked on-line is a severe violation of your privacy. Whether the threat of Intel's new id system is a dangerous threat or just paranoia on the part of the users, the conclusion of the argument is this: the number is included on Pentium III processors, including the newly release 550MHz parts.

In reality, your final decision shouldn't be swayed by whether or not your processor features a traceable serial number however it can be an influential force in forming your opinion of manufacturers that do boast the technology. In some cases the identification number is actually a security advantage as the data stored on the processor now allows you to run a utility supplied by Intel that will report the proper FSB and clock multiplier settings the CPU was made to run at. What must be pointed out is that there wasn't a dire need for such a drastic move by Intel proving that in some cases, necessity isn't the mother of invention.

Heat and Overclocking

The Pentium III 550 does generate more heat than the 450MHz and 500MHz parts, which is expected considering the 550MHz processor does run at a faster clock speed while using the same core as the 450/500MHz parts. Contrary to the rumors of the 550MHz Pentium III having heat problems as reported by The Register, an on-line news publication, AnandTech's hands-on experience as well as that of many other individuals and manufacturers shows the Pentium III 550 to run perfectly fine as long as it is cooled using a Pentium III heatsink/fan combo. Although Intel may be known to use some pretty harsh business tactics, they would definitely not release a processor that runs at too high of a temperature for reliable operation.

Index Overclocking

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