The installation of the Performa III is really easy. Evergreen gives you a bootable disk that searches through your system and will tell you if you need to upgrade your bios to support the P3 chip. Evergreen also included a cd with bios updates incase the program finds that you need to update. I was surprised when the program said "No Bios update found, proceed with installation." This Packard Bell's bios is well over 2 years old! Since the install program said to go ahead with the install, I did.
Upon turning the computer on for the first time, I was happy to see that it posted, but it detected the P3 chip as a "Pentium Pro 500"… no need for a bios update huh? Well I guess I could live with it saying Pentium Pro 500 as long as it performed as a Pentium3 850.
When it booted into Windows I scrambled to get some benchmarks done. First, I opened up Sisoft Sandra and benched the CPU, which was detect it as a p3 850 by Sandra.
After I managed to the save the picture to the hard drive, the computer locked up. No BSOD, just everything stopped responding. I rebooted and everything was fine again, so I wrote it off as windows being old and needing to be reinstalled. I opened up Sandra again and did the multimedia test.
The system hard locked again about 2 min after the multimedia benchmark. I rebooted the computer again. This time I let it set for about 5 min, nothing happened so I started up 3dmark2000, and started the default benchmark. With in 3 sec of the first benchmark starting the computer hard locked again. My only conclusion was that it wasn't stable with the Performa III installed.
So I shutdown the computer reinstalled the Pentium2 350 back in the computer, and all the freezing problems went away. I wasn't about to give up on the Perfroma III since most likely bios issues caused the problems. So I whipped out the trusty BE6-2.
When I booted the BE6-2 with the Performa III installed, it detect the chip as a P3 850. And windows no longer crashed when I tried to run my Sisoft benches. So it was a Bios problem after all. Or was it?
As soon as I tried to run 3dmark2000 the system would hard lock like it was doing on the Packard Bell. This was getting very frustrating. We tried giving the chip more voltage in the bios from the default 1.7 we bumped it up to 1.75. It had no effect.
So with victory snatched from our hands, we did what any hardware enthusiast would do, overclock it! Now the heatsink on the PeformaIII is adequate to cool a stock p3 but not really one that is overclocked, but we did it anyway. We didn't push it to the max but we did manage to boot into windows at 1003MHz at 1.8 volts, we couldn't test for stability because it wasn't stable at stock speeds.