Not so long ago Intel announced a few processor models that work with the new 800MHz bus. The remarkable thing about this announcement was the fact that it was devoted to CPUs working at not very high core frequencies, not the fastest and the most expensive ones. As a result, the functions, which used to be a distinguishing feature only of the flagship CPUs from Intel, are now supported by the less expensive processors.
So, Intel’s 2.4GHz, 2.6GHz, 2.8GHz and 3.0GHz CPUs can all boast Hyper-Threading and 800MHz bus. The circuit, which has been implemented in every Pentium 4 die, is now brought to life. The Pentium 4 platform entered a new era!
The use of Hyper-Threading and 800MHz bus in platforms other than High-End ones is not the only interesting thing about this announcement. Overclockers have surely paid due attention to this event, because the coming of the new Pentium 4 family may imply the arrival of new heights to be reached by overclocking and tweaking. Junior Pentium 4 processors with the 800MHz bus evidently use the same core as their 3GHz fellows. Moreover, the upcoming Pentium 4 3.2GHz due in the end of this month is going to use this core, too.
This fact gives us some hope that the slower Pentium 4 CPUs with the 800MHz bus clocked at 2.4GHz can be speeded up to 3.2GHz and even more. With Hyper-Threading support, these CPUs may be used to build the today’s fastest systems. The only obstacle that may arise on the way to overclocking Pentium 4 2.4C is the necessity to overclock the bus, too. As the multiplier in Intel CPUs is fixed, you can only speed the CPU up by increasing the FSB frequency. But the standard frequency equal to 800MHz (200MHz FSB) is already pretty huge and has even required developing new chipsets. So, Pentium 4 overclocking may be limited by the bus rather than the CPU capabilities and make it impossible for the Pentium 4 supporting 800MHz bus to show high results. So, that’s going to be the topic of this review: whether these problems can be solved and how high the performance can grow if Intel Pentium 4 2.4C gets into skillful overclockers’ hands.
Getting Started: Overclocking Pentium 4 3.0
Before putting our hands on the 2.4GHz model, let’s first consider the overclocking potential of the top-end model of the Pentium 4 family with all its Hyper-Threading, 800MHz bus and 3GHz frequency.
So, soon after Intel’s announcement we hunted down a brand-new Pentium 4 3.0GHz, lassoed it and brought down into our dungeon (to the basement of our test lab). That’s what our trophy looks like:
As you see, it is a pretty ordinary, off-the-shelf specimen, caught in a regular shop. This processor has “SL6WK” S-Spec and, accordingly, features the new Northwood core with D1 stepping. This stepping is used in all Pentiums 4 supporting 800MHz bus (and sometimes in processors with 533MHz bus and disabled Hyper-Threading).