The CPU section of our site is mostly filled with reviews of the topmost processors of the moment, but you shouldn’t be misled to think that such products are the most popular in the market. Our exploration of the fastest CPUs available is interesting in the first hand because it gives us insights into newest technologies in the processor-making field. As for using such devices, which are extreme in two respects – performance and price, few people, mostly hardcore gamers, do buy and install them into their systems. An overwhelming majority of users prefer cheaper and slower processors and are quite satisfied with their choice as they get the most optimal price/performance ratio.
That’s why our today’s article is not about another modification of a high-end processor, but rather about low things. Quantitatively, processors for computer systems costing up to $700 are the real rulers of the market. In this review, we will focus on cheap processors which are seldom the heroes of reviews or tests. We will also try to find out which current offers from AMD and Intel are most profitable for the end-user. Cheap processors are based around well- and long-known architectures and don’t supports any new unexplored-yet technologies, so we’ll spend just a little time to describe them and then go right to benchmarks and overclocking matters. As you know, overclocking is often a rewarding way of increasing the performance of a value processor.
So let’s see the participants getting ready for the tests.
So what processors should be regarded as belonging to the value product category? It’s simple because the CPU manufacturers themselves try to shove their produce into sharply-outlined price niches. I mean Intel in the first hand, which offers an independent processor family, Celeron, for value computer systems. Models of this family have been priced up to $120 for the last several years, so I guess we can set this mark as a limit of what a value processor should cost. This means that we’re interested in the whole Celeron family today. On the Intel side, we should also include a few obsolete Pentium 4 models – Intel has long abandoned producing them, but you can still meet one in a computer shop at a very modest price. The AMD camp will be represented by models of the Athlon XP series in our today’s tests. After the release of the Athlon 64 family, whose members are now positioned both as high-end and mainstream solutions, the manufacturer cut down the Athlon XP prices dramatically. So the Athlon XP was originally targeted at the same niche as the Pentium 4, but now this family is a direct competitor to the Celeron.