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Now we’ve got to the end and it’s time to say some final words. First, let me show a diagram with averaged performance results of each tested processor. We calculated this value as the geometric mean of results in the tests normalized to the performance of the Intel Celeron 1.7GHz:

So, CPUs from AMD are the fastest processors for cheap computer systems today. All the Athlon XP family surpasses the Celeron series, including its eldest members. For example, the Athlon XP 1900+ wins more tests over the Celeron 2.8, especially games, although costs half of its price. In fact, elder Celeron models can only beat junior Athlon XP CPUs in various encoding applications. Thus, if you want to have a fast computer for reasonable money, consider the Athlon XP family in the first hand. The Pentium 4 1.8A GHz may be an appealing offer, too. At its regular frequency this processor is no hero, though. It costs something like the Celeron 2.8GHz, but performs like a Celeron 2.4GHz in a majority of applications. But there are two more points. Firstly, the Pentium 4 1.8A is quite satisfactory in games. And secondly, it is highly overclockable. After overclocking, this processor shows the best results among all the models of this price sector.

Among the Athlon XP assortment, I’d say that the best price/performance ratio goes to junior models with a 256KB L2 cache and the 266MHz bus. Increasing the cache size and the bus frequency you do get some performance growth, but it is not worth of the extra money you pay for these improvements. Besides that, junior Athlon XP models, especially on the Thorton core, are good overclockers and you can usually give them a boost to reach the performance level of elder Athlon XP models. And you get this for a paltry sum of $60-70.

You may have noticed that our sympathies are with the Athlon XP in the value processor field. Well, I have something to say to the army of Intel admirers. Cheap CPUs from this company can’t boast good performance, but if you go Intel, you should go for more expensive products. For example, Pentium 4 processors show much better results on the 533MHz FSB. The Pentium 4 2.4A and Pentium 4 2.4B are selling for just a little more than elder Celerons, but they offer you considerably more performance, although it’s still not extraordinary against Athlon XP models of the same price. The NetBurst architecture spreads its wings in full only after being transferred to the 800MHz bus and after enabling Hyper-Threading. But these things only occur in a higher price category as we’ll soon see: we are going to step up in our upcoming reviews to examine what Intel and AMD are offering us in the mainstream sector.

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