Articles: CPU
 

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Intel Celeron. Processors of the Intel Celeron family are based around the same micro-architecture as the Pentium 4, but Intel reduces their L2 cache memory amount in two to give them the status of a value product. Thus, Celerons have 128KB of L2 cache until today, although current Pentium 4 models have 512 or 1024KB of L2 cache! Besides that, Celerons use a slower system bus clocked at 400MHz (against the 800MHz FSB of the relatively new Pentium 4 models), which limits the processor-memory bandwidth to 3.2GB/s in Celeron-based systems. Then, Celerons don’t have Hyper-Threading and their maximum clock rate is 2.8GHz. In this article, you’ll see all Celeron models for the Socket 478 platform. Here’s a full list:

Frequency, GHz

Processor core

Bus frequency, MHz

L2 cache size, KB

1.7

Willamette-128

400

128

1.8

Willamette-128

400

128

2.0

Northwood-128

400

128

2.1

Northwood-128

400

128

2.2

Northwood-128

400

128

2.3

Northwood-128

400

128

2.4

Northwood-128

400

128

2.5

Northwood-128

400

128

2.6

Northwood-128

400

128

2.7

Northwood-128

400

128

2.8

Northwood-128

400

128

Intel Pentium 4. As I mentioned above, only junior Pentium 4 models, long abandoned by the manufacturer, can be classified as value products. Anyway, you can still see processors like a Pentium 4 1.8A in shops. This model is based on the 0.18-micron Northwood core, works with the 400MHz FSB and doesn’t support Hyper-Threading, just like Celerons. Unlike Celerons, however, it is equipped with 512KB of L2 cache. The price of such a model will be like that of a 2.8GHz Celeron. Besides the Pentium 4 1.8A we included a handful of Pentiums 4 with 2.4GHz frequency. The price of the Northwood-core Pentium 4 2.4B (533MHz FSB and 512KB L2 cache) has now dropped to $130, which is just above the ceiling for the Celerons. Besides that, we have a Prescott-core Pentium 4 2.4A with 1MB L2 cache and 533MHz FSB and a Pentium 4 2.4C with 512KB L2 cache, the 800MHz FSB and Hyper-Threading. Although these two processors don’t fit into the price category we are interested in, I guess they’ll serve well as reference points. Moreover, they may be prospective offers in the near future after inevitable price cuts.

AMD Athlon XP. AMD’s launching the Athlon 64 series has played into the hands of money-tight users. The manufacturer started aggressively promoting the new processor models in the market, dropping the prices for the Athlon XP to the level of value CPUs. Our today’s tests include Athlon XP models ranging from 1900+ to 2800+. You should be aware that the Athlon XP series consists of processors based on different cores and having different L2 cache sizes and bus frequencies. You can find a Thoroughbred-core Athlon XP in shops with 256KB L2 cache and a 266 or 333MHz bus; Barton-core models with 512KB of L2 cache and a 333 or 400MHz bus; and Thorton-core CPUs which are made out of Bartons by disabling half of the cache, with a 266MHz or 333MHz bus. Note that Thorton and Thoroughbred cores are absolutely identical from the point of view of the end-user. It is also important that all Athlon XP family processors are plugged into the same socket, Socket A. We tested the following models of this family:

Model number

Frequency, GHz

Processor core

Bus frequency, MHz

L2 cache size, KB

1900+

1.6

Thoroughbred

266

256

2000+

1.67

Thoroughbred

266

256

2100+

1.73

Thoroughbred

266

256

2200+

1.8

Thoroughbred

266

256

2400+

2.0

Thoroughbred

266

256

2500+

1.83

Barton

333

512

2600+

2.08

Thoroughbred

333

256

2700+

2.17

Thoroughbred

333

256

2800+

2.08

Barton

333

512

The next diagram lists average retail prices for the processors we are going to test today:

Thus, I guess our test will create a comprehensive picture of the low-end CPU sector with processors priced from $50 to $120-130. 
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