Intel's Celeron processor gained a bad reputation among overclocking enthusiasts even before the first one hit the market. It was designed for easy computer tasks, not for gaming. The latest generation, however -- the Celeron D -- just might inspire overclockers to take another look at this Rodney Dangerfield of CPUs.
If you have been looking at processors prices lately, you may notice that they aren’t cheap by any means. Pentium 4s start at $150 and range over $640, and those aren't even their fastest chips. The Pentium 4 Extreme Editions can go for $1,000 easy. Who has that kind of money to burn on a CPU alone? On the other end of Intel’s shelf are the Celerons. These are their cheap CPU solutions. Today we will take a look at their newest Celerons.
Have you ever gone to a LAN party and saw everyone packing water cooled Celerons? Most likely not; many people consider Celerons to be garbage. Why is that? Well, Intel even treats the Celerons as below par. Here is what Intel’s site says about the Celeron:
The Intel® Celeron® D processor delivers a balanced level of proven technology and exceptional value for desktop PCs.
Here’s what they say about the Pentium 4:
The latest Pentium 4 Processor supporting Hyper-Threading Technology † includes 2 MB of L2 cache to provide performance and flexibility for your content creation needs now and supports Intel® EM64T Φ for flexibility for future software that support increased memory addressability.
Which one sounds more interesting to you?
Intel hasn’t really been challenged in the budget market until the Celeron. Some say the previous generation of Celerons were terrible compared to this generations Celeron D. The Celeron Ds aren’t going to compare with the Pentium 4 EEs, or many of the Pentium 4s for that matter, but they should give respectable scores, and who knows, may even keep up with the big boys.
What does the “D” mean? The “D” doesn’t stand for anything. It is merely a way of distinguishing the current generation of Celerons from past generations. The Celeron and Celeron D are two totally different CPUs. The Celeron uses the Northwood core built on 130nm, and has 128k L2 cache. The default FSB is 100 MHz. The Celeron D uses the newer, but not always better, Prescott core built on 90nm, and has 256k L2 cache. The default FSB is slightly higher at 133 MHz.
The Celeron D adds support for SSE3. The higher FSB and more cache will help the performance of the newer Celerons, but the Prescott core won’t help much. The pipelines are longer on the Prescott, meaning that at the same speed, it takes longer for the data to travel through the Prescott core than the Northwood. The Prescott core does allow faster clock speeds, so you will be able to clock the Celeron D faster than the Celerons generally. At this point the Celeron seems obsolete; I wouldn’t go with anything but the Celeron D.
What’s the difference between the Pentium 4 and the Celeron D? Should I start with the $100 to $500 price difference? The Pentium 4 comes in both Northwood and Prescott Cores. They sport between 512k to 2 MB of L2 Cache. The newer, high end Pentium 4s have 64-bit capability. Nearly all Pentium 4s have Hyper-Threading, which is missing from the Celeron Ds. This will impact multitasking, but if you don’t use many programs at the same time, the difference won’t be noticeable. There’s not a lot of difference, but what is different impacts the computer’s performance. We will see to what extent in the next section.
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