Duh Voodoo Man's  PowerLeap PL-P4/N CPU Upgrade Review

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A man needs a plan....    Introduction & Upgrade Plan
Show me the pictures!    P4/N Installation Photos
How ya gonna test, Voodoo Man?    Startup & Benchmarking Plan
What does all of this MEAN??    Results & Conclusions
More PowerLeap stuff...    Other DVM PowerLeap Articles
Click to go to the PowerLeap P4/N webpage

Check out the P4/N!!
Canadian customer?? Click HERE

Being an "early adopter" can have its disadvantages. And many people who bought the first "Willamette" Pentium 4 systems based upon 423-pin socketed motherboards like the Intel 850 found themselves gnashing their teeth a short time later, when Intel announced that they would quickly transition to a 478-pin design for newer, faster P4's. BUMMER!! Suddenly, these folks were looking at having no viable CPU upgrade options for their expensive new machines! And since these were "state of the art" PC's at that time, the price tag on many of them exceeded $2000, sometimes by a considerable margin. I read more than one bitterly stated posting by a disgruntled owner, expressing their feelings of betrayal by Intel. And who could really blame them? Many of us--especially those with multiple PC's in a household--expect to be able to get several years of useful service out of a PC, and this often translates to upgrading the CPU, among other components. Needless to say, these people were NOT happy campers!

But mercifully, times and technology change. And the "upgrade dead end" that these folks found they had driven into has been given an exit ramp in recent months. PowerLeap, the outfit that introduced the PL-iP3/T adapter technology for upgrading the processors in older BX motherboard systems, has been at it again. This time, they've introduced a product called the P4/N that allows newer 478-pin Northwood P4 processors to be used in compatible Socket 423 motherboards. Of course, only the 400MHz FSB versions of the Northwood processors can be used, due to the limitations of these older P4 motherboards, but this is still excellent news to the system owner who considered him/herself out of luck on CPU upgrades!

When I first saw that the P4/N had been introduced, I was pleased for Socket 423 system owners, but disappointed personally. That's because I didn't own one of these systems and thus could not approach PowerLeap for an evaluation sample to try out! But that situation was remedied recently when I acquired a used Dell Dimension 8100 via an eBay auction. This machine came with the original 1.3GHz Willamette processor, the slowest P4 ever made, and thus a fitting candidate for a processor upgrade. And PowerLeap quickly agreed to provide me with a P4/N evaluation sample, mated up with a brand new 2.6GHz Northwood P4. That made an excellent counterpoint to the original Willamette P4 in the 8100, since the new processor's clockspeed would be exactly TWICE that of the original. VAROOM!!

A few days later, the package showed up from PowerLeap, containing the P4/N adapter together with a sturdy looking custom heatsink/fan, plus a 2.6GHz Northwood P4 still in the Intel box. Man, nothin' gets me excited like new hardware! It was time to install this hot new rig and see what it could do....

On to the installation photos...