CPU CHALLENGE: 1.4GHz Celeron & iP3/T vs. 1.3GHz P4


I get the question from time to time, "If I upgrade the CPU in my old BX motherboard system, will the speed increase be worth the price, or should I just get a new PC?" There can be good arguments either way, depending on many factors. But here's something to consider before you chuck that old BX box:

I recently obtained a Dell Dimension 8100, purchased from eBay, that came with the original Willamette 1.3GHz P4 processor. This model is based upon the Intel 850 Socket-423 motherboard, with PC800 RDRAM (512MB in this case), and originally shipped in late Feb. '01. Now, you would think that such a system would have it all over a Dimension XPS-R, manufactured two and a half years earlier in Aug. '98, even when upgraded with with a 1.4GHz Tualatin Celeron and PowerLeap iP3/T adapter. Though the 1.3GHz Willamette P4 in the 8100 is very slightly lower in clockspeed, it has several apparent major advantages:

1) The newer P4 processor architecture vs. a Celeron based upon older P3 technology
2) Faster PC800 RDRAM memory vs. old PC100 SDRAM
3) The much more recent Intel 850 chipset technology vs. the old SE440BX mobo in the XPS-R

So, in a heads-up confrontation, you'd kind of expect the old XPS-R to get it's butt kicked, wouldn't you?

Guess again! Check out the numbers I saw on four popular benchmarks. The three video benchmarks were run using the same video card (Gainward Geforce4 Ti4200 64MB) on both systems. Just take a look at the data in the table at right.

In all cases, the 1.4GHz iP3/T edges out the P4. I found this very surprising, frankly. Extrapolating from the 1.3GHz Willamette numbers, I calculate that it would have taken a P4-W of about 1.4 - 1.5GHz to match the iP3/T's performance. So, in other words, the performance of the Tualatin Celeron-iP3/T and Willamette P4 is ESSENTIALLY IDENTICAL in these benchmarks on a clockspeed-equivalent basis, despite the "superior" CPU, chipset and memory used by the 8100. Not a bad showing for a system built upon technology that's TWO AND A HALF YEARS OLDER! Looks like that old XPS-R may have a couple of years of useful life left in it yet!

Now what might happen if we were to drop, say, a 2.6GHz Northwood P4 with a PowerLeap P4/N adapter into that sleepy 8100?? Well, that's ANOTHER STORY....

   PowerLeap Reviews index page    Back to the PowerLeap Review index page...

   Visit Duh Voodoo Man!!    Check out Duh Voodoo Man's Home Page