First Tests Find 1.7-GHz Celeron an Iffy Chip

Intel cripples its next-generation value CPU, analyst says; and new chip set can't take up the slack.

In its latest move to woo budget PC buyers, Intel has ratcheted up the clock speed of its Celeron processor from 1.3 GHz to 1.7 GHz and pumped up the frontside bus speed from 100 MHz to 400 MHz. But based on PC World's exclusive tests of a PC using the new Celeron, you should avoid it: This chip is all bark and no bite.

The new Celeron uses the same core as older Pentium 4 chips. But Intel decided to ship this processor with a scant 128KB Level 2 cache, half the size of the L2 cache of previous Celeron and older P4 chips (newer P4s have a 512KB L2 cache).

Low Performance

The 128KB L2 cache evidently hindered the speed of the preproduction 1.7-GHz Celeron system tested, an $849 Gateway 300S: It managed a meager score of 83 on PC WorldBench 4 tests. A comparable 1.7-GHz Pentium 4 system--with the same integrated graphics--ran more than 10 percent faster, earning a score of 93.

The CD-RW drive, monitor, and speakers on the $1253 P4 test system, a preproduction Gateway 500, were better than those on the 300S. But configured just like the 300S except for the CPU, the 500 sells for $1028--only $179 more.

In addition, the 1.7-GHz Celeron system actually performed worse than older Celeron machines that PC World has tested. A comparable 1.3-GHz Celeron Dell system earned a score of 92. A similar 1.2-GHz Celeron PC from Gateway logged a score of 89, and a Hewlett-Packard system scored 90.

News source: PCWorld.com

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