Краткое содержание статьи: Intel's low-end Celeron is basically a fast CPU, but it is slowed down considerably by the i810 chipset and its integrated 3D deccelerator. Running it on a decent platform and using a fast graphics card, the Celeron provides good performance and best upgradeability.
Almost two years ago, in August 1998, Intel introduced the Celeron processor based on the popular Mendocino core. Its predecessor (Covington) came with the Pentium II Deschutes core, but without using any L2 cache memory. That's why the first generation Celeron processors were rather slow and unsuccessful. On March 29 of this year, Intel introduced two more Celeron processors, clocked at 566 and 600 MHz. These new models are equipped with Intel's latest core (Coppermine) but come with only 128 Kbytes of full speed L2 cache (instead of the Pentium III's 256 KBytes), making them really interesting again. Moreover, all new Celeron CPUs also include Intel's SSE extensions. With applications supporting this proprietary standard, you will get some extra performance.
As you can read in the review of the AMD Duron processor, the Celeron cannot hold up to its competition from AMD. Nevertheless, lots of users have been thinking about getting a new Celeron CPU (533A or faster), as it was believed to run at 100 MHz FSB just as well. Now some users are speculating on getting a fast Celeron processor. Even though the Celeron is still officially limited to 66 MHz and its main competitor, the Duron, is considerably faster, it is still an inexpensive and fast processor. Moreover, Celeron is best suited for upgrading and overclocking.
66 MHz System Speed
As a low cost product, the Celeron is of course not supposed to reach Pentium III performance. To ensure this, Intel limits its L2 cache to 128 KBytes and its FSB to only 66 MHz. Nevertheless, most Celeron CPUs can be overclocked to 75 or 83 MHz, resulting in a core clock as well nas performace icrease of 13% (75 MHz) or 26% (83 MHz). It is sometimes even possible to run some CPUs at 100 MHz system clock, resulting in a 50% higher core clock speed!
Usually, you will be able to get the Celerons between 300A and 466 MHz running at 92 - 100 MHz FSB, giving you an even more excellent price/performance ratio. The new Celerons 533A and 566 turn out to be able coping with up to 100 MHz system speed as well, getting their core speed up to 800 and 850 MHz.
66 MHz system speed is not going to be a real disadvantage, as the performance of mid-class Celeron CPUs is still sufficient for most applications. As a matter of fact, it is still the graphics card that prevents us from being able to enjoy high resolutions. Please take a look at the CPU scaling benchmarks of Tom's GeForce 2 GTS review. It makes quite clear that a Celeron is still fast enough for most games. As long as the fill rate or memory bandwidth of a graphics card is the bottleneck, people with low budget should spend their money in a fast graphics card rather than in a CPU. Please read Tom's article about 3D benchmarking to learn more about this topic.
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