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  Daily Column, August 27th 
  Aug 27, 2001, 04:00pm EDT 
 
By: Sander Sassen

Can you say 2.0 GHz? We sure can and we already did months ago as we ran 1.7 and 1.8GHz Pentium 4s at speeds up to 2.2GHz. Naturally we did so unofficially, by overclocking the frontside bus on our Pentium 4 motherboards, but still, it makes the launch of the new 2GHz Pentium 4 CPU far less impressive.

In reality 2GHz is another milestone, not as significant as the 1GHz milestone, but in all fairness Intel was the first to offer a CPU at 2GHz clockspeed. But the real question is whether it offers any substantial boost in performance, surely the extra MHz buys you some, but it is not exactly a quantum leap in performance as no extra features were added.

So what then? Well, the new 2GHz Pentium 4 is the first Pentium 4 offered in the new Socket-478 package, which will be the de-facto standard for the next year or so, as all of the upcoming 0.13-micron Pentium 4 CPUs will also be featuring that package. Iím actually happy to see this new socket arrive, and have it on Intelís roadmap for the years to come, as Intel seemed to be having some problems with deciding what CPU packaging theyĎd go with. I mean, they first convinced us to move from a socket to a slot with the introduction of the Pentium II, then with the Pentium III they slowly phased out the slot again in favor of a socket, and now the Pentium 4, that has only been in the market for a bout a year, is moving to yet another socket.

For many enthusiasts this isnít a big issue, nor would any of the OEMs really care, as theyíll quickly adapt to the new socket. If you however bought a new computer last year, featuring Intelís Pentium 4, this new socket severely limits your upgrade options, youíll probably be stuck at 2GHz if you donít want to upgrade your motherboard. And frankly, if you have a 1.5Ö2GHz CPU, youíd probably be better off buying other parts, such as more memory or a bigger/faster harddisk, other than a new motherboard as performance wise I donít really expect much until the new 0.13-micron Pentium 4s arrive, at clockspeed of over 2.5GHz.

Sander Sassen

 

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