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  Intel Pentium 4 2.40GHz 
  Apr 02, 2002, 12:00pm EST 

Testing Methodologies

By: Dan Mepham

As mentioned, we’ve decided to pit our Pentium 4 2.40GHz against an 800MHz Pentium III-powered desktop. Our 800MHz desktop will consist of 256MB of PC133 SDRAM, and a GeForce 2 GTS 32MB, powered by an 815E motherboard. This system would perform roughly on par with an 800MHz Athlon, 850MHz Duron, or 900MHz Celeron, so users of systems in that general vicinity should be able to realize a reasonable estimate of the performance difference they’d see by upgrading to the Pentium 4 2.40GHz.

That same system, then, had its motherboard and processor removed, and replaced with the Pentium 4 2.40GHz on an i845 motherboard, using the same 256MB of PC133 SDRAM. Why on earth would we test such a fast and expensive processor on such a crippling memory subsystem? Because upgrading isn’t cheap, and after you’ve bought a new motherboard and Pentium 4, the cost of new RDRAM or DDR memory might prove to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Not having to replace memory as well might make upgrades more feasible for some. Since anyone who currently uses a PC100/PC133 SDRAM system can potentially upgrade to a new Pentium 4 without replacing their memory, we wanted to examine that option as a possible upgrade route.

Lastly, of course, we replaced our 845 motherboard and PC133 memory with a state-of-the-art 850 motherboard and PC800 RDRAM. If you’re building or buying a system from scratch, we absolutely encourage the use of newer memory technologies such as RDRAM or DDR memory, as they’ll only add a few percentage points to the overall cost of the system, and will boost performance significantly.

Our systems were otherwise equipped with the following hardware:
  • 256MB Memory (either PC133 SDRAM or PC800 RDRAM)
  • nVidia GeForce 2 Pro 64MB
  • Maxtor DiamondMax D740X
  • SMC EtherPowerII 10/100 Network Card
  • Creative Labs SoundBlaster Live! Value
  • 40X CD-ROM
  • 3.5" Floppy Drive
The following software and drivers were also used:
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Intel INF Chipset Drivers, Version 3.20.1008
  • nVidia Detonator Drivers, Version 23.11

1. Introduction
2. Same Old Northwood, 200 More Megahertz
3. Heat and Power
4. Testing Methodologies
5. Performance - Cache & Memory
6. Performance - Audio & Video Encoding
7. Performance - Scientific & Boot Time
8. Performance - OpenGL Gaming
9. Performance - Direct3D Gaming
10. Performance - Professional OpenGL
11. Summary

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