Introduction

When we first heard that Intel would be continuing the Celeron tradition with a Prescott based "D" line, we were a little skeptical. When we further heard that the Celeron D would only be getting a quarter of the cache its underperforming Pentium 4 parent has, our eyes widened with doubt. Sure, a bump up to a 533MHz FSB would help, but it couldn't possibly make up for the kind of performance issues that we saw with the Pentium 4 E; could it?

Looking back over the past of couple months, we can almost imagine Intel knowing what everyone was thinking and going along quietly with a little smirk on its face. That's right, our first inclinations that Celeron D performance would be worse than Intel's already atrocious budget performance were utterly and completely wrong.

In fact, the new Celeron D is a big step up in performance over the Northwood-based Celeron.

We've gone from thinking that this would be a quick article on the hastening demise of the lowest value "value" chip on the market to an article about how Intel is taking a step in the right direction, while we are once again reminded that knowing the ins and outs of an architecture is no substitute for performance numbers. Of course, that was the point of requiring scaling graphs and analysis along with our simulators back in Microprocessor Architecture class.

Before getting to the numbers, we'll take a brief look back at what's inside the new Prescott based Celeron, and we'll try to understand exactly what makes Celeron D so special.

UPDATE: When this article was first published, the L2 cache size of Northwood based Celeron processors was incorrect. The information has been corrected, and the article updated accordingly. Thanks to everyone who pointed out our error. We appologize for any inconvenience we may have caused.
Under The Hood of Celeron D
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  • JeremiahTheGreat - Monday, July 26, 2004 - link

    I bought a Celeron D 320 (2.4Ghz).. running it at 3.2Ghz as we speak! I know.. why would someone buy it to replace a XP2700+.. and that I cannot answer :) Reply
  • Minot - Wednesday, June 30, 2004 - link

    Has anyone seen these processors for sale? I thought we'd see them available for sale by now. Reply
  • Karaktu - Monday, June 28, 2004 - link

    What's funny about all the hype surrounding the Celeron "D" is that it is no different than what some of us have been doing with Mobile Celeron CPUs for months (except the "D" has SSE3).

    Buy a 100MHz FSB Mobile Celeron, crank it up to 200MHz FSB, and you have a CPU that can hold its own.

    I had a for sale thread awhile back that gives you plenty of info:

    http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.cfm?catid=...

    And a screen shot of a 1.6GHz CPU at 2.13GHz (133FSB)

    http://tschidanet.com/forsalepics/213.jpg

    So maybe this is an instance of Intel paying attention to what the overclockers are doing. Then again, probably not...

    Joe
    Reply
  • Spacecomber - Saturday, June 26, 2004 - link

    First off, let me say that I'm a long time fan of AnandTech, so my criticisms are hopefully constructive ones.

    It seems to me that this article suffers from taking something of a cookie cutter approach to reviewing these new processors. In other words, it talks about the processor's new architecture and then runs a bunch of benchmarks with an eye to seeing whether the new architecture actually demonstrates “real world” benefits. This is all fine, but I think the review would have been better if the writer had taken a bit more time to think about what possible interests the typical AnandTech reader might have in this chip. While the article successfully shows how the Celeron D is an improvement over the previous P4 based Celeron, and this is in itself is newsworthy, it still leaves many AnandTech readers with a number of unanswered questions, as they wonder whether this new processor is really something that they should take an interest in.

    You've already seen and noted many of these questions, such as whether this processor can be easily overclocked and how it performs in comparison to other kinds of processors, such as full blown P4's in roughly the same price range as the top end Celeron D.

    Before actually suggesting some questions for AnandTech staff to think about for a potential follow-up article, let me mention a previous Celeron up-date, which has some similarities to this most recent one, the Tualatin Celeron. If you think a bit about what made this processor so interesting, i.e., new architecture allowed for better performance than its predecessor, backward compatibility (including PII motherboards with an adaptor), and easy overclockability on motherboards supporting frontside bus speeds faster than the default speed for this processor, I think you can better imagine some the questions that readers will be thinking about with regard to this latest Celeron.

    So, here are my questions, whether it will overclock has already been asked, but are these new Celerons backward compatible with older chipsets supporting a 533 MHz bus, such as the 850E, E7205, or the 845PE? Does this new Celeron have hyperthreading? How do these new Celerons fit in to some sort of a bang for the buck curve, both at their default speeds and overclocked (assuming that they can be overclocked), compared to other processors?

    I hope this is helpful, and I look forward to your future articles.

    Space
    Reply
  • davidbec - Friday, June 25, 2004 - link

    Since the Celeron D cost abour $117 it would only be fair to include the Athlon XP 2800+ in the review. For reasons or price comparison. The reviewer himself expressed his distaste when resellers charge customers to "upgrade" computers from Athlon XP processors to Northwood Celeron.

    Let justice be done. Let your viewers know the truth. Include an Athlon XP 2800+ in the review.

    In addition, the AXP 2600+ is supposed to match the P4 2.6. To be fair to the less informed viewers include the AXP 2800+ so that Intel's 2.8 chip can be matched with a processor AMD supposed equalvalent. Which is the Athlon XP 2800+

    Otherwise a great review!! Good job.

    D
    Reply
  • Zebo - Friday, June 25, 2004 - link

    We definitely note the request for heat, overclocking, and Pentium 4 Prescott comparisons ...
    ----------------------
    While your at throw a $100 air cooled mobile barton @2600Mhz and watch the beating Intel takes.
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Friday, June 25, 2004 - link

    I'd like to second (or third, or whatever) the call for at least adding a Prescott 2.4A to the benchmark mix. The 2.4A's play in the same pricing ballpark as the higher-clocked Celeron D's, and a certain large chain store often sells a bundle of a P4 2.4A and an ECS i848 board for $120 or $130, depending on the week. That bundle makes the 2.4A cheaper than the cheapest Celeron D (though nothing compared to the XP 2500+ and NForce2 bundles for $70 a few weeks ago!)

    I won't name said store, but just think of the potato-based fat sticks you get with a burger in the drive-thru... (sorry, they're on the west coast and Texas only, though I imagine that other stores in other places offer similar bundles).
    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Friday, June 25, 2004 - link

    We definitely note the request for heat, overclocking, and Pentium 4 Prescott comparisons ...

    We hear your requests, and will look into our review schedule and see if we have room for a follow up.

    Thanks,
    Derek Wilson
    Reply
  • Minot - Thursday, June 24, 2004 - link

    Can we get a comparison of a P4 2.4A (Prescott, 1MB L2 cache, 533 MHz FSB) compared to these new Celeron D processors? Reply
  • Pumpkinierre - Thursday, June 24, 2004 - link

    Yeah, there's something more to this than meets the eye. I dont really follow your cache arguments, Derek (and I'm known not to like caches when they are irrelevant). To me what applied to the P4E applies to the celeron D. Its a pity you didnt throw in a 533MHz 2.8E in your benchmarks. I predicted the Prescott celeron would be a good buy but more on the basis of less heat and better o'clocking. The only conclusion I can come of all this, is the Prescott core is better than we think but the cache structure is the problem. Else they've changed something in the pipeline architecture of these celeron Ds which may have ramifications for later stepping P4Es.

    Reply

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