Intel Celeron

by Anand Lal Shimpi on August 25, 1998 3:17 PM EST

A first look at the Celeron reveals that there is quite a bit missing from the card, but if you've ever seen the inside of a Pentium II Cartridge then the image of the Celeron will surely ring a bell.  Absent from both sides of the Celeron CPU Card are the L2 Cache chips that you'll find on its bigger brother, the Pentium II.  In the center of the card is a green CPU that closely resembles the likeness of a Pentium MMX, albeit about 10% smaller in size in comparison to the old 233MHz P-MMX.

With the heatsink off you can see the four holes surrounding the processor itself which are used to clamp the cooling unit to the card.  

On the back of the card you'll notice the Intel logo a second time, as well as the printed part number and rated clock/bus speed.   At the present time the only type of Celeron available is the 266/66 unit, don't expect that to change anytime soon although there has been talk of a Celeron equipped with 256KB of L2 cache in the works.

The card will fit into a standard Pentium II Single Edge Connector (SEC) Slot, meaning it will fit in any Pentium II motherboard, whether or not it will work is another story.  The Celeron itself was designed for use with Intel's new 440EX Chipset, essentially a tamed version of the highly successful LX AGPSet.

The 440EX Chipset, essentially a tamed version of the highly successful LX AGPSet, will be found on motherboards designed specifically for use with the Celeron weighing in at prices below $70.  With BIOS Support you can use the Celeron on older LX motherboards, and using a Celeron on a BX based motherboard isn't a problem at all.  The Celeron will not, however, work on older 440FX based motherboards.  In theory support for the Celeron could be provided by manufacturers of older 440FX products via a small flash of the BIOS, however the likelihood of that happening is very doubtful. 

While pre-release Celeron chips supported clock multipliers in excess of 4.0x, the retail chips are completely locked at 4.0x.   Meaning you cannot decrease nor increase the clock multiplier past 4.0x, regardless of what setting you choose with the Celeron it will default to the 4.0x setting...and by default, the chip will report itself as being a 66MHz Bus Pentium II processor.   Motherboards like the Supermicro P6SBA, that auto-detect what type of Pentium II you have, will not allow you even the option of making use of the 100MHz Bus Speed on the Celeron.

Like the Pentium II, there are two main methods of cooling the Celeron, you can either use the retail Heatsink, or a 3rd party Heatsink/Fan Cooling Solution.  The retail heatsink, manufactured by AAVID for Intel, is large enough to properly dissipate heat from the Celeron CPU while remaining small enough to eliminate the need for additional support for the unit.  The Celeron CPU Retention Set is much more low profile when compared to the Pentium II's Retention kit, but the installation is virtually identical.  You simply plug the left and right supports into the holes where the Pentium II Retention kit's threaded base would normally be and snap the Celeron into place. 

Cooling the Crunchy Green Exterior of the Celeron with a more active method of cooling, will allow for more room while overclocking, in spite of the already tight overclocking quarters conjured up by Intel.  How far can the Celeron go?  Let's find out...

Index Overclocking the Celeron
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  • Remingtonh - Sunday, November 21, 2010 - link

    I'm thinking since the celeron will be such a massive upgrade from my 486DX/2-66, at an attractive price, I'll go for it.

    I saw a nice HP Tower at frys with the 266 Celeron at a very affordable price. My question is, since it's slot-1, will I likely be able to replace it with a pentium II at a later date once prices go down? Will it be compatible?
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