Intel’s Celeron has been boasting its new Coppermine128 core for just under three months now, and for most of that time, the CPU has received a decent amount of support from hardware enthusiasts, especially those that don’t have any moral objections to overclocking.
While the majority of the PC purchasing population could view the Celeron as an extremely crippled version of Intel’s Pentium III, most AnandTech readers could also see the Celeron in a different light: as a processor that helped prove that value doesn’t have to mean slow.
Deliberately held back by its 66MHz FSB and using clock multipliers of 8.0x and higher, the Celeron actually turned out to be the perfect candidate for overclockers since, by simply increasing the FSB from 66MHz to 100MHz, you’d have an 800 – 900MHz Celeron that didn’t have the same limitations of the 66MHz FSB parts.
Unfortunately, one thing we noticed with the Celeron was that although it could be overclocked to pretty much the same levels that the Pentium III was being shipped at (meaning that 533 – 600MHz parts could hit 800 – 900MHz), on a performance comparison basis, the Celeron was losing to equivalently clocked Pentium IIIs.
While we originally attributed this to the fact that the Celeron had 1/2 the L2 cache of the Pentium III, it later became known that it wasn’t the fault of the L2 cache but rather the fact that it was only a 4-way set associative L2 cache in comparison to the Pentium III’s 8-way set associative L2 cache, which allows the Pentium III’s L2 cache to achieve a higher hit rate than the L2 cache on an equivalently clocked Celeron.
This allowed AMD’s Duron, which turned out to be almost as fast as the original Athlon, to come in and completely dominate the “value” market.
Just days after the very successful launch of AMD’s Duron, Intel is back with three more clock speeds to add to their Celeron line. Remember that in the retail market, the processor war is fought with clock speed, not necessarily with overall performance. Now available at clock speeds of up to 700MHz, it’s time for Intel’s Celeron to truly go head to head with AMD’s recently released Duron.
While it’s always nice to look at the Ferraris and the Porsches in the magazines, when it comes down to it, there are more affordable family sedans and coupes on the roads than anything else. In the value processor market, the question is whether you’ll be seeing an “Intel inside” or a “Powered by AMD’s Duron” logo on the streets.
Before getting into the performance comparison, let’s have a quick look at what makes the Celeron what it is today.