Budget CPU Shootout: Clash of the 'ronsby Derek Wilson on December 4, 2003 10:55 AM EST
- Posted in
Final WordsIt is very obvious from these tests which line of budget processors is worth the money. When we can find a 1.6GHz Duron for just over half the price of a 2.6GHz Celeron and get better performance consistently in almost every test we ran, the choice is clear.
It's obvious that the long pipeline of the Pentium 4 just can't handle the crippled cache of the Celeron. With more cache misses and pipeline stalls, the processor isn't getting as much useful work done as it is trying constantly to refill the pipeline. We are seeing these results for the same reason we saw the performance gains from the P4 Extreme Edition with its 2MB L3 cache: the pipeline needs to stay full for the P4 to really shine.
The Pentium III based Celerons offered, at one time, acceptable performance. However, it is clear that in the value segment today, Intel has nothing to offer but a high clock speed. AnandTech readers will know to stay away from the Celeron at all costs; however, what is troublesome are the number of retail customers who are faced with the decision between a higher priced 2.6GHz Celeron system and an Athlon XP 2200+. We would highly encourage system vendors like Compaq and eMachines to shift their low-end focus to AMD if their customers are of any importance at all. As we've seen through our extensive benchmarking, the Celeron's performance is truly dismal; so while Intel is quite competitive in the mid-range and high-end segments, their value processors are inexcusably slow compared to AMD.
This review really isn't complete without taking a look at overclocking performance. For enthusiasts who want a lot of performance for a small amount of cash (cache?), pushing a cheap processor beyond its limits is the way to go. Every overclocker remembers the original Celeron processor and its amazing ability to run incredibly fast because of its lack of cache. At this point (however unlikely), such a feature would be the only saving grace of the Celeron line. Of course, even if the Celeron is a good overclocker, it will be very interesting to see how high the Duron can be pushed with its cut cache as well.
The conclusion we can make from all this is that the Duron processor is a solid purchase. If you have the extra 40 to 50 dollars to spend, a Barton processor would be a nice addition to any system for that added dimension of performance to a tightly budgeted system. Hopefully, system builders will take note and start offering better performing systems for an even lower price based on the Duron processor rather than the Celeron. For those who want the cheapest possible system, AMD will give you the best performance every time.