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Intel Pentium 4 Northwood "B" 2.4GHz

Written By:
Date Posted:
August 1 , 2002

Intel has had a fairly rough ride in many respects. When the original Pentium 4 Williamette was released, it was narrowly beaten in many benchmarks by the much lower clocked Athlon Thunderbirds, and the gap grew even bigger with the Athlon XPs. From a price/performance aspect, more and more enthusiasts were buying AMD, which offered a cheaper chip, with comparable, if not superior, performance. AMD proved that clock speed shouldn't be the determining factor when it came to gauging system speed. It also didn't help Intel when they pretty much snubbed early adopters by changing the socket form factor from 423 pins to 478.

With the introduction of the Northwood, also known as the Pentium 4 "A", Intel began to show some promise. It improved on the previous generation by doubling the L2 cache from 256 to 512, and lowered the voltage to 1.5v. The Northwoods ran cooler, also in part from its .13 micron fab process, and was selling much cheaper than before. Granted, the high end chips were still very expensive, but the lower end Pentium 4 1.6A proved to be the darling of the overclocking community, where overclocks in excess of 2GHz were not unheard of. It was also very cheap, selling less than 150$ today, and with the relatively easy overclock of 400MHz+, your ticket to 2GHz wouldn't cost all that much. AMD had a reason to sweat a little, but overall, they were still doing alright holding their own against the Intel juggernaught.

A little over 2 months ago, Intel released another updated Pentium 4, known as the "B" model. Architecturally, it is identical to the previous Northwood, except now it brings a 533MHz front side bus to the table. In actuality, it ups the FSB from 100 to 133, quad pumped to 533. We've seen gains from each Pentium 4 revision, and with the highest clocked P4 running at 2.53GHz, AMD, although not beaten entirely, is certainly back playing a bit of catch up.

We're not going to waste too much of your time today. If you're a regular reader, you probably already know everything there is to know about the Pentium 4. We included benchmarks done earlier, more to compound what you may already know.

The Pentium 4 2.4B

The 2.4B Northwood shares the same architecture as the previous Northwoods, including:

8k L1 Cache, 512k On-Die L2 Cache
Socket-478 Form Factor
0.13 micron "Northwood" Core Architecture

Where the "B" comes in is the official 533FSB. Before running out and buying this though, keep in mind that you'll need a motherboard with 533FSB support. Officially, only the i845E/G, i850E and the SiS648 chipsets support it. Keep in mind that any decent motherboard capable of overclocking to a 533FSB can probably support this chip. Another note though is the CPU is multiplier locked. There's no easy way to unlock the CPU, so any overclocking is done strictly by FSB. Although an 845D motherboard will likely overclock well, a newer 845E/G will probably be better suited to gain maximum performance.

If you're paying attention up until this point, the previous Northwood "A" was a 400FSB part. As we'll soon see, the extra bandwidth the "B" provides can make a significant difference in the benchmarks.

Next Page - A Closer Look and Overclocking



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