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Intel 3.2GHz 800FSB Intel 3.2GHz 800FSB: With the Intel Extreme Edition still out in the unknown, we take a look at the fastest P4 you can buy now.
Date: December 20, 2003
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Editor's Note: This review is based on a non-production version of the Intel Pentium 4 3.2 C processor. This processor is an engineering sample that was generously provided by Intel. Due to the state and conditions we received the CPU in we will not be including pictures of the CPU packaging for this review, as it was not provided.

Introduction

Intel is vying for your business. They are currently engaged in a battle of supremacy with AMD, a war that many consumers say is currently being won by Intel. The Pentium 4 "C" revision processor is Intel's current reigning desktop CPU. Many customers have left the AMD camp in favor of Intel once Intel released the I875 chipset. The I875 is the current chipset of choice when it comes to performance users and overclockers.

The Pentium 4 "C" revision processor was designed to run on 800 MHZ FSB mainboards, but will also work on 533 MHZ FSB mainboards. This means that your choice of a mainboards are fairly open, though you are better off going with a newer I875 or a I865-based mainboard. Reason being Intel designed the I865/I875 chipset for use with the Pentium 4 "C" revision processor and thus offers the best compatibility and performance for the Pentium 4 800 MHZ FSB processors.

As noted before, we did not receive retail packaging for the processor. A retail processor includes an aluminum heatsink with fan, an Intel sticker, and a manual with warranty information. If you buy a processor I would suggest getting a retail version for a number of important reasons. Not only do you get an Intel-approved HSF, you also get much better warranty coverage than you would with an OEM CPU. Another rumor has it that retail processors have been known to overclock better than their OEM counterparts, but that may just be a handful of cases that I have observed and not necessarily indicative of the majority of existing processors.

The top of the Pentium 4 processor is covered by an aluminum slug, which protects the CPU core as well as aid in the dissipation of heat from the core. I always liked the fact that the Pentium 4 was far more robust and immune to damage than the Athlon, which would crack if you made the slightest shift with the heatsink on a corner.

Here we can see the underside of the CPU. I know it is somewhat uneventful, but I should point out that should one of the pins get bent, you are going to have a heck of a time unbending it, as the pins are extremely closely spaced together and quite tiny.

Performance Testing

Intel Pentium 4 ES
Asus P4C800 Deluxe Mainboard
FIC AU13 (For AMD comparison testing)
Athlon XP 1700+ @ 2.4 GHZ (For AMD comparison testing)
OCZ PC-4200 EL DDR
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro
Windows XP Professional w/ SP1 and latest drivers

All benchmarks were done using the latest Intel ref. drivers and component drivers. We chose the P4C800 Deluxe for its overclocking potential, which we will touch on in a bit.

Test Software

SiSoft Sandra 2004
PCMark 2002
PiFast
TMPGenc
UT2003

The comparison test bed is an Athlon XP running at 2.4GHz. Other than the motherboard and processor, the hardware components for each are identical. We will also be "underclocking" the 3.2C to 2.4C speeds in order to get an apples to oranges comparison between the Athlon and P4.

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