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Review: Intel Celeron 2GHz CPU

by Tarinder Sandhu on 28 October 2002, 00:00

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

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The Pentium 4, arguably, is the processor of '02. At the start of the year most users were deterred from treading the P4 path due to expensive and relatively poorly performing CPUs. At that time the Willamette was approaching the end of its headroom potential. AMD were pushing forward with their XP-class of processors. Their brand of relatively low cost and excellent performance put both the performance and value crown in their court.

The Northwood core, based on a 0.13u manufacturing process and a doubled cache count, took up the challenge in no uncertain terms. Quickly rising through the speed divisions to stand at 2.8GHz today, it's now both the performance leader (the newer XP processors excepted. They're simply not available in quantity) and offers surprising value for money at lower speed grades. Overclockers seem to love them too, as lower speed grades often far surpass their rated clockspeeds with ease.

That's all well and good, but there's a considerable market for lower cost PCs that AMD have been exploiting for some time. The Pentium 4 Northwood, by its very nature, is a relatively expensive processor from a system integrator's point of view. What we ideally need is a cheaper CPU based on the potent Northwood core. Step forward the Celeron 2GHz CPU.

The Celeron range of processors have always been Intel's value offering. Usually based on the more expensive performance counterpart, they sacrificed various performance attributes in the name of cost. We currently have Celerons based on the older Willamette core at 1.7GHz and 1.8GHz speed grades respectively. This 2GHz CPU is new in that it's based on the same 0.13u manufacturing process as its bigger and more powerful brother. It, however, retains the 128kb of L2 cache from its Willamette Celerons.

Based on the same manufacturing process as the rampaging Northwood, and, in particular, the same stepping as the very newest Northwood P4 CPUs, this CPU promises to be an interesting pastiche of technologies.

Let's have a look at it in a little greater detail now.