Prescott’s Back — 3.4GHz

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Nathan Kirsch’s Thoughts:

As you can tell from the charts the 3.4GHz Prescott is simply just a 200MHz speed increase in the Prescott line. Intel has indicated to us that the Prescott has been able to scale very well for them and has told us that we should see 4GHz in 2004. If Intel can get another 200MHz out of the Prescott every 90 days then 4GHz will be here by the end of the year with ease. It should be interesting to see how fast Intel will be ramping these up, but all of our in-house Prescotts overclock past 4GHz right now so we expect for Intel to fully pull this objective off by years end.

One thing I didn’t mention in this review was temperatures. We did monitor the temps of 3.4GHz Prescott and found them to only be a couple degrees Celsius higher than the 3.2GHz Prescott. So if you are curious as to how hot these run please feel free to look at our prescott cooling article. After looking at the benchmarks it is clear the processor still has its advantages and disadvantages. Sure it’s slower than Pentium 4 Northwood chips at the same clock speed in certain benchmarks, but it also performs better than the Northwood in certain areas! As we noted in our original Prescott review it is still too soon to judge the impact of the new SSE3 instructions. Since there are only 13 new instructions (SSE2 had 145) I wouldn’t expect a huge increase, but only time will tell.

When you look into pricing on the Prescott versus Northwood at our DealTime shopping network the Prescott is roughly $50 more than the Northwood. However, Intel shows both list for $417 1Ku on their site. For the average user that plays current video games and uses basic applications it is hard to suggest for a person to spend more money on the Prescott as it is a tad slower than the Northwood at equal clock speeds, runs hotter, draws more power, and may not even be supported by your current motherboard.

If you are having a tough time choosing a new processor let me throw you one final curve ball! Both Intel and AMD are getting ready to launch new sockets for their processors, and PCI Express, DDR2 memory, and a ton of other hardware changes are going to be in the next generation chipsets. If you can wait till early summer for your next computer upgrade it might be worth it!

Legit Bottom Line:

The 3.4GHz Prescott beats out the 3.2GHz Prescott, but doesn’t deliver the shock and awe that one would expect over the older cored and lower priced 3.4GHz Northwood!

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