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Prescott 3.4 1MB or Northwood 3.4 512Kb?

Discussion in 'CPUs' started by Toff, 23 May 2006.

  1. Toff


    Joined: 11 May 2006

    Posts: 46

    Location: GX Bucks


    I want to upgrade my CPU to aid me in my quest to reach 4GHz, without buying a whole new mobo etc (running soc 478 IC7-MAX3 at the mo).

    I can't get my 3.0 Prescott past 3.6GHz (decent watercooling in place and OCZ 4000 mem installed etc).

    The question is.. what'll give the best performance overall, a Prescott 3.4 1MB or Northwood 3.4 512Kb :confused:

    Thanks in Advance - Toff.
  2. Toff


    Joined: 11 May 2006

    Posts: 46

    Location: GX Bucks

    To be more concise,

    Obviously the Prescott will have the performance advantage at the stock FSB because of it's extra cache...

    but will the cooler-running of the Northwood allow an overall higher over-clock, negating the benefit of the Prescott's extra cache :confused:

    Any help greatly appreciated :)
  3. Rain Man


    Joined: 8 Jan 2005

    Posts: 976

    Location: Macclesfield

    tricky one. like ive just mentioned in another thread i had my 3.2 prescott at 4.0ghz on air and my mate had a 2.8ghz northwood @ 3.6ghz

    i would say the northwood will clock higher but when playing on both rigs i did notice a considerable amount of difference with the extra cache

    to sum it up id say theyd be the same. the higher clock of the northwood would compensate for the lack of cache and the cache of the prescott will compensate for the lack of clock speed.

    id stay stick with what you've got, but if you desperatly want 4.0ghz get the northwood

    doubt you'll notice the difference
  4. Biggles 266


    Joined: 15 May 2004

    Posts: 493

    Actually you'll find that clock for clock, the Northwood is faster than the Prescott, despite having less cache. This is because the Prescott has an even longer pipeline, so every cache miss ends up being more expensive, because there is more to be flushed from the pipeline. But normally Prescotts overclock further, so it kind of evens out.

    Getting a Northwood to 4 GHz is quite an achievement, since that really has them at the limit. But Prescott can be bought at stock speeds of 3.8 GHz and with good cooling and a board that's capable of powering it overclocked, will often see beyond 4 GHz and approaching 4.5 GHz.

    In short, at stock, get the Northwood. For overclocking I would say get a Prescott, but there is a caveat. I've never seen as good overclocks with a Prescott on Socket 478 as I have with one on Socket 775. Even a lot of Prescott ready boards don't have VRMs that are strong enough for heavily overclocked Prescotts. I also don't know if the later stepping Prescotts are available in Socket 478, because you need a later stepping one for less heat and power draw and improved overclocking. The earliest Prescotts were poor.
  5. Toff


    Joined: 11 May 2006

    Posts: 46

    Location: GX Bucks

    Thanks for your replies.

    AFAIK 3.4 is the highest socket 478 you can buy :( Great info on the Pipeline, thanks.

    My gut feeling is that the Prescott will conk-out prematurely due to excessive heat, despite the watercooling. I guess the core heats up so quickly that it induces thermal shutdown, hence the PC won't even POST (?)

    What does VRM stand for please?

    - Toff.
  6. Sir Random


    Joined: 4 Aug 2003

    Posts: 2,636

    Location: Wicklow, Ireland

    My 3.4 northy can just about do 4Ghz on air (not prime stable). Most are only stable up to ~3.8Ghz.

    Prescotts are actually slower than Northwoods clock for clock (at stock 200fsb speeds). Despite their larger cache, Prescotts have a longer pipeline (31 stages) which actually makes them slower.
    However, when you overclock them, the Prescotts gain more than the Northys, so they are actually faster when you get up to 4Ghz.

    btw, VRM = Voltage Regulator Module for the CPU.
  7. markysparky


    Joined: 10 Mar 2006

    Posts: 80

    I have an old northwood in a pc i have and it is a very good clocker. Overclocks from 1.8ghz to 2.6 ghz in a book size barebone with no additional cooling
  8. AWPC


    Joined: 8 Dec 2005

    Posts: 9,894

    Prescott 3.4 will overclock better and overall be slightly faster.

    Another route is try and get an Extreme Edition 3.46 skt478 as that has 2MB L3 cache + 512KB L2 cache so will be a little faster again and also overclocks reasonably. Can be picked up for around £250 new if you look around the web.
  9. Toff


    Joined: 11 May 2006

    Posts: 46

    Location: GX Bucks


    The second hand 3.4's seem to go for £160 and up (plus postage etc). I managed to find just one UK based P4 3.46 478 Extreme for sale, so I went for it (they re hard to come by aren't they!)

    Should be with me on Friday :D can't wait!