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I've had this processor for nearly two years now, and following a cost benefit anaylsis, I still don't see the point in upgrading. It's a perfectly capable processor, and teamed with 1GB of memory, it performs well. Theres not a lot to say about this processor, and what will be said will be extreamly boring. I can see why processors don't have a lot of reviews, they're not exactly easy or fun to write about, but I'll give it my best shot.
----------General Information---------- The processor uses the old pentium 4 socket 478 style interface meaning it is only comaptable with socket 478 motherboards(Though i believe you can buy an adapter for 478 chips to make the work with socket LLG775 motherboards - the newer but not newest design).
The processor is 32-bit, has 512kb of L2 Cache and a FSB equivalent to 533mhz. This makes the processor relatively quick and very capable for everyday tasks and even gaming (when paired with a good graphics card).
It is available in the older Northwood core or the newer Prescott core, I chose Northwood because prescott run hotter, but the prescott does have 1mb of L2 cache, comapred to the Northwoods L2 cache of 512kb. This makes the prescott slightly better for video encoding.
---------Performance---------- I'll start with the most important aspect of any processor, performance. I bought this processor as an upgrade to a 1.7ghz 400FSB pentium 4, and it's one hell of an improvement. I can say through general office tasks like web browsing, word processing etc, it is no worse than a Hyper Threaded (HT) 3.0ghz Pentium 4
Its by no means top dog anymore, there are better and faster processors out there, working on new technology but if you're looking for a reasonable speed processor for your home computer, you cant go too wrong.
It handles multitasking suprisingly well for a processor without Hyper Threading(HT) and runs at a cool temperature, meaning the CPU fan has no need to be constantly at full speed, making your pc that little bit quieter.
I benchmarked this CPU in a program called Pcmark2002, which anaylises your computers performance. The Cpu managed a score of 6758. I compared this with a 3.0ghz processor with an 800mhz FSB witch scored around 74xx, not even 1000 points between the two. Please Note: These tests were not 100% accurate as Motherboard, and Memory were not considered in the evaluation.
I'm sure that unless you're doing the most intense of tasks, the small difference between these two processors won't even be noticeable.
To summarise, the processor is more than capable for video encoding and gaming.
It's kind of difficult to evaluate how this processor could be better, given that there are alternatives available, and if you were wanting HT for example, you wouldnt even bother with this processor. For what it is, there are no disadvantages. If you wanted a faster processor, go for a 3.4ghz, the general rule is, make sure when you're upgrading, the new processor is atleast 1ghz faster than what you currently have. (Presuming you have an old Pentium 4 machine or equivalent. With the new models, this rule doesnt apply as there are more factors to take into account with newer processors than ghz. e.g Dual core, core 2 etc). Ofcourse, it would benefit from HT or a bigger cache size, but there are CPUs that do this for more or less the same price.
----------Northwood or Prescott---------- The choice is up to you really. Though it depends what you're motherboard can support. Some can't take the prescott processors, other can. Be sure to check the manufacturers website before making any purchases. Generally, theres not a lot of difference between the two. Clock speed for clock speed, Northwood is supposed to be a slightly better preformer, though its maximum clock is said to be around 3.4ghz, whereas prescott can reach much higher speeds.
Northwood runs cooler than prescott, so it should be quieter, but prescott has more L2 cache on some models.
----------What If I Want To Overclock?---------- Well, this is a tricky one. Northwood are cooler, so you'd think logically they would be easier to overclock, true, but then there is there supposed maximum clock speed of 3.4ghz. Prescott on the otherhand have a maximum clock speed of 5ghz supposedly, but they do run hotter in the first place, and overclocking generally means more heat. This 2.8ghz processor, is more than capable of running stably at 3.0ghz but be sure to have sufficent cooling and know what you're doing before you decide to overclock. REMEBER: It also voids your warrantee if anything should go wrong.
----------Stability---------- This is a very stable processor, I've had no faults with it in all the time i've used it. Naturally, stability may be compromised if there isnt adequet cooling the case, or if you've overclocked it. Being a 2.8ghz, you won't need anything fancy to cool it, just make sure theres enough room in the case for it to breath, and air flow is good. Make sure you've got a P4 high rated CPU fan, and the procesor should run perfectly happily.
----------Price---------- Due to this processor being relatively old now, it's dirt cheap. You can pick this up from amazon at around £40, and even cheaper second hand on ebay. For this price, you can't get much more "bang to the buck" so to speak. Shop around, you never know what you might find.
----------Installing---------- Now, i won't go into technicalities, afterall this is a review, not a how to guide. If you've installed a proccessor before, you'll know how to install this as its the same as any other socket 478 processor.
In an extreamly quick guide, heres how you do it presuming you've already got your pc open.
1) Before doing any form of home upgrade or repair on your computer, make sure the computer is switched off and unplugged. Make sure that you've grounded yourself first, you can do this by touching an unpainted metal part of your case. This makes sure that you're not going to cause any sort of electrostatic shock to any components. If you're standing on carpet, make sure you're wearing shoes but ideally stand on a wooden floor or something like that
2) Remove heatsink and fan, by disconnecting the fan cable, carefully unclipping and pulling gently. Make sure that the computer hasnt been used for about an hour, or when you take the fan & heatsink off, it can rip the CPU out with it - which could cause damage.
3) Lift the hing, and carefully take out the current CPU.
4) Insert your new cpu, maing sure it is the correct way round. Don't force it, it should fit level into the socket on its own. if not take it out and rotate it 90 degrees untill it does.
5) Push the hinge down, and apply a blob of thermal glue. (if you've bought a new Heatsink and Fan to go with your CPU, they sometimes have a patch of thermal glue already on them, you simply peel the protective layer off, and place it the heatsink and fan over the top of the cpu like the one you just removed.
6) Check the heatsink and fan are seated and secured correctly and plug in the fan cable.
7) Once you're satiisfied that you've done everything correctly, power it up, and check BIOS by pressing F2 or Delete, and check you're CPU is identified correctly.
8) If yes, restart and hey presto, job done.
----------Overview---------- A cheap but capable processor, certainly an improvement over an older model. Capable of gaming and video encoding, all for a reasonable price. By no means the best, but good all the same.