Is Prescott Not So Hot Anymore?

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Normally, when you say that a product isn’t so hot anymore, that’s bad news for the product.

However, when it comes to Intel’s Prescott CPU, that’s the best news one can hear.

I got a complaint the other day that I’ve been terribly AMD-biased (which I’m sure will be news to AMDroids) by ignoring Prescott as something an overclocker ought to consider these days.

After poking around a number of forums, I do have to say that the latest-model Prescotts (namely the D and E stepping chips) are doing somewhat better than their immediate ancestors.

4GHz on high-end air now looks pretty doable with carefully selected components, and Prescotts seem to get more from water more than Hammers.

By “carefully selected components” I mean things like socket 775 mobos and a hefty power supply. Those trying to hit 4GHz with socket 478s are still struggling to hit 4GHz, but more due to power constraints at the PSU and/or mobo level.

Is that good enough to overtake Revision E Hammers?

Well . . . .

As a general rule of thumb, Hammers overall perform about the same as a Prescott running 50-60% faster than it (somewhat better than that for many games, somewhat worse in SSE3 intense applications). The figure is closer to 50% for a socket 754 512K Athlon 64, closer to 60% if it’s a socket 939 1Mb cache deal.

Ergo, if we assume a Hammer can hit 2.7GHz these days without too much fuss, this would be the equivalent of a Prescott running somewhere between 4.05-4.32GHz.

Assuming 2.8GHz, that would be the Prescott equivalent of 4.20-4.48GHz.

(This is something you ought to keep in mind when you see reviews between Hammers and Prescotts. If you see a 2.4GHz Hammer against a 3.2GHz PIV, of course the PIV is going to lose. What overclockers need to do is to see how a Hammer does when compared to PIVs running 50-60% faster than the Hammer in apps/games they find important. If the Hammer still wins handily, buy the Hammer. If it’s about the same and you like a relatively easy time of it, again, buy the Hammer. Only if the PIV handily beats the Hammer and/or you want a big heating-releated challenge should you lean to Intel.

Are these newish Prescotts hitting those levels? Well, kind of, maybe, sort of, almost on high-end air. If gaming’s your thing, especially games that like Hammer, not really.

If you go to water cooling, the results (and admittedly, there’s not many) seem more in Prescott’s favor.

You might go so far as to say that the big bottleneck with Prescotts is heat, while it’s more than that on the Hammer side. Hammers do better under normal operating conditions, while Prescotts fare better (or at least catch up) under more extreme cooling conditions.

Fairy Godmother, Where Are You?

Buying a new computer these days is like being Prince Charming at a ball that sucks.

Prince Charming is looking for a Cinderella, but she’s nowhere to be seen. There’s a nice, but pretty geeky-looking girl in a green gown named Hannah around. Hannah seems nice enough, but the Prince wants a pretty girl, not a pretty geeky-looking one.

Frankly, the only reason you’re even interested in her is that thinking of marrying her is because the only other eligible girl, the one wearing blue named Bertha, is just flat-out ugly. Let’s call her Bertha. Yes, Bertha has redone her makeup, but that leaves her looking just a little more ugly than Hannah.

Bertha realizes this, so she shows up for the next round of dances with her sister. The deal here is that you get Bertha and her sister for close to the price of Bertha. Under normal circumstances, this isn’t too good, either, but since nobody else is exactly a bastion of babeness, you keep thinking about the advantages of threesomes.

Hannah sees this, and reluctantly drags her sister into the picture, too. Hannah and her sister are not cheap floozyies, though; and Prince Charming is going to have to lay out half his kingdom for a dual deal.

What’s a Prince Charming to do?

He really wants Fairy Godmother to produce Cinderella (plus any hot sisters she might happen to have).

The problem is, as they would say in the ‘hood, is that fairy godmother is the h* who brought Hannah, Bertha, and sisters to the ball in the first, and now the old b**** is giving Prince Charming the finger and telling him, “You ain’t getting no better no time soon, and not much mo’ next time.”

What A Prince Charming Ought To Do

If you’re in the role of Prince Charming, the first and biggest question you need to ask yourself is, “Do I really need to get married any time soon?” If the answer is “No,” stop right there.

If you’re hurting enough to say “Yes,” (and if you’ve been with the same Aunty Lon for more than two years, you may well be), hooking up with Hannah shortly is probably not a bad idea. If you want to try threesomes, you might be able to arrange a package deal at a reasonable price early next year. There will be better looking deals maybe at the New Year’s Eve ball ending 2006, but that’s a long ways away.

If you’re hurting, and you love blue, unless you’re hooked up with Bertha’s grand- or great-grandmother, you really ought to wait until the next ball next year and see who shows up in blue then, single and double. They’re bound to be better-looking than Bertha and Company, maybe even a little better than Hannah. This is especially so if you’re with Bertha’s mom, Northa, whom many think is still way hot for her age.

If none of the above sound too good to you, well, you can always wait until Fairy Godmother turns Sempron from a pumpkin to a coach. 🙂

Ed

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