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Worth the Upgrade? P4 3.06GHz i850 no OC to i875 w/ OC

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Aug 1, 2003
Round Rock, TX
Hello all,

I have been fighting off the upgrade bug for almost a year now and am having a hard time resisting any longer. I was wondering what you guys think about this upgrade.

I built my system in January of this year. I paid the premium for the 3.06GHz P4 because it was the only one at the time featuring Hyperthreading and I wanted to keep the system for at least a year (instead of my usual 3-6 months). I spent over $600 on the CPU alone and want to get as much life/use out of it as possible.

I currently run the CPU on an Intel D850EMVRL i850e Motherboard with 512MB PC1066 ECC RDRAM. This board runs with relaxed latencies/timings and allows no overclocking. I am also loosing some performance to the ECC memory.

I was contemplating purchasing one of the new i875P motherboards and 1GB of 2-2-2-6 PC3200 HyperX memory. I believe this would max out the capabilites of my current CPU by use of very fast timings 2-2-2-5 or lower if available at PC2700 speeds. It would also take the NIC and SATA off the PCI bus and allow my SCSI Hard Drives to breathe more freely.

I realize that it is the end of the product cycle and new boards are coming out in Feb. My concern is that reguardless of what I buy now or in Feb, I wont be able to use it on the future Prescott or Tejas CPUs because of the move to the LGA packaging and the move to DDR II. I know that there are plans to release a Socket-478 for the early prescotts.

I was wondering whether you guys think I would notice any difference in performance. It would cost me about $350 for the upgrade but I could recover some of it by selling my RDRAM and Mobo.

Is it worth upgrading to i875P overclocked with fast timings from a i850e with relaxed timings and no overclocking with a 533MHz FSB CPU?

Is it worth the extra $50 to buy PC3200 Memory vs PC2700 on a 533MHz FSB CPU when overclocking? I am thinking that DDR I won't be able to be used in my next system as DDR II is coming next year and the two are not compatible. Will the PC3200 give me a lot more headroom to OC than the PC2700?

How much of an overclock can I expect with a 3.06GHz P4 with HT enabled using an SP-94 and a quiet fan?

Thanks for your input! :D


Senior Moment
Jan 12, 2001
Kansas, USA
Whew... a lot of questions.

RDRAM is dual channel and has good memory bandwidth. Your problem is the mobo that won't allow overclocking. The cheapest upgrade is to find an used Abit TH7-II mobo to replace that Intel unit. Now I don't know about your current mobo, but I didn't think the i850 chipset supported Hyperthreading. I might be wrong.

Ok, let's try to answer the other questions. Are there advantages to upgrading to the i865/i875 chipset? Yes, even the 533 bus CPUs seem to overclock higher with the new mobos. They support hyperthreading and have lots of cool features like Firewire, SATA, USB 2.0, and AGP 8X. The dual channel DDR does perform a little better than RDRAM too, especially if you run tight RAM timings. DDRII is probably farther off in the future than you think. The first generation Prescotts will be socket 478, so that would be a good replacement CPU when you are ready to upgrade from your 3.06.

Right now, the best bargain for RAM for your situation (in my opinion) is Kingston HyperX PC3000. Mine outperforms some PC3500 RAM. Last I saw, you could get 2X512 at newegg.com for $190 and get the Abit AI7 mobo for $100, then sell your old stuff to recoop part of the expense. Now this upgrade don't seem so bad.

You don't want PC2700 because then you can't use the highest mem ratios, plus you won't be able to use it if you upgrade to a 800 bus CPU (be it Northwood or Prescott). Ok, you might be able to use it with the 3:2 mem ratio, but it'll be a performance and an overclocking bottleneck.

I would think you should be able to get somewhere in the ballpark of a 3.2 gig overclock with your 3.06 CPU if you use good cooling. That's a rough average, some will obviously do better. With PC3000 or PC3200 RAM, then you can use the 3:4 ratio and very tight RAM timings. Good Luck.