Overclocking the retail version to the mid-1600s. — Joe.
SUMMARY: The fun is back! Intel’s Celeron 1200 (or PIII 1200) overclocks well and could be a good upgrade CPU.
We were curious about this CPU and so, at a local computer show, I picked up a retail version for $118. This was made in the Philippines, Pack Date 10/26/01, code 7138A337-0524.
Intel’s new Celeron 1200 is, in fact, a 0.13 Tualatin, with the sole difference being that is runs at 100 MHz rather than 133 MHz (Ed has some background on it HERE). The only problem with this CPU is that, due to new voltage requirements, this CPU needs a Tualatin capable motherboard, so it’s not plug compatible. Apparently PowerLeap is making an adapter but it’s not cheap – something like $60.
James Anderson sent in his experience with a Celeron 1200 HERE. Rather than use air, I used watercooling.
The first thing I noticed is that it it does not take much to cool it – at 1200 MHz and 1.475v, it radiates only 29.9 watts. At 1680 and 1.55 v, it radiates 49.3 watts, about half what you would expect at about the same speed with an overclocked T-Bird.
The second thing I noticed was the minimal temp rise when stressed – about 2C over idle temps. According to Motherboard Monitor, idle temps were 37C and under Prime 95, 39C (these are on-die temps). Under stress, watercooling the CPU resulted in a rise of not more than 4.5C over ambient temps (measured at the waterblock’s base).
The overclocked temp rise over spec was minimal – I ran Prime 95 at 1200 MHz with a reported voltage was 1.42v (BIOS set at Default 1.475) for an hour and got a delta of 2.7C, with on-die temps of 33C, at an ambient temp of 20.6C. Overclocked to 12 x 138, the temp rise was only an additional 2C at the waterblock and 6C on die compared to temps at spec.
The third major item I noticed is that hiking the voltage beyond 1.65v did not make any difference in performance. The most stable speed I attained was 12 x 138; this required only 1.55 volts. Stability here is defined as running the UXD Burn-in suite for 12 or more hours with no errors.
To see what the Celeron 1200 would do, I ran it on an Iwill BD133u with 256 MB Crucial CAS2 and a Leadtek Geforce2 Pro, 32 MB. The Iwill was, let’s say, quirky – even with the latest BIOS, the Iwill reported the Celeron 1200 as a PIII 483B when running at 12 x 138 MHz. It also did not take too kindly to BIOS changes – I had to do hard reboots to get a boot screen.
The Iwill also consistently under volted the CPU – for example, setting it to DEFAULT voltage of 1.475 showed 1.42v in BIOS and Motherboard Monitor. I had no trouble setting various voltages.
For performance tests, I ran the CPU at the most stable low and high memory settings:
12 x 138, Fast Mem Settings
12 x 140, Slow Mem Settings
Slow memory settings do take their toll! I can’t see any reason to de-tune memory, at least with the system I had on hand. Looks like this CPU hit the wall around the high 1600s – upping voltage did not get me into 1700 territory with any stability. If this CPU is somewhat typical, 1600 (12 x 133) could be an easy 33% in-spec overclock.
Please note this is a RETAIL CPU – OEM CPUs may not do as well.
Intel’s Celeron 1200 looks like a nice CPU, all things considered – not expensive, overclocks well and decent performance. If you have an Intel system and want to “keep it in the family”, going the Celeron 1200 route might be the way to go.
It will require either a new motherboard or an adapter, in addition to the CPU. But if you like Intel and don’t want to spend gobs of money on an upgrade, for about $200 you could use your current system components and it should keep you “competitive” for at least another year. Let’s hope Intel keeps these around for a while.