The new celerons are here!
Ah, the Celeron... the overclocker's best friend. Almost two years ago, the Celeron 300A set the overclocking scene on fire. With the ability to reach 450MHz with very little trouble, the 300A became the "portal" chip for new overclockers. The 300A offered novices an easy overclock, and these novices quickly fell into the dark world of cooling fans and thermal paste where people named Kyle
push all sorts of overclocking paraphernalia onto the eager youth.
Newer, better, faster processors have since knocked the once mighty Celeron from its perch. Yes, the Celeron did experience a brief resurgence thanks to the Celeron 366 and the Abit BP6, but the chip's low clock speed ceiling and the lack of SSE returned the processor to its true entry level (inexpensive and weak) status.
Making an OC champ
What actually makes an overclocking champ? It's really simple. Any inexpensive chip that can be easily overclocked to perform as well as a top of the line, "flagship" processor can be a champ. Let's take the 300A for example. It was cheap, easy to overclock (thanks to the Abit BH6), and performed as well as the top of the line Pentium II processor at the time.
Looking at today's processors we have a couple contenders, but no real champs. Both the Athlon and Coppermine P3 processors look like winners, but both have flaws that prevent either from taking the crown.
The Athlons are inexpensive and can overclock to fairly high speeds, but the actual overclocking process is difficult because you have to use a separate overclocking card and/or use a motherboard that allows you to adjust the chip's FSB. Using a card makes overclocking difficult, and current motherboards aren't reliable FSB overclockers yet. Couple that with the fact that current Athlons with the off-die cache are slower than the Coppermine P3 processors, and you have a decent contender, but not a champ.
Hopefully, Abit's KA7 will make Athlon overclocking easier and the improved performance of the new Thunderbird and Spitfire processors will help AMD produce a champ.
The current Coppermine Pentium 3 processor also shows a lot of promise. You've seen our overclocking reports so you already know that the new P3 is a performer and it's easy to overclock. The Coppermine P3's fatal flaw is its price.
Here at FiringSquad we've been eagerly awaiting the new Coppermine based Celeron processors. If the new chips are able to perform as well as the P3s, but with a Celeron price then we just might have to crown a new champion. Last week, we got a hold of two new Coppermine based Celeron 566 processors, and tried our hand at overclocking. Read on to see our results!