A Brief Look At What Could Be The Last Of It's Kind
Since the inception of the CeleronA. Intel has shown the world, as it were, that they are more than prepared to proliferate in the value end of an open market. The low end market is rife with competition right now and, although it has been a few months since it's release, the time seems apropos to review, what could be the last of the 66MHz Celerons.  There is, of course scuttlebutt, that a 500MHz Celeron is about to be released.

Intel's announcement last month that the new PIIIs will be moving to a 0.18 micron die process and out of the Slot-1 format, left many of us hoping for a new socket 7/370 compatible processor, to lead us into the new millennium.  I have just learned that, unfortunately, even if the PIII goes to a socket 370 format, it will most likely not be pin-out compatible with today's existing systems.

Instead the pin-out compatibles will be relegated to the Celeron's Mendocino core with an extended front side bus capability to reach 100MHz (and hopefully beyond).

The PPGA Celeron 466MHz has not and will not be produced in the slot-1 container.  With a clock multiplier of 7x, it is unlikely that Intel will even want to push to far beyond 466MHz but as far as I can tell. there's nothing written in stone.

I was all set to review the Celeron 466MHz as an excellent choice to an upgrade path that could have the potential for use until the end of the year 2000 but, the press guys at Intel sort of stopped me in my tracks with the news that the socketed PIII's will most likely not be compatible.  

If this is truly, the last in its line, it may not be the upgrade that you have the opportunity to move to now with a look toward future upgradeablility, however, the Celeron 466MHz has all the markings of an outstanding processor.

Like all of the PPGA Celerons, the 466 incorporates an on-chip 128KB L2 cache running at the processor's full speed with a remarkably low x5 clock latency, on a 0.25 micron die package.  All of Intel's current line of CPUs, save engineering samples, are clock-locked, meaning that you have to run the processor at it's default speed unless you want to increase the processor's external clock frequency.  In this case, as with all of the PPGA370 Celerons, that frequency is 66MHz.  This opens up the way for considerable overclocking capabilities, but remember, AGP and PCI bus frequencies will not benefit from extendable clock dividers when operating under 100MHz.  This means that the AGP frequency will match the front side bus and the PCI bus will run at half of that. 

The PPGA 466MHz Celeron offers excellent performance at a fair price but you will need a good AGP graphics accelerator to take advantage of it's full potential for multimedia processing.  It would be pretty much a waste to invest the extra bucks that the CPU costs if you are simply running business applications.  You'd be much farther ahead to buy the Celeron 366MHz at about half the price if you still plan to use your good old 2MB PCI graphics card.  This is not to say that the 466 isn't a whiz at business apps. - It is!  It's just good business sense to spend the dollars where they will count the most. 

As you can see, at its core, the PPGA 466MHz Celeron has more pure processing power than the Pentium II 450MHz, even at it's default 66MHz FSB.  When you bump up the MHz, as most Celeron owners seem to do, it performs even better.

We ran the Celeron PPGA 466MHz hard for over a week and the processor really stood up to the challenge. Our system stress test, a batch file that runs Ziff-Davis Business Winstone 99 over and over, ran for 17hrs at the 75MHz FSB (525MHz) without a single error.  The CPU generated the following benchmark scores under this system configuration...

System Configuration Intel PPGA 466MHz Celeron Testing

Mainboard SOYO SY-6VZA
Processor Intel Celeron PPGA 466MHz
Memory 2x64MB PC100
Corsair CM 654S64-BX2
Hard Drive Quantum Fireball EX
6.4G Ultra ATA/33
Graphics Card Diamond Viper 550 16MB AGP
Operating System Windows 98

As you can see by the scores, the Celeron 466MHz offers excellent performance and the $165.00 (avg.) price tag is easy enough on the wallet.  If the future upgrade path were a bit wider, it would be our absolute first choice for the price-wise CPU purchase of the early summer.  However, unless you are desperate need of a new CPU, you may want to hold off a bit and see exactly where there upgrade road bends.

For more info on the Celeron, check out Intel's web site at http://www.intel.com


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