Is socket 370 and the Pentium III really dying?

Hey all,

My passion is digital audio recording and music composition, and when it comes to computer systems, stability is the number one priority.

In my market niche, Intel chipsets are synonymous with stability. But the Pentium IV brings with it other issues (CPU spikes due to denormalization, lack of P4 optimized software, etc).

So ultimately what I want is a better PIII system (current rig is an 800 MHz PIII on an Abit BF6 440Bx MoBo). But it seems like socket 370 and the Pentium III are truly dying. The recent announcement of a Williamette-based Celeron further confirms this.

The Tualatin PIII represented a beacon of hope, but without a new chipset (and even faster proc speeds), it's not much of a solution. The i815 was very popular with my crowd, but the memory limitations (512 Mb RAM and PC133) are a real problem.

I only wish Intel could release a new PIII chipset with the following features:

- Support for PC2100 / PC2700 DDR SDRAM (2 Gb or more)
- 266 MHz system bus (or double pumped 133 MHz)
- Dual Proc support
- Latest USB support (2.0)

It seems like Intel has partnered with Serverworks for the Tualatin MoBo's, so I don't see much hope for a new chipset.

Athlons are becoming more popular with the music crowd, but chipset compatibility with high-end audio cards is still an issue (AMD is generally preferred over VIA). Other chipsets (Ali, Sys, Serverworks, etc) are virtually unheard of in this niche.

Maybe I'll wind up waiting for the next generation Athlon (and the accompanying AMD chipsets). I just can't see investing in Pentium IV or Palomino right now.

Is there any reason to hold out hope for a new PIII platform?

12 answers Last reply
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  1. If you really want PIII performance, get a BX board and a Powerleap adapter kit with a PIII Tualatin -s processor.

    What's the frequency, Kenneth?
  2. Quote:

    But the Pentium IV brings with it other issues (CPU spikes due to denormalization, lack of P4 optimized software, etc).

    CPU spikes? Do you mean throttling? That's a good thing not a bad thing.


    lack of P4 optimized software

    Who cares? The P4 is still the fastest thing out there at the moment. You're only going to gain performance not lose it.

    Get a P4 1.6A or 1.8A and overclock it to 2.4GHz with an Abit TH7-II and be happy. Ok? :wink:

    :wink: <b><i>"A penny saved is a penny earned!"</i></b> :wink:
  3. I should have been more clear with the P4 CPU spike issue...

    In real-time multitrack audio recording, a constant CPU load of 50-80% is not uncommon. When I refer to a CPU spike, it is a situation in which a static load (say 30%) intermittently jumps to a higher load (eg, 80%). If severe enough (ie, over 100% load), you can lock-up your system and have to re-boot.

    While the phenomena is still being investigated by various software houses, it appears to be caused by the way the P4 addresses very small values (ie, those values that approach zero). As the software calls for smaller values, the P4 goes into a slower processing mode, and essentially gets stuck (thereby creating the spike).

    I don't expect many users to encounter this problem, other than folks who engage in real-time digital video editing, or real-time audio editing as mentioned above.

    PIII's also exhibit denormalization in some software apps, but not nearly to the same degree as the P4.

    It could feasibly be corrected in software (some companies have already developed a fix), but it will take a long time to correct hundreds of applications.

    So, I'm stuck in the situation of wondering whether a Tualatin 1.4 GHz is a worthy upgrade. An Asus TUSL-2, a 1.4 GHz processor, and two sticks of Mushkin PC133 will set me back ~$600. And then there are all the things that go with it (new PSU, more cooling, etc).

    All the best,

  4. With P-III you need no "more cooling". It is the coolest chip there is.

    And by the way, I am thinking myself of getting Tually, getting sick of tinkerring with Athlon systems.

    ..this is very useful and helpful place for information...
  5. Intel has stated that the P3 will be out of production soon (within a year. MY guess.)

    Even so A P3 1.4 on a bx board will perform about the same as a P4 1.8 or 1.9 or Athlon pr1800+,1900+ without overclockig for your applications.

    I aint signing nothing!!!
  6. P3 simply cannot use the bandwidth offer by DDR or 266 front bus. I think the newer VIA chipset for AMD(KT266A and above) is very stable.
  7. It's too bad the P3-T costs so darn much.. it seems like a better processor than the P4..

    Hmm.. would it be possible to order an unlocked Tualatin from Intel? *grins*

    3Dfx will never die... just the staff of NVidia when I charge at 'em with a machinegun...
  8. I agree. BX chipset is still the most stable chipset. My server still use a BX chipset but I think it is not a good choice for workstation. For workstation I think AGP 4X is very important and I do not like to overclock my $800 Video card.
  9. Most stable, fastest, and allows the use of more memory. Funny thing about most BX boards is that they list their max memory amount as #DIMM slots x 256MB. In fact I believe most of these boards support 256MB <i>per side</i>, which would allow 512MB double sided DIMMS. Even with the bus at the unofficial 133MHz setting, these boards are better at just about everything than the i815E.

    What's the frequency, Kenneth?
  10. Have a look for an i840 based board. They have been added to the Powerleap approved list so you could run dual PIII-S-1400s with dual channel RDRAM.

    The <A HREF="" target="_new">intel OR840</A> is a good stable board.

    - JW
  11. I appreciate all the suggestions, but unfortunately there are a few other no-no's in the world of digital audio workstations:

    - overclocking (stability risk)
    - dual proc's (some folks can get it to work, but often it's more hassle than benefit)

    If I went the Tualatin route, I would have to go i815. I'll have to read-up on the Powerleap kit, but it sounds like another no-no for stability.

    I really thought about the i840 chipset, but the only board I have found is the OR840, which is a dual proc board (no-no). If there is a third-party single proc board with an 840 chipset, please let me know.

    Although truthfully I don't know if running an OR840 as a single proc would alleviate the issues. Maybe the second socket would not cause a problem. There are some good multi-threaded apps for music (Steinberg Nuendo, for example), but it's very difficult to find a trouble free system, especially since few software houses publish reference PC's.

    What I really need is a single proc board with a fast, native bus and native support for Tualatin.

    My search continues.......

    BTW, Wasn't there an article awhile back about 2.0 GHz PIII's? And I see occassional references to a 1.53 Tualatin, but all I can find for sale is a 1.4.

    All the best,

  12. I'm sorry, I thought you were looking for an SMP system.

    What OS will you be running? If it's NT 5.x (Win2000/XP) you can run a single processor on the OR840 board and the OS will use the ACPI uniprocessor PC driver and your software will never know the difference. It's a bit of a waste of a $300 board, but I guess you can't help that.

    Intel had plans to release a PIII-S-1533 but stopped because they want to sell P4 Xeon chips and the PIIIs at that speed were just as fast (and faster in some apps). PIII-S-1400 is as fast as we'll see released. Of course there are always ES chips around but they're a little hard to get a hold of.

    At stock speeds I don't see why the powerleap adaptor wouldn't be as stable as any SECC2 (slot 1) processor.

    The other option would be a VIA based Supermicro board. While I'm not in the habit of suggesting VIA chipsets to anyone other then gamers, Supermicro is another word for stability in the motherboard game and any board from them, no matter what chipset it is based on, tends to be very stable.

    I'm not sure what software you plan on running, but I'd still lean towards the OR840 with one PIII-S-1400. After you have everything setup try borrowing a second PIII-S-1400 and using the ACPI multiprocessor PC driver (all you have to do is change the driver in windows and restart your computer).

    - JW
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