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Chipsets: Multiple Choice

Intel's New Weapon: Pentium 4 Prescott
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Basically, all chipsets that are designed for the Pentium 4 should easily be able to support Prescott:

  • ATI Radeon 9100IGP
  • Intel 848P, 865P, 865G, 865PE, 875P
  • SiS 655FX, 655TX
  • VIA PT800, PT880

Their features are more or less comparable, while Intel's 875P still is the fastest product.

Is Your Motherboard Prescott Ready?

We used Asus' P4C800-E for our benchmark suite. Several other boards caused problems.

We used Asus' boards P4B800 Deluxe and P4C800-E for our testing, as they still belong to the fastest P4 boards that are around. Using the latest BIOS version we did not have any problems getting Prescott running.

However, using a Soyo P4I875P we could not make our Prescott running faster then 2.8E GHz. AOpen's AX3SPE Max (865PE chipset) did not want to boot at all. The third board we tried was Gigabyte's 8IPE1000 Pro-2, which turned out to be problem-free.

At this stage it does not make much sense to run large compatibility tests, as the processor we received from Intel had the multipliers 14 to 16 unlocked in order to emulate the 2.8E, 3.0E and 3.2E GHz Prescott processor. As Intel processors are never sold unlocked, we cannot exclude that problems may be caused by the flexible multiplier. Regardless, even if your board starts properly, it may not be suited to run Prescott or the equally "hot" Extreme Edition at 3.4 GHz due to insufficient voltage regulators. The best-case scenario is a system that simply does not start at all, while a system crashing sporadically can cause big headache when it comes to a case study.

Usually, branded top motherboards should be able to cope with the greater requirements of the new processors, while the only guarantee is a support note on the motherboard box or the manual.

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