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Conclusion: Speed Is King

Socket 478 Exhausted: Pentium 4 With Dual DDR500 Running At 1000 MHz FSB
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Speed is king - this principle is continuing to sink in with Intel since the Athlon pushed the envelope past the 1 GHz threshold and threatened the market leader's dominant position. Our tests prove conclusively that this applies in no uncertain terms to the FSB clock speed as well. At 1000 MHz and with just a little extra chip speed (3.25 instead of 3.20 GHz), our test system experienced a boost of outstanding proportions based on an 875 chipset.

The best thing about the 1000 MHz FSB and extra chip speed is the excellent system stability - the three memory module offerings we tested gave us absolutely no problems throughout the tests. The modules with the most credit are definitely OCZ Technologies', as they can be run at the highest speeds. In practice, however, the differences are slight and produce no overall winner. In any case, we advise buying a DIMM bundle from a module supplier, which usually tests the modules prior to shipping.

The question now is how best to exploit all this overclocking potential. Besides the right memory, a Pentium 4 with an 800 MHz FSB is required, as well as a suitable mainboard fitted with an Intel 865 or 875 chipset and the relevant overclocking capabilities.

It's also important to choose the right processor: Simply overclocking a 3.2 GHz model from 800 to 1000 MHz could go awry since the chip will then have to struggle with a 4 GHz speed. Our experience shows that this speed is probably only achieved by extreme cooling using Prometia or Vapo-chill type systems or using liquified gas in an uber-extreme temporary setup.

In any case, we would advise users against this investment as the 3 GHz and 3.2 GHz models are still prohibitively expensive.

The 2.4 GHz and 2.6 GHz devices are sensible choices for a 1 GHz system, as they only have to accommodate chip speeds of 3/3.25 GHz at 1000 MHz. But if it doesn't quite go as planned, performance at a 900 MHz FSB clock speed represents a good back-up bet.

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