Tom's Hardware Speed Project: Pentium 4, Over 3 GHz!

The new Intel Pentium 4/2200 is certainly not one of the weaker processors of the x86 world, and that was proven in one of our recent comparisons . But still, finding out the true physical limits of the top CPUs is something that continues to concern us. After all, a clock speed of 2200 MHz should not be any sort of a problem for a 0.13 micron design. So, we pulled an all-nighter and hot off the presses here is our take on breaking the 3 GHz barrier for the P4. If you want to apply standard air cooling only, you need a specially selected Pentium 4 processor that Intel itself was unable to provide for us. If you possess a water cooling system you can use almost any P4 Northwood at 2.2 GHz or higher.


This shows more than 3 GHz on a Pentium 4.

Our thanks go to a large PC vendor, who was able to give us a hand-picked processor that is particularly suited to air-cooled overclocking. The fact is, the majority of existing, available Pentium 4/2200 CPUs with the Northwood core do not run stably at the extreme clock speeds higher than 3000 MHz, no matter what tricks you use. In any case, going over 3 GHz cannot be achieved with traditional CPU coolers based on a heatsink and fan. However, the picture changes completely when you use a high-performance water cooling system, or even a hermetic sub-zero cooling system with an evaporator. Only then can the temperature of the CPU die be kept under 20 degrees Celsius.

We had already discovered some of these issues back in November when we got the first Northwood processor, and are now confident that we can offer you a practical solution. So much for that: this test shows in detail the range of performance capabilities that the Pentium 4 CPUs of the future will have to offer.


Two Pentium4/2200s compared: the version on the left is readily available in stores, while the other model is provided by Intel for internal testing purposes only.
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  • godbrother
    After 7 years... Woot Woot!
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  • godbrother
    Wow, I can't belive this was written in 2002, still no replies :D C'mon fellas. It's closing in on 8 years.
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  • youssef 2010
    and now we have 6-core i7-980X that can be overclocked using the stock cooler.And the intel atom can beat the 2200MHz chip in the benchmark(the dual-core atom, of course).But these days were good.I was still pretty much an ignorant in the computer field.
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