Battling Brothers: Celeron vs. Pentium 4

The Willamette Core - Heating It Up

The Willamette core in 0.18 µm.

Since it was launched, the Pentium 4 (and now the Celeron, too) has been plagued by very high power loss ratings. This is also a problem facing AMD, since its Athlon XP generates just as much heat. A 2 GHz Pentium 4 dissipates up to 75 W of heat - enough energy to light an office. This miniature bonfire remained until the Northwood core was introduced for models faster than 2 GHz, dropping power loss down to 50-65 watts, depending on the model. Of course, Intel didn't exactly crown itself with glory in the process. These days, the only way to garner praise is to channel all the energy into maximizing performance - but that will probably still be a long time in coming.

Since the Celeron is based on the Willamette core, it needs a powerful cooling system. While the latest batch of Intel processors have a protective circuit that reduces the chip's clock speed (or even stops the chip) if it gets overheated, this tends to dull the processor's performance edge. Once the clock speed has been reduced, both the Celeron and the Pentium 4 tend to drag their feet somewhat (see video test in Divx format). And that nullifies the performance advantage the current Celeron has over the Celeron Tualatin, which wasn't that big to begin with.