The Bus Speed Guide


The bus speed of modern Pentium and Pentium Pro systems is still a fairly neglected subject. If you want to know about the performance of a system, you always look first at the CPU speed. The higher the CPU speed, the faster the system - that's how most computer users judge system performance. This is one reason why Cyrix had to invent the P-rating system, because without more information, why would a power user be interested in a 6x86 CPU running at only 133 or 150 MHz? This CPU/performance relationship is also responsible for the fact that Intel still is selling a fair number of Pentium 150's, although they are barely faster than their cheaper brothers at 133 MHz. We read '150' and hence we think it has to be faster!

I first wrote about this subject quite a while back, when I was creating my overclocking page. I told you about the limitation you put on your system by running it at a bus speed of less than 66 or even 60 MHz. However, one look at my overclocking survey and you will see how many users have 'overclocked' their P166 to 180 MHz or their Cyrix 166+ (133) to 3 x 50 = 150 MHz. Others have overclocked from 120 to 150 and still think they have done a really cool job.

Well, to bring this false belief to a final and irrevocable end, I have decided to create this page. The new Asus P/I-P55T2P4 rev. 3.0 motherboard has opened up a new dimension of bus speeds and performance, so somebody had to take the opportunity and do some decent research on it.

The work for this page has been the biggest project I have undertaken for this site to date. To be able to present you bullet proof facts I had to do three days of testing, measuring and tuning. Let me tell you, after the 30th run of Winstone96 you just feel tired, after the 20th crash of Winstone96 you are annoyed, frustrated and fed up. However, eventually I realized the fruits of all this testing and tuning, and now I can present you a page that's the first of its kind in the entire computer publishing business. It will change the way we think about computer performance.