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Best CPU for the 4600 (F4491 motherboard)?

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Best CPU for the 4600 (F4491 motherboard)?

  • Hello.  I have come a long way in my upgrades, and I would like to thank all of you who helped me out.  However, I would like to go a little further. 
    I started about 2yrs ago with a dimension 3000 with the prescott pentium 4 @ 3Ghz, 512mb ram, and gasp..integrated video!  (I know, I know...I've learned a lot since then).  Then, I up'd my ram to 2gb's, and put in a pci fx5500 256mb card, a firewire card, an audio card, and a dvd burner.  My recent upgrade was to change out the motherboard to the dimension 4600 one (the F4491 model), and get an AGP 7600GS 256mb video card. 
    Now I am thinking of upgrading my CPU to the best one I can for the 4600.  I have searched on here, but there seems to be a lot of mixed opinions as to the prescott 3.2 or the 3.4Ghz, and I can't even seem to find the 3.4 one anywhere for sale.  Would it even be worth it to upgrade from a 3Ghz to the 3.2 or 3.4? 
    And, as a side note, I have a LCD VGA display now, but with my new video card I have a DVI connector, so would it be worth it to upgrade my monitor also to maybe a DVI LCD.....would the DVI be really much better than the VGA?
  • Some can tell the difference between DVI and VGA, and if you can use DVI, I would, but I wouldn't replace the entire monitor for it.

    As for processors, if you do this upgrade, note that you'd get very little improvements from 3.0 to 3.4GHz (depending on your use). I'm not sure on your motherboard number myself, so I'm afraid I can't help there, but if you do upgrade, I'd recommend the Northwood. Ask me if you really want my opinions on why.
  • thanks for the monitor info...guess i won't replace just to go to dvi, but i may replace to dvi in a little while anyway when i move up in monitor size...i only have a 15" lcd right now....and want to eventually go up to the 19" size.
    and, yes, i am interested in why you would go from a prescott pent 4 @ 3ghz to a northwood (which one?)....please explain.
  • Heat is one reason the northwood's run much cooler.I run the 3.4ghz northwood with the F4491 motherboard.

    But for the price it would be hard to not get the Prescott:

    Message Edited by fx4baja on 04-23-2007 12:31 PM

    Message Edited by fx4baja on 04-23-2007 12:31 PM

    Vostro-460 Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit  (Gigabyte Z68 motherboard,Core i7-2600@4.1GHz,Noctua NH-U9B SE2,16GB G.SKILL Ripjaws DDR3 1600,SeaSonic X-850 power supply,OCZ 120GB Vertex 3 MAX IOPS Solid State Drive.)

  • Here's my reasons. I'll give fair wasning that it's long, but that's why I saved it for in case you asked.

    1. It generates much more heat. Dell's cases aren't made for alot of heat either.

    2. The extra heat requires more cooling, so you usually need to upgrade to a better heat sink (the Dell one with the two copper pipes that looks like a car motor shape) if you already don't have it.

    3. The fan makes more noise due to the above reason. My Prescott idle makes as as much noise as my previous Northwood (2.26GHz) did when under load. You don't even want to hear a Prescott under load.

    4. The Prescott performs just a bit slower clock for clock than the Northwood. The Prescott has an edge in video and heavy photo work, but that's it's only advantage.

    A bit of a history here. Many people see the only difference between the two as the 512k cache and 1MB cache and assume the Prescott is the same, but with extra L2 cache. That is not the case. The Prescott has a 31 stage pipeline. The Northwood had about a 20 stage pipeline. This means it takes shorter time for the Northwood to complete a clock cycle than the Prescott does. The Prescott does have more L2 (and L1 cache), but they're both at a higher latency also which slows things down a bit. All of the mprovements the Prescott have serve more as make up towards a Northwood rather than actual edges it has over the Northwood.

    Why did Intel make the Prescott then? Becuase Northwood hit a brick at 3.4GHz. Prescott was slower at the same speed as a Northwood, but once it reached higher than 3.4GHz, it was expected to get better as the speed rose. Unfortunately, the heat it produced (despite being on a smaller manufacturing process) prevented it from ever getting too much higher than Northwood anyway.

    Intel did the same thing with the first (Williamette) P4's over the PIII. The Williamette had about a 20 stage pipeline and the Pentium III had about a 10 or 11 stage pipeline. This is why a PIII running at 1.4GHz beat a P4 at 1.7GHz. Intel purposely made poorer designs but ramped up the GHz to compensate. This also works good for marketing as the average consumer usually knows little, so they have to rely on numbers like higher GHz meaning higher speed. Not always so, as is evident by a lower GHz AMD Athlon 64 beating a higher GHz Pentium4.

    Sorry if that's long, but it'll explain a bit. Don't always be taken in by numbers. I seriously can't recommend a Prescott to anyone unless they're doing mainly video and photo work. Otherwise, they're getting something that underperforms, makes more heat, and makes more noise, than a similarly clocked Northwood. The price is tempting, but eBay has 3.4GHz Pentium4 Extremes which is a Northwood 3.4GHz with an extra 2MB L3 cache for not too much more ($130-$140), so I figure a regular 3.4GHz Northwood shouldn't be as much. Either of those at 3.4GHz would make less heat and noise than my 2.8GHz Prescott.

    If you want more, do a google search for "Northwood vs Prescott" and you'll get alot more. I'm probably sounding like a sales representative with all this, but I speak from experience that the Prescott isn't all it's hyped to be with it's numbers. The only time I really saw a difference between my 2.8GHz Prescott and 2.26GHz Northwood was in RTS games which heavily rely on the CPU, and the difference wasn't like night versus day.

    Message Edited by Bobman101 on 04-23-2007 10:18 PM
  • Thanks for the input...I may just stay with this Intel Pentium 4 @3GHZ w/HT as I don't think I want to put any more money into this system.  I will just have to wait until I can build a whole new system with a core 2 duo and pci-express card. 
    The bad thing is that I can notice only a slight improvement in performance with the upgrades I did so far...changing the motherboard so I could upgrade from a pci video card to an AGP video card, but my webcaming and video watching from websites on here doesn't seem to have improved as much as I had hoped.  I really don't even see any difference.  Graphic intensive web pages seem to scroll a little smoother,,but that's about it.  I don't game, and that's where I may have noticed more of an improvement I guess. 
    It was a pretty expensive upgrade for me to not see much improvement...
    ---4600 motherboard $100 and back i/o plate $13,
    ---new AGP 7600GS card $120,
    ---thermal paste $13,
    ---and my old hard drive was making noise so I replaced that too while I was at it..250GB seagate barracuda $80....
    So, I spent about $326 and haven't seen much improvement over the PCI FX5500 card I had in before with the 3000 board....bummer.  I'm getting a $20 rebate on the video card, and I'm selling some of my old parts on ebay, so maybe that will offset some of my cost.
  • The only real upgrade performance-wise seems to be the video card, and you'd only see the real benefits of that if gaming. I'm not too sure about webcam stuff, but most video work relies on the CPU. Although the video card can help a bit, it won't make much difference.