We are a bit late coming out with a review on Intel's "aging" Pentium III 800EB, but, we had good reason. Besides, in this new world of neck-breaking product life cycles, we are going to be the last ones to join the rat race. The truth of the matter is that Intel had sent us the Pentium III 800EB quite a few months ago. Unfortunately, in our eagerness to receive this processor for review, we agreed to only test this product utilizing Intel's 820i chipset utilizing RDRAM. We had every intention of doing that, but, unfortunately, motherboard manufacturers who had promised us i820 motherboards for review, decided not to send us any. That was right about the time RAMBUS first started receiving all the bad press. The few motherboard manufacturers that had committed in designing and releasing an i820 motherboard, all of a sudden found themselves in a very bad position. The i820 was plagued with bugs, RDRAM was and still is ungodly expensive, so end users were very unwilling to go with an RDRAM solution. In turn, motherboard manufacturers were less willing to promote i820 chipsets. So, in all fairness, we decided to release a Pentium III 800EB review using VIA's latest Apollo 133A chipset. Sorry George, but it simply didn't work out.
We could have released this review based on the 440BX chipset, which to this day still remains a VERY fast chipset. Unfortunately, our ABIT BE6-II gave us a lot of problems when we tried to get our 800EB to run at 133 MHz FSB reliably. So, we decided to go with the ABIT VT6 which utilizes the VIA Apollo 133A chipset. Not as fast, but a lot more forgiving with our AGP bus.
The Intel Pentium III 800EB is a processor based on the Coppermine core utilizing the 133 MHz bus. In case you are wondering what the "EB" stands for at the end, we are going to do a quick breakdown to hopefully alleviate any confusion. The "E" indicates the use of Intel's 256-bit wide cache bus. When Intel released the coppermine core, not only did they include cache that ran at the same speed as the processor, they also increased the width of the cache bus from 64-bits to a whopping 256-bits. Needless to say that all coppermine core based processors will sport the "E" within their name.
Intel's use of a 256-bit wide cache bus has given the Pentium III coppermine a speed advantage over similarly clocked Athlon processors. Even AMD's newest Athlon's based on the "Thunderbird" core which feature cache running at the same speed as the core, are still not as fast as similarly clocked Coppermines. The reason is simple. AMD didn't see it fit to widen the cache bus from its existing 64-bits.
The "B" indicates that this is a processor that utilizes the 133 MHz front side bus.
Without further ado, let's get to the performance of this processor: