The first time we
attempted to overclock the Pentium 4 540, we ran into some significant troubles.
To be specific, as soon as we tried to raise the FSB speed over 216MHz, the
motherboard refused to work. At this point, there were no new BIOS revisions
available and we were forced to halt our overclocking experiment. The subsequent
release of a newer BIOS for the board removed this apparently pre-set obstacle
and we were able to properly experiment with overclocking the 540 chip.
Using the default voltage settings and
raising the FSB slowly, we were able to achieve a FSB speed of 234MHz before we
experienced stability problems. Raising the CPU voltage to 1.5V solved this, and
we continued on to a final stable speed of 252MHz. Not bad at all. With the
multipliers, this worked out to a FSB speed of 1008MHz!
The Socket 775 Intel Pentium 4 3.2E '540' that we tested in this review is
based on the same 0.09 micron Prescott core that's found in Socket 478 Pentium 4
E processors. The top of the processor looks similar to
the older Socket 478 Pentium 4, as Intel still uses a large copper Integrated
Heatspreader (IHS) to protect the core from physical damage.
The bottom is quite different though, as it's nearly
flat save for the few resistors just under the core. This makes the new Pentium
4 processor a lot tougher and less prone to damage than its predecessors, which
is good news. The bad news is, of course, that motherboards just got a lot more
Overall performance of the Socket 775 Pentium 4 3.2E is
good. It's a bit slower than AMD's offerings in office-based applications and
gaming, but at a lower price point. As we have seen since, the Socket 775
platform is good for overclocking provided you obtain
the latest BIOS updates for your motherboard. The original boards that we
tested with had difficulty exceeding a FSB speed of 216MHz, but this limitation
has since been bypassed.
As far as the 915P and 925X chipsets go, subsequent
tests have served to differentiate the two platforms slightly, opening up a 3-5%
performance advantage for the 'higher-end' 925X. Uses would be just as well
served by either platform, though DDR-2 is certainly the way to go now that
prices are coming down. The Socket 775 Pentium 4 540 we reviewed currently goes
for about US$218, which is a decent price for this
high-end 32-bit processor.
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a few other articles that you might enjoy as well...
1. Intel Pentium 4 3.2E GHz Prescott Processor Review
2. Intel Pentium 4 3.2GHz Extreme Edition