Intel’s i845 Chipset – A Second Look

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So did I find anything new in this series of tests? No, not really. I just showed (again) that when compared dollar to dollar that the newer Pentium 4 out performs the older Pentium 3. Try to forget about the much higher CPU rating in MHz and don’t expect too much and I think you’ll be satisfied with the P4 as a replacement for the P3.

The Intel 845 chipset also has some clear advantages, the major one being the ability to install more memory than you can with the i815. With today’s low memory prices, along with operating systems and applications that need more and more memory, the i845 and it’s P4 CPU have a clear advantage over the i815 and P3. That alone could be a major factor in some user’s purchasing decision. ECC support may play a minor factor, but with the reliability of today’s memory ECC just isn’t a factor in the market these days.

The inability to use a 3.3v AGP card could be a factor for some, but chances are that if you have an older AGP card that requires 3.3v you’d see a sizable gain in both performance and features by updating to even an inexpensive 1.5v card.

And what about the P3 tested here also? Well. it won’t be available for the desktop market much longer because Intel either has or will be shortly ceasing production. The same goes for the newer Tualatin core P3’s (at least for the desktop market). These will become the next generation Celeron, still with 256K of L2 cache but only a 100MHz FSB and speeds below the slowest P4.

So, if you are looking for a midrange Intel based system the Pentium 4 and i845 SDRAM chipset combination could be the best choice. For the lower end we have the Celeron, and for the upper range we have the Pentium 4 with the i850 chipset and RDRAM. The i845 and P4 will give you the best value vs. performance ratio in the Intel line, ability to run the latest applications with good performance and has the latest chipset features and enhancements. But, as you’ll see in my next article, its value when compared to the AMD Athlon with the Palomino core is not quite as good. Not all users will buy an Pentium 4 system just because of its Intel name or because its CPU runs at a higher speed in MHz alone, some are after real value.

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