New 450-MHz chip gives some oomph to Compaq Deskpro EP

Pros and cons:
+        Strong performance, especially for
 2-D video
–        Hard drive slightly sluggish





The 450-MHz Pentium II re-leased last week by Intel Corp. will be king of the desktop
hill until its 500-MHz Katmai processor arrives early next year. Intel also last week
unveiled 300- and 333-MHz Celeron processors, both with 128K of Level 2 cache.


The GCN Lab examined the 450-MHz Pentium II in a Deskpro EP from Compaq Computer Corp.
Its fast clock rate yielded almost 13 percent higher scores than the average 400-MHz
Pentium II on the GCNdex32TM math benchmark suite. That’s a solid improvement.


Is it worth upgrading now? Most users are still satisfied with their 350- and 400-MHz
Pentium II PCs. Plus, this late in the buying season, few computer makers are likely to
squeeze the newest, fastest Pentium II PCs onto their government desktop contracts before
Sept. 30.


But the Deskpro EP did deliver good performance. Its 2-D video benchmark score of 31
rivaled that of high-end graphics accelerators in a Xeon workstation the lab tested
recently [GCN, Aug. 10, Page 1].


The Compaq PC’s Matrox Millennium G200 Accelerated Graphics Port card rendered
OpenGL 3-D graphics at 15 frames per second at XGA full-screen resolutions. That’s a
little slow for a workstation but quite respectable for a desktop PC.


As usual with Compaq hard drives, the access scores were a little low but not so much
that most users would mind or notice. Having 13.5G of storage available was impressive.
The 24X CD-ROM drive scored a fair 9.34 at an 181/2X rate.


Intel’s new Celeron Level 2 cache will likely be quite an improvement over
earlier, lower-priced Celerons that lack cache. The lab has been unable to get a single
computer maker to submit a test system with a Celeron inside.


Some observers have said performance of machines with cacheless Celerons is not much
better than that of machines with a Pentium MMX.


Meanwhile, the 500-MHz Katmai expected early next year will add 70 more instructions to
the complex-instruction-set-computing Pentium II, like the MMX multimedia extensions added
to the Pentium chip.


Katmai’s instruction set will focus on the 3-D graphics instructions common to
high-end computing that are beginning to filter down to ordinary office work. Moreover,
Katmai is rumored to have higher Level 1 cache than the current Pentium II’s
32K. 

inside gcn

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