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Intel Celeron E3300 Processor

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The Java machine doesn't care much about cache, but even in this case the negative effects of small cache can be seen. But the results are still decent enough. When overclocked, the Celeron outperforms all of today's competitors (which work at much lower clock rates though). Well, even a minor victory is a victory.

Audio encoding

As we have repeatedly made certain before, cache doesn't play any role in audio encoding. Critical are clock rate, the number of cores, and architecture. AMD processors used to lose to similar Intel's devices in this group of tests. This happened this time as well. The Celeron performed well even in the normal mode and with DDR3 memory (which managed to spoil the odds a bit though). When overclocked, it easily outperformed all of the competitors. Moreover, if you compare the results with those of Core 2 Duo E8600 working at the same clock rate, you will see that the latter is better only because of the 1333 MHz FSB. This is a great result for the lowest-end series processor. The only fact that spoils it is that there are relatively inexpensive triple and quad-core processors in the market already which are fundamentally faster.

Video encoding

The processor couldn't do the same deed again, but it did manage to win the first place when overclocked. The Celeron E3300 also did more or less well in the normal mode. At least it outperformed the old AMD Athlon X2 and didn't lag behind the lower-end Pentium that much. By which we mean about 10%, the difference in clock rates being less than 5%.

3D games

The Celeron isn't a gaming processor. Period. In some three or four games it couldn't provide playable frames per second even at 1280x1024 with a more or less decent graphics card. Overclocking didn't help much at that. You can still have fun with console ports, the number of which is evergrowing, or play the good old "abandonware." Or you can lower quality settings and find a more or less playable mode. If you have and old PC, you know the drill.

Total score

Overclocking the Celeron, we didn't pursue any global goals like discovering the mythical "overclocking potential." We just wanted to see if this processor, as it was, had a future. Intel had been raising clock rates by small increments, but we boosted it by a whole 833 MHz and used a faster bus just to be sure. Turned out there was not much sense in such overclocking as well. The processor could only catch up with the Athlon II X2 and some Pentiums. So raising the clock rate by some 100-300 MHz won't change anything at all. But what could make a change? Another megabyte of cache. In this case the Celeron would have turned into one of the Pentium E5000 series, but this wouldn't be bad. Pentium E5400, the fastest in that product line, has the clock rate of 2.7 GHz. All faster processors already require the 1066 MHz FSB. So nothing would have prevented from filling that niche by some "Celeron E4000." Such intersections of the Celeron and Pentium series are not that bad. The latter brand will be actively used for LGA1156 processors, so some E5000 models can just be renamed Celerons.

The results of the hypothetical E3300OC have another use. Some people believe that it's better to save money, buy a cheap CPU, and overclock it to get higher performance. Well, people, you're wrong. Overclocking the cheapest processor can only provide you a cheap one. In its turn, a cheap processor can also be overclocked -- to get a mid-end CPU. If you start with the mid-end, you can get closer to the high-end. But "to rule them all," you will still have to pay for at least the junior representative of the top series. But this doesn't fit the idea of perfect money-saving by means of overclocking already. On the other hand, if you have no such global goals, you can get a little extra performance. But not as much as you could get ten years ago. To be exact, the performance boost is still adequate to the increase in clock rate, but that just doesn't help anymore. The matter is that while clock rate was nearly the ultimate processor feature back then, it's just one of many today. Not the primary at that. Obviously, overclocking cannot force a processor to use blocked cache. This isn't important sometimes, but can still be critical in other situations -- see the compilation tests, for example. Overclocking cannot increase the number of cores as well.

As for the performance of the Celeron in the normal mode, there are two angles to comment it from. On the one hand, we can see it's not that bad. It's the level of dual-core Athlon X2, not the lowest-end at that. Just four years ago, many users wanted to have one of those. Speaking of later times and comparable price ranges, these Celerons are obviously not worse than the Pentium E2000 series, which have the same 1MB of cache. The Celerons can even sometimes compete with certain Core 2 Duo E4000 processors having 2MB cache, but much lower clock rates. Considering that there are still lots of single-core Athlon 64 and Pentium 4 processors working in PCs worldwide, such a result is quite nice. If you have to upgrade your PC just because something has broken down, you can buy the cheapest and get at least the similar performance as before. However, from the other point of view, Celeron doesn't perform that well. You can get much more in the low-end segment for a similar price. For example, compare the prices of Pentium E5200 and Celeron E3300. Seems all right for another megabyte of cache which comes quite handy, as we have already confirmed. Obviously, Pentium looks more attractive whether you are going to overclock it or not. The Celeron, in its turn, will suite those not interested in performance at all, who just need their PCs to work. Just note that Intel has something else to offer even for these requirements -- Atom. If you don't care about performance, think if you really need a bigger desktop, when you can buy a nettop for a similar price.

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