IF YOU'VE BEEN
paying attention over the last few months, you've no doubt noticed that AMD's latest Athlon 64s trounce Intel's newest Pentium 4s almost across the board. That's a real shame considering that Intel's 900-series chipsets bring so much to the table, including PCI Express, advanced Serial ATA and RAID features, and high-definition audio. There could be hope for Intel fanboys, though. Since the Pentium 4 500 line stretches from 2.8 to 3.6GHz, lower speed grades may have considerable overclocking headroom just waiting to be exploited.
How much headroom? I got an extra 770MHz out of my Pentium 4 520 2.8GHz, which is quite comfortable running at 3.57GHz with stock air coolingnot bad for a chip that costs less than $160. Could a little help from the overclocking fairy make the Pentium 4 520 2.8GHz a formidable contender against the Athlon 64? Read on to find out.