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P4 v. Celeron in Business Environment

By qballrail ·
I am the Senior Systems Admin for a manufacturing firm. I administer a Windows network on a Novell server. We have had a few issues in relation to the Novell Client, currently 4.91 SP2, some are on 4.92 where we suspect the celeron procs. When a user is logged onto their workstation, rather than logging them off and using the "admin" account, we merely log onto the network with the Novell client. Machines with the C proc crash with a data dump error pointing to the client. Apparently the celeron proc cannot handle that type of instruction. That is only one issue, however.

My Finance Manager insists there is NO difference between the two processors aside from name and being less expensive. Despite our many discussions on the matter, explaining in layman's terms the differences and, in my opinon, the P4 being more efficient, hence more suitable for an office environment running the Novell client, AS400 sessions as well as MSOffice apps and a proprietary asp program called DocLink. Not to mention Blotus Chokes (what we have lovingly dubbed Lotus Notes). It is my opinion that the Celeron is the primary source of our headaches where certain workstations are concerned.

My contention is that the Celeron is indeed an inferior processor, built with lesser quality and smaller cache size rendering it inappropriate for office use. Wasn't this either based upon the Cyrix proc or actually purchased by Intel when Cyrix went belly-up? If memory serves, the advent of the Celeron was right around the time of Cyrix's demise. It seems to me that Intel intended systems with this processor for the casual home user, hence the lower pricing. Please correct me if I am wrong because my FM intends to save a bundle of cash by buying the lesser expensive systems with the C chip.

That being the case, would beefing up the RAM make any difference? Rather than using 512, bumping it up a little to, say, 768M?

In my 12 years as an IT Professional, I have experienced more issues with the C proc than the Pentium or even AMD. Are the newer processors better these days?

Input greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your time,
Jesse

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Maybe?

by GDoC In reply to P4 v. Celeron in Business ...

Jesse,

Insofar as the crashdump on the Celerons, this should not make a difference as both the P4 and P4 Celerons are built to the IA-32 specification so support the same instruction sets. I am unfamiliar with a client version above 4.91 SP1 so can't talk to the specifics there.

The Celerons do have less cache, but this would lead to more latency in processing instructions, not an inability to do so. To the best of my knowledge the present P4 Celerons are based off of the same core architecture as the P4s and do not share any of the Cyrix reverse engineered technology. The utilization of lower L1 and L2 caches permits a lower TC density, so permits the Celerons to be manufactured at a lower cost, and typically a lower level etching process 130nm vs 90nm, etc.

In most of the apps you mentioned, most of the processing is server centric (Notes, ASP, and AS400 connectivity (I'm assuming a terminal emulation package of some type here), however you did mention M$Office, and this is extremely client process intensive. Office does run appreciably faster on the higher cached, higher speed P4s than the same series Celerons, so if very large documents or spreadsheets are manipulated on a regular basis, the increase in productivity of the end user can be used as justification for the higher end processor. You may also want to point out that the Intel official marketing point for the Celerons are for casual home users, but this does not preclude their functionality in a business environment, it just means that Intel does not intend them to be used by corporate staff, though several of the vendors of Intel based systems do sell Celeron based systems to the corporate market....so a toss up there.

Insofar as the RAM. I'm running off of my "Office" machine right now with 65 processes, a couple of Word docs, a simple Excel spreadsheet, a few IEs and Outlook open and am using 588MB (out of 1GB) of ram. If I were to open some of my Visio docs, or some of my other apps, I'd still be in a possition of closing something down to get the required response. Check a typical end-user machine in the middle of the day by bringing up taskmanager, and if you are even approaching 512, or forbid, over 512, the best bang for your buck will probably be RAM.

Insofar as your problems with Celeron based systems, you'll probably find that they are built with lower quality components all around (so as to give a good price break). If you can, take a Celeron out of one of your systems and put it in a "P4" system. I think you'll find that the "crash" doesn't follow, but the user will scream about the lag.
To get your FM off of the Celerons, I'd recommend that you purchase a single P4 processor packaged the same as your Celerons, so if you have a Celeron D Prescott, buy a P4 Prescott and plug it in. The cost between a Celeron D (at approx $70) and a P4 Prescott at the same speed (approx $140) should provide you with the information necessary to preclude the crash dump issue from the processor, as well as provide the throughput increase information.

I've got P4s, P4Xeon dual processor, and AMD 4400+ systems in service at my house, along with several servers. The cost for build it yourself clients ran from $600 to $4300. I don't run the Celerons myself, but have populated client sites with them. It depends on the client and what they need.

I hope this has been helpfull.

Good Luck!

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by qballrail In reply to Maybe?

I believe this is very helpful. You have not only proven my point but also enlightened me on the fact that the Celeron is no longer the trashy component it used to be. Therefore, my FM will be pleased to know that he was at least partially correct and I have the peace of mind knowing there can be a compromise. I wonder if beefing up the ram from 512 to just 768 may provide the performance difference I need?

I doubt the cost difference you quoted will make much difference. Part of my problem is I am moving towards a Dell Standard in the office. I'll have to give him this much, at least he quoted out a Dell instead of an eMachine or some knock-off brand to save a couple Franklins.

Thank you for your input, it is greatly appreciated!

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by qballrail In reply to Maybe?

I believe this is very helpful. You have not only proven my point but also enlightened me on the fact that the Celeron is no longer the trashy component it used to be. Therefore, my FM will be pleased to know that he was at least partially correct and I have the peace of mind knowing there can be a compromise. I wonder if beefing up the ram from 512 to just 768 may provide the performance difference I need?

I doubt the cost difference you quoted will make much difference. Part of my problem is I am moving towards a Dell Standard in the office. I'll have to give him this much, at least he quoted out a Dell instead of an eMachine or some knock-off brand to save a couple Franklins.

Thank you for your input, it is greatly appreciated!

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I've not seen any problems

by CharlieSpencer In reply to P4 v. Celeron in Business ...

Of my 170+ clients, only 6 are Celeron processors. The client department was willing to try them as cost savings, and they are no "power users" in the department. I haven't seen any drawbacks, but it's probably a case of matching the hardware to the users' needs.

We now buy Pentiums by default. We usually assign machines to users, not departments. I didn't want someone being promoted into a CAD or graphics position and taking a Celeron processor PC to their new position.

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Google to the rescue, again

by stress junkie In reply to P4 v. Celeron in Business ...

I entered the following search string in Google and got a huge number of relevant URLs.

Pentium+Celeron+performance

Give it a try.

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Grrr, double post. I even checked before submitting the second time

by stress junkie In reply to P4 v. Celeron in Business ...

Now this is really irritating. When the first "Submit" brought me to the "page not found" I went to another tab and looked up this discussion. I didn't see my post so I went to the "page not found" window and went back to the post writing page. Then I pressed the "Submit" button the second time. I got the "Thanks for posting" page and I returned to this discussion. Here I found that my post had been entered twice.

So the point being that I went out of my way to avoid a double post and even that didn't prevent it.

It seems to me that, in addition to fixing the TR server problems, the TR discussion forums should be modified to allow us to delete our own posts. At least then if we double post we could delete the second instance.

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Using Celerons

by JamesRL In reply to P4 v. Celeron in Business ...

I remember the advent of the Celeron well. It was in no way derived from the Cyrix, but it was meant to counter the Cyrix and AMD competition on the low end.

There is nothing wrong with the basic design, but of course, it depends on what you ask of it. Would I take a new Celeron running at 3 Ghz over my existing P IV running at 1.6. Yes. But it is rarely that simple.

Performance is more than the sum of the parts. Its a balancing act. You are only as fast as your weakest link. And having a faster processor and not enough RAM simply means that you change the weakst link.

For many MS office users who don't run more than 2 applications at the same time, then a recent Celeron would be just fine. Teach the same user to run 4 or 5 apps at the same time, or get them running complex apps like graphics programs, database apps etc and you will find the Celerons will bog down faster than normal.

Find apps that crash because of the Celeron? I am highly dubious - the core code is based on the same core as P4, with less cache and less complicated pipes for math functions.

When I ran the desktop group for a 4000 user org, we always had 2 offerings - power user and standard. At this point in time, I'd have no hestitation recommending a Celeron for a "standard" user.

More RAM is always good. 1GB can make a huge difference.

James

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I agree

by Tink! In reply to Using Celerons

There is nothing wrong with Celeron provided you aren't a power user. We went with P4's on all our new systems because I knew that we'd been running really slow when trying to do more than 1 thing at a time (celeron systems). I had nabbed the mem chip from my 1st system that crashed and thereby doubled my RAM which did make a very noticeable difference between my computer and the rest of the office. I could definitely work in more apps at a time than they could. So upping RAM could make a marked improvement for you.

The P4 systems are working great (although we had 2 instances of crash dump but nothing since then). You really do have to decide which processor is better for you based on the projected usage. As for me I'd pick the P4 over the Celeron but I'm usually doing a dozen things all at once (don't we all?!)!

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