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choice of L2 cache on P3

Posted on 2000-02-20
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
Can someone tell me what the preferable choice is between the following two options for a P3 CPU and why?

1) - 512k half-speed L2 cache

2) - 256k Level 2 Advanced Transfer Cache (full-speed)
   - Advanced System Buffering
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Question by:jgv
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8 Comments
 
LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:oldgreyguy
ID: 2541089
IMHO, I would go with the 256k at full bus speed, I don't know that there really would be much difference in what most users would see, I think the price difference would be the deciding factor.

bill
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LVL 12

Author Comment

by:jgv
ID: 2541151
That's the thing though, the price difference is negligable (512k slightly more). What would be the point in offering two choices on a chip that won't make a difference one way or the other? Perhaps the smaller/faster L2 is meant to replace the larger/slower L2.
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LVL 11

Accepted Solution

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RoadWarrior earned 200 total points
ID: 2541205
As far as I understand the difference, the 256K model is designed to work best with 133Mhz SD-RAM and RD-RAM, the 512K model is optimised for use with PC 100 ram.

This means that your choice should be based on whether you have PC 100 RAM that you want to keep in a new system, or prefer to buy this ram for economy's sake, or whether you are going for an all new RAM/CPU/Motherboard combo with RD-RAM which then the 256K model will be optimum for.

It looks like the 512k version might be compatible with existing boards that offer theoretical 800 Mhz support but have only PC 100 ram support.

The 256K version will be best used on intel's new 820 and 840 chipsets.

See a review of the 800Mhz RD-RAM version here....
http://www.sysopt.com/reviews/p3-800/index.html

regards,

Road Warrior
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:sandman97289
ID: 2541984
Sorry to butt in but RoadWarrior could you tell me why the cache would be cut down for higher rated RAM???

I mean why not just have 512 for both but different versions of them, one for PC133 RAM and one for PC100. Or is it that the 256K cache that Inel is using is more expensive, so in order to cut down the cost of the CPU they just put in 256K of it?? Kinda confused here :-)

Sandman
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:RoadWarrior
ID: 2542018
I think it is that the 256K synchronous cache is more expensive and failure prone in higher densities. Besides, if your ram is real fast, you have less need for cache. This is me second guessing intel though, real hard to find definite answers on thier site, all you get is the sales talk.

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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:sandman97289
ID: 2542049
Ok thanks....
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:sorgie
ID: 2542460
Not all PIII's run at 133mhz
700 and above I believe are 133 with 256 full speed cache
below that they have letters defining their speed. a B after the speed is a 133mhz
An E is a 256 cache

Also the real difference is the 512's although part of the processor assembly are mounted separate for the processor

THE pIII with 256, Cache is part of the processor die.  
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LVL 12

Author Comment

by:jgv
ID: 2543632
sorgie,

That part I had already determined:
http://developer.intel.com/design/pentiumiii/prodbref/index.htm

I just wanted to know if one was better than the other or if this is the new standard for L2 cache. I'm looking into a new board/cpu upgrade and thought I should look into this. Looks like I'll have to do some more digging.

RoadW,

Although your comment is not a definate answer (or maybe it is) it's given me some idea's as to what I should be looking for/questions I should be asking so the points are yours.

Thanks for the input,
Jim

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