L2 Cache vs. Clock Speed

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strategist333

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I'm relatively new to chips and what actually drives their performance, and I've seen chips with a lower clock speed but a larger L2 cache placed at a higher price value. So which one actually determines performance? I also read somewhere that 512k of L2 can handle about 256 MB of RAM and 1 MB of L2 can handle about 512 MB of RAM. Is that true? And what if I decide to get 1 GB of RAM?

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gaara

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Cache size has absolutely no relation to memory capacity.

Clock speed is more important than cache size. Frequency has a helluva lot more effect on internal bandwidth. Cache is really just small memory modules built into the die which are accessed at high speeds, you can't compensate larger memory space without the horsepower. Same deal with memory, it's pointless to have 4GB of RAM if it's operating at 1MHz.
 

Kadahaf

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no..it's the other way..why do you think celerons suck? they have 128kb of cache where as a p4 has 512 which is more efficient
 

strategist333

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Here is the two CPUs I was referring to:

AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Socket 754 Clawhammer (2000 MHz, 1 MB L2 cache), which was more expensive than

AMD Athlon 64 3400+ Socket 754 Newcastle (2400 MHz, 512k L2 cache)


Is the price difference then due to the different cores? Which one is the best core?
 

Kadahaf

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the 3400+ is better, because 1meg cache is unneeded for an average gamer. now..if you play HDR then you'll need it to draw more but that's for hardcore gaming
 

FadingTheory

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The +#### refers to performance, so the +3400.

The Newcastles compensate for the loss of cacher with higher speeds, which allow them to perform more processes. The way the core designs lets it do this.

From what I hear, the newcastle was meant to reduce the price of the processor... by increasing the GHz with a better core (not much different), and then dumping the cache which would only give it marginally higher performance. Just look at the 3000+ or clawhammer and newcastle... its an equal trade of 512 L2 cache for 200 MHz of speed.

no..it's the other way..why do you think celerons suck? they have 128kb of cache where as a p4 has 512 which is more efficient

Everything on a cleron is cut out. Its instructions are hindered, it has less cache, and it does less during the cycles it has. Youi cannot attribute poor perfomance to just the cache: the cleron looses in just about every spec.
 

Chankama

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The relevancy of cache depends a lot on the applications u are running. The less travelling to the RAM, the better it is.. If instructions/data is usually not recycled, a large cache is not very useful.

Clock speed is clock speed.. How fast can the processor go.. Both are important.. And the application will determine which is more important.. Can't say more than this - as it is not possible to say which is better without knowing the app..

And the cache size has nothing to do with the RAM size..
 

dbernie41

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Just in case you are looking to buy... I saw you mention 2 socket 754 chips... if you are going to buy I would say that socket 939 is the way to go unless you are going to stick with a build and then do a total new system in a few years.
 

strategist333

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Well see, I'm choosing these chips for a laptop build, and I'm not sure Socket 939 works on laptops; do they? If they do, I'd much rather choose socket 939's.
 

DJ-CHRIS

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939 can work on laptops, just like p4's can work on laptops

However their too hot for a true laptop
 
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