The Celeron 300A Lives On
Everyone fondly remembers the Celeron 300A for its excellent combination of price/performance. For just a few hundred bucks (and even cheaper once faster Celerons were released) you had a dirt-cheap processor that could easily be overclocked to 450MHz, the fastest clock speed available at that time with the Pentium II processor.
Over the years, faster processors were released from Intel that offered similar bang-for-the-buck combinations: the SL2W8 Pentium II 300's that could be overclocked to 450MHz, the SL2TV Pentium II 333MHz to 500MHz, Celeron 366 to 550MHz, and, just recently, the newer crop of 0.18-micron Celeron and Pentium III processors are being taken at or near the 1GHz mark. However, no true replacement for the Celeron 300A has existed until now -- AMD's Duron CPU.
AMD's Duron: Budget CPU King
As we just mentioned, other processors have clearly offered overclocking results that rival the Celeron 300A, but none has truly offered the same combination of inexpensive price with successful performance. Right now, Duron 600's can be found online for as little as $50. Combine this processor with a good ASUS A7V
or ABIT KT7/KT7-RAID
for another $130-$150 and you've got the basic ingredients for a solid 900MHz+ system for under $200.
Choosing the right video card to go along with your brand new Duron system is a bit more complex. Should you go all out and pick up a GeForce 2 GTS/Radeon 64MB DDR, or keep your pocketbook in mind and purchase a GeForce2 MX? This is a question we receive everyday and, to be honest, the answer varies for each situation.
In a search to find the best solution given multiple budgets, we've combined eight different video cards with two Duron setups. Representing the low end is our Duron 700. Priced at around $90, the Duron 700 is another excellent processor for those on a budget. Like the Duron 600, the 700MHz Duron is very capable of 300MHz overclocks. With our chip in particular, we've reached speeds as high as 1050MHz with complete stability. For this article however, we settled on 1000MHz.
Before we get into the numbers, we'd like to show you a few screenshots from two upcoming games -- Midtown Madness 2 and Combat Flight Simulator 2. We know how much you enjoy seeing games "in the pipeline" so we figured we'd show you a few games that haven't hit store shelves just yet. As good as Midtown Madness 2 looks, we think you'll really be impressed by the level of detail on the planes in Combat Flight Simulator 2!