Work in progress, 5-7-98... MJF.
I purchased the following items: Intel Celeron MMX 266, ABIT BX6, 32mb PC100 Ram @ 8ns.
The Celeron is a low cost solution that is highly overclockable. The lack of L2 cache will make it not perform as well in some business applications, but it performs amazingly fast in games. Overclocked, the chip is an unbelievable powerhouse for games and providing good to average performance in other areas. Upgrading from my P200-- there is no comparison to the overall Windows/gaming speed to what I am running at now.
By upgrading to Celeron, I have a Slot 1 motherboard that has a more expandable future than my previous Socket 7 one. I also have about the same processing power as a P2-400 for the games that I play, such as Quake/Team Fortress. All of this at a fraction of the cost of the P2-400 chip alone. And if I desire better performance in business application, I can always upgrade to a P2-400+ when the prices are much more reasonable. As for right now, I have the ultimate gaming machine... and that is my priority for the upgrade.
The P2-233 is not much more expensive than the Celeron and it has L2 cache. However, It is not nearly as overclockable as the Celeron. I have seen a few reports of people running it at 300mhz, but seems that most people have a problem with heat since its based on the older P2 architecture. (P2 300 and under are Klamath, above P2 333 and Celeron are Deschutes, based on 0.25 micron technology.) If you are upgrading and gaming is not your primary concern, get the P2-233/66. Or if you are weary about overclocking, get a P2 with a speed that you will be content with.
Of course, if money is not a concern, you probably just go for a high-end P2 chip. Overclockers are usually people with limited budgets that want to squeeze as much performance as possible out of their chips. The Celeron answers the call at the present time.
Overclocking is hardly a science, and should only be attempted by individuals that enjoy working with hardware and can accept responsibilties for their actions -- if the worse may occur. As for myself, I enjoy the challenge of figuring out the cooling/settings to achieve 400mhz, and I relish in that thought that my processor of around $160 performs as well as a $800 P2-400 chip. That my friends, is very satisfying.
The ABIT BX6 is a jumperless motherboard. It has a Soft-menu funciton that makes changing settings very easy -- you just go into bios to do it. It also will let you override the auto-detect feature so you can overclock your cpu. Some other BX chipsets motherboards (through auto-detection) will not allow you to overclock the Celeron. It has gotten good reviews, and Abit is coming off of good motherboards from their TX and LX chipsets. It is also a favorite amongst overclockers at the various message boards. In the first generation BX boards to be released, it also benchmarks as one of the quickest ones out there.
Why PC100 Ram?
It is required if you want to run your BX chipset motherboard at 100mhz bus speed. Although some people have claimed to reach 100mhz using non-certified PC100 ram, you are asking to limit yourself in your overclocking endeavors if you don't get the real thing.
Thermal Compound - the best $2 you could ever spend at Radio Shack. This substances helps to increase the thermconductivity of your heatsink -- making your heatsink/fan combo work better.
3" DC12 Fans - if your ATX case has room for exhaust and intake fans, you can improve the air circulation to remove even more heat (the overclockers' enemy). These too can be found at Radio Shack or other computer hardware stores.
Waterfall - this program runs a low priority thread in the background to execute "halt" instruction during idle cpu times. Running this specific instruction is suppose to enable a power-saving feature of your cpu.
Motherboard Monitor - some motherboards, like the ABIT BX6, supports on board temperature reading (LM 79). The bios will report the ambient motherboard temperature, but this program can make it easily accessible through Windows. You can even have the current temperature displayed in your system tray.
FastVid - this program helps your Pentium II/Celeron/Pro system to run its graphics at its maximum ability. Highly recommended, whether or not you are overclocking.
WinTune 98 - while
there are many different benchmark programs, this one is handy in that
you can run it from your own internet browser. No huge download to
make. It'll perform a series of test and compare your system
to a reference P2-333 system. It also has a database of other similiarly
equipped systems so you can see how yours relates... WinTune requires
Internet Explorer 3.02 or later since it utilizes some ActiveX routines
to do that actual testing.
Intel Celeron Thermal Management - good reference for fan locations; official Intel documentation.
Tom's Hardware take of the Celeron - benchmarks from the famous Dr. Thomas Pabst. He is very enthusiastic about the Celeron. Note: his pre-model Celeron was not locked at 4x multiplier... currents ones are, but most of his Celeron marks are running 4 x 100 mhz.
Celeron Review - note: he did not successfully get his system
to run reliably at 400mhz. I am hoping he'll try better cooling
methods and/or memory and update his findings. : ) Here is
Tweak It's Celeron Review - another evaluation of the Celeron chip. It has decent pictures of the chip, and has a few more benchmark comparisons.
Tom's Hardware Message Board - a over-going source for hardware news/questions. Please note, ANYONE can post there and not all recommendations are necessarily great ones... but still, a good place to talk to other people interested in hardware, overclocking, etc.
Work in progress, more to come.