The most obvious component
you'll need to get is of course the P4 processor. Currently the 1.7GHz and
1.8GHz models are at the top of the line. The 1.8MHz version is
still relatively quite expensive, so most consumers generally stick to the less expensive
1.7GHz (or second most powerful) model.
Each of the processors fit into socket 423 based motherboards only. Unlike the days of
the slot 1 and socket 370 motherboard, the P4 architecture is based on the socket
alone. Just so this is abundantly clear to those of you with older socket
370 motherboards who are unsure, the P4 processor will physically not fit
in them, and is not compatible.
Adding to the complexities of the Pentium 4 is the
fact that a new pin formfactor on the horizon called socket 478. This up
and coming formfactor is intended for the Pentium 4 Northwood. But for
the moment, socket 423 is still king.
Although there have even been a few changes to the appearance of
the socket 423 P4 (relating to changes with the core design and placement), the
current version is quite similar to that of the older PGA Celeron processors
(thermally they are very, very different) with a large heatspreader in the
center of a PCB-based socket card.
|Component No. 1: Pentium 4 processor.|
Next in the line of components you'll need to pick
up is a good Pentium 4 motherboard. For the moment P4 motherboards
are still really outnumbered by a much larger selection of Socket A motherboards,
but that is beginning to change. Faced with a lack of choices there are always
Intel made boards like the D850GB to consider. Generally Intel boards are a
bit sparse on features, but feature good stability and quality.
The current crop of P4 motherboards are based on the i850 chipset. VIA of course will soon be risking some big
legal trouble with the introduction of their new chipset which will widen the market. Apart
from a cost savings to motherboard manufacturers, the new chipset from VIA, and
the i845 from Intel finally make it possible to throw off the shackles of RIMM
memory and use PC133 SDRAM with the P4.