Your PC is only as good as your last upgrade, and this is truer than ever with current gaming and software applications milking machines for everything they're worth.
Intel's latest offering to performance junkies is the 3.2GHz Pentium 4 processor with Hyper-Threading technology.
Designed for the Intel 865 and 875(P) chipsets (July 2003, page 62), the 3.2GHz features an 800MHz frontside bus (FSB), the benefits of which will only become fully apparent as clock speeds increase. As CPUs become faster, they will require quicker data transfer rates to avoid bottlenecking. This said, matching DDR RAM (DDR400) appropriately with an 800MHz FSB processor allows data to be transferred faster between the processor bus and the RAM allowing greater performance overall.
The introduction of revamped SiS 655FX and 648FX chipsets will be available soon as alternatives to Intel's 865/875 and will be validated for use with 800MHz FSB chips.
Following on from their previous success with the 3.06GHz Pentium 4, Intel has continued using the 0.13 micron fabrication process for this current chip (before moving to a 0.09 micron process with Prescott), allowing for higher frequency and lower power chips.
The 3GHz+ speeds of the latest Pentium 4 chips are really letting them show the potential of the architecture, and putting them ahead of the latest Athlon XP processors (July 2003, page 37). In SYSmark2002, the P4 3.2GHz managed to gain a 27 percent lead over the Athlon XP 3200+.
Early adopters and upgraders with a decent amount to spend are in for a pleasant performance surprise with the 800MHz frontside bus, although finding a matching pair of JEDEC approved DDR RAM sticks may prove to be your biggest problem.