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I've gathered Tualatins are well known quanities for HTPCs, run good and cool/quiet, and are faster than prior P3s. My goal is a quiet and reliable/stable HTPC (no overclocking) and would go with an Intel chipset (either 815E or 845G). I want to get a HTPC this summer and have to ask this question while the getting is still good for Tualatin CPUs...


My primary question is are the P4 Northwoods as cool/quiet as the P3 Tualatins?


How much faster are P4 Northwoods w/ DDR266 or 333 memory at HTPC CPU intensive applications like HDTV tuning/recording? Are there any practical benefits of SSE2 in HD/video encoding?


I believe my key concern is noise instead of performance at this point, but am hoping someone with more experience can set the record straight on this, before Tualatin supplies disappear...
 

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Both Tualatins and Northwoods run cooler than their predecessor. If you are going for simply the coolest, I believe the P3 will win out.


As far as which is better:


Either one of those processors is more than you will need if you just are viewing DVDs, DScaler and HDTV through a tuner card. ~800Mhz I believe is what most people consider the minimum now. If you move into video encoding though, everything helps. Many of the encoders have SSE2 (or AMD) optimizations, so the P4 would definitely win out in that situation.
 

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For a really cool and quiet solution, you could try to underclock a P3 tualatin by setting the bus speed to 100Mhz or even 66Mhz. This would make the processor run at 2/3 or 1/2 of its regular clock, and might allow you to use just a heatsink, instead of a heatsink + fan.


Krishna
 
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