Pentium 4 processors with the Prescott core have new specs for case, cooling and power supply. A lot of people without this knowledge is facing overheating problems, slowness on their PC or even getting their power supply burned out. Learn in this tutorial how to correct assemble PCs based on the Pentium 4 with Prescott core.

With the release of the Pentium 4 processor based on the Prescott core Intel was able to keep ahead of competition: 90 nanometers (0.09 micron) technology, higher clocks, SSE3 technology and 1 MB L2 memory cache. On the other hand, this new processor dissipates a lot more heat than the previous Pentium 4 based on the Northwood core, and it demands adequated casing (different case type from the previous Pentium 4 processors) and also that you know the real power rating of your power supply.

Intel was very shy in informing the new requirements on how to correctly integrate CPUs with Prescott core. People that buy the boxed processor get a brochure in several languages informing that you must visit to get all thermal specs demanded for the processor, and is also advised that in order to work correctly, the temperature inside the computer case shall not be over 100.4º F (38º C).

The problem is that not so many people care to read this brochure and people that buy the OEM model (i.e., outside the box) don’t get any instruction about the new thermal and power requirements for Precott, and in just a few months after the Prescott release a lot of PCs started to show up on maintenance services. Slow PCs caused by the Thermal Throttling feature (click here to learn more about this feature), which protects the processor in case of overheating preventing it from burning, overheating and even burned power supplies are the most common symptoms of PCs wrongly assembled.

Of course the largest manufacturers and largest integrators didn’t have any problem at all, but small integrators and do-it-yourself users are facing a lot of overheating problems with the new Prescott CPU.


Daniel Barros lives in Brazil and used to be our motherboard reviewer. He is a partner at a local PC sales and maintenance store.