This test proved that Pentium 4 processors based on the Prescott core really need special care when integrating a system with them. A good case with side duct and rear fan and a power supply with a true power of at leat 250 W are minimal requirements for a system based on these processors, or you will face several problems in just a few months due to overheating.
Our test served also to show us how the original cooler that comes with the CPU isn’t adequated in some situations, showing that it is operating “at the edge”. The CPU almost reached its maximum operating temperature of 165º F (74º C), even when the rear fan and the side duct were present.
Keep in mind that our tests were performed with a very simple office configuration, using a CPU that is not high-end, integrated video and a very good power supply. Imagine if we were using a high-end CPU, a high-end VGA – which produces a lot of heat inside the case – and a generic power supply!
Also remember that our room temperature was of 82º F (28º C). Depending on the city you live, the situation would be critical. It is very likely that with a higher room temperature the system would activate its Thermal Throttling feature to keep the CPU temperature down.
Some can say that running the CPU at 100% load for long period of times as an artificial scenario and this situation rarelly occurs on daily computer use. This is not true. Nowaday the latest games keep the CPU load at 100% for very long periods of time. Imagine this system running at a LAN party!
If you want to assemble a PC using the Pentium 4 Prescott, buy the best power supply and best case you can. It is also recommended to change the original cooler for a better one. If you buy a PC already assembled, check if the PC was assembled using Intel’s guidelines. This way you will avoid future headaches.