The Celeron 2.0 GHz falls behind the competition in just about every 3D game benchmark in this review, even when overclocked to 3.0GHz. The CPU and Memory tests are a different story, though these are more interested in pure clock speed and memory throughput. It is surprising that the Celeron at 3.0GHz was not even able to keep up with the Pentium 4-1.8A GHz, or Athlon XP 1900+ in many instances. It is obvious that raw clock speed simply can't make up for the lack of L2 cache. Even a simple bump to 256K would yield higher results, and greatly increase the Celeron's price/performance ratio. Also keep in mind that we compared the Celeron at 3.0 GHz against standard-clocked Pentium 4 and Athlon XP processors, which are themselves quite able to achieve high overclock speeds and faster performance.
One might argue that the Celeron offers considerable bang for the buck, as the 2.0GHz can now be found for as little as $100. If we compare the Celeron simply to the Pentium 4 that may be somewhat true (the Pentium 4-1.6A is approximately $120 and the 1.8A is around $140), however when the Athlon XP is thrown into the mix we have a totally different story. You can move all the way up to the Athlon XP 2000+-2100+ range before going over the $100 budget, and the Athlon XP 1600+ only costs half that of a Celeron 2.0 GHz.
As such, we simply can't recommend the Celeron unless you're a diehard Intel fan and can't save up the extra cash to buy a real 1.8A-2.0A GHz Northwood Pentium 4. Also note that this statement is highly inherent on the retail price of the Celeron 2.0 GHz, so keep an eye out in case Intel goes into cost-cutting mode on their Celeron line.
* Please note that online prices are taken at the time of review and are not intended to reflect long-term trends.
The Celeron 2.0 GHz does have its charms, especially the ease at which we were able to hit 3.0 GHz+ overclock speeds, but it's a difficult product to recommend. Gamers seeking a high-performance system should look at the Pentium 4 and Athlon XP processors, and at current price levels, the Celeron 2.0 GHz is more of a curiosity. Intel fans on a strict budget should still be pleased with its entry-level performance, and low price. We're hoping that Intel improves the line further, and upgrades the next Celeron revision with 256K of L2 cache. Maybe then we'll have a worthy successor to the old Celeron 300A.