I would reccomend a Northwood over a Prescott any day. But not the older Northwoods. Im talking about the 800fsb "C" chips.
A year or two ago, the Northwood Pentium 4 2.4C chip emerged as the most famous of the C chips. The C chip range went from 2.4GHz to 3.2GHz. All the chips overclocked to around 3.0GHz - 3.9GHz But most max out at at around 3.2 - 3.6 depending on cooling and the chip you bought. The 2.4C became the most famous as it was.
1. The cheapest
2. The best overclocker
Most 2.4C's could do 3GHz on stock cooling no problem. As the other chips could. Most air coolers hit around 3.0 - 3.2 for their 24/7 clocks. Watercoolers however, could hit speeds up to 3.6GHz, running at 300fsb, or 1200fsb quad pumped and that could be run 24/7 without many problems. If you think about it, it's a minimum of 600MHz overclock, or 25% overclock and with watercooling, a 50% overclock. With Phase change, the C series could hit 4GHz, but with difficulty and definately not a 24/7 clock, though it is stable.
A hitch of the Northwood chips is that it has something we refer to as the SNDS, or Sudden Northwood Death Sydnrome which occurs when you put 1.8v through the Northwood for extended periods of time, which sort of limits the overclock.
The Northwood, was shown to beat the Prescott in all gaming tests at the same clock speed, while running alot cooler. I think it somewhat similar to the thermal characteristics of the Athlon64.