David Moyes’ men put four goals past their Welsh hosts without reply, the result lifting them up to joint second place in the table.
Rob Edwards netted PNE’s first goal of the new century moments into the second half, with Graham Alexander scoring twice and Kurt Nogan finding the net.
For Edwards and Nogan, doing so in Wales was a proud moment for the Welshmen.
In fact, Nogan was to make a £100,000 switch to Cardiff a few weeks later.
This victory stretched PNE’s unbeaten run in the league to 18 games.
And it was an 11th away game unbeaten, beating a club record set in the Invincibles era.
The Football Authorities ditched the traditional New Year’s Day fixture list, instead the first games of 2000 were played on January 3, to allow Millennium celebrations to go with a swing.
North End had drawn with Wrexham on Boxing Day and beaten Bristol Rovers on December 28, ahead of this trip to South Wales.
The first half saw little action of note, both sides sizing one another up without being too adventurous.
Russell Perrett had the best chance for the hosts but headed over from six yards.
PNE boss Moyes’ words at half-time got his team going to the extent they scored 20 seconds after the restart and never looked back. He pushed full-backs Alexander and Edwards slightly higher up the pitch and both got the benefit.
Jonathan Macken hooked the ball into the middle from the inside-right channel.
It deflected out to Edwards on the edge of the box, who hammered a left-foot shot into the net past Bluebirds keeper John Hallworth.
Teuvo Moilanen saved well at the other end from Jason Fowler’s shot before North End doubled the lead in the 54th minute.
Alexander collected the ball 30 yards out and chanced his arm with a powerful shot which stayed low and went in off the inside of the post.
If Cardiff thought there was any way back into the game at this stage, those hopes were dashed by a third Preston goal in the 62nd minute.
It came from Nogan about who there had been plenty of pre-match speculation.
Just before Christmas he had turned down a £100,000 move to Hull City, PNE having accepted the Tigers’ offer mindful that he would be out of contract at the end of the season and allowed to move on for nothing.
Edwards was the supplier for Nogan, his cross to the far post headed powerful into the net by the striker.
North End made it 4-0 from the penalty spot eight minutes from time.
David Beresford, on as a substitute for David Eyres, carried the ball out of his own half before playing in Nogan down the left-hand side of the box.
Jeff Eckhardt slid in with a challenge which sent Nogan to the turf, referee Phil Joslin pointing to the spot.
Alexander put his penalty low past Hallworth to cap a fine afternoon in the Welsh capital.
There was another good chance for Michael Appleton but the keeper pushed his shot past the post.
While PNE’s unbeaten away record ended at Stoke 11 days later, they lost only three games in the league that season. Even when they lost the last of that trio at Cambridge, they won the title the same day!