And More Features
We first saw the first SSE instructions featured on the Intel Pentium 3 processor, a newer and faster set of SSE instructions have been included on the Intel Pentium 4 processor. SSE2 now features 144 new instructions over the older SSE instructions; these new instructions reduce the time it takes to execute a particular task. SSE2 also uses a 128-bit SIMD integer arithmetic and 128-bit SIMD double precision floating point instructions, because of this performance is again increased. Intel are praying to God that we will see SSE2 more widely supported in applications and games later this year, if this happens it will make the Intel Pentium 4 a more attractive processor because of the faster benchmarks with SSE2 supported software. If it doesn't happen, it could make the Intel Pentium 4 one of the biggest processor flops in computer history.
- Dual Channel RDRAM
To date the only retail chipset available for the Intel Pentium 4 processor is the Intel 850 chipset and it uses expensive RDRAM which Intel legally need to sell a certain amount of due to a contract they signed with RAMBUS, makers of RDRAM. The Intel 850 requires you to use dual channel RDRAM, meaning two sticks of PC600 or PC800 RDRAM (aka RAMBUS). The Intel Pentium 4 processor package comes with two sticks of 64mb PC600 RDRAM modules, this is one of the reasons the Intel Pentium 4 processor is so expensive to buy, not to forget that it still isn't a mainstream product. Two Continuity Modules are also needed which aren't cheap either, they are blank sticks which plug into RIMM 3 and RIMM4 of the motherboard if they aren't being used, this is a requirement not a choice. If the Intel Pentium 4 processor were to be sold without RDRAM, we would see it retailing much cheaper indeed. But, Intel are not alone in the Pentium 4 chipset game, allow me to explain...
VIA are working on their own Intel Pentium 4 chipset called the VIA PX266 which will use 2100 DDR SDRAM, instead of more expensive RDRAM. But then one would ask why, one of the key features of the Intel Pentium 4 is it's memory bandwidth, taking the RDRAM away is going to only lower the memory bandwidth with current DDR SDRAM as it cannot currently compete with more expensive RDRAM. On the other hand, VIA could be the savior of the Intel Pentium 4 processor making it much cheaper platform using less expensive DDR SDRAM and more affordable making it more accessible for different types of markets.