Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz - IntroductionIntroductionWhen Intel first announced the Pentium 4 CPU and its changes, we all believed that Intel would once again take its place as head of the super-fast processors. On release date we found ourselves questioning this. When tested against benchmarks of the time, Intel's Pentium 4 processor at the same clock speeds as the AMD Athlon (EG P4 1.4GHz against Athlon 1.4GHz), the Pentium 4 showed to be lagging well behind its AMD competitors, and even in Office applications behind the old Pentium 3 processor. This turned out to be one of the biggest jokes in the PC industry.Since this time, Intel has learned that the market won't follow what the Corporation wants, but rather what is faster and cheaper. Intel lost quite a bit of the market share when the Pentium 4 was released, and it wasn't until the P4 hit 1.8GHz and beyond that it started to prove itself as a fast all-round CPU. Introduction of the Northwood core and the i845D chipsets helped Intel reduce the costs of P4 systems, and improving speeds, performance and that dreaded word all CPU makers don't want to know about, "Overclocking".Recently, Intel released its new 2.4GHz P4 CPU and it was the fastest P4 to hit the retail market. Now with rumors of Celeron CPU's being made on the P4 core with 400MHz FSB, Intel needs something to push its flagship P4 to the top. Intel's answer was moving to 533MHz FSB with its 2.26, 2.4, 2.53 and 2.66GHz CPU's. The gap between Intel and AMD is growing even bigger.Today we have been fortunate enough to receive Intel's most recent addition to the Intel Mega-GHz race, the Pentium 4 2.8GHz.
Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz - SpecificationsSpecificationsSo you can see for yourself, we have put together a simple little table for you to get an idea of the differences between the four different Pentium 4 cores.
Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz - FeaturesLets have a look at the Pentium 4's featuresWhile we have given you an explanation in our past Pentium 4 reviews on what this processor has in the way of new features over the Willamette, Pentium 3 and Athlon XP processors, we feel that opening two reviews at once is a hassle. So here it is for you again, and for those of you who haven't seen a Pentium 4 review before, here is your chance to brush up on what everyone is talking about.Cache Increase over WillametteThe Intel Pentium 4 Northwood CPU has stepped up the L2 cache from 256KB of Advanced Transfer Cache, or ATC as it is known, to 512KB, running at the same speed as the CPU core. This gives the Northwood a clear advantage for high memory usage, especially when using DDR SDRAM and SDRAM model mainboards. While the L2 cache has grown over the Pentium 4 Willamette processor, the L1 cache has remained the same size.A new bus for a new CPUFor most of the past three years, Intel has been relying on the P6 bus used by the current P3 and Celeron range. While this bus has been easy to overclock and very stable, it doesn't have the scalability that is required for future processors. Intel finally decided to step away from the P6 architecture and introduced the new Pentium 4 400MHz QDR FSB. The well-known 'FSB' of Pentium 3 is clocked at 133 MHz and able to transfer 64-bits of data per clock, offering a data bandwidth of 8 bytes * 133 million/s = 1,066 MB/s. The Pentium 4's system bus is only clocked at 100 MHz and also 64-bit wide, but it is "Quad Data Rate" using the same principle as AGP 4x. The new bus can transfer 8 bytes x 100 million/s x 4 = 3,200 MB/s. This is obviously a tremendous improvement that even leaves AMD's EV6 bus far behind. The bus of the most recent Athlon is clocked at 133 MHz, 64-bit wide and "Double Data Rate", offering 8 bytes x 133 million/s x 2 = 2,133 MB/s.Intel's Pentium 4 CPU is paired with the i850 chipset, a Dual Channel RDRAM solution. The i850 has two independent RDRAM channels, which can deliver up to 3.2GB/s max memory bandwidth when used with four RIMM modules. While RDRAM is able to produce such high bandwidth, its memory latency problems and high prices make it practically a dead issue for the home consumer. To this end, Intel and other third party vendors have started to produce SDRAM and DDR SDRAM solutions to provide the Pentium 4 with lots of memory bandwidth goodness.Rapid Execution EngineAnother feature of the Pentium 4 which is unique to Intel is the Rapid Execution Engine, or REE for short. The REE works on the principal of two double pumped ALU's and two double pumped AGU's. This allows for the engine to process 2x the amount of a P3 or Athlon CPU. But the story looks a lot different for the instructions that cannot be processed by the rapid execution units. Those instructions, or µOPs, need to use the one and only slow ALU which is not double pumped. The majority of instructions need to use this path, which obviously sounds scary. However, the majority of code is in actual fact consisting of the most simple 'AND', 'OR', 'XOR', 'ADD' instructions making Intel's "Rapid Execution Engine" design sensible, though not particularly amazing. This feature has remained unchanged from the Willamette to the Northwood.SSE2 or NetBurst; two names, one massive performance boostIntel's name for the Pentium 4's new design is "NetBurst". Like with the Pentium III and its SSE instructions, Intel is trying its hardest to push the idea that their new processor will make your web pages load quicker. Unfortunately, the Internet is mostly limited to your modem's maximum speed and the speed of your ISP. The average consumer, however, is not going to know this straight off and it is a perfect way to market the Pentium 4.Another big issue with the Pentium 4's "NetBurst Micro Architecture" is its obvious focus to deliver the highest clock rates. Again, 'NetBurst' shows its roots in Intel's marketing department. While Intel in the past has said "MHz isn't everything", it seems that they are trying to ring that bell that they tried to cut down in the days of the Cyrix 6x86 CPU's. As many of you may know by now, the Intel Pentium 4 at the same clock speed can't beat an AMD Athlon in just about every benchmark today. While these benchmark programs aren't SSE2 optimized (yet), it does show that Intel is trying to focus more on the future and not on the present. This could be a very big marketing mistake with most of the hardware community staying away from expensive Pentium 4/RDRAM solutions at the moment. However, if you are one of the hardware junkies like me who have to have the fastest thing with the highest numbers on it, Intel has taken this crown and continues to do so.128-bit SMDI Integer EnhancementWhile the MMX and SSE technologies provided for a total of 68 64-bit Integer Instructions, Intel's SSE2 allows for 128-bit Integer instructions. This allows for 2x 64-bit instructions from SSE or MMX optimized software to be executed, or 1x 128-bit SSE2 instruction to be executed.The Die; it may be small but its big where it countsIntel's Pentium 4 Willamette is available in two packages; Socket 423 and Socket 478, while the Northwood is 478 only. While the 478-pin Pentium 4 may sound like it would be a larger CPU, it is actually smaller; about 1/3 the size of a 423 Pentium 4. mPGA pins are about the size of a pin head and spaced less than 1mm apart. Willamette was built on the same core process as the Coppermine P3 and Celeron CPUs; a 0.18 micron die. Intel has dropped the core size to that of the new Celeron Tualatin core; 0.13 micron. While the physical features of the Northwood are identical to the Willamette, under the heat spreader lies a tiny die consuming only 1.4 to 1.5v rather than the 1.7v that the Willamette core used. This has allowed greater clock speeds for current and future processors.
Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz - The Photo GalleryPentium 4 and AMD Athlon XP, Side by Side
Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz - Test Setup and SandraBenchmarksTest SystemProcessor: Intel Pentium 4 2.8B GHz Northwood (Supplied by Spectrum Communications)Memory: 2x 256MB DDR-333 Kingmax (512MB Supplied by Kingmax)Video Card: nVidia Reference GF4 Ti4200 128MB (Supplied by nVidia)Hard Disk: Western Digital WD1200 (Supplied by Achieva)Drivers: nVidia Detonator v30.30Software Used: SiSoft Sandra 2002, 3DMark2001, PCMark 2002 Pro, SysMark 2002, Winstone 2001, Vulpine GLmark, Flask MPEG4 Encoding, WinAce, Quake III Arena, Aquanox, DroneZmark, Max Payne, Comanche 4, Star Trek Voyager Elite Force, Jedi Knight II.SiSoft Sandra 2002 SP1SiSoft Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) 2002 is a synthetic Windows benchmark that features different tests used to evaluate different PC subsystems. We used this to test CPU Raw Performance, Multimedia Instruction Set and Memory Bandwidth Performance. While they are all synthetic results, they do give us a general idea of what is happening and where a component's strengths and weaknesses are.
Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz - Benchmarks - System ProductivityReal-World System ProductivitySysMark 2002SysMark2002 incorporates the following Internet Content Creation and Office Productivity applications:Office Productivity: Microsoft Word 2002, Microsoft Excel 2002, Microsoft PowerPoint 2002, Microsoft Outlook 2002, Microsoft Access 2002, Netscape Communicator 6.0, Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred v.5, WinZip 8.0, and McAfee Virus Scan 5.13.Internet Content Creation: Adobe Photoshop 6.01, Adobe Premiere 6.0, Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 7.1, Macromedia Dreamweaver 4, and Macromedia Flash 5.
Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz - Benchmarks - Multimedia ProductivityMPEG-4 Video Encoding: Xmpeg 4.5 and DivX 5.01 ProRAM performance is an important factor in MPEG-4 encoding. We used Xmpeg 4.5 encoder with the DivX 5.02 Pro Codec in order to gauge the performance of the Intel Pentium 4 2.8 against its older brothers to see how much further a 2.8GHz can take you.
Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz - Benchmarks - Synthetic PC and 3DSynthetic 3D and PC Benchmarks3DMark2001 SE3DMark2001 SE is the latest installment in the popular 3DMark series. By combining DirectX 8.1 support with completely new graphics (including the GeForce4), it continues to provide benchmark results that empower you to make informed hardware assessments. Build 330 adds support for video cards that have Vertex Shaders but no Pixel Shaders, such as the SiS Xabre Video card.
Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz - Benchmarks - OpenGLReal-World OpenGL BenchmarksQuake III ArenaQuake III Arena is a real-world OpenGL benchmark that we have been using here at TweakTown for quite a while now because it has proven itself to be one of the best gaming benchmarks around to compare a wide range of different products. Quake III is getting very old, but is still the best way of testing video and PC systems for any instabilities and best performance.
Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz - Benchmarks - Direct3DReal-World Direct3D BenchmarksMax PayneMax Payne is a new generation DirectX 7/8 game. This game is based on Hardware T&L advancements as well as many other features of the Intel Pentium 4 and Athlon XP.
Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz - ConclusionConclusionIntel's Pentium 4 processors of late have matured into a well rounded desktop and workstation processor. Intel's introduction of value chipsets based on DDR-SDRAM has made the Pentium 4 somewhat affordable for the average users.Northwood based Pentium 4's are naturally good overclockers. The 2.8GHz CPU is somewhat pushed to higher limits due to its rise of the V-core but is still worth overclocking. We managed 3.15GHz out of our CPU before it started to give us any problems and that was with just stock cooling. Adding water or other super cooling could lead to quite a bit more.Intel still has a way to go with prices as AMD is still able to beat Intel in this department. But Intel has started to answer the call to arms.- ProsFastest desktop processor available to dateVery stableOverclocking is not without its charmsHeatspreader saves CPU die from death- ConsVery Expensive @ 2.8GHzRating - 9.5/10 and TweakTown's Editors Choice Award
Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:25 pm CDT
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