Intel Pentium 4 2.0Ghz -Introduction and History LessonThe Intel Corporation has been making processors and peripherals for computers for the better part of 10 years, and for 8 out of the 10 years Intel has led the industry with the fastest processors for desktops, servers and workstations.Intel's first 32bit CPU was the Intel i386DX processor line. Codenamed "P9", it supported frequencies of 16Mhz up to 33Mhz (using 16-33MHz FSB).Intel in June 1988 released its Cut-down version of the i386DX, named the i386SX. The primary difference between the DX and SX was cache. While the DX line supported no L1 cache and up to 128KB of L2 cache on the motherboard, the SX supported NO L1 or L2 cache at all, making it somewhat slower than its DX counterpart. In response to the AMD 386 and IBM 386 line of CPU, Intel decided that increasing the speeds of its 386 line wasn't enough to keep Intel on top. In April or 1989, Intel released to the public the first CPU with a Math Co-Processor or better known as an FPU. This alone gave Intel the crown for fastest CPU, but Intel didn't stop there. Keeping with Intel's style for new innovative designs, the CPU was given a L1 cache size of 8Kb and a L2 cache access size of up to 512Kb or cache on the supported motherboard, this new creation was dubbed the i486DX.AMD responded to this by releasing their 486 line of CPU, and this proved to be a hit in the low cost market. Intel, not happy losing out to AMD in sales took the i486DX, removed the FPU and sold the chip as the i486SX CPU, taking back what Intel had earned. With bus speeds approaching their limit, Intel, AMD and Cyrix tried to get their CPU's to run faster, but expansion devices like hard disks and video cards became unstable as the faster CPU's pushed the limit of the bus speeds. Intel answered this challenge by introducing what we now know as the clock multiplier into the CPU. This clock multiplier was set to 2x, and Intel named this CPU the i486DX2 processor. The i486DX2 used the bus speed x2 to increase the CPU speed. This step is still implemented today in our latest processors.Continuing with the trend, Intel incorporated a 4x multiplier into its next line of 486 class of CPU. This CPU was named the i486DX4, ranging in speeds from 75MHz to 100MHz this was the last 486 CPU to be made by Intel. In 1993, Intel released a new bus standard. Known to the world as the P5 bus, this new architecture lead to a lot of new processors from Intel and its competitors as we will soon see.The first of Intel's P5 CPU's was the Intel Pentium. The Intel Pentium came in speeds of 60MHz up to 200MHz using 50MHz to 66MHz bus speeds. This new CPU introduced another of the new CPU standards which are still used to this day; divided cache. Divided cache technology incorporated two separate cache chips on the L1 platform, 1 set for data, 1 set for instruction. This helped boost the power of the FPU system.With the computer market swinging to the home user rather than just the business user, Intel needed to boost it P5 CPU line to support better gaming. Intel took the existing Pentium CPU and added a new Multimedia Xceleration (MMX) technology. The MMX system was a new set of 50 instructions added to the CPU for handling number crunching. This new CPU was available in speeds of 166Mhz up to 233Mhz, the MMX Pentium was the last P5 CPU made by Intel.Intel's most recent line of CPU's was based on the P6 bus introduced by Intel back in 1995 with the Intel Pentium Pro CPU. The Intel Pentium Pro CPU was released in November 1995. This CPU was the first of Intel's line of CPU's to introduce on-die L2 cache. This new cache technology allowed for faster L2 cache access speeds since the L2 cache of the Pentium Pro ran as same speed as the CPU's core. The Pentium Pro was built mostly for servers and workstations but around the time that the Intel Pentium MMX arrived, the Pentium Pro found its way into a few of the home users systems. While this CPU was a good performer with the L2 cache on the CPU, it still lacked the support for MMX applications. With the need for the Pentium Pro to support MMX instructions, Intel took the Pentium Pro CPU, moved the L2 cache off the die and added the MMX instruction set, and in May 1997 Intel gave birth to one of the best CPU's Intel had ever created, the Intel Pentium II. The Pentium II was a Slot 1 based CPU since the cache had to be moved off the die to save on costs. But to increase the speed of the cache by having direct access to the CPU, Intel created a slot connector for the Pentium II. With AMD and its K6-2 and K6-3 taking the value market away, Intel needed a new value market CPU. Intel took the existing Pentium II core and totally removed the L2 cache, naming this new CPU the Intel Celeron. The first wave of Celeron CPU's were a disaster. With no L2 cache the CPU ran slower than the AMD K6-2 and cost more than a K6-3. This didn't go down well so Intel decided to take the Celeron core and add 128KB of on-die L2 cache running at the core clock of the CPU and named it the Celeron A series. The Celeron A series started out in Slot 1 format, however, with the L2 cache integrated into the CPU there was no need for the expensive slot configuration so the Intel Celeron A moved over to the Socket 370 PPGA connector and has remained there. Intel's newest Celeron CPU, known to us as the Celeron II, is based on the Intel Pentium III FC-PGA package. This new CPU is the same old Celeron core and the same amount of memory. The only difference is the reduction in size of the DIE and the transfer from 64bit cache to 256bit ATC.Intel's fastest and mainstream P6 CPU is and was the Intel Pentium III CPU. The Pentium III started out as a Slot 1 CPU but later moved to the Socket 370 FC-PGA packaging when the cache was moved from the Slot to the die of the CPU. The Pentium III's main feature over the Intel Pentium II was new multimedia instructions called SSE. These new instructions gave the Pentium III a slight boost in the benchmark department.With the AMD K7 line of processors taking the fame away from Intel during the i820/RDRAM/SDRAM disaster, Intel had to come up with a new CPU in order to take back the crown from AMD. Enter the Intel Pentium 4.
Intel Pentium 4 2.0Ghz -Processor / Chipset overviewThe table below shows the Intel Pentium 4 compared to the Intel Pentium III Cu and the AMD Athlon Thunderbird.
Intel Pentium 4 2.0Ghz -Processor OverviewNetBurst Micro ArchitectureIntel's name for the Pentium 4's new design is "NetBurst". Like with the Intel Pentium III and its SSE instructions to supposedly make internet content load quicker, Intel is trying its hardest to push the idea that Intel's new processor will make your web pages load quicker. Unfortunately, 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 Intel is 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 myself who have to have the fastest thing with the highest number on it, Intel has taken this crown. Pentium 4's gets a new Bus.For most of the past 3 years, Intel have 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 has finally decided to step away from the P6 and introduce the new P4 400MHz QDR FSB.The well-known 'FSB' of Pentium 3 is clocked at 133 MHz and able to transfer 64-bit of data per clock, offering a data bandwidth of 8 byte * 133 million/s = 1,066 MB/s. 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 AGP4x. The new bus can transfer 8 byte 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's is clocked at 133 MHz, 64-bit wide and "double data rate", offering 8 byte 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.CacheLike its predecessor, the Intel Pentium 4 is equipped with 256Kbyte of Advanced Transfer Cache, or ATC as it is known, running at the same speed of the CPU core. For example, on the Intel Pentium 4 2.0GHz we have here, the ATC is 256Kbyte and runs at 2000MHz or 2.0GHz. That is fast for cache; really fast. While the L2 cache hasn't grown over the Pentium III processor, the L1 cache of the Pentium 4 has actually shrunk. The Pentium III was equipped with 16Kbyte or Data and 12Kbyte or Instruction cache to make a total of 32Kbyte of L2 cache. Intel has dropped the Data cache on the Pentium 4 to 8Kbyte. That is remarkably small, but they have also added a new feature to the L1 cache; "Execution Trace Cache".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. 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's 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.Connection, Die and other GoodiesIntel's Pentium 4 Processor is available in two packages; Socket 423 and Socket 478. Intel plans to phase out the 423 pin socket over the new 3-4 months to make way for the mPGA Willamette and Northwood core Pentium 4 CPU's. 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.From the picture below you can see the 423 pin P4 on the left and the 478 pin P4 on the right.
Intel Pentium 4 2.0Ghz -Pentium 4 2.0GHz in all its glorywhat's that old saying? "A picture is worth a thousand words". Well, we will let the pictures below speak for themselves.
Intel Pentium 4 2.0Ghz -BenchmarksIntel Pentium 4 Test SystemProcessor: Intel Pentium 4 2.0GHz (clocked to 1.8 and 2.0G)Motherboard: Intel D850MD Reference MotherboardMemory: 256MB PC800 RDRAM (4x 64MB RIMM, 3.2GB/s Memory Bandwidth).AMD Athlon Test SystemProcessor: AMD Athlon Tbird 1.33GHz (266Mhz FSB)Motherboard: MSI K7 Master (AMD 760)Ram: Kingmax PC2100 DDR SDRAM (2.1GB/s Memory Bandwidth)Common System SpecsHard Disk: Seagate Barracuta ATA-IIIVideo Card: Gigabyte GV-3000D Geforce 3Software: Sisoft Sandra 2001, 3Dmark2000, 3Dmark2001, Star Trek Armada, Star Trek Voyager Elite Force, Quake 3 Arena.Results - Sisoft Sandra 2001 CPU Benchmark
Intel Pentium 4 2.0Ghz -ConclusionWell, Intel may have won the race to 2Ghz, but the battle is still far from over. In the benchmarks, we can see in a few of the test Intel's Pentium 4 2GHz lagged behind the Athlon Thunderbird 1.33GHz CPU. With AMD's new desktop Palomino due to hit the shores of the hardware world very shortly, possibly even as soon as Comdex 2001, Intel has quite a bit of ground to make up. The only major flaw in the Pentium 4 design is relying too much on expensive RDRAM based chipsets. While Intel is releasing a SDRAM chipset for the Pentium 4 CPU, SDRAM alone doesn't deliver enough memory bandwidth to keep the Pentium 4 happy. With DDR SDRAM Pentium 4 chipsets not expected till late Q2 2002, and the battle between Intel and VIA over the P4X266 chipset, the Pentium 4 still has a hard road ahead; in the courts mostly. With the technical side of things out of the way, here is the practical side of things.If you just want to play games like Q3 and stuff where memory latency isn't a factor, and the higher the memory bandwidth the better the FSB, then the Pentium 4 takes this case hands down. Even VIA and the DDR SDRAM aren't able to match the memory bandwidth of Intel's Dual Channel RDRAM based i850 chipset at the present time. The stability of the Pentium 4 2GHz was also remarkable. Overclocking... Well, since we only had an Intel motherboard with no overclocking options, we can only guess at the moment. However, with the reported temperature of only 33 deg with stock cooling, full load and running at 1.7v core volts, I think the Pentium 4 has definately got some goodies behind it. All in all, Intel have done a very good job in getting a future proof CPU to market very quickly. With it's increased memory bandwidth, business and high-end graphic content creators should look towards the Pentium 4 with RDRAM. it's one to consider as an alternative to AMD. Keep those speeds coming Intel.Rating 8.5/10
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