Pentium 4 3.2GHz w/ 800MHz System Bus

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Intel Pentium 4 3.2GHz Performance Evaluation
Another speed bump served up by Intel with ease

By, Dave Altavilla
June 23, 2003
 

Once again, Intel has decided to turn up the heat on their arch rival, AMD.  In a sort of digital ying-yang, the battle for Performance Desktop and Workstation Processor leadership, presses on relentlessly.  Like opposite yet mutual compliments, Intel releases the 3GHz P4 with 800MHz system bus and AMD lets fly with the Athlon XP 3200+.  It's almost like nature intended it to be, isn't it?  As Intel and AMD duke it out, in an effort to out class the competition, the end user community enjoys yet another incremental performance enhancement.  Not to mention a nice cost reduction usually comes along, with what was formerly high end product now mainstream, due to these brisk product maturity cycles.

Our last look at AMD's latest product left us questioning AMD's performance rating somewhat.  Although AMD's new Athlon XP 3200+ branding logically claims to have significantly better performance than the 3.0GHz P4, our testing showed that it was about on par with Intel's latest 3GHz chip, winning some and losing some, in various rounds of testing of our benchmark suites.  This is the risk AMD runs, branding a product relative to performance, rather than an easily understood clock speed figure. Intel's approach however, on this new product release of the 3.2GHz P4 is pretty straight forward.  It doesn't take a degree in Quantum Physics to understand that this new Pentium 4 is a full 1GHz faster that AMD's fastest Barton core at 2.2GHz for the Athlon XP 3200+. 

However, the performance picture behind the clock speed, is the story that many of you come here to find out and that's what we'll aim to deliver for you today.  At 3.2GHz, the new Pentium 4 is running a full 45% faster clock speed than an Athlon XP 3200+ at 2.2GHz.  This is perhaps an impressive data-point and a tribute to Intel's ability to scale the P4 core to amazing new heights.  On the other hand, as AMD likes to point out, it's not always about the MHz but how efficient a processor is within each clock cycle. We'll roll up our sleeves for you here and give you the straight scoop on that data-point as well.

Specifications of the Pentium 4 3.2GHz Processor
Another notch closer to the 4GHz mark
  • Clock Speed 3.2GHz
  • 800MHz "Quad Pumped" Front Side Bus
  • Hyperthreading Technology for increased performance in Multi-tasking and Multi-threaded applications
  • .13 micron manufacturing process
  • 512K on chip, Full Speed L2 Cache
  • Rapid Execution Engine - ALU clocked at 2X frequency of core
  • 128bit Floating Point/Multimedia unit
  • "Hyper Pipelined" Technology for extremely high clock speeds
  • Intel "NetBurst" micro-architecture
  • Supported by the Intel® i875P and i865G chipsets, with Hyperthreading support
  • Internet Streaming SIMD Extensions 2
  • Intel® MMX? media enhancement technology
  • Memory cacheability up to 4 GB of addressable memory space and system memory scalability up to 64 GB of physical memory
  • Support for uni-processor designs
  • 1.55V operating voltage range

           
                                                                                
   Pentium 4 .13 Micron Die


With 512K of full speed on chip L2 cache, an 800MHz Quad Pumped Front Side Bus, Hyperthreading, and 1.55V operating voltage, not much has changed for the new 3.2GHz Pentium 4, with the minor exception of an additional 200MHz in clock speed.  In the die image on the right, you'll notice a couple of large rectangular dark grid regions on the right hand side of the die.  These are the two banks of L2 cache memory.  There is also a small block up in the top left quadrant of the shot.  This is a block of what Intel calls "Execution Trace Cache", otherwise known as L1 cache. 

As you'll note, the memory structures here take up a sizable portion of the die area.  SRAM cache memory is big real-estate hog and you can understand why both Intel and AMD have to drive tighter process geometries, in order to support larger amounts of cache moving forward.  Intel's Prescott Pentium 4 core, built on a 90 nanometer manufacturing process, is going to have a full 1Mb of L2 cache on board.  Intel will also be one of the first to run 90 nanometer technology in high volume, when Prescott hits later this year.

A New Chip And New Stock Intel Heat Sink
Intel's Product Launch Kit

   

 

Physically, the new P4 chip looks the same as any other Northwood core, so again there really isn't much to report here.  However, Intel took a step up with respect to their stock retail cooling solution.  Above, you'll notice the larger copper core aluminum hybrid cooler that was sent to us in our test kit.  The sink has a dense population of aluminum radiator fins that all connect in with the cross section area that surrounds a solid copper core.  The copper slug is centered directly on the P4 heat spreader, once the heat sink is installed.  The fan assembly is a 2500 RPM unit with a strong retention clip.  All told, this cooler does an excellent job of keeping the new 3.2GHz P4 at a reasonable 38 - 40C.  This is easily the best stock cooling solution we've seen from Intel in a long time.

 

System Setup, Sandra Test And Over-clocking

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