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Pentium 4 2GHz. Socket 478 Review!
Date: Dec 17, 2001
Author: HH Editor
Pentium 4 2GHz. Socket 478 Review! - Page 1


Intel's Pentium 4 2GHz. Socket 478 Processor
Breaking through the 2GHz. ceiling with ease

By, Dave Altavilla
August 27, 2001

Alright, I'll admit it...  I was a William Shatner fan.  That is to say, when old Bill played the all powerful James T. Kirk, I couldn't help but admire his swagger and command of the situation.  Unfortunately, times change and old Bill finds himself stooping to the level of lame Priceline.com commercials.  He's merely a shell of the man he use to be.  Ahh, but I can still hear the words echoing in my head, "we must have more power Scotty!"  Yes sir, ol' Bill sure did know how to command attention, back in the day.

Well, much like the James T. Kirk of old, Intel has a way of commanding attention.  There is no denying it.  However,  Scotty would think twice about his typical "I caaaan't give it anymooore Captain" response, if he had 2GHz. of power under the hood.

This is a taste of the type of performance you'll find when flying Intel's latest Starship, the Pentium 4 2GHz. processor.  Set your phasers to stun folks, this should be an eventful voyage.

Specifications of the Pentium 4 2GHz. Processor
Same Die Geometry - New Package

  • Available at speeds ranging from 1.4GHz. to 2 GHz.
  • Featuring the new Intel NetBurst micro-architecture
  • Supported by the Intel® 850 chipset
  • Fully compatible with existing Intel Architecture-based software
  • 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
  • Based upon Intel?s 0.18 micron manufacturing process
  • 1.7 to 1.75 operating voltage range

The only real difference for this iteration of the Pentium 4, other than clock speed, is the package.  Intel's Micro PGA (mPGA) device, has 478 pins versus their legacy 423 pin package.  This provides more power and ground pins, which will help provide a more robust power plane to the device and minimize noise with better grounding. As such, stable 2+GHz. speeds will be obtained.
This new package of course requires, new cooling form factors.  However, just because we have a smaller Pentium 4, doesn't mean that heat sinks will be any smaller.  As you can see in the shot on the right, stock cooling from Intel is mammoth and so are third party solutions from Thermaltake.
Regardless, this new P4 is much more compact size and it's package seems far better suited for dissipating heat.  This allows for lower core temps, as you will see in the pages to follow. 

One note is that Intel plans to offer a 2GHz. Socket 423 version but that is the end of the line for the 423 pin out.  Higher forthcoming clock speeds will all be in this new 478 pin device.

One note is that Intel plans to offer a 2GHz. Socket 423 version but that is the end of the line for the 423 pin out.  Higher forthcoming clock speeds will all be in this new 478 pin device.

Let's plug this petite little number in and take it for a spin.

New Motherboards and The Setup

Pentium 4 2GHz. Socket 478 Review! - Page 2


Intel's Pentium 4 2GHz. Socket 478 Processor
Breaking through the 2GHz. ceiling with ease

By, Dave Altavilla
August 27, 2001

One draw back for early adopters of the Pentium 4, is the fact that a move to this new socket 478 pin out, requires a new motherboard architecture.

Installation and setup with a new motherboard platform
Neat as a pin

We actually used a couple of motherboards in this piece, one reference design from Intel and the ever fabulous Abit TH7II-RAID.

Intel's D850MD Socket 478 Motherboard w/ Integrated LAN and 4 USB Ports




The Intel D850MD is a highly integrated board with 10/100 Ethernet, Sound and 4 ports of USB supported.  Most "power users" will find this board a little limited on expansion with only three PCI slots.  However, system integrators will love this board for its ease of setup and cost efficiency without the need to add a dedicated sound card or NIC.


We gave you a taste of what the TH7II-RAID could do, in our recent coverage of this board.  This motherboard has all the toys that we have grown a custom to with BX chipset motherboards of old.  With an integrated High Point ATA100/RAID controller, sound, three USB ports and even "Abit Engineered" overclocking strips, PC Gear Heads that are into the P4 platform, will be all over this board like a cheap suit.

Test Setup
Intel and Abit infused


Intel Based Test System:

  • Intel Pentium 4 2GHz. Processor

  • Abit TH7II-RAID Pentium 4 Socket 478 Motherboard (i850)

  • Intel D850DM Pentium 4 Socket 478 Motherboard (i850)

  • 256MB of Samsung PC800 RAMBUS DRDRAM

  • nVidia GeForce3 AGP

  • Thermaltake P4 Volcano 478 Cooler

  • IBM DTLA307030 30Gig ATA100 7200 RPM Hard Drive

  • Windows 2000 Pro SP2

  • WindowsME 

  • Direct X 8.0 and nVidia reference drivers version 12.41

  • Intel chipset drivers version 3.00.029

AMD Based Test System:

  • AMD Athlon 1.4GHz. (10.5 X 133)

  • Epox 8K7A+ AMD 761 / VIA 686B Motherboard

  • 256MB Corsiar PC2400 (8-8-8-2-4-2-2)

  • IBM 30GB 7200RPM UDMA/100 HD

  • nVidia GeForce3

  • Windows 2000 Pro SP2

  • Direct X 8.0 and nVidia reference drivers version 12.41

  • AMD AGP Mini-Port 5.22

  • VIA 4-in-1 drivers

Earlier in this article we spoke of the Pentium 4 mPGA 478 package as having superior thermal characteristics versus the legacy 423 PGA.  For reference, here is a quick take on the thermals as reported by Winbond's Hardware Doctor program.  These numbers were taken at 2GHz. at idle in WindowsME.

It has been reported and it is factual that Intel has introduced a "clock throttling" mechanism in the P4, that is designed to invoke various lower duty cycles depending on settings within a motherboard's BIOS.  If the core temp of the chip reaches a certain high threshold, the clock speed to throttled back considerably.  However, we were assured by the folks at Intel that this does not happen under "normal" conditions.  That is to say, you would need to have catastrophic failure of a fan or some other subsystem, that would cause the core to reach dangerous levels.  In other words, if this clock throttle kicks in, consider it cheap insurance because otherwise you may have one cooked Pentium 4 on your hands.

Overclocking With 2GHz. of fun
Overclocking or overkill?

Now, we know what you are thinking.  How does this "governor" of sorts affect overclocking?  Suffice it to say, not one bit.

  CPUID @ 2GHz.                    CPUID  @ 2.24GHz.

We were actually able to boot windows at 2.3GHz. but were unable to complete the benchmarks at this clock speed.  Perhaps with a little more TLC, this clock speed could have stabilized.  This overclocking test was performed on the Abit TH7II-RAID, with its plethora of front side bus speeds.

Initial Tests:  SiSoftware Sandra, Winstones and Video 2000

Pentium 4 2GHz. Socket 478 Review! - Page 3


Intel's Pentium 4 2GHz. Socket 478 Processor
Breaking through the 2GHz. ceiling with ease

By, Dave Altavilla
August 27, 2001

Coined "The Gamer's Benchmark", 3DMark 2001 from MadOnion, is a very well know DirectX 8 benchmark, that absolutely hammers on the host CPU and graphics subsystem.  We ran the default test that sets up resolution and color depth to 1024X768 at 32 bits.

MadOnion's 3DMark 2001 With The 2GHz. Pentium
Max Payne moves out


Here we see much of the same for the Pentium 4.  Of course, it is important to note the 400MHz. clock speed advantage, at 1.8GHz., of the baseline Intel system.  Regardless what is important to remember, in any of our tests here, is that these are the top "stock" clock speeds from AMD and Intel.  So all that is left is to understand is the cost model.  We'll touch upon this subject more in our conclusion.

Bapco Sysmark 2001 Content Creation and 3D Winbench Processor Test
All business, fun and games

Here we ran the Content Creation module of Bapco's Sysmark 2001 benchmark suite.  Scores were taken on a Windows 2000 clean installation.  This benchmark uses various "professional" Content Creation tools like, Adobe Photoshop® 6.0, Adobe Premiere® 6.0, Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 7, Macromedia Dreamweaver 4, and Macromedia Flash 5.  The Pentium 4 out classes the Athlon in every test, by a significant margin.  At 2GHz. the P4 is 25% faster than a 1.4GHz. Athlon.  This actually scales pretty well with the P4's  30% clock speed advantage.

Ziff Davis'  3D Winbench is an aging benchmark optimized for legacy processor platforms like the Pentium III and the original Athlon.  We ran the processor test and for sure the P4 leads but not by a wide margin, until it hits 2GHz. 


Quake 3 Arena and Final Assessments

Pentium 4 2GHz. Socket 478 Review! - Page 4


Intel's Pentium 4 2GHz. Socket 478 Processor
Breaking through the 2GHz. ceiling with ease

By, Dave Altavilla
August 27, 2001

Requiring zero introduction, we have one last quick reference point, a Quake 3 Arena Time Demo run.  We set ours up at 640X480X16 and this barely taxes the GeForce3 cards we were using in our test beds.  However, it does certainly display differences in overall system performance and bandwidth.

Id Software's Quake 3 Arena Time Demo
Don't leave home without it


With a minimum baseline figure of around 200 fps, what's not to love about the P4, if you are a Q3 fan?  210 fps for our new 2GHz. friend, certainly does warm the heart.  Again, this test is showing its age but you would be hard pressed to find a processor review on the net, without this well know and loved benchmark included.

In our final analysis of the Pentium 4 2GHz. mPGA 478 processor, there are a number of things to consider.  One perspective would be those of us who are upgrading for the first time to this current generation of technology from AMD and Intel.  To obtain top end performance, you'll most likely need new RAM, a Motherboard, CPU and possibly a Power Supply.  From this perspective an AMD platform certainly has a stronger price/performance ratio.  However, if you are interested only in top shelf performance, there is nothing on the market like a 2GHz. P4 with some RDRAM.


Another perspective of course would be those of you that are continually upgrading and tweaking.  Here, to make a move to this level of performance, if you own a socket 423 board, you can stay in this form factor but 2GHz. is the end of the upgrade line.  Does it make sense to upgrade your motherboard to this new socket 478 variety and have probably a full product life cycle available to you?  We think so.  However, sitting tight for a couple of months may be an interesting proposition as well, with SDR and DDR supported VIA based motherboards coming to market.


Regardless, all told, the new 2GHz. P4 is certainly King Of The Hill with respect to clock speed, as well as overall performance.  There will always be proponents in both camps but if you look at our tests here, the numbers don't lie.


You think you know your hardware? 
Then get into the Forum and Strut your Stuff!


Pentium 4 2GHz. Socket 478 Review! Page 5

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