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Pentium 4 3.06GHz Processor With Hyperthreading
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Date: Nov 13, 2002
Section:Processors
Author: HH Editor
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Pentium 4 3.06GHz Processor With Hyperthreading - Page 1

 

Intel's Pentium 4 3.06GHz Processor
Intel breaks 3GHz barrier and  introduces Hyperthreading to the mainstream

By, Dave Altavilla
and Chris Angelini
November 14, 2002
 

It was only two short months ago that we gave you our hands on experiences with Intel's last flagship processor for the PC, the 2.8GHz Pentium 4.  As we neared what seemed to be an almost mythical clock speed of 3GHz, we paused to wonder for a moment, whether or not the average user could take advantage of the power of a Pentium 4 at this clock speed or the future Athlon XP3000+, for that matter.  Again, that pause we had was only for a moment and we snapped back to reality with a hearty Neanderthal grunt... arr arr!!!  More power!  That's not to say however, that the target audience for this class of processing power, is a bunch of power hungry gear-heads like the HotHardware.Com Tech Editorial Staff.  On the contrary, there are many mainstream environments and applications, that can obviously benefit greatly from the type of leading edge processor technology that Intel is bringing to the market on what seems like more often than a quarterly basis.

In actuality, the convergence of high quality audio, video and data streams into today's modern Desktop environment, calls for ever increasing amounts of horsepower.  In many cases, the quality of end user experience is directly proportional to the processing power under the hood of the average Home or Corporate PC.  Additionally, more often then not, processing demands on the host CPU, are being made from multiple applications at any given time.  Whether it be Multimedia processing along with simultaneous end user sessions of email, desktop publishing or spreadsheet analysis, the host CPU is typically servicing multiple requests on its resources. 

Specifications of the Pentium 4 3.06GHz Processor
Hyperthreading and just a few more MHz

  • Clock Speed 3.06GHz
  • 533MHz "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® 850 and i845 chipsets, with Hyperthreading support in i845E/PE/GE/GV/G and i850E chipsets.
  • 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
  • 1.525V operating voltage range

Theory and realities of Intel's Hyperthreading:

This brings us to the latest Intel innovation that has been unveiled for the Desktop market, along with the launch of the 3.06GHz Pentium 4, "Hyperthreading".  Hyperthreading is an Intel invention for their processor cores that allows the CPU to present the Operating System with two "virtual" CPUs, each with its own set of resources.  This new technology allows multiple processing threads to run in parallel on a single chip.  Think of it as a "virtual SMP" (Symmetric Multi-Processing)  technology of sorts, only performed all on one processor.

 

Pentium 4 with Hyperthreading - Two separate architectural states represented for two paths to processor resources

Requirements for the HT enabled system:

  • The upcoming Intel Pentium 4 processor at 3.06 GHz or higher
  • An Intel® chipset that supports HT Technology
  • System BIOS that supports HT Technology and has it enabled
  • An operating system that includes optimizations for HT Technology

Task Manager
With HT
 
    

CPUID With HT
 
 

It should be noted that currently, the only OS that supports Hyperthreading, is Microsoft Windows XP.  Even Windows 2000 or NT, are not officially supported for this technology.  Additionally, Intel recommends a clean installation of WinXP, when migrating from a non HT enabled system, so that XP can install its multi-processor kernel properly.  We performed clean installations in our testing but were able to prove out that, WinXP will detect the new virtual CPU upon boot up and after a reboot, Task Manager will report the two virtual processors in the control panel.  Additional testing proved that we were also realizing the benefits of Hyperthreading but more on this later. In the Task Manager shot above, we were running an MPEG to DIVX conversion on the test system.  As you can see, both CPUs were getting worked fairly hard.

More on HT, Test System Setup, Sandra and Overclocking

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Pentium 4 3.06GHz Processor With Hyperthreading - Page 2

 

Intel's Pentium 4 3.06GHz Processor
Intel breaks 3GHz barrier and  introduces Hyperthreading to the mainstream

By, Dave Altavilla
and Chris Angelini
November 14, 2002
 

 
 

While Intel has offered HT enabled CPUs in the Server Market, as part of their Xeon product offering, they haven't made it available in the Desktop Pentium 4, until this product launch.  Since this is a Desktop End User feature and benefit, you can be sure Intel is cooking up strong marketing campaigns to go along with this launch.  The real question is, are there applications and computing scenarios in which end users will be able to realize tangible increases in performance and overall system throughput, with this new technology?  We'll try to give you some insight here

 

Click images for full view
   

In between the marketing hype and product positioning, lies reality and real-world performance.  Intel is trying to drive the point home here that one processor can act as two or that there are two within one.  We'll see for ourselves in the benchmarks ahead.  However, obviously applications must be multi-threaded or users must be running multiple applications concurrently or "multi-tasking", in order for this technology to be fully exploited.

      

HotHardware's Test Systems
Smokin'

Intel Platform:
Pentium 4 Processors at 2.53GHz, 2.8GHz and 3.06GHz
Motherboard and RAM Config
Intel D850EMVR i850E Motherboard - For benchmarks
Asus P4PE i845PE Motherboard - For overclocking tests
512MB of Samsung PC1066 RDRAM
512MB of Corsair PC3200 CAS 2 RAM
Other Hardware and Software:
ATi Radeon 9700 Pro
On-Board Sound
IBM DTLA307030 30GB ATA/100 7200 RPM
Windows XP Professional
ATi Catalyst 2.4 Drivers
Intel Chipset Driver  v4.04

AMD Platform:
Athlon XP 2800+
Motherboard and RAM Config
Asus A7N8X - nForce2 Motherboard

512MB of Corsair PC3200 CAS 2 RAM
Other Hardware and Software:
ATi Radeon 9700 Pro
On-Board Sound
IBM DTLA307030 30GB ATA/100 7200 RPM
Windows XP Professional
ATi Catalyst 2.4 Drivers
2.77 NFORCE2 drivers


 

Pentium 4 3.06GHz SiSoft Sandra Testing
With and without Hyperthreading

 

CPU 3GHz No HT
   

CPU 3GHz w/ HT

 
MM 3GHz No HT
   


MM 3GHz w/ HT

 

As you'll note, Sandra's latest revision shows sizable gains with Hyperthreading enabled.  This is due to the fact that the CPU and Multimedia tests incorporated in these benchmarks, are now multi-threaded and take advantage of SMP capable platforms.  Here our Hyperthreaded P4 beats the theoretical performance of a 2.8GHz P4 with Hyperthreading, were that CPU actually available on the market.  What is interesting is that SiSoftware has these scores listed here yet Intel hasn't released HT enabled 2.8GHz chips.  Are we missing something here?  Rumors have circulated that lower clock speed P4 chips have the ability to run HT enabled.  However, Intel has assured us that they can "control availability of this feature" at the factory and that no other HT enabled P4s have been released.  In any event, the same performance scale holds true for the Multimedia tests.  Perhaps that is a bit of the obvious, so we'll dig in a little deeper in our next series of tests and see what this new core is capable of, at its outer limits.

Overclocking The 3.06GHz P4 - Vapochilled
Hitting amazing clock speeds

We took this shiny new P4 3.06GHz chip and plugged it into the Vapochill rig we showed you not long ago here on HotHardware.  Here are the results...

4GHz!!!
   

3.77GHz CPU
   
3.77GHz MM

Now, don't get too excited about that 4GHz boot screen.  It's very real...  We were able to boot this new P4 at 4GHz.  However, the machine would reset itself after a few seconds of run time.  Incidentally, we did all our overclocking experiments on the Asus P4PE motherboard, that we reviewed for you here just recently.  We were actually able to boot WinXP successfully all the way up to 3.9GHz.  However, at that speed, the system was less than stable.  Full stability on the core, when Vapochilled down to about 4C at idle, was found at a 164MHz system bus for a total of 3.77GHz.  We were able to run Prime 95, at this point, for hours on end, with out a rounding error or crash of any kind.  This is not too shabby and shows you the potential of the P4 core going forward.

 

Business and Content Creation Winstone

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Pentium 4 3.06GHz Processor With Hyperthreading - Page 3

 

Intel's Pentium 4 3.06GHz Processor
Intel breaks 3GHz barrier and  introduces Hyperthreading to the mainstream

By, Dave Altavilla
and Chris Angelini
November 14, 2002
 

 
Multi-threaded applications will definitely allow the new Pentium 4's Hyperthreading technology to shine.  Applications such as Adobe Photoshop 7, Newtek Lightwave and XMPEG have been coded to take advantage of multiprocessor systems and as a result, will directly benefit from Hyperthreading as well.

Video Encoding Benchmarks
Where multithreading and Hyperthreading take flight

We took a standard MPEG 2 format video clip and converted it to DIVX with the most recent 5.02 CODEC installed.  Here are the results.

 

Higher Scores, In Frames Per Second , Mean Better Performance
 

As you can see, not only does the Pentium 4 dominate this test but the Hyperthreading enabled P4 pulls ahead of the non-HT CPU by a commanding 16% margin.  The standard 3.06GHz scores scale accordingly versus lower clock speed processors.  The 3.06GHz P4 is roughly 10% faster than a 2.8GHz chip.

 

 

In case you haven't heard of Main Concept's video conversion utility, here's a link to their site.  We used their AVI to MPEG converter that you can also download and test for yourself.  We took a relatively small 5MB AVI file and converted it to MPEG format and used the "DVD" type option for conversion.  The results here fall pretty much in line with expectations.  However, once again we see the benefits of Hyperthreading, with the HT enabled system coming in some 11% faster than the standard P4 at 3.06GHz.

PCMark 2002 Testing

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Pentium 4 3.06GHz Processor With Hyperthreading - Page 4

 

Intel's Pentium 4 3.06GHz Processor
Intel breaks 3GHz barrier and  introduces Hyperthreading to the mainstream

By, Dave Altavilla
and Chris Angelini
November 14, 2002
 

 
We would like you to take the following benchmark scores with a grain of salt, sugar or whatever it is that helps you digest things more easily.  Please keep in perspective that the following tests are based on a benchmark suite that performs real-world functions like JPEG decompression, etc.  However, the tests are not based on any end user retail applications but rather a "synthetic" collection of specific computational functions.

PCMark 2002 Testing
Synthetic benchmarks that show huge potential for Hyperthreading

Here we see that the Pentium 4 3.06GHz scales accordingly in performance versus the 2.8GHz chip, with roughly an 8% lead.  However, overall the CPU test does not show any benefit for the Hyperthreading enabled system.  That is until we look more closely at the "Crunch" test section. 

 


We asked the folks at MadOnion to give us a little background on what was behind the "Crunch" test in PCMark 2002.  Here's what Patric Ojala, Senior Manager, Benchmark Development at MadOnion.com told us.

The Crunch test runs 3 tests simultaneously:


CPU Test - JPEG Decompression, stressing mostly the CPU and somewhat
also the memory subsystem.

Memory Test - Raw 3072 kB Block Modify, stressing mostly the memory
subsystem, but also somewhat the CPU.

Memory Test - Video - 1 scanline, stressing mostly the graphics card
memory bandwidth and the AGP bus.


These tests are all described above, and can be run separately in  PCMark2002. The idea of the Crunch test is to see how well the system can perform several tasks simultaneously and stress different parts of the system concurrently.  The Crunch test was designed to be a stress test for total system  throughput; CPU, Memory and Graphics speed. This kind of measurement should be good for total system comparison, multiprocessor benchmarking,  and motherboard chipset efficiency testing. The included tests were selected because:

CPU Test - JPEG Decompression, since it is a CPU intensive test that does a task common for many applications (web, office, image composer).  The data set is larger than what fits into the cache, so there is some memory transfer involved, which is appropriate for any CPU test.

Memory Test - Raw 3072 kB Block Modify, where the large block is used to avoid only cache measurement. The block modify functionality is typical for data modification, like a light Photoshop filter. The data operation is light enough to stress above all the memory read and write speed.  Still, just data transfer back and forth might open up a chance for caching. Therefore the small modify operation was included.

The Video Memory test above all stresses the AGP bus and the graphics card memory speed. The selected single scanline transfer weights more on the video memory speed than the AGP speed (compared to the multiple scanline tests), but we think this kind of smaller video memory data transfer is more common in PC home and office usage. 

The three threads all have normal priority, so we don't try to control  which part of the system runs most efficiently. We use pre-set work amounts on all tests, so on many single processor systems you can see how the CPU and memory threads complete their tasks first. The video  memory test first scrolls really slowly, while the other tests are running. Then it suddenly picks up speed and the scrolling gets smooth,  when only the video memory test remains.   No "internally SMP" processors were around when we made PCMark2002. 
 

In every case during the Crunch test, we see the Hyperthreaded Pentium 4 blow by it's non HT enabled counterparts with ease.  The Crunch Blit test shows orders of magnitude more performance for the Pentium 4 3.06GHz with HT enabled.  This could indeed be a foreshadow of things to come with respect to multithreaded scenarios, like those that were arranged in the PCMark 2002 Crunch test.  Remember, the folks at MadOnion did not specifically code the benchmark to take advantage of the HT enabled P4.  They told us the chip wasn't even around when they designed their benchmark.  Regardless, synthetic benchmarks need to be kept in perspective as the relative performance metrics that they are.

Let's get back to the "real world".  Well sort of...

Quake 3 Time Demos and UT

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Pentium 4 3.06GHz Processor With Hyperthreading - Page 5

 

Intel's Pentium 4 3.06GHz Processor
Intel breaks 3GHz barrier and  introduces Hyperthreading to the mainstream

By, Dave Altavilla
and Chris Angelini
November 14, 2002
 

 
Our analysis wouldn't be complete if we didn't fire up at a few different gaming benchmarks for your edification.  We chose some of the old and some of the new for this round, Quake 3, Novalogic's Comanche 4 and Unreal Tournament 2003.

3D Gaming performance with Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament 2003
Play time

 

Resolution and Color Depth:  640X480X16 "Normal"

 

Resolution and Color Depth:  640X480X32

 

In these two tests, we let the processors run flat out, with our detail and screen resolutions dialed down to very low levels.  Again, this takes the limitation off the Graphics subsystem and places more emphasis on the host CPU to push as many polygons through as possible.  The new 3GHz P4 runs up to 6% faster in these tests, than it's 2.8GHz sibling but Hyperthreading has little effect on performance.  Quake 3, we know was initially coded to take advantage of SMP.  However, this aging game engine doesn't tax the latest processor nearly enough to show benefit.

Unreal Tournament Testing and Wrap-up

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Pentium 4 3.06GHz Processor With Hyperthreading - Page 6

 

Intel's Pentium 4 3.06GHz Processor
Intel breaks 3GHz barrier and  introduces Hyperthreading to the mainstream

By, Dave Altavilla
and Chris Angelini
November 14, 2002
 

 
We're unaware of any SMP or multithreading optimizations that have been coded into UT2003, so we're expecting more of the same here.

3D Gaming performance with Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament 2003
Play time

 

Resolution:  640X480

 

Resolution :  640X480

 

Again we see roughly a 5 - 6% gain for the new 3.06GHz Pentium 4 versus the 2.8GHz variant.  Hyperthreading didn't buy us anything here, nor did it hurt us to have it enabled.  We're crossing our collective fingers that the folks at Id have coded Doom 3 with SMP or multithreading in mind, so that we have a gaming benchmark that can exploit the technology.  At the end of the day however, that is the remaining question, we came away with.  How well adopted will multithreading and subsequently, Intel's Hyperthreading, become?

 

 

This new Pentium 4 core has shown promise for certain, with respect to the new innovations in parallel processing that it brings to market.  The extra 266MHz this release offers up doesn't hurt either and Intel has hit another clock speed milestone at 3GHz.  We've shown you environments here, where Hyperthreading can effect performance significantly and others where it makes little difference.  The key is are you using multithreaded applications or are you running multiple tasks concurrently, in other words multitasking?  Since most folks do use their systems such that they are multitasking quite often, we feel the technology can only become more important to the end user, in the long run.

The launch price of the new P4 3.06GHz CPU is steep, as one would expect for Intel's new flagship, set at $637 in lots of 1k units.  The 2.8GHz P4 has been reduced recently to $401.  As usual, it makes sense to let this CPU get out into the retail sector for a while and let the sting fade from that price point, before jumping in on the action.  Regardless, one can't help but be enthused with respect to Intel's effort to bring SMP technology to the mainstream desktop and for hitting 3GHz for the first time in PC history.

 

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