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Pentium 4 3GHz w/ 800MHz System Bus and Intel's Canterwood
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Date: Jun 22, 2003
Section:Processors
Author: HH Editor
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Pentium 4 3GHz w/ 800MHz System Bus and Intel's Canterwood - Page 1

 

Intel's Pentium 4 3GHz With 800MHz System Bus
And The i875P "Canterwood" Chipset
More bandwidth and leading edge desktop technology for the P4

By, Dave Altavilla
and Chris Angelini
April 14, 2003
 

Time certainly does fly when you are clipping along at 3GHz, doesn't it?  It has been a whole 5 months since Intel released their last processor speed bump.  Intel actually let this one ride a little bit it seems.  In early February, AMD let loose with their new "Barton" core based Athlon XP 3000+ (2.166GHz), in an effort to keep pace with Intel's brute force approach to processing.  Don't misunderstand us, there certainly is nothing wrong with "brute force", when it comes to computing.  However, efficiency is also the name of the game and while it is impressive to see a 3GHz CPU like the Pentium 4, in mass production, it's equally as impressive to see a processor like the AMD Barton core, keep step with the P4, while clocked almost 1GHz lower.  The Pentium 4's super deep "hyper pipelined" architecture, that allows it to hit such impressive clock speeds, is also a source of some inefficiency within the chip.  It seems you can't really have your cake and eat it too, because along with this architecture comes the inherent latency associated with a deeper pipeline.  Regardless, like all things in life, there is a balance; a balance between raw clock speed and processing efficiency.  Intel certainly seems to have found that balance and like AMD, they are on a never-ending quest to improve upon the existing architecture.

Another way to enhance P4 performance, is by providing the CPU with more bandwidth via associated bus interfaces.  Simply cranking up CPU clock cycles, will certainly bring you incremental performance.  However, giving the processor enough bandwidth to get out to other system resources and peripherals, is also critical for overall throughput.  Otherwise you'll have the equivalent of a jet fueled Funny Car, sitting in neutral, red-lining the engine and going nowhere fast.  As such, we've witnessed both Intel and AMD taking System Bus (or Front Side Bus) speeds up a notch or two, along the way of their respective roadmaps.  At 2.26 and 2.4GHz, Intel took the Pentium 4 to a 533MHz System Bus, with a Quad Pumped 133MHz reference clock.  This time around, at 3GHz, Intel gives us an 800MHz System Bus, with a Quad Pumped 200MHz reference clock.  However, we are reminded once again, of a lesson taught to us by our Asian friends, that of "yin and yang", or balance.  To compliment this extra bus bandwidth Intel also brought forth Dual Channel DDR400 memory support. 

If this is beginning to sound like a complete system controller overhaul, you would be correct.  Along with this new 800MHz System Bus capable P4, comes Intel's i875P chipset, more commonly referred to as "Canterwood".  And while they were at it, Intel brought many of the peripheral interfaces of their new chipset, up to snuff as well.  The following is a HotHardware.Com overview and performance analysis, of Intel's new Processor and Desktop Platform, based on their new Pentium 4 3GHz with an 800MHz System Bus and the D875PBZ - i875P driven motherboard.

Specifications of the Pentium 4 3GHz Processor
Hyperthreading and a neat clean 800MHz System Bus

  • Clock Speed 3GHz
  • 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
  • 1.525V operating voltage range

Obviously this quick specification list is a repeat for the most part, with one exception.  Intel's new 3GHz Pentium (note the even 3GHz number, rather than 3.06GHz), is now characterized to run on an 800MHz System Bus with a Quad Pumped 200MHz reference clock and DDR400 Memory Bus.  Who would have thought we would see an FSB of 200MHz as a "stock" clock speed on any motherboard?  Ahhh, but technology does roll on, doesn't it?  This one enhancement alone should boost performance nicely, especially in system bandwidth demanding applications.

Specifications of The i875P Canterwood Chipset
800MHz System Bus, Dual Channel DDR400, "Native" SATA - You've got to love it

With the launch of Intel's new "Canterwood" chipset, we're given a new Northbridge and a new Southbridge to work with, along with all of the latest creature comforts.  What, no passenger side airbag?

PAT - Performance Acceleration Technology:

Intel has optimized the performance of the Canterwood chipset's memory controller and improved on latency characteristics in two key areas, DRAM Chip Select and Memory Controller Access.

There is a resultant 2 clock improvement for Canterwood, which should help somewhat.  Intel is calling this "PAT", Performance Acceleration Technology.  Frankly this feels like a bit of Marketing spin.  We should also note that for some reason, although we could set 2, 2, 2, 5 timings, for the PC3500 DDR Memory we used in testing at 400MHz in other boards, we could not get beyond  2, 3, 3, 5 timings with this new Intel D875PBZ board.  It seems as though Intel's new chipset is a little less forgiving with respect to aggressive memory timings.  However, we're sure Memory OEMs will be targeting full performance with this chipset, so it probably won't be long before better memory is available, that can support aggressive timings like we've seen with the i845PE.

CSA - Communications Streaming Architecture:

Both Canterwood and the upcoming Springdale chipset share a new Networking technology from Intel called "CSA".  CSA is essentially a direct link to the Northbridge System Controller, versus utilizing the PCI bus.  This allows Intel's Pro/1000CT MAC/Phy controller direct access to system memory, with higher overall bandwidth at 266MB/sec, twice that of PCI, as well as reduced CPU utilization.  The benefits are obvious.

  • Direct Access to System Memory

  • Prioritized Access to GbE traffic

  • 1.5V Interface

  • Low Latency Design

  • 266 MB/s dedicated to Networking I/O

  • Reduced CPU Utilization

  • Better management of simultaneous data streams

  • Lower GbE component power

  • Bursts of network traffic handled with ease

We had a relatively short window of time to test this new Intel platform and as a result, we're not able to provide you back-up factual analysis to support these claims.  However, we can report that during testing and routine use on a 100Mb Ethernet Network, the Pro/1000CT Controller performed admirably with excellent throughput and reliability.

A Closer Look, System Setup and Sandra

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Pentium 4 3GHz w/ 800MHz System Bus and Intel's Canterwood - Page 2

 

Intel's Pentium 4 3GHz With 800MHz System Bus
And The i875P "Canterwood" Chipset
More bandwidth and leading edge desktop technology for the P4

By, Dave Altavilla
and Chris Angelini
April 14, 2003
 

 
Intel has been making great strides toward engineering and building motherboards based on their chipsets, that are geared toward the enthusiast or end user.  The two main features we've been waiting for, that are brought forth with Canterwood, are Dual Channel DDR400 support and AGP8X.  However, there's a lot more to the story, with the Intel's new "ICH5" Southbridge that is also now available as of this launch.

Specifications and Features Of The D875PBZ i875P Based Motherboard
Dual DDR400, AGP8X, SATA RAID - We're feeling warm and fuzzy here.

 

Processor

  • Support for an Intel® Pentium® 4 processor in an mPGA478 package with 800/533MHz front side bus (FSB)

Main Memory

  • Four dual channel 184-pin DDR SDRAM Dual Inline Memory Module (DIMM) sockets

  • Support for single or dual channel DDR400 and DDR333

  • Support for up to 4 GB of system memory

Chipset

  • Intel® 875P chipset featuring Intel® Performance Acceleration Technology (PAT) and consisting of:

  • Intel® 82875P Memory Controller Hub (MCH)

  • Intel® 82801ER I/O Controller Hub (ICH5R) supporting Intel® RAID Technology

  • 8 Mbit Firmware Hub (FWH)

LAN

  • Intel® 82547EI Gigabit Ethernet

  • Support for Alert Standard Format (ASF) 2.0

  • RJ-45 connector

Expansion Capabilities

  • Up to five PCI bus add-in card connectors (SMBus routed to PCI bus 2)
  • One AGP 8x connector

Peripheral Interfaces

  • Up to eight USB 2.0 ports - Six ports routed to the back panel

  • Two ports routed to the USB header

  • Two Serial ATA channels (SATA), via the native SATA controller, one device per channel

  • SATA RAID 0 (Windows* XP only)

  • Two IDE interfaces with ATA-66/100 support

  • One diskette drive interface

  • One parallel port

  • One serial port

  • PS/2* keyboard and mouse ports

BIOS

  • Intel/AMI BIOS

  • 8 Mbit symmetrical flash memory

  • Support for SMBIOS

  • Intel® Rapid BIOS Boot

  • Intel® Express BIOS Update

Power Management

  • Support for Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) and

  • Advanced Power Management (APM)

  • Suspend to RAM (STR)

  • Wake on USB, PCI, RS-232, PS/2, LAN, and front panel

Hardware Management

  • Hardware monitor with:

  • Four fan sensing inputs used to monitor fan activity

  • Remote diode temperature sensing

  • Intel® Precision Cooling Technology fan speed control that automatically adjusts chassis fan speeds based on system temperature

  • Voltage sensing to detect out of range values


Interestingly enough, the board that Intel sent for testing, did not have on board sound available.  This is an option that Intel feels many enthusiasts may or may not be interested in, due to the fact that many use PCI sound cards.  However, obviously System Integrators will most likely be opting for this feature.  Other than that, this board offers the most leading edge technology available in PC Motherboards today.

Click images for full view
   

   

 

As a pre-requisite, this board, as well as others based on the i857P Canterwood and follow-on Springdale chipsets, has the capability to operate with a 200MHz Quad Data Rate/800MHz System Bus.  In addition, to support this higher bandwidth the move to Dual Channel DDR400 was made.  Again AGP8X is there for the Gamers and Pro Engineer types alike but what is truly indicative that Intel is turning an ear to the enthusiast, is what's under the hood of the new Intel ICH5 Southbridge.  Not only does this chipset and motherboard support Serial ATA but you also have the ability to stripe a RAID 0 array with two drives, for a great performance boost.  More on this later.

Then of course we were very pleased to see a total of 6 USB jacks on the back header bracket and legacy PATA ATA100 channels.  Finally, there was a massive heatsink on the Northbridge chip, which was permanently riveted to the board somehow.  As a result, we're not able to give you with up close and personal shots of our friend Canterwood in its habitat.

The D875PBZ BIOS
Looking more user friendly every day

Upon installation and boot-up, we were greeted with a highly configurable BIOS, a kin to the type of interfaces we've seen on many other 3rd party enthusiasts boards.  With the D875PBZ, Intel is no longer picking memory clock speeds and timings for you, nor are they even holding you to the stock speed of your processor.

Click images for full view

 

 

 

Overclocking with an Intel board; we never thought we would see the day.  Intel not only allows you to aggressively set your memory timings at 266, 333 or 400MHz but they allow you to enable "Burn-In" mode with respect to your CPU.  Burn-in mode  allows the user to dial in up to a 4% increase in clock speed, for "validation and testing" purposes only.  You can call it what you like...  We call it overclocking and overclocking is goodness.

The WinXP device manager shows us a few new goodies, including Intel's 82801ER SATA RAID Controller.  Look out Silicon Image, Highpoint and Promise, your desktop business just got a little bite taken out of it, or was that a big bite?  Time will tell.

HotHardware's Test Systems
Bleeding edge

Intel Platforms:
Pentium 4 Processors at 2.8GHz, 3GHz, 3.06GHz
Motherboard and RAM Config
Intel D875PBZ i875P "Canterwood" Motherboard
Asus P4G8X i7205 "Granite Bay" Motherboard
512MB of Corsair PC3500 CAS 2 RAM
512MB of Kingston PC3500 CAS 2 RAM
Other Hardware and Software:
ATi Radeon 9700 Pro
Seagate Barracuda V SATA 120GB HD
2, Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 80GB SATA HD (SATA/RAID testing only)
Silicon Image SATA Controller (GB Board Only) 
Windows XP Professional
ATi Catalyst 3.2 Drivers
Canterwood Board:
Intel Release Chipset Driver  v5.00.1009
Intel Applications Accelerator RAID Edition v3.0.0.229
Granite Bay Board:
Intel Release Chipset Driver  v4.30.1006
Intel Application Accelerator v2.3

AMD Platform:
Athlon XP 3000+
Motherboard and RAM Config
Asus A7N8X (nForce 2 Motherboard)
512MB Corsair PC3500 DDR (Running synchronous with the BUS at 166MHz)
Other Hardware and Software:
Radeon 9700 Pro
Seagate Barracuda V SATA 120GB HD
Silicon Image SATA Controller
Windows XP Professional
ATi Catalyst 3.2 Drivers
nForce2 Drivers Version 2.03

 

P4 3GHz CPUID and Chipset ID
 

 

 

 

In terms of the test setup for this showcase, we had to work with a bunch of different gear, in order to level the playing fields.  First, we should point out that the Granite Bay motherboard we chose to work with for the 2.8GHz and 3.06GHz Pentium 4 testing, was the impressive Asus P4G8X.  Since this board doesn't come equipped with Intel's new ICH5, we utilized a Silicon Image SATA PCI Controller card,  for use with our Seagate Barracuda V SATA drives.  Although, the P4G8X does have an on board Silicon Image chip, the nForce2 motherboard we used did not have this, so we used the same PCI SATA card here as well.  The Canterwood and P4 3G-800 testing was done with the same Seagate SATA drive but driven from the new ICH5 SATA controller on the Intel motherboard's Southbridge.  All other components and configurations were identical, with the obvious exception of chipset drivers.  All systems were setup on an NTFS partition, with Windows visual enhancements set to "best performance" and system restore and automatic updates were turned off.

Benchmarks anyone?

Overclocking and The Winstones

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Pentium 4 3GHz w/ 800MHz System Bus and Intel's Canterwood - Page 3

 

Intel's Pentium 4 3GHz With 800MHz System Bus
And The i875P "Canterwood" Chipset
More bandwidth and leading edge desktop technology for the P4

By, Dave Altavilla
and Chris Angelini
April 14, 2003
 

 
PCMark 2002 is a synthetic benchmark that utilizes standard desktop functions like JPEG Decoding, Audio Compression and Text Search.  The scores are a relative reference metric and are very repeatable.

PCMark 2002 Benchmarks
More synthetic testing

 

 

Here we see a similar picture to what we saw in the Sandra CPU tests, with the 3GHz P4 falling in slightly behind the 3.06GHz test systems, in the CPU performance module.  However, take these scores with a grain of salt, as they are only scaled metrics of relative performance, rather than scores driven by real world application code.  Also, the slight edge that the Granite Bay Asus P4G8X holds here, is due to its more aggressive timings, as set by Asus at the factory, versus the ever stable and conservative Intel motherboard implementations.

 

 

Higher Scores, In Frames Per Second , Mean Better Performance

 

Here we've taken a 20MB MPEG file and converted it to DivX format with XMPEG.  Video encode processing requirements are significantly taxing on memory and overall system bandwidth.  This is an area where the Pentium 4 shines, and with an 800MHz System Bus, it shines even brighter, besting its 533MHz 3.06GHz cousin by about 5%.  The Athlon XP 3000+ on the other hand, is left in the dust, at only 65% of the P4 3G-800's speed.  In this test, the Athlon XP 3000+ performs more like a "1900+".

3DMark 2003 Testing

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Pentium 4 3GHz w/ 800MHz System Bus and Intel's Canterwood - Page 4

 

Intel's Pentium 4 3GHz With 800MHz System Bus
And The i875P "Canterwood" Chipset
More bandwidth and leading edge desktop technology for the P4

By, Dave Altavilla
and Chris Angelini
April 14, 2003
 

 
As a relatively new addition to our battery of tests, we have FutureMark's 3DMark 2003.  Here we'll give you not only the default 1024X768 test results, but also specifics of the CPU Performance Module, that the benchmark utilizes to measure host CPU performance.

3DMark 2003 Testing
Leading edge DX9 rendering performance

 

 

 

 

The default benchmark scores at 1024X768 with 32 bit color, are certainly more graphics pipeline bound than anything else.  However, since many people that run 3DMark 03, utilize this score on a regular basis, we felt the data was relevant.  Here the pack is bunched up tight, with the P4 3G-800 and Canterwood system holding the lead by a slight margin.  On the other end of the spectrum, we see a fairly wild spread in performance for the CPU test.  The P4 3G-800 clearly takes the lead, with the Canterwood based D875PBZ motherboard sweeping the rest of benchmarks easily as well.  What is interesting is that the 2.8GHz Granite Bay score outpaced the 3.06GHz GB score significantly as well.  This again points to an HT disadvantage but the Canterwood based systems seem to clearly recoup all of it and more.  We re-ran this test several times and came up with similar results.  We'll report back here if we uncover any other useful data that will explain this variance.

Quake 3 Time Demos and Comanche 4 Benchmarks

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Pentium 4 3GHz w/ 800MHz System Bus and Intel's Canterwood - Page 5

 

Intel's Pentium 4 3GHz With 800MHz System Bus
And The i875P "Canterwood" Chipset
More bandwidth and leading edge desktop technology for the P4

By, Dave Altavilla
and Chris Angelini
April 14, 2003
 

 
These next two gaming tests are heavily swayed by processor performance and memory bandwidth.  Here we should see the new P4 3GHz and Canterwood chipset based system pull out in front even more.

3D Gaming performance with Quake 3 and Comanche 4
Play time

Comanche 4 is as CPU bound as any gaming benchmark we have seen in the lab to date.  It should lay down a respectable gauntlet of punishment for the various test systems.

Resolution and Color Depth:  640X480X32

Another sweep for the D875PBZ Canterwood board, by a somewhat slim margin in most cases.  However, the P4 3GHz with an 800MHz system bus, takes the lead versus the 3.06GHz P4s, by about 8%.  Once again, the Athlon XP 3000+ doesn't seem to live up to its moniker, coming in well behind even a 2.8GHz P4 Granite Bay setup.

 

 

Go figure, Quake 3 Arena likes the new 800MHz System Bus of the P4 3GHz CPU as well.  Here the new P4 takes the lead by about 11.5%.  It was interesting to note that the D875PBZ didn't fair as well as the Asus Granite Bay board did.  However, this again is indicative of the aggressive tweaking (or shall we say " slight factory overclocking") that Asus puts into their boards.

SpecViewperf 7.1, Disk Winmarks and The Wrap-up

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Pentium 4 3GHz w/ 800MHz System Bus and Intel's Canterwood - Page 6

 

Intel's Pentium 4 3GHz With 800MHz System Bus
And The i875P "Canterwood" Chipset
More bandwidth and leading edge desktop technology for the P4

By, Dave Altavilla
and Chris Angelini
April 14, 2003
 

 
For those of you that like to really make money with your workstation, we have the new SpecViewperf 7.1 benchmark suite, for your model spinning pleasure.  Since Intel classifies the Canterwood as an "entry level workstation" performance chipset, this test should put a smile on the faces of the Marketing folks in Santa Clara.

Professional MCAD and 3D Rendering Performance
Get to work!

 

In a few cases, AMD's tag line for the Athlon XP, "the Athlon means business", holds true.  Intel has infused the new 3GHz Pentium 4 just enough here to keep it out in front of the Athlon XP 3000+ by respectable margin.  Here we also witnessed the anomaly of the 2.8GHz P4 beating out the 3.06GHz P4 (most likely due to Hyperthreading) but not in the case of the Canterwood/D875PBZ driven P4 3.06GHz setup.  We're beginning to think Intel may have further optimized the Canterwood chipset, in conjunction with their Hyperthreading technology.  Again, we'll provide more detail here, if and when it becomes available.

Intel SATA RAID Controller Testing
Intel's new ICH5 steps up to the plate

Before we wrap things up, we want to give you a quick snapshot of what Intel's ICH5 and its integrated SATA controller can do, versus current SATA controller solutions on the market.  We've paired our two Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 SATA drives up with both the Silicon Image controller and the new SATA 150 controller on Intel's Southbridge.

Here's a quick look at Intel's RAID BIOS, which is nicely laid out and user friendly.

 

Also, a BIG new feature that Intel is bringing to the table with this controller, is that it can stripe a RAID 0 array on the fly in WinXP.  You simply install the OS with Soft RAID enabled in the BIOS, as well as the respective drivers.  Then all you'll need to do in the future is add the second drive and the next time you boot, the controller will stripe the array in the background.

On with the testing...

 

A very respectable performance is offered by Intel's SATA solution here, in both single drive and RAID 0 configurations.  These two controllers are neck and neck with each other, although with a RAID 0 array, the nod clearly goes to the SI controller.  However, for the debut of this new Intel controller and its supporting drivers, we're more than impressed with the results.  A driver revision or two more and Intel could easily close this small gap.

 

Intel yet again shows us how it is done, with this latest optimization to the Pentium 4 architecture.  In the early Willamette days of the Pentium 4, there were many who scoffed at the processor's performance, relative to its high clock speed.  However, one could hardly argue that the Pentium 4 is the fastest Desktop processor on the market today, perhaps not clock for clock but definitely in raw performance and dare we say "dollar for dollar", for many end users.  The new Pentium 4 3GHz with 800 MHz System Bus, will retail for somewhere in the mid $400 price range.  This new Pentium 4 outperformed the Athlon XP 3000+ by as much as 25%, depending on the test and only lost to it by a hair, in the two legacy Winstone test suites.  What's more impressive is that Intel was able to squeeze out as much as another 8-10% increase in peformance, while maintaining the same relative clock speed for the chip.  And this was achieved without making a change to the core CPU design.  You've got to hand it to Intel and the P4.  This chip has legs to stand, walk and run on for a long time to come.

Finally, the introduction of Intel's Canterwood chipset heralds in a new day for the enthusiast, looking for performance and features at a respectable price.  With its high level of integration, including features like AGP8X, Gigabit Ethernet, SATA and SATA RAID, USB2.0 and Dual Channel DDR400 support, we expect this chipset to take over where the "BX" left off.  The i857P will sell for about $50 without RAID and $53 with RAID enabled on the Southbridge (yeah, we'll call it $50 even).  This should allow for boards in the $125 - $150 price range easily and that's a price point that seems reasonable, considering the feature set.  In addition, Intel's new D875PBZ motherboard, that debuts here today, would be a great place to start, if you are in need of a rock stable board with great performance and you're not looking to overclock too heavily.  However, you can almost hear the landslide of third part OEM boards coming down, that will be based on Canterwood, so keep your eyes peeled.

 

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Pentium 4 3GHz w/ 800MHz System Bus and Intel's Canterwood - Page 7
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