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Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 965: Not Just A Speed Bump
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Date: Mar 22, 2006
Section:Processors
Author: Marco Chiappetta
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Introduction & Related Information

About three months ago, we took a look at the Pentium Extreme Edition 955, which was Intel's first Extreme Edition processor built using the company's then brand-new 65nm manufacturing process. Each of the 955XE chip's two cores hummed along at a lofty 3.46GHz, and we found its performance to be quite good when compared to Intel's previous dual-core and single-core offerings. The Pentium Extreme Edition 955 was clearly Intel's fastest desktop dual-core processor in our tests, and due to the inherent benefits of the more advanced manufacturing process, the chip consumed much less power than its predecessor under-load, even though it was clocked almost 10% higher and was equipped with double the amount of L2 cache (4MB vs. 2MB).

Today, Intel is taking things a step further with a new Extreme Edition processor that's clocked even higher than the 955XE. The 3.73GHz Pentium Extreme Edition 965 we'll be showcasing here is more than a speed-bump, however. We know Intel is going to eventually move away from their Netburst architecture; the company has been relatively vocal regarding the upcoming Conroe and Merom cores, but they still saw fit to re-vamp the Pentium Extreme Edition 965 with a new stepping of the Presler core that is more power friendly and in-turn operates at more reasonable temperatures.  And as Intel's new current flagship processor, the Pentium Extreme Edition 965 turned in some respectable benchmark scores too. Read on and see for yourself...

Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 965
Specifications & Features
  • 3.73GHz Dual Core Processor
  • 1066MHz "Quad-Pumped" front side bus
  • .065-micron manufacturing process
  • Hyper-Threading Technology
  • 4MB on-chip, full-speed L2 cache - 2MB for each core
  • Intel EM64T Extensions - 64-bit computing
  • Execute Disable Bit - For enhanced security
  • Streaming SIMD Extensions - SSE2, SSE3
  • Supported by the Intel i975X Express chipset
  • LGA775 Packaging - Land Grid Array

 

  • 1.20 - 1.33V operating voltage range
  • 95 - 130 watts TPD (Thermal Design Power)
  • Die Size: Approximately 140mm2
  • Approximately 376M Transistors

Presler / Cedar Mill Die

We have tested and evaluated a number of products related to the brand new Pentium Extreme Edition 965 over the last few months here at HotHardware.com. For some more background on the technologies employed in the Pentium Extreme Edition platform as a whole, we suggest taking a look at few of these related articles for more detailed explanations of some of the features common to Intel's legacy products and the new 965XE processor:

We cover some specifics regarding Intel's 65nm manufacturing process in our recent 955XE / i975X evaluation, and outline Intel's AMT (Active Management Technology) and IVT (Intel Virtualization Technology), among other things, in our Pentium D 820 7 i945G/P evaluation.  We also cover more of the features integrated into Intel's dual-core processors in our Pentium Extreme Edition 840 preview. And in the Pentium 6xx series & 3.73GHz Pentium Extreme Edition review, we detail many of the features of the Prescott 2M core, which has much in common with the Presler and Cedar Mill execution cores.

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Vital Signs & Overclocking

On the surface, the Pentium Extreme Edition 965 looks just like any other LGA775 based Intel processor. Other than the unique marking etched into the processor's integrated heat spreader, there is nothing that would set this chip apart from its predecessors.

The Pentium Extreme Edition 965
Dual-Core at 65nm Refined

    
The new Pentium Extreme Edition 965

The Pentium Extreme Edition 965 is equipped with the same integrated heat spreader and packaging as previous Pentiums, but underneath that heat spreader are two distinct Cedar Mill dies (two Cedar Mill dies = one Presler), connected through the processor's packaging substrate.

If you recall from our previous Intel coverage, the Smithfield core used on the Extreme Edition 840 was basically two Prescott cores linked together to form one large die. Incorporating two individual dies onto one package with the Presler core though, should help Intel with yields on the 965XE and other dual-core Presler based processors, because the dies can come from two different parts of the same wafer, or even two different wafers altogether.

Due to the fact that this is a dual-core CPU, and each individual core has Hyper-Threading enabled, the 965XE appears as four virtual processors in a supported operating system, like Windows XP. Each core is clocked at 3.73GHz and rides on a 1066MHz front side bus (266MHz quad-pumped). Each core is equipped with 2MB of full-speed L2 cache, for a grand total of 4MB. The CPU requires a mere 1.2v - 1.33v to operate. We should also note that the Pentium Extreme Edition 965 has full support for Intel's Virtualization technology, which gives users the ability to run multiple operating systems in independent environments, full support for EM64T to run 64-bit operating systems, and the Execute Disable Bit to prevent certain types of malware driven buffer-overflow attacks.

What you can't see without the help of some software is that the Pentium Extreme Edition 965's Presler core is also a completely new stepping. If you look back at this image from our 955XE article, you'll see that the 955XE used stepping "2". However, the Pentium Extreme Edition 965, while part of the same family of processors, has a stepping designator of "4". Stepping "4" incorporates the C1E halt state, that lowers clock speeds and power consumption when the system is idle.  This new stepping will likely be used in other Pentium D's moving forward, as it offers similar performance at a lower TDP. Unfortunately, we don't have many details regarding the changes made with the new stepping, but we suspect some details will emerge in the coming days.

Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 965 Overclocking Experiment
Cranking Up the Multiplier & FSB - Improved thermals and a lot of headroom

Intrigued by the fact that this processor is based on a totally new stepping of the Presler core, we spent some quality time overclocking the new Pentium Extreme Edition 965 to see what kind of clock speed headroom it had left. Because the Extreme Edition 965 has an unlocked multiplier and the Asus motherboard we used for testing has the ability to alter the processor's multiplier via the system BIOS, we overclocked the 965XE using a combination of FSB and multiplier tweaks.

By default, the Pentium Extreme Edition 965's multiplier is set to 14 with a 266MHz quad-pumped front side bus (effective speed of 1066MHz). To overclock the CPU we first bumped up our processor's core voltage to 1.35v and raised the multiplier until the test system was no longer stable. With the multiplier set to 16 and the CPU running at 4.25GHz, we had no trouble running any benchmarks and considered the system completely stable. With the multiplier set to 17 though, for a final clock speed over 4.5GHz, we experienced some instability. At this point we slowly increased the front side bus frequency and found our peak stable clock speed was 4.36GHz (16 x 272MHz), an increase of over 600MHz. We should mention that this was done with the stock cooler. With a more exotic cooling solution, we suspect higher clock speeds would certainly be attainable.

As you can see in the image above, the stock cooler seemed perfectly capable of keeping temperatures in check. When we looked at the 955XE, we witnessed overclocked temperatures in the 70oC+ range and idle temps over 50oC. With the Pentium Extreme Edition 965 though, idle temps hovered around a much more manageable 35oC, while overclocked temps peaked at 63oC.

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Our Test Systems & SiSoft SANDRA

How we configured our test systems: When configuring the test systems for this review, we first entered their respective system BIOSes and set each board to its "Optimized" or "High-Performance Defaults."  The hard drives were then formatted, and Windows XP Professional (SP2) was installed. When the Windows installation was complete, we installed the drivers necessary for our components, and removed Windows Messenger from the system.  Auto-Updating and System Restore were then disabled, and we set up a 768MB permanent page file on the same partition as the Windows installation. Lastly, we set Windows XP's Visual Effects to "best performance," installed all of our benchmarking software, defragged the hard drives, and ran all of the tests.

Test System Specifications
"Intel & AMD Inside!"
SYSTEM 1:
Pentium Extreme Edition 965
(3.73GHz)
Pentium Extreme Edition 955
(3.46GHz)
Pentium Extreme Edition 840
(3.2GHz)
3.73GHz Pentium Extreme Edition

Asus P5WDG2-WS Motherboard

Intel DX975XBX Motherboard
(i975x Chipset)

2x512MB Corsair DDR2-667
CL 3-2-2-8

GeForce 7800 GTX
On-board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA

Windows XP Pro SP2
Intel INF 7.2.2.1006

NVIDIA Forceware v81.98
DirectX 9.0c
SYSTEM 2:
AMD Athlon 64 X2 FX-60
(2.6GHz)
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+
(2.4GHz)

Asus AN832-SLI
(NVIDIA nForce 4 SLIX16)

2x512MB Corsair PC3200
CL 2-2-2-5

GeForce 7800 GTX
On-board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA

Windows XP Pro SP2
nForce 4 Drivers v6.82
NVIDIA Forceware v81.98
DirectX 9.0c

 

Preliminary Benchmarks with SiSoft SANDRA 2005
Synthetic Testing

We began our testing with SiSoftware's SANDRA, the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. SANDRA consists of a set of information and diagnostic utilities that can provide a host of useful information about your hardware and operating system. We ran four of the built-in subsystem tests that partially comprise the SANDRA 2005 suite (CPU, Multimedia, Cache, and Memory) with the Pentium Extreme Edition 965 installed into our test rig.  All of the scores reported below were taken with the processor running at its default clock speeds of 3.73GHz.


CPU Arithmetic Benchmark
Pentium Extreme Edition 965
3.73GHz

Multimedia Benchmark
Pentium Extreme Edition 965
3.73GHz

CPU Cache Benchmark
Pentium Extreme Edition 965
3.73GHz (DDR2 667)

Memory Benchmark
Pentium Extreme Edition 965
3.73GHz (DDR2 667)

The Pentium Extreme Edition 965 tore right through the assortment of synthetic SiSoft SANDRA benchmarks we ran. It was clearly the fastest processor in the CPU Arithmetic and Multi-Media benchmarks, besting the other systems in SANDRA's database by decent margins. The 965XE also performed well in the Cache & Memory test, where it was the best performer with 8K-32K and 512K-4MB block sizes. And in the memory benchmark, the 965XE coupled with some fast Corsair RAM posted peak bandwidth scores in the 6.3GB/s range.

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PCMark05: CPU & Memory

For our next round of synthetic benchmarks, we ran the CPU and Memory performance modules built into Futuremark's PCMark05.  We incorporated PCMark05 into our benchmark suite soon after its release, and have found it to be even more robust in terms of test features than its predecessor.  That said, the CPU and Memory test modules we use for comparison are very similar to the 04 version of the test suite.  For those interested in more than just the graphs, we've got a couple of quotes directly from Futuremark that explain exactly what these tests do, and how they work.

Futuremark PCMark05
More Synthetic CPU and Memory Benchmarks

"The CPU test suite is a collection of tests that are run to isolate the performance of the CPU. The CPU Test Suite also includes multithreading: two of the test scenarios are run multithreaded; the other including two simultaneous tests and the other running four tests simultaneously. The remaining six tests are run single threaded. Operations include, File Compression/Decompression, Encryption/Decryption, Image Decompression, and Audio Compression" - Courtesy FutureMark Corp.

The Pentium Extreme Edition 965's 4  "virtual" processors propel it to the head of the pack in PCMark05's CPU performance module. This is a multi-threaded test, and as such it benefits greatly from the fact that each of the 965XE's cores can process two threads simultaneously when Hyper-Threading is enabled. The chip's higher clock speed obviously helps as well, as it's able to best the 955XE by more than 500 points.


"The Memory test suite is a collection of tests that isolate the performance of the memory subsystem. The memory subsystem consists of various devices on the PC. This includes the main memory, the CPU internal cache (known as the L1 cache) and the external cache (known as the L2 cache). As it is difficult to find applications that only stress the memory, we explicitly developed a set of tests geared for this purpose. The tests are written in C++ and assembly. They include: Reading data blocks from memory, Writing data blocks to memory performing copy operations on data blocks, random access to data items and latency testing."  - Courtesy FutureMark Corp.

The Pentium Extreme Edition 965 was the best performer in PCMark05's memory performance module as well. This test isn't strictly a gauge of bandwidth like SANDRA's, though, which is why the higher clocked 965XE is able to outperform the 955XE, even though both processors put up similar scores in the SANDRA test.

Interestingly enough, according to this test, Intel has an advantage over AMD in the memory performance department. AMD's integrated memory controller has long been touted as one of the major factors in the Athlon 64's excellent relative performance. But Futuremark's test doesn't seem to think so. Let's get away from the synthetic tests and see what some real-world application benchmarks have to say.

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Office XP SP2 & PhotoShop 7

PC World Magazine's WorldBench 5.0 is a new breed of Business and Professional application benchmark, that has replaced the aging and no-longer supported Content Creation and Business Winstone tests in our suite. WorldBench 5.0 consists of a number of performance modules that each utilize one, or a group of, popular applications to gauge performance.  Below we have the results from WB 5's Office XP SP2 and Photoshop 7 modules, recorded in seconds.  Lower times indicate better performance here, so the shorter the bar the better.

PC World's World Bench 5.0: Office XP SP2 & Photoshop 7 Modules
More Real-World Application Performance

 

 

All of the systems we tested performed similarly in Worldbench's Office XP SP2 test, with the Pentium Extreme Edition 965 performing somewhere in between the Athlon 64 X2 4800+ and single-core 3.73GHz Pentium Extreme. The Athlon 64 FX-60 took the top spot though, besting the 965XE by about 5 seconds.

There was a much wider spread in the Photoshop 7 test. Here, the new Pentium Extreme Edition 965 is clearly the fastest Intel processor, but the Athlons were superior. The Athlon 64 X2 4800+ and FX-60 finished the test about 11 and 29 seconds faster than the 965XE, respectively.

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3ds Max & WME Standalone

We continued our testing of the new Pentium Extreme Edition 965 processor with a few more tests that are part of the Worldbench 5.0 suite. Up next we have some performance results of WB 5.0's 3Ds Max (Direct 3D) test. A number of different 3D objects are rendered and animated in this test, and the entire time needed to complete the tasks is recorded. As is the case with all of the individual Worldbench tests, a lower score here indicates better performance.

PC World's World Bench 5.0: 3ds Max
More Real-World Application Performance

Worldbench 5.0's 3DStudioMax benchmark tells essentially the same story as the Photoshop 7.0 test on the previous page. In this benchmark, the new Pentium Extreme Edition 965 is the fastest of the Intel-built processors, but AMD's Athlon 64 X2 4800+ and FX-60 had clear 20 to 30 second advantages.

Windows Media Encoder 9
Digital Video Encoding

For our next text, we moved onto a benchmark based on Windows Media Encoder 9.  PC WorldBench 5's Windows Media Encoding test reports encoding times in seconds, and like the tests above and on the previous page, lower times indicate better performance.

The Windows Media Encoder benchmark tells a similar story as well. In this test, the Pentium Extreme Edition 965 finished the encoding process a full 20 seconds faster then the 955XE, but again the Athlons finished in the first and second positions. The Athlon 64 X2 4800+ finished about 14 seconds faster than the 965XE, and the FX-60 came in a full 30 seconds faster.

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WME Multi-Tasking & LAME MT

We continued our testing with another Windows Media Encoder benchmark, but this test is very different from the one on the previous page. In this test, which is also part of the Worldbench 5.0 suite, a video is encoded using Windows Media Encoder, while an instance of the Mozilla browser is running and navigating through various cached pages. Because the system is multi-tasking with two different applications, this test is more taxing than the one on the previous page, hence the longer times reported below.

Windows Media Encoder 9 & Mozilla Multi-Tasking
More Digital Video Encoding

Interestingly, the gap separating the Intel and AMD processors widens in the multi-tasking WME / Mozilla benchmark. The AMD systems held onto 185 second and 163 second advantages over the Pentium Extreme Edition 965 here, even though the Intel processor can technically process more simultaneous threads than AMD's dual-core CPUs.

LAME MT MP3 Encoding Test
Converting a Large WAV To MP3

In our custom LAME MT MP3 encoding test, we convert a large WAV file to the MP3 format, which is a very popular scenario that many end users work with on a day-to-day basis to provide portability and storage of their digital audio content.  In this test, we created our own 223MB WAV file (a never-ending Grateful Dead jam) and converted it to the MP3 format using the multi-thread capable LAME MT application in single and multi-thread modes. Processing times are recorded below. Once again, shorter times equate to better performance.

Things turned around for Intel in our custom LAME MT benchmark. In this test, the new Pentium Extreme Edition 965 posted the best times in both single-thread and multi-thread modes. In the single-threaded test, the 965XE outpaced the FX-60 by about 8 seconds, and in the multi-threaded test Intel's new flagship beat AMD's best by approximately 10 seconds.

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Kribibench v1.1

For this next batch of tests, we ran Kribibench v1.1, a 3D rendering benchmark produced by the folks at Adept Development.  Kribibench is an SSE aware software renderer.  A 3D model is rendered and animated by the host CPU, and the average frame rate is reported.  We used two of the included models with this benchmark: a "Sponge Explode" model consisting of over 19.2 million polygons and a gargantuan "Ultra" model that is comprised of over 16 billion polys...

Kribibench v1.1
Details: www.adeptdevelopment.com

 

 

The Pentium Extreme Edition 965 handled the two Kribibench tests we ran quite well. While rendering and animating the "Sponge Explode" Model, the 965XE and dual-core Athlons finished right on-top of each other, with only a fraction of a frame per second separating the top three finishers. With the more taxing "Ultra" model test though, the 965XE came away with a clear victory. Although only a small margin separated the Athlons from the 965XE, the Intel CPU had a significant advantage here.

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Cinebench & 3DMark05: CPU Test

The Cinebench 2003 benchmark is an OpenGL 3D rendering performance test, based on the commercially available Cinema 4D application.  This is a multi-threaded, multi-processor aware benchmark that renders a single 3D scene and tracks the length of the entire process. The time it took each test system to render the entire scene is represented in the graph below (listed in seconds). 

Cinebench 2003 Performance Tests
3D Modeling & Rendering Tests

The Pentium Extreme Edition 965's performance in the single- and multi-thread Cinebench tests are a mixed bag. In single thread mode, the 965XE was the fasted Intel-built processor, but both of the dual-core Athlons we tested posted better scores. However, in the multi-threaded test, where the 965XE is recognized as four virtual processors, it was able to pull ahead of the Athlon 64 X2 4800+ and flagship FX-60.

Futuremark 3DMark05 - CPU Test
Simulated DirectX Gaming Performance

3DMark05's built-in CPU test is a multi-threaded "gaming related" DirectX metric that's useful for comparing relative performance between similarly equipped systems.  This test consists of two different 3D scenes that are generated with a software renderer, which is dependant on the host CPU's performance.  This means that the calculations normally reserved for your 3D accelerator are instead sent to the central processor.  The number of frames generated per second in each test are used to determine the final score.

The CPU performance module built-into Futuremark's 3DMark05 puts the new Pentium Extreme Edition 965 at the head of the pack. The 965XE finished with scores 487 and 565 points higher than the FX-60 and 4800+, respectively. We'll see if 3DMark05's pseudo-synthetic game tests translate to increased performance in actual games on the proceeding pages, though.

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Low-Res Gaming: HL2 & Quake 4

To start our in-game testing, we did some low-resolution benchmarking with Half Life 2.  When testing a processor with HL 2, we use a specific set of game engine initialization settings that ensure all of the systems are being benchmarked with the exact same in-game settings and graphical options.  Like the other in-game tests in this review, we used low-quality graphical settings and a low screen resolution to isolate CPU and memory performance.

Benchmarks with Half Life 2: Low-Res / Low Quality
DirectX 9 Gaming Performance

AMD's dual-core processors had a clear advantage in our custom low-resolution, low-quality Half Life 2 benchmark. The Pentium Extreme Edition 965 was easily the fastest Intel-built CPU, but the Athlon 64 X2 4800+ and FX-60 posted much higher scores. To be exact, the Athlon 64 X2 4800+ came in 15.7% faster, and the FX-60 19.7%.

Benchmarks with Quake 4 v1.0.5.2: Low Quality
OpenGL Gaming Performance

For our next game test, we benchmarked all of the test systems using a custom single-player Quake 4 timedemo. Here, we installed the beta v1.05 patch which is SMP capable, cranked the resolution down to 640 x 480, and configured the game to run at its "Low-Quality" graphics setting. Although Quake 4 typically taxes today's high-end GPUs, when it's configured at these minimal settings it too is more CPU and memory-bound than anything else.

Our custom low-quality Quake 4 benchmark results essentially mirrored those of Half Life 2. In this test, the Pentium Extreme Edition 965 was easily the fastest of the Intel offerings, but the Athlons were too much to handle.  We would also like to note that we did some experimenting with this benchmark using NVIDIA's Forceware v84.25 drivers due to be released a little later today, and saw big jumps in performance with the 965XE and FX-60. In fact, with the 84.25 drivers installed, the 965XE's performance jumped to 182.3 FPS in this test, and the FX-60's score increased to 202.3 FPS.

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Hi-Res Gaming: HL2 & Quake 4

We took a different approach for this next batch of in-game benchmarks. In a recent poll of our readers, we found that 1280x1024 is the most popular resolution that our readers use to play their games. So, for this next set of tests we configured Half Life 2 and Quake 4 to run at that resolution with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled, and re-ran our benchmarks.

Benchmarks with Half Life 2: Mainstream Settings
DirectX 9 Gaming Performance

The playing field levels a bit with the resolution cranked up in Half Life 2. This time around, the Athlons were still faster than anything from the Intel camp, but their margins of victory were only about 6 and 15 frames per second.

Benchmarks with Quake 4: Mainstream settings
OpenGL Gaming Performance

With Quake 4 running at a higher resolution with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled, the GeForce 7800 GTX we used for testing became the bottleneck, and all of the systems tested post a nearly identical framerate.  It's interesting to see that, while small, the Intel systems did end up with a slight advantage here.

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Power Consumption

We have one final data point we'd like to cover before bringing this article to a close. Throughout all of our benchmarking, we monitored how much power our Intel based test system was consuming using a power meter. Our goal was to give you all an idea as to how much power each configuration used while idling and running under load. Please keep in mind that we were testing total system power consumption here at the outlet, not just the power being drawn by the processors alone.

Total System Power Consumption
It's All About the Watts

It seems that the changes Intel made to the Presler core with this latest stepping of the chip had a significant effect on power consumption. As we mentioned earlier, this chip ran cooler and also overclocked higher than the Pentium Extreme Edition 955 we evaluated a few short months ago. And even though the Pentium Extreme Edition 965 is clocked roughly 10% higher than the 955XE, it also draws less power overall.

While idling at the Windows desktop, out test system consumed roughly 171 watts when equipped with the Pentium Extreme Edition 965XE, and with the 955XE installed it drew about 169 watts.  When running the processors with a full load though, the scales actually tipped in favor of the 965XE. With 100% CPU utilization, the 965XE system drew 246 watts of power to the 955XE's 248 watts. It's not a monumental difference, but considering the 965XE is clocked much higher and overall consumes less power than the chip it replaces at the top of Intel's line-up, its clear Intel has been making progress with their 65nm manufacturing process and power saving technologies.

Of course looking at the AMD numbers, the Athlon's still have an edge in terms of power consumption, using approximately 30 - 35 watts less than Intel's flagship under-load. And had we enabled Cool'n'Quiet, the Athlons would have used less power while idling as well.

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Our Summary & Conclusion

Benchmark Summary: The new Pentium Extreme Edition 965XE was the fastest Intel-built CPU we have tested in all but one of the benchmarks (Office XP SP2), where the single-core 3.73GHz XE held onto a minor, few second lead. Overall though, the AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ and Athlon 64 FX-60 were still somewhat faster than the 965XE. The synthetic benchmarks, 3D rendering tests, and audio encoding tests favored the Pentium Extreme Edition 965, while most of the gaming tests, content creation and desktop application benchmarks, as well as the video encoding tests, ran best on the AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ and FX-60.

The Pentium Extreme Edition 965 is an interesting product. Not only is it the most powerful desktop processor Intel has released to date, but it consumes less power and runs somewhat cooler than previous Presler-based CPUs. It's still not quite on the same level of AMD's competitive high-end, dual-core offerings in terms of overall performance and power consumption, but Intel is much closer now then they were just a few short months ago, thanks to the 965XE new core stepping and higher clock speed. It's certainly easier to make a case today for a high-end Intel dual-core rig, that it was when the first Presler-based processors hit the market late last year.

Unfortunately for Intel (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), the company has put many buyers in a holding pattern, after letting the on-line press publicly release Conroe benchmarks earlier this month. Of course, $1000 CPUs like the Pentium Extreme Edition 965 typically don't sell like hotcakes anyway, but after seeing a 2.66GHz Conroe skunk an overclocked 2.8GHz FX-60 in an Intel-controlled benchmark session, we suspect sales of the 965XE will be even softer than they historically have been for a flagship chip like this. But Conroe is not here just yet.  And if you're itching for the fastest Intel desktop processor available right now, the Pentium Extreme Edition 965 is it. Intel expects the 965XE to be available April 1st from system builders and various on-line retailers.

  • Intel's Fastest Dual-Core CPU yet
  • Cooler Running
  • Lower Power Consumption
  • Very Good Performer
  • Plenty of Overclocking Headroom
  • Dual-Core with HyperThreading
  • 64-Bit OS Support
  • Expensive
  • AMD still slightly faster overall
  • Conroe is coming!

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