Closing Commentary and Analysis -
Today, we've given you an architectural and performance showcase, to the best of our ability, on Intel's new platform for the Pentium 4. You've seen the new i925X and i915P/G chipset architectures and their feature-sets, along with the myriad of new innovations they bring forth. High Def integrated Audio, could make high end discrete solutions a thing of the past, integrated 802.11b/g wireless access point and hub functionality may allow new connectivity options for the average home or small office user, and Matrix RAID brings the redundancy and performance benefits of Serial ATA RAID 0/1 to the mainstream. We have to applaud Intel for driving these higher levels of integration, fidelity and innovation into their architecture. There are not many R&D teams in the world capable of the resource commitment required to make new technologies like this viable for the masses but the team at Intel obviously has the critical mass, budget and horsepower to bring it all to fruition.
On the surface however, it's probably fairly easy for us to be somewhat disappointed in some of the benchmark scores we experienced in this showcase. We saw the new P4 560 and P4 Extreme Edition, in the new LGA775 package, win a few and lose a few to AMD's high end Athlon 64s. In the area of audio and video processing, and certain 3D rendering scenarios, the Pentium 4 560 and P4 Extreme Edition showed their obvious strength. In gaming situations, it was all AMD. Furthermore, it looks like it will take some time before the new PCI Express interface is taken advantage of in the average PC. However, the merits of the technology are glaringly obvious and you can be sure Intel will continue to drive adoption and exploitation of this new high bandwidth serial point to point connection medium. In addition, Serial Switching architectures are coming to high end systems everywhere, not just within the PC space. It's a natural evolution that the entire Electronics industry is lining up to follow. There are various camps you could bet on here, Serial Rapid IO, Infiniband, PCI Express or Hyper-Transport. With Intel firmly behind PCI Express, you can bet on it becoming pervasive in the marketplace.
Finally, we'll close on pricing and availability. We've heard rumblings as of recent, that Intel was heading for a paper launch of the Pentium 4 560 and Extreme Edition processors in LGA775. We've been assured by Intel that there will be availability in the channel come Monday, at over 150,000 retailers nationwide, however. It doesn't sound like a paper launch to us but we're sure Intel will be ramping up volume of various models and clock speeds of their new processors, through the coming months. Here's the menu of pricing for the new models:
Also, as you've seen here, motherboards are already plentiful from many of the major OEMs, so those certainly will not hold up this roll out whatsoever. PCI Express Graphics cards on the other hand, we hope will start to flow a little better shortly. For now, we'll have to watch how things shake out in the weeks and months ahead. We have a completely revamped architecture for the Pentium 4 now, courtesy of Intel. Let's hope they keep driving performance optimizations to go along with all this new technology.