Intel's Pentium 4 2.2GHz. and 2.0AGHz. Northwood Processors

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Intel's Pentium 4 2.2GHz. and 2.0AGHz. Processors
"Northwood" Enters The Arena

By, Dave Altavilla
January 7, 2002

 
Like kids in a candy store, we set out to see just what the Northwood was made of, in terms of its system level behavior and general characteristics.   What would this new .13 micron part, with additional on chip cache, do when we powered up?  Let's have a look.
 

Pentium 4 Northwood - Vital Signs
Less is more...

Let's first have a look at what CPUID tells us about the 2.2GHz. chip, since it is the star of our show.  We'll also be testing out the 2.0AGHz. version as well, in the following pages.  As an aside, Intel has chosen the "A" call out designation for the 2GHz. chip,  to signify it is Northwood core based versus legacy Willamette technology.

CPUID and Cache ID - Click images for full viewing
 

 

You'll note here that we indeed have a 2.2GHz. Pentium 4 with 512K of full speed on chip cache.  CPUID also reports the P4's onboard L1, Trace, Instruction and Data Cache, 32K in total.  The 512K L2 cache is 8 way set associative, which means each of the internal memory sectors or "sets" on the cache can map to 8, 64 byte cache lines.  This provides higher cache hit rates.  8 Way Set Associative Cache implementations have been around since the P3 Coppermine chips, only now we have 2X the amount of cache at 512K.

In terms of voltage and temperature, here's what the Northwoods are running at.


These readings were taken at the 2.2GHz. speed, from the Winbond on board health monitoring chip that is on our test-bed Abit motherboard.  It isn't as accurate as a reading from a thermistor probe but this should still give you a baseline.  As you can see, the Northwood core at this speed is running at a slightly lower temp than the 2GHz. Willamette we tested back in August.  With a modest 200MHz. speed increase, it was nice to see approximately a 3C drop in temperature.

 

Overclocking The Northwood
We can almost taste 3GHz.

We might as well jump in feet first on this and just let it rip.  We took the 2.2GHz. Northwood test chip we have here in the lab (a full retail version) and dropped it into an Asus P4B266 i845DDR motherboard.  This board allows for only a modest voltage increase to 1.7V over the default 1.5V core voltage.  We then had to work with the fairly high 22X multiplier on the 2.2G Northwood and drove the front side bus speed up as high as it would handle things and still perform with good stability.  Here are the results.

CPUID and Sandra's Processor @ 2.6GHz. - Click images for full view

    

Not too long ago, the average X86 CPU was clocking in at a few hundred MHz.  Remember the Celeron 300A and how the enthusiast crowd couldn't get enough of the chip over-clocked at 450-500MHz.?  Well, it certainly is amazing to see that these days, we are realizing a 400MHz. over-clock gain.  It is amazing to think that not long ago 400MHz. was the average total speed of the processor and now we are realizing over-clock differentials alone that high.  At 2.6GHz. the Northwood leaves everything in the dust in this quick Sandra Processor test.

Let's move out to more detailed testing.

The Benchmarks


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