Intel Pentium 4 2.2GHz and 2.0GHz Northwood Processors Review

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


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

By, Dave Altavilla
January 7, 2002

We'll finish up our testing with the incomparable Quake 3 Time Demo run. 

Benchmarks and Comparisons
Quake 3 Time Demo Benchmark

Once again, in an effort to isolate raw host processor horsepower, we have turned the graphical settings down to a low resolution 640X480 run with 16 bit color.  Additionally, geometry and texture settings were left low.  The CPUs in this test should be left with the ability to drive as many polygons, through the GeForce3s that we used, as they can muster.


Here we see a more modest but significant gain of about 7% for the 2GHz. Northwood and 12% for the 2.2GHz. CPU.  Again, Intel widens the gap in this gaming benchmark, between itself and the Athlon XP1900+.  Even with XP2000+ chips around the corner, we would be hard pressed to believe it could score higher than a 2.2GHz. Northwood Pentium 4.

We see now what Intel would have liked to deliver in the first incarnation of the Pentium 4 processor.  However, with modern fab process technologies in the .18 micron range, at the time of it's first launch, cache sizes had to be chopped and clock speeds held back in return for acceptable yields.  With .13 micron technology now in full volume production in the Intel fabs, Intel can finally realize the full potential of the architecture they have been developing with the Pentium 4 all this time.  At 2.2GHz. the Pentium 4 is the highest clock speed processor on the planet right now.  Higher clock cycles do not always translate to higher performance, as we all know.  However, you cannot argue the fact that the Pentium 4, with all of its 2.2GHz. of bandwidth, shows impressive power in demanding applications.  Although the Athlon XP still seems to have an edge in office applications, like those tested in the Winstone tests, we are sure the average end user would have a tough time perceiving the difference between a high end Athlon and a Pentium 4, in these tasks.  Intel's focus on the Floating Point and Multimedia performance, we feel is very much on target, for this is where processing power is going to be required most, moving forward.  Word processors just don't need a 2GHz. processor to run with acceptable performance.

In addition, you have seen a glimpse of  what is to come in our over-clocking tests.  Our 2.2GHz. chip reached 2.6+GHz without too much effort or extra voltage.  Once again, you get the feeling that Intel is releasing higher follow on speed bins of the part, almost at will.  We are looking forward to the day, in the not so distant future, where we'll have 3GHz. under the hood.  Let's not forget Intel's promised "Hyper-Threading" technology, which will effectively make one physical processor look like two logical processors to the operating system.  With the ability to execute different tasks simultaneously using common system resources, the Pentium 4 should, if all goes as Intel plans, really begin to shine.  We'll have to wait and see how things pan out.  For now, we'll thank "deep sub-micron" technology (very deep) for smiling upon us once again and delivering even more power.

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