p4p ht logo Intel Pentium 4 3.2Ghz Review   Last Of Northwood

Intel today has unveiled their the latest Pentium 4 processor based on 0.13 micron Northwood core with clock speed tops out at a high 3.2Ghz and this also spark the end of the Northwood cores. Pentium 4 3.2Ghz is based on the newer 800Mhz system bus and continues incorporating all the nice features of the NetBurst Architecture as well as the Hyper-Threading Technology.

Intel today has unveiled their the latest Pentium 4 processor based on 0.13 micron Northwood core with clock speed tops out at a high 3.2Ghz and this also spark the end of the Northwood cores. Pentium 4 3.2Ghz is based on the newer 800Mhz system bus and continues incorporating all the nice features of the NetBurst Architecture as well as the Hyper-Threading Technology. Apart from churning out faster processors, Intel has introduced the 800Mhz FSB and Dual Channel DDR400 supporting chipsets, the 875P and 865 series a couple of months back that help to boost the overall platform performance.

The Northwood cores have served Intel well for the past one and half year as Intel has been very successful in ramping the clock speed of the Northwood series by using 0.13 micron technology and using 300mm wafer technology to lower overall costs. Of course, Intel can extend the life of the Northwood core longer since it is able scale up further and reach a clock speed of 3.6Ghz comfortably based on current positive overclocking results. However, there isn’t a need to since Intel is maintaining the performance leadership currently over AMD in terms of both performance and clock speed. Intel’s strong R&D has allowed them to develop 90nm process technology a step head of its competitors therefore processors based on the new process technology will come on schedule end of this year for mass production.

Intel Pentium 4 Pricing

CPU

June
23

Pentium 4 3.20GHz
(800MHz)

$ 637

Pentium 4 3.06GHz
(800MHz)

$ 401

Pentium 4 3.0GHz
(533MHz)

$ 417

Pentium 4 2.80GHz (800MHz)

$ 278

Pentium 4 2.80GHz
(533MHz)

$ 262

Pentium 4 2.66GHz
(533MHz)

$ 193

Pentium 4 2.60GHz (800MHz)

$ 218

Pentium 4 2.53GHz
(533MHz)

$ 193

Pentium 4 2.40GHz (800MHz)

$ 178

Desktop CPU Roadmap Comparison

  
Q3 2003

Q4 2003

H1 2004

H2 2004

Intel

“Tejas”
(0.09, 1MB L2)
   
4.5Ghz+?

“Prescott”
(0.09, 1MB L2)
 3.4Ghz
3.6-4Ghz?
4Ghz+?

Pentium 4
“Northwood”
(0.13, 512KB L2)
3.2Ghz   
AMD
Athlon 64
“San Diego”

(0.09, SOI, 1MB L2)
   
4000+
(2.4Ghz)

Athlon 64 “ClawHammer”

(0.13, SOI, 1MB L2)
 
3400+
(2.0Ghz)

3700+
(2.2Ghz)
 

Athlon XP “Barton”
(0.13, 512KB L2)
XP
3200+
(2.2Ghz)
   

The launch of Pentium 4 3.2Ghz is in direct competition with AMD Athlon XP 3200+ and that’s we are going to compare against later in the article. However, the highlight of this year isn’t going to be P4 3.2Ghz vs Athlon XP 3200+ or Northwood vs Barton. Instead, the exciting part will happen later this year when both Intel and AMD unveil their next generation processors.

AMD will launch their Athlon 64 processors based on the K8 architecture in September with a PR rating of 3400+ clocked at 2Ghz. Athlon 64 “ClawHammer” is based on the 0.13 micron process built on SOI and equipped with 1MB of L2 cache. Intel is well ahead of AMD with their process technology as their next generation Prescott will be on 0.09 micron process this year end. AMD is only able to move on to 90nm micron process second half of next year and will meet up with Tejas, the next successor to Prescott. Judging from the roadmap, AMD clearly lose out in clock speed race and it is getting wider each time whenever Intel releases a new processor but the powerful K8 architecture set in place on the Athlon 64 processors will hopefully save the day and we will have a clearer picture in time to come.

Prescott is scheduled to release end of this year with a starting clock speed of 3.4Ghz and is scalable to a high 5Ghz since it is presumed to possess longer pipelines. Prescott is known to contain 100M transistors with a 109mm2 die size and has 16KB of L1 cache and 1MB of L2 cache. It comes with 13 Prescott New Instructions (PNI) that will enhance Hyper-Threading further : 1 for video encoding and 2 for thread synchronization and the rest for complex arithmetic operations, floating-point-to-integer conversions and SIMD floating-point operations. Prescott is rumored to contain 64-bit extension codenamed YamHill Technology and also La Grande Technology but these features will be locked initially until there is a need for them. Prescott will be pin compatible with the current Socket 478 Pentium 4 processors initially and consumers will still be able to use the current boards based on 875P and 865 series. At second half of next year, Prescott will have a new packaging LGA (Land Grid Array) with 775 balls and will be paired up with Intel Grantsdale chipsets that supports Socket T, Dual Channel DDR2 400/533Mhz, PCI Express x16 and ICH6. Tejas is something more interesting and it will comes only in second half of next year when Grantsdale chipsets arrive. It is touted to contain 8 Tejas New Instructions (TNI) : New high-performance audio standard supporting Dolby digital, multi-streaming and improved speech recognition.