To say the least it just got interesting again in the land of value minded PC enthusiasts. For the last few years if a person were looking for the maximum "bang for their buck" ratio when buying a CPU they didn't have to look much further than the AMD Athlon series of processors. The days of Intel ruling the value, OEM, and PROsumer market dwindled slowly and for all intents and purposes, there was a new sheriff in town. Oh sure, the battle raged on, AMD or Intel, Intel or AMD, but the bottom line was that Intel could not meet the price to performance points that AMD was reveling in. (Picture fades as the AMD logo shines brightly and the "Intel Inside" moniker dissipates slowly.)
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Intel knew that it had some tricks up it's sleeves. What tricks could Intel possibly throw at us to shove their way squarely to the center of attention and again reclaim their king of speed title? Well, that's what we're here today to discuss and review. Enter the Pentium4 processors based on an 800Mhz front side bus. Intel, as well as more than a few fan sites, have declared these new CPU's champion and again relegated AMD to 2nd place. To be honest, after seeing the results of our own Pentium4 3.0c review I would tend to say they were dead on. That left us in a bit of a quandy: Intel was again the biggest and baddest, but they were still priced out of reach for average consumers. They answered that call by releasing 2.4GHz, 2.6GHz, and 2.8GHz flavors of the new chip shortly after the launch of the 3.0c.
Today we're going to look at the 2.6GHz part from Intel boasting not only the 800MHz front side bus, but the coveted HT (Hyper-threading) technology that has been rather elusive to date by only appearing on the 3.06GHz part from Intel.
ABOUT THE PROCESSOR
I am not going to dig too deeply in specs on this one. If you have the "need to know" urge sweeping over you I suggest heading over to our Pentium4 3.0c review for all of the details as we covered it all in there. I will however show you the brass tacks specifications about this Pentium4. I can tell you up front that the only real difference you'll see between this CPU and every P4 released since the introduction of the Northwood is the 800Mhz front side bus and the addition of Hyper-Threading on the chips below the 3.06GHz.
Pentium4 2.6GHz - 800MHz FSB
478 pin PPGA FC-PGA2
L2 Cache Size
L2 Cache Speed
Product Order Codes
Product Order Code
OEM Order Code
Processor Core Speeds Up to 3.06 GHz—including the new 3 GHz
Maximum performance for a wide range of emerging Internet, PC and workstation applications
Improves performance and system responsiveness in today's multitasking environments by enabling the processor to execute multiple instruction threads in parallel.
New 0.13u process technology
Enables higher frequency and lower power
Intel® NetBurst™ Micro-architecture
Designed to deliver highest performance in video, graphics, multimedia and other sophisticated applications
Up to 800-MHz System Bus
High bandwidth between the processor and the rest of the system improves throughput and performance
512KB L2 Cache (for 2A GHz and Faster) or 256KB Cache (for 2 GHz and Slower)
Enhances performance by providing fast access to heavily used data and instructions
144 new instructions accelerate operation across a broad range of demanding applications
Rapid Execution Engine
Arithmetic Logic Units run at twice the core frequency, speeding execution in this performance critical area
128-Bit Floating Point Port
Floating Point performance boost provides enhanced 3D visualization, life-like gaming and scientific calculations
SIMD 128-bit Integer
Accelerates video, speech, encryption and imaging/photo processing
Execution Trace Cache
Greatly improves instruction cache efficiency, maximizing performance on frequently used sections of software code
Advanced Dynamic Execution
Improved branch prediction enhances performance for all 32-bit applications by optimizing instruction sequences
Allows motherboards to be cost-effectively designed to expected application power usages rather than theoretical maximums
Built-in Self Test (BIST)
Provides single stuck-at fault coverage of the microcode and large logic arrays, plus testing of the instruction cache, data cache, Translation Lookaside Buffers, and ROMs
IEEE 1149.1 Standard Test Access Port and Boundary Scan
Enables testing of the Pentium® 4 processor and system connections through a standard interface
Like I said, if you're the type that wants to know all the details and then some head over to the 3.0c review and read till you're hearts content. When done, head back here and read more about this 2.6, which the rest of us will do now.
A CLOSER LOOK
Here are a few images of the CPU, retail heat sink, and retail packaging.
The Product Label
The Retail Heat Sink
That label always cracks me up.
I will note here one thing that a negative, but in a non-impacting way. The heat sink unit that ships with the 2.6GHz part is to say the least, of lesser quality, that what came with our 3.0GHz revision C.
Notice the heat sink on the left from our Pentium4 3.0c, it has a copper slug nestled under a thin fan heat sink design. The heat sink on the right is from our 2.6c part and as you can tell, is the same ho-hum heat sink that's shipped with the P4's as far back as I can remember. The 3.0c came with a thermal compound to use, the 2.6c a TIM (Thermal Interface Material) pad.
This is non-impacting really because let's be honest, if you're reading this review you are NOT the type of person to use retail cooling! Are you?
Alright, all of that out of the way, let's get to some benchmarking which I know is why you're here!
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