It seemed like just yesterday when we we approached the 1GHz plateau of CPU core speed and now we are up to 3GHz and beyond. Today we are reviewing the recently introduced 3GHz 800MHz FSB (Front Side Bus) Pentium 4 "C" stepping CPU by Intel. The initial launch of the 3.06GHz Pentium 4 was quite impressive and now, even more so with the move from a 133/533 FSB to a 200/800 FSB. Couple this in with a .13u Process, Hyper-Threading Technology, NetBurst™ Micro-Architecture, 512KB L2 Cache, and quite a few more options, and you have a relative power house CPU on your hands.
One of the main reasons that the new 13.0GHz "C" P4 has us excited is the new 200MHz FSB. I've said all along that the Pentium 4's were FSB hungry and now we are seeing the true benefits of that extra added bandwidth. Going from the previous "B" version chips at a 133MHz FSB, skipping 166MHz and going straight for a 200MHz FSB and 800MHz System Bus, we really have high hopes for these new processors. Today we are going to detail what differences you can expect to see when running the new "C" version chip against it's slower and equally (yet FSB challenged) brethren.
Front Side Bus Explained Some of you may be a little confused by the way Intel implements their Front Side Bus and System Bus Speed. Without getting too extremely technical, I will try to break it down in layman's terms. Initially, the Pentium 4 line of processors were introduced with a 100MHz FSB and 400MHz System Bus. The 400MHz comes from the "quad pumped" data transfer rates which mean the data can be sent 4x per clock cycle, which in turn effectively makes the transfer rates as fast as 400MHz. Additionally, a "quad pumped" FSB of 133 will give you 533MHz as we have seen with the "B" model CPU's, and finally with the latest "C" model CPU, we have a 200/800MHz Bus.
Finally, what we hope to see here with the new "C" version CPU's with the 200MHz FSB is a higher level of performance while retaining a similar clock speed of previous processors, notably the 3.06B/533. On paper, the 800MHz FSB sounds great and your initial thoughts are that we will definitely see performance increases, but without proper implementation of this new specification we could see some serious bottlenecks. Here is how Intel does it. The 800MHz FSB will offer a minimum of 6.4GB/s of bandwidth. Currently, the technology for a memory interface that will support that does not exist, it's simply too fast. So if we can't have faster memory, lets just widen the memory interface which will in turn increase overall bandwidth. With the new 865 and 875 chipsets Intel used the 64-bit DDR memory interface of the 845PE chipset, and added a second 64-bit channel in addition to adding DDR400 support (PC3200). 128-bit memory interface (64-bit x 2) with DDR400 gives us the 6.4GB/s of memory bandwidth with is balanced with the 800MHz FSB. NO alien technology, no gimmicks, no tricks, just plain and simple a MUCH wider path to give us more overall bandwidth.
Specifications and Product Overview Looks wise, the new P4 looks identical to the "B" model CPU's. Same pin-out, same heat spreader, same weight, the only tell tale differences are on the stepping numbers printed on the heat spreader. Below is a small data sheet for the 3GHz 800MHz FSB CPU.
Just some basic information outlining CPU Frequency, Package Type, Bus speed, Thermal Specs, etc. Notably the Core Voltage info is missing, however this chip has a default of 1.55V. Features and benefits can be seen below.
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
And a few highlights from Intel's website giving you some indication of where HT might prove beneficial.
Performance Highlights The Pentium 4 processor delivers maximum performance for:
Cutting-edge Internet technologies such as streaming video and MP3 audio
Quickly creating, editing and sharing professional-quality photos and video
The ultimate gaming platform for immersive 3D experiences
Internet technologies such as Java*, streaming audio and video, 3D, and Web animation
Background tasks such as real-time virus checking, encryption, compression, and e-mail synchronization
Reduced compiling and rendering times for multimedia applications
Longevity and headroom for future technologies and innovations
Operation of Windows XP* operating system
So from what we've seen so far there are already high hopes for Intel's latest CPU. This particular processor should remain Intel's fastest until they get ready to introduce the 90nm Prescott core (currently 130nm core) CPU's later this year. The 90nm cores will have smaller, faster and cooler running transistors that will yield clock speeds in excess of 3.2GHz not to mention 1MB of L2 Cache. Talk about dropping the hammer.
Obviously in order to utilize the benefits of this new 800MHz CPU Intel needed to introduce a new chipset, and thus the 875P Canterwood was born. The new chipset is fairly exciting and incorporates some of the latest industry standards you would expect with a top notch performer, such as AGP 8X, Native SATA support, Dual Channel DDR and a 200MHz FSB (800MHz Quad Pumped). Intel fans will no longer be left out whereas previously AMD users enjoyed the benefits of a higher FSB and AGP 8X. And while yes, Granite Bay did have DC and AGP 8X, it simply was not a chipset aimed at the desktop performance market.
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