I was in Austin visiting AMD when I saw the email - Intel was prepping a dual core system to be sent out my way for a preview.  That was last Wednesday, the machine arrived on Friday, and today's Monday; needless to say, it's been a busy weekend.

This type of a review is a first for Intel. For the most part, doing an officially sanctioned preview with performance benchmarks isn't in the Intel vocabulary.  Don't take this opportunity lightly - this is a huge change in the thinking and execution at Intel. 

Make no mistake, Intel isn't officially releasing their dual core desktop processors today; this is merely a preview. Intel's dual core line is still on track to be released sometime in the April - June timeframe.  Intel will beat AMD to bringing dual core to the desktop first, while AMD will do the same to Intel in the server/workstation world.  We still have no idea of actual availability when these chips are officially launched. Remember that all of the first generation dual core chips are basically twice the size of their single core counterparts - meaning that they put twice the strain on manufacturing.  Intel, with 11 total fabs, is in a better position to absorb this impact than AMD, but both have paper-launched products in the past, so there's no telling which way the dual core wars will go initially.  All we can say at this point is that we've seen dual core parts from both AMD and Intel running at full shipping speeds, and Intel was the first to get us a review sample for this preview. 

The clock speed race is over, both AMD and Intel have thrown in their towels, and now it's time to shift to dual core.  Intel has been extremely forthcoming with their dual core roadmap, and for those who aren't intimately familiar with it, here's a look at the next 24 months from Intel:

The green bars are dual core, the blue is single core.  Enough said.

The Chip: Pentium Extreme Edition
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  • fitten - Tuesday, April 05, 2005 - link

    #66: What he said about SMT (which HT is a brand name of) is kind of off. Of *course* having two cores is better than a single one acting like one. Heck, having 8 cores is better than a single core acting like 8. However, Intel's HT added about 5% to the total realestate of the chip to get arguable benefit. Adding another core adds around 100% more realestate.

    As far as as having a waste or resources, which is more wasteful: adding 5% logic or having execution units sitting around idle (and unused)? (Remember that just about any execution unit (especially an OOOE one) is going to be larger than 5% of the logic of a core.)
    Reply
  • defter - Tuesday, April 05, 2005 - link

    "Dont forget that socket 939 is dual channel it could be possible to give one memory channel for one processor and the other channel for the other"

    Actually you are propably right, memory controller can be build in a way that it can make two independent memory requests simultaneously. BUT the P4 chipset can be built in the same way, thus P4 chipset may also have the ability to allocate one memory channel for each core.
    Reply
  • Illissius - Tuesday, April 05, 2005 - link

    I second the request for Linux benchmarks. Primarily because it's what I use :), but also because I've heard rumors that Windows's task scheduler sucks at multithreading, and it'd be nice to see if they have any grounds in reality (my suspicion is it's just a relic from the win9x era, but you never know)...
    re: repeatable multitasking benchmarks. couldn't you use the task scheduler / at / cron for that? or are those not fine-grained enough?
    Also, benching game + other intensive task isn't as dumb as it sounds -- especially as the game would be the one that has the focus, so dual cores might actually make that a viable scenario (remember that whole 'enables you to do entirely new things' part?).
    Reply
  • defter - Tuesday, April 05, 2005 - link

    #71
    "I am not really sure about that, amd always said the processor was being done dualcore since day one that must mean something."

    Yes and Intel always said that P4 makes internet faster that must mean something :)

    "Dont forget that socket 939 is dual channel it could be possible to give one memory channel for one processor and the other channel for the other"

    Actually it isn't possible: K8 based CPU has a CPU core and an integrated northbridge that has a memory controller and a HT link. K8 based dual core CPU has two CPU cores and one northbridge. So in dual core K8 CPU both cores are using the same memory controller.
    Reply
  • Crassus - Tuesday, April 05, 2005 - link

    Great preview Anand! I enjoyed especially the the multitasking tests and they confirmed essentially what's been known in the community since the days of the MP Celerons and Athlons. I liked also the fact that the tests were run with a whole lot of background tasks running, since that is the reality of present-day computer usage by the vast majority of users (who in most cases don't have the slightest idea of threads and schedules and happily install everything that can create a pop-up to ask ;c)

    My suggestions for future testing: Although you correctly mentioned the performance of games won't change due to being single-threaded in nature, it would have been interesting to see the impact of a number of general-purpose background tasks (Antivirus, Antispam, ICQ etc.) both on single- and dualcore chips. Enthusiasts know which threads to kill before gaming, but does the enthusiast's 'The Sims' playing family?

    More about the general move to parallel processing of data: Didn't you promise a series of RAID-related articles back in last year? What became of them, considering that the demand for a fast supply of data now essentially doubled? Maybe it would also be feasable to look into RAMDISK solutions again?

    And one point of criticism at the end:
    You did mention that games recieve no benefit from the move to dualcore, but to weight the picture the reader gets from the review, a representive number of pictures does wonders, even if they proove nothing really new. After all, one picture says more that thousand words - and a couple of benchmark diagrams a lot more than a sentence at the bottom of one page!

    Keep up the good work! Take care - Crassus.
    Reply
  • stevty2889 - Tuesday, April 05, 2005 - link

    Also what about running 2 games at the same time? I play MMORPG's and at times with my dual monitor setup, I'll have one game running on one screen and another running on the other..it's a bit sluggish, but do-able with hyperthreading, but I would think a dual core would allow this to run more smoothtly. Reply
  • L3p3rM355i4h - Tuesday, April 05, 2005 - link

    lol. 50 cent as a l337 computer h4xx0rz.

    Impressive, but how can the TDP be only 130 watts? Unless Intel has some kind of magic, a prescott at the same voltage wouldn't be able to run a mere 65 watts. NFW.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, April 05, 2005 - link

    nserra

    I was skeptical that gamers would have things like this running in the background while they played, but given that a handful have requested the tests be created and run I have no problem doing just that. I'm working on Part II right now and I hope to finish it late this afternoon.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • michael2k - Tuesday, April 05, 2005 - link

    #72

    You want to use Doom3 as a benchmark while DVDShrink runs in the background?

    I suppose that's a benchmark, but I doubt it's a valid one... but if Anand has time to try it, I suppose what you'll see is that the performance of Doom3 will be LESS than the performance on a similarly clocked P4 running Doom3 WITHOUT DVDShrink.

    I suppose you want to know what the performance penalty is, though :)
    Reply
  • nserra - Tuesday, April 05, 2005 - link

    #70 Yes you are right and wrong. So i can listen MP3, zip files, record an dvd and do word processing. But i cant play a game while the PC is doing other things? Reply

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