The Platform: Intel 955X

AMD's dual core Athlon 64 processors will work in all current Socket-939 motherboards with merely a BIOS update. The same level of compatibility obviously isn't true for Intel's dual core solutions.  You'll need a new motherboard to support the Pentium D and Pentium Extreme Edition chips, and thus, Intel shipped us a board based on their soon-to-be released 955X platform. 

The platform boasts a dual channel DDR2-667 memory controller, but given that the chips still only support an 800MHz FSB, the added bandwidth of DDR2-667 is useless.  Even for bragging rights, running at DDR2-667 doesn't make sense, as the memory that Intel shipped with the system is rated at 5-5-5-15 timings at 667MHz.  Wasted bandwidth and higher latency memory is nothing to get excited about in our book.  We're not entirely sure what Intel is up to, but they had better plan on increasing the FSB of their chips really soon if they want DDR2-667 (or even 533) to gain any sort of acceptance. 

Other than support for dual core, faster DDR2, RAID 5 and 8GB of ECC memory, the 955X doesn't have any features to boast over the current platforms. It does look like Intel may be planning SLI support for the 955X however:


The 955X board that we received had two physical x16 PCIe connectors, but only one of them was electrically a x16 slot.

Despite Intel's warnings not to make any judgments about final performance or stability, both the 955X and the Pentium Extreme Edition were as rock solid during our testing as any product that we've encountered.  This was quite possibly the most stable encounter with a pre-release CPU, chipset and drivers that we've ever had.  That being said, we really didn't expect Intel to break tradition with a platform of which they weren't 100% sure. 

The Chip: Pentium Extreme Edition The Intangible Dual Core
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  • haveblue128 - Wednesday, July 06, 2005 - link

    Only downside but I think a majorleague heat solution should make everything sweet Reply
  • haveblue128 - Wednesday, July 06, 2005 - link

    Oh Please give us a break. If you want to be a purist, go live in the woods without clothes. I say that multitasking makes my day a breeze.
    Whats your dilemma??
    Reply
  • haveblue128 - Wednesday, July 06, 2005 - link

    Wow-I just purchased a new sys with an Intel Dual CPU setup. As a multitasking monster on my machine, I was always having crashes in the past.
    I think that is gone with George Bush in 2008. THe good news is the dual core pair is already hear and ready to run. Give them a try-no downside, albeit a good bit of heat. That is something I will need to work on, but....
    Reply
  • peufeu - Monday, May 09, 2005 - link

    I forgot to mention... gentoo linux ;) Reply
  • peufeu - Monday, May 09, 2005 - link

    Dual CPUs to compensate for the inept MS Windows.
    Interesting.

    I'm torturing a webserver I just wrote, on my laptop. It's in Python. Right now it's serving about 2000 requests per second with 1000 concurrent connections.

    I don't even notice it's running. The CPU gauge is at 100%, so what ? Nothing special. As reactive as usual. It doesn't swap. The harddisk even put itself in standby....

    Go, bill, go !


    Reply
  • shady28 - Sunday, April 17, 2005 - link


    Making special tests just for these processors seems a bit contrived to me. In particular, comparing dual core processors to a Pentium 4 with HT disabled, in a multithreading/multitasking benchmark, is just plane lame.

    I would have been a lot more interested in seeing how dual core compares in multitasking vs dual opterons or dual Xeons. Right now it looks like dual core is slower at doing one task at a time, suprisingly not that much faster at doing two tasks at a time than HT Pentium 4s. The only exceptions were the off the wall tests done at the end.

    Since these new 'benchmarks' are made to simulate 'real life use', does that mean that all Anand's previous reviews were bogus?

    Reply
  • JimGunn - Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - link

    I think I will want one of these for my next video editing & encoding workstation. Will come in handy for HDV post I am sure! Reply
  • BoBOh - Monday, April 11, 2005 - link

    Where are the code compile tests. We're not all gamers, some are software developers! :)

    BoB
    Reply
  • warath - Friday, April 08, 2005 - link

    I can't wait to see 64-bit dual cores! :) Reply
  • WoodenPupa - Thursday, April 07, 2005 - link

    Well, I'm not a tech whiz like everyone else here, but here's my 2 centavos...

    I can attest to the fact that every machine I ever buy, I bring it to its knees. I usually wait several generations before I upgrade in order to get a more profound effect. Yet that strategy doesn't seem to matter because no matter how fast my computer is, I find that my NORMAL computing habits end up crushing the CPU and everything else.

    I use Cool Edit Pro and some other audio programs, and I am also a chess player, and like to anyalyze games in the background with Fritz or Chessbase, both of which allow for gigantic hash tables. So as a typical case I like to do wave transforms and chess analysis as background items while I compose e-mails or use Word for more serious writing. Naturally I like to listen to music at the same time, but usually I have to give that up. Needless to say, all of this stuff cripples my computer---I'm due for an upgrade, I know---my box is a 2.53 GHz P4, 1 GB of Rambus 800 (no groaning, please), a GF4 ti 4600, 120 GB HD, I'm not even sure what the cache on that is, I don't think it's 8 or 5 MB---feels more like 2.

    I usually end up quitting the Chess program or the Mp3 player---once in a while I can do all of this stuff concurrently if the wave transforms on cool edit aren't too complex, and I minimize the hash tables on the chess program.

    Ideally I want everything to be instantaneous, but...:) Anyway, from what it sounds like, I need a dual or even quad processor setup. Because even with all the above mentioned programs running, I can think of more I would like to add. I'm a monster multitasker and really like to kick a computer right in the face, to show it who's boss. I'm tired of winning, though---I'd love it if one day the computer just scoffed at everything I threw at it. Sadly, I don't think it'll happen in my lifetime.

    Should I upgrade to a dual core, or should I save and get a true multi-CPU Mobo like a quad Xeon??
    Reply

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