A Blast from the Past: The Pentium 4 660 and the Pentium Extreme Edition 955

Two weeks ago I asked everyone what older CPUs they’d like to see included in one of our quietly introduced features on AnandTech: Bench.  I got requests for everything from original Pentium processors to VIA’s Nano.  While I’m working on adding additional data to the tool I just finished testing two older CPUs over the weekend that I thought would be useful in this review: the Pentium 4 660 and the Pentium Extreme Edition 955.


Pentium Extreme Edition 955 (left) and Pentium 4 660 (right)

Both of these CPUs are from 2005.  The Pentium 4 660 was a single-core processor based on Intel’s infamous Prescott core.  The processor had a 2MB L2 cache and Hyper Threading support; it ran at 3.6GHz, a higher clock speed than any current AMD or Intel processor.

The Pentium EE 955 is based on two separate Intel 65nm Presler cores on one package (ah, remember the early days of dual-core?).  The 955 ran at 3.46GHz but had HT enabled, allowing it to execute 4 threads at the same time.


Pentium Extreme Edition 955 (left) and Pentium 4 660 (right)

When the Pentium 660 debuted it cost $605, while the Pentium EE 955 would set you back $999 in 2005.  These were some of the fastest Pentium 4s ever released and you’ll see them compared to a couple of ~$90 CPUs here today.

The Test

Motherboard: Intel DX58SO (Intel X58)
Intel DX48BT2 (Intel X48)
MSI DKA790GX Platinum (AMD 790GX)
Gigabyte GA-MA790GP-DS4H (AMD 790GX)
Gigabyte GA-MA790FX-UD5P (AMD 790FX)
Chipset: Intel X48
Intel X58
AMD 790GX
AMD 790FX
Chipset Drivers: Intel 9.1.1.1012 (Intel)
AMD Catalyst 8.12
Hard Disk: Intel X25-M SSD (80GB)
Memory: G.Skill DDR2-800 2 x 2GB (4-4-4-12)
G.Skill DDR2-1066 2 x 2GB (5-5-5-15)
Qimonda DDR3-1066 4 x 1GB (7-7-7-20)
Corsair DDR3-1333 4 x 1GB (7-7-7-20)
Video Card: eVGA GeForce GTX 280
Video Drivers: NVIDIA ForceWare 180.43 (Vista64)
NVIDIA ForceWare 178.24 (Vista32)
Desktop Resolution: 1920 x 1200
OS: Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit (for SYSMark)
Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit
Intel’s Response: The Pentium E6300 SYSMark 2007 Performance
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  • 7Enigma - Thursday, June 04, 2009 - link

    Hello Anand,

    In the article you seem to imply a tremendous difference in that 2meg to 3meg jump but your single data point doesn't show that conclusion.

    In your example there is a ~9% increase in performance when going from 2 to 3 megs, but there is also a 4.5% increase in clockspeed between the 2 chips. So at best (in this example) you have a 5% difference, which while significant, I would't say it was tremendous.

    Can you comment on whether you did any further tests with identical frequencies?
    Reply
  • FlameDeer - Thursday, June 04, 2009 - link

    Here are some corrections of AnandTech Bench.

    Refer to here:
    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/default.aspx?b=25&a...">Adobe Photoshop CS4 results of few CPUs from AnandTech Bench

    1. AMD Athlon II X2 250 results missing a dot, becoming slower than Intel Atom 230.

    2. Better using "Intel Pentium Dual Core E5300" for E5300 as the name Intel printed on the CPU.

    3. AMD Athlon LE-1620 notes (platform side notes) should be same as AMD Athlon LE-1640.

    Thanks for adding more CPUs for comparison in AnandTech Bench, doing the full test in latest software is really time consuming especially for old CPUs. Take care.
    Reply
  • MadAd - Wednesday, June 03, 2009 - link

    would have liked to see phenom (non II) compared, especially the low end x3s, users may be thinking of upgrading from those about now Reply
  • FlameDeer - Thursday, June 04, 2009 - link

    You can always conveniently & interactively comparing them here.
    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/">AnandTech Bench
    Reply
  • Elementalism - Wednesday, June 03, 2009 - link

    I never had much luck running Cool n Quiet when I used to run AMD processors. Even in games the CPU was put into a low clock mode running at half speed. Sounds like a buggy implementation to this day.

    And I cant say in my experience it was the Mother Boards fault either. I enabled Cool and Quiet in the bios and nothing happened. It wasnt until I installed the Cool n Quiet driver all hell broke loose.
    Reply
  • mino - Wednesday, June 03, 2009 - link

    However one has to keep in mind the bug comes from Redmond.
    The Win 5.x scheduler is a piece of garbage and it allways was. It is just that it shows with different symptoms:
    1 CPU core => crappy multi-tasking on heavy loads
    2+ CPU cores => unable to get a grasp that power management not a thing of the future ...

    A no, being from 2000 is no excuse, proper OS scheduler were there 30yrs ago.
    Had MS decided to do so, their Win 5.x schedules would be a proper one from the start.

    As for AMD, it is a price one pays for being ahead of the market.

    Remember, it took Intel 5yrs (2003-2008) to get comparable power management capabilities as AMD with Nehalem.
    Reply
  • mino - Wednesday, June 03, 2009 - link

    sorry for the spelling mess.. Reply
  • Hrel - Wednesday, June 03, 2009 - link

    YAY 3D max, also that E7500 is beating the crap out of everything but AMD's top of the line. That really solitifies in my mind that picking the E8400 6 months ago for my friends gaming computer was the right choice. Stupid AMD, I REALLY want them to be competitive again so Intel is FORCED to stop overcharging for EVERYTHING. Reply
  • mmpalmeira - Wednesday, June 03, 2009 - link

    Did you try to overclock the uncore of the AMD's CPUs? Reply
  • calyth - Tuesday, June 02, 2009 - link

    Just like that article that you linked to with the name CnQ bug, I don't believe that a hardware manufacturer creates a bug if the OS scheduler can't seem to do the sensible thing and not bounce threads around. Although various factors in the AMD chips make the problem worse, bouncing threads across different cores on an Intel chip also has a bit of impact, since L1 and the L2 shouldn't be shared across cores on the i7 platform.

    So please, stop calling it a bug. The bug lies in Windows, not the chips.
    Reply

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