Intel's Preemptive Strike - Pentium 4 Extreme Edition

As we announced at last week's Intel Developer Forum, Intel preempted AMD's 64 launch with a release of their own - the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition.

The Extreme Edition is a 169 million transistor Pentium 4, currently running at 3.20GHz (800MHz FSB) with Hyper-Threading support, and featuring a 2MB on-die L3 cache in addition to the standard 512KB on-die L2 cache.

The point of adding such a large L3 cache is to basically give the Pentium 4 as many of the benefits of an on-die memory controller, without actually integrating one. Intel is weary of the on-die memory controller approach, simply because of the horrible experience they had with attempting to push the market in the direction of RDRAM 4 years ago; thus a large L3 cache is the next best option.

A large L3 cache helps to hide the overall memory latency by keeping more frequently used data in the L3 cache, and Intel chose the size of the cache very wisely. For example, a single frame of DVD quality video can't fit into a 1MB cache but a 2MB cache is more than enough to store it. The vertex buffer data in most modern day games also happens to fit quite nicely in the 2MB that Intel chose for the Extreme Edition (EE).

Intel is toying with the idea of releasing an Extreme Edition version of every high-end Pentium 4 (e.g. Prescott 3.40GHz Extreme Edition), however nothing is set in stone yet. We have already passed along the information that an Extreme Edition processor would truly be worthy of the name if Intel would unlock the processors, allowing overclockers to freely push their processors. In order to combat remarking, we also passed along the suggestion that only lower multipliers be made available.

Both of these suggestions were provided by AnandTech readers and were very well received by Intel, it may take some time but we may be able to get the chip-giant to budge on this one.

The Pentium 4 3.2 EE will be available in the next month or two and will sell for around $740 in 1,000 unit quantities. The processor will work in all current motherboards, most of which will not require a BIOS update.

The Test

We used nForce3 boards from ASUS (Socket-940) and Shuttle (Socket-754) to keep our Athlon 64 vs. Athlon 64 FX numbers as comparable as possible. All systems were configured with 512MB of DDR400 SDRAM and used ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 256MB cards with the latest Catalyst 3.7 drivers.

Where is the software? Memory Latency & Bandwidth Performance
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  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    Anyone know how the new AMD CPU compares to the Apple G5? I am not an Mac-Apple guy, but my in-laws are, and I'd like to be in the know in case we get into a friendly "discussion" about the Windows and Mac platforms. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    #58 Fanbois? lol Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    This review appears to be in the same general lines as the rest of the Opteron/Pentium comparisons; I'm pleased that AMD has managed to shore up their shortcomings, but the price point is what's keeping me away from going directly from a pre-XP AMD Athlon to Athlon64. If I spend $400+ on a processor, it better be the king of the hill for the next year at least, or at least the mobo should be upgradeable to compensate for CPU obsolesence.
    And I'm surprised no one's figured out how to unlock Opteron multipliers yet, since that's basically the heart of the early-day AXP overclocking scene... Bridge blowing, soldering, "wire mods", etc. Shame, shame on you overclocking enthusiasts for not throwing everything into unlocking the hottest new processor (figuratively, not literally; Prescott and P4EE take that award at 103W and 150W, respectively). :P Talk about good wholesome fun, take an Opteron at 3.4GHz (using multipliers) and slap that Zalman Cu-7000 thing on it; a Pen-what?

    #58: No, there are dumber fanboys than Intel fanboys, trust me. Just visit Something Awful. :/
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    intel fanbois rank among the top percentile of dumbest fanboi's on the internet. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    Is AMD actually planning on selling these versions of the 64? They and the hardware will be obsolete the day they are purchased. THe two biggest advantages the chip has can't even be used yet. The new mobos can't handle any more Ram than the current Pentium boards, I thought being able to use more ram was one of the selling points of the 64? Although that point seems to be moot anyway until a new 64 bit os is out. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    #36 You're right dude. Intel indeed said that prescott 3.2 GHz can't touch the performance of the 3.2 GHz P4EE. Logical actually, since prescott has no extra L3 cache, and a longer pipeline. The only benefits are: larger L1 cache, larger L2 cache and SSE-3 (only needed for sysmark-2004 LOL!, and other intel benchmarketing partners) Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    Anagram for Intel Fanboy - INANE BOTFLY
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    THG review: triple-guaranteed bullshit. Anandtech review: Infidel profane pagan loutish review. Ace's Hardware review: For great justice!11 Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    original pentium 66 was pants got beat by a 486
    original pentium 4 was just as bad
    give it 6 months for the chip to mature. hopefully the athlon64 is a success cause if amd go bust we all pay double for cpus
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - link

    There's some confusion on using the term 32bit and x86 here. I believe what was mean in response to what #32 said, is that A64 runs x86 natively the same way a XP does with no emulation, (as was outlined in previous Anandtech articles) just by disabling half of the 64-bit registers. So it had better run at least as well as the Athlon XP/P4 or there is something seriously wrong... not something to brag about.

    #50, For an Intel fanboy you sure don't know your history. Using 386 would be more appropriate as that was the change from 16-bit to 32-bit... and things have not fundamentally changed in the instruction set since then.
    Reply

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