Prescott's Little Secret

In learning about Prescott and trying to understand just why Intel did what they did, we came to realization: not only is Prescott designed to be ramped in speed, but there was something else hiding under the surface.

When overclocking a processor, we can expect a kind of linear trend in performance. As Northwood's speed increases, its performance increases. The same is true for Prescott , but what is important to look at is increase in performance compared to increase in clock speed.

Prescott 's enhancements actually give it a steeper increase in performance per increase in clock. Not only can Prescott be clocked higher than Northwood, but as its clock speed is increased, it will start to outperform similarly clocked Northwood CPUs.

We can even see this trend apparent in our limited 3 clock speed tests. Most of the time, the 2.8GHz Northwood outperforms the 2.8GHz Prescott, but the percentage by which Prescott is outperformed decreases as clock speed increases, meaning that the performance delta is significantly less at 3.2GHz.

Business Winstone 2004

  Percentage Increase in Performance from Northwood to Prescott
2.80GHz
1.48%
3.00GHz
0.00%
3.20GHz
0.46%

Content Creation Winstone 2004

  Percentage Increase in Performance from Northwood to Prescott
2.80GHz
-3.57%
3.00GHz
-5.67%
3.20GHz
-5.43%

SYSMark 2004

  Percentage Increase in Performance from Northwood to Prescott
2.80GHz
1.19%
3.00GHz
2.27%
3.20GHz
2.70%

SYSMark was one of the only applications to show a positive performance improvement for Prescott, and we see that with clock speed that advantage continues to grow over Northwood. Keep on reading, it gets even more interesting...

Aquamark - CPU Score

  Percentage Increase in Performance from Northwood to Prescott
2.80GHz
-2.87%
3.00GHz
-2.47%
3.20GHz
-0.84%

Halo

  Percentage Increase in Performance from Northwood to Prescott
2.80GHz
-0.18%
3.00GHz
-0.18%
3.20GHz
0.00%

GunMetal

  Percentage Increase in Performance from Northwood to Prescott
2.80GHz
-0.29%
3.00GHz
-0.58%
3.20GHz
-0.29%

UT2003 - Flyby

  Percentage Increase in Performance from Northwood to Prescott
2.80GHz
-2.62%
3.00GHz
-1.46%
3.20GHz
-0.86%

Clock speed goes up, Prescott performs more like Northwood.

UT2003 - Botmatch

  Percentage Increase in Performance from Northwood to Prescott
2.80GHz
-3.55%
3.00GHz
-3.09%
3.20GHz
-2.05%

Warcraft 3

  Percentage Increase in Performance from Northwood to Prescott
2.80GHz
1.96%
3.00GHz
1.12%
3.20GHz
0.72%

We continue to see that as clock speed increases, the gap between Prescott and Northwood decreases as well.

Quake III Arena

  Percentage Increase in Performance from Northwood to Prescott
2.80GHz
-1.33%
3.00GHz
-0.49%
3.20GHz
1.28%

Quake becomes the textbook case of what should happen to Prescott performance as clock speed increases; although initially it is slightly slower than Northwood at 2.80GHz, by the time we reach 3.2GHz Prescott holds an advantage over a 3.2GHz Northwood. This is exactly the trend we expect to see over time, especially once we get close to 4GHz.

Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy

  Percentage Increase in Performance from Northwood to Prescott
2.80GHz
-7.63%
3.00GHz
-6.85%
3.20GHz
-7.04%

Wolfeinstein: Enemy Territory

  Percentage Increase in Performance from Northwood to Prescott
2.80GHz
-5.53%
3.00GHz
-4.94%
3.20GHz
-3.79%

DivX Encoding

  Percentage Increase in Performance from Northwood to Prescott
2.80GHz
-1.30%
3.00GHz
-0.61%
3.20GHz
-0.38%

3dsmax R5

  Percentage Increase in Performance from Northwood to Prescott
2.80GHz
-9%
3.00GHz

-9%

3.20GHz
-9%

There will be some scenarios that do not work in Prescott's favor, and in those cases Northwood will still remain faster.

Lightwave 7.5

  Percentage Increase in Performance from Northwood to Prescott
2.80GHz
-7.7%
3.00GHz

-7.3%

3.20GHz
-6.8%

Although to a much lesser degree, we are seeing the same sort of scaling with clock speed in applications like Lightwave. It looks like our theory about Prescott's performance is correct.

Visual Studio Compile Test

  Percentage Increase in Performance from Northwood to Prescott
2.80GHz
-8.2%
3.00GHz

-5.7%

3.20GHz
-3.8%

Much like Quake, our compile test is another perfect example of what clock scaling will do to the Northwood/Prescott gap. As the clock speed goes up, the performance delta decreases.

Development Workstation Performance Final Words
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  • ianwhthse - Sunday, February 1, 2004 - link

    *sigh*

    Well, now I know.

    *goes to buy A64*
    Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Sunday, February 1, 2004 - link

    read the article... Reply
  • Stlr22 - Sunday, February 1, 2004 - link

    31 stage pipeline?!.....lol..guess those "30 stage pipelne" rumors were true.

    These processors aren't bad at all. They performed on the same level as the Northwood versions. They just aren't worth the "premium" price tag that they will carry for now.

    Looks like there wont be a better time to grab a Northwwod,
    as I'm sure these puppies will keep dropping in price to make room for the Prescotts.
    Reply
  • Thatguy97 - Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - link

    lol never even made to 4ghz man you guys did not give intel the crap it deserved Reply

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