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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  • Chadder007 - Monday, February 2, 2004 - link

    I can't imagine how HOT that sucker will be when up to 5ghz!!!! 150oC??? LOL
    For the heat issues alone, im thinking about going AMD in my next rig.
    Reply
  • CRAMITPAL - Monday, February 2, 2004 - link

    Ace's Hardware summed it up well: Prescott is a DOG, or to be exact a HOT DOG ! See the picture in the review of the dog warming it's toes next to the Prescott powered PC. Talk about one sad CPU piece of crap...

    Here is the FLAME THROWER reality check:

    "Currently there is no reason to upgrade to Prescott, as the gaming performance is more or less ok, but many applications report pretty poor results. On top of that, the new Intel CPU gets hot very quickly and requires a well ventilated case. The Athlon 64 3200+ is not always the clear winner in games compared to 3.2 GHz Prescott, but the 3400+ will have little trouble beating the 3.4 GHz Prescott in most benchmarks. Prescott will have to scale incredibly quickly to outperform the Athlon 64, because the latter scales excellently with clockspeed, and we definitely prefer Cool'n'Quiet over Hot'n Prescott! "

    As shown this FLAME THROWER don't scale well, especially when it runs 15-20C hotter than an equal speed Northwood. Intel really fugged up this time. Ya gotta love seeing the Satan eat shit and choke! When every hardware review site on the planet, including THG's tells ya Prescott is a piece of crap, then you might as well resign to reality. DENIAL is futile!

    Dell will be selling FLAME THROWING PC Heaters to any gullible sheep foolish enough to buy a Prescott. A fool and his money are soon parted !
    Reply
  • AnonymouseUser - Monday, February 2, 2004 - link

    "Ummmm yea, kinda reminds me of cooking an egg on an Athlon XP"

    Yeah, kinda, except the Prescott can do the same work in about half the time. Sounds like something they should advertise that as a feature...
    Reply
  • Stlr22 - Monday, February 2, 2004 - link

    What happened to CRAM's post???
    Reply
  • INTC - Monday, February 2, 2004 - link

    #43 cliffa3 - http://www.x86-secret.com/articles/cpu/prescott/p4...

    It doesn't look good for P4G8X with either the 2.8/533 or the 800 MHz FSB flavors.
    Reply
  • mkruer - Monday, February 2, 2004 - link

    For those who missed it, X-bit gave a temperature comparison, for the all the chip.
    http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/presc...

    Processor; Idle, Burn
    Pentium 4 (Prescott) 3.2GHz; 45oC, 61oC
    Pentium 4 (Northwood) 3.2GHz; 30oC, 48oC
    Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.2GHz; 32oC, 51oC

    This does not bode well for Intel unless they are going to make water cooling a standard.

    But this Quote sums it up nicely IMHO “I am scared to imagine what happens to Prescott when we close the system case…”

    Reply
  • lmonds - Monday, February 2, 2004 - link

    what??? no talk about heat on this chip? Come on anand this is vital info about prescott. Other sites are reporting temps up around 80c with the stock cooler. I understand that as it gets faster in mhz it will be a better performing chip but what kinda heat are we looking at at 4ghz? No way is a 80c chip going in any of my boxes. If keeping an intel badge on the front of my case means i have to have a delta fan in my box then you can forget about it. Reply
  • Stlr22 - Monday, February 2, 2004 - link

    :D Reply
  • Captante - Monday, February 2, 2004 - link

    Stlr22 ....Re post # 31 Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaha!!!!
    That one had me cracking up for 5 minutes!
    It is good to laugh!!! :-)
    Reply
  • Stlr22 - Monday, February 2, 2004 - link

    Moreless a Prescott.... Reply

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