Just last week, we saw the first tests of Intel's newest Xeon processor formerly codenamed Irwindale. The major improvement Irwindale offers over Nocona is an extra 1MB of L2 cache. Our dual processor server configuration showed the 2MB cache of the Irwindale based Xeon offering a significant improvement under certain workloads. In a shared front side bus dual processor configuration, the improved cache hit rate of the 2MB Xeon helps to keep the NetBurst architecture from getting tangled up in the length of its pipeline when working with lots of data. As an added bonus, the impact of sharing a front side bus is softened when processors find more of the data they are looking for locally. On the consumer side, Intel's 600 series doesn't have to deal with shared busses or server sized workloads. Will the 2MB L2 cache still come through and offer a significant performance improvement?

The short answer is that consumer applications running on a single processor system don't see the same kind of benefit from a 2MB L2 as do server workloads running on a DP Xeon. There are areas where performance is affected, but this time around Intel is again refining and broadening its platform rather than simply scaling up speed and power. Let's take a look at the new offerings introduced this week.

First off we've got the new Pentium 4 600 series, launched in four models:

  Model  Clock Speed  Socket L2 Cache  FSB
Intel Pentium 4 660 3.6GHz LGA-775 2MB 800MHz
Intel Pentium 4 650 3.4GHz LGA-775 2MB 800MHz
Intel Pentium 4 640 3.2GHz LGA-775 2MB 800MHz
Intel Pentium 4 630 3.0GHz LGA-775 2MB 800MHz

What advantage does the Pentium 4 600 offer over the 500 series?  The main features are a 2MB L2 cache, Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology (EIST) and EM64T support (Intel's version of AMD's x86-64). The Pentium 4 600 is still built on the same 90nm process as the Pentium 4 500, it's just got twice the cache (which we'll talk about later). Features like EIST and EM64T support were always there on previous 90nm Pentium 4s, they were simply not enabled.

Currently the 500 and 600 series chips are priced to coexist with one another, first let's have a look at what Intel's official prices are:

   Pentium 4 500 Series  Pentium 4 600 Series
3.8GHz (Model _70) $637 Q2 Release
3.6GHz (Model _60) $417 $605
3.4GHz (Model _50) $278 $401
3.2GHz (Model _40) $218 $273
3.0GHz (Model _30) $178 $224

Then let's take a look at street prices for the chips using our RealTime Pricing Engine:

   Pentium 4 500 Series (street price)  Pentium 4 600 Series (street price)
3.8GHz (Model _70) $690 Q2 Release
3.6GHz (Model _60) $425 $635
3.4GHz (Model _50) $279 $429
3.2GHz (Model _40) $231 $295
3.0GHz (Model _30) $184 $257

The other thing to note is that the 500 series still holds the clock speed crown, with the 570J running at 3.8GHz, while the fastest 600 series is a 3.6GHz Pentium 4 660.  What we're seeing here is another example of Intel's move away from clock speeds as the only "improvements" from chip to chip.  We will however see a 3.8GHz Pentium 4 670 in Q2 of this year. 

Intel's next announcement is the move to a new 90nm core for the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition.  Until now, all EE chips have been based off of the old 130nm Northwood core, but with the move up to 3.73GHz the Extreme Edition actually uses the same 90nm core as the new Pentium 4 600 series.

Giving up its 2MB L3 cache in favor of a lower latency 2MB L2 cache, the new Extreme Edition only offers two benefits over the regular Pentium 4 600 series CPUs: clock speed and 1066MHz FSB support.  Priced at $999, the new Extreme Edition is priced in accordance with its name, as all of its predecessors have.

The new core, shared by both the Pentium 4 600 and the new Extreme Edition chips, is still built on the same 90nm process as the original Prescott, but thanks to the larger cache weighs in at 169 million transistors, an increase of 44 million (or 35%) over the original Prescott 1M core. 

There's a decent amount to discuss with this new core, so let's start at the biggest change - the cache.

Twice the Cache - 17% Higher Latency


View All Comments

  • stephenbrooks - Monday, February 21, 2005 - link

    The 3.73 EE was at one stage referred to as the "720" model number. Anyone hear anything more of this? The '20 means 14x multiplier but 14x(1066MHz/4) = 3.73 GHz, so if a 730 was released it would be 4 GHz and so on. Reply
  • sphinx - Monday, February 21, 2005 - link

    I liked the way the info was put into the tables, instead of images. Just an opinion. Reply
  • jmke - Monday, February 21, 2005 - link

    Great article @ Anandtech, like the power ratings @ LOAD ;)

    here's some OC results from X-Bit labs:

    I've also seen 3.0Ghz 6xx series OC to 4.3 with STOCK COOLING!!!
  • nourdmrolNMT1 - Monday, February 21, 2005 - link

    Dranzerk, SLI is not stupid. EE is a marketing gimmick to bring money in, you do what you can do to make money. SLI is a smart thing, but back on subject. i think O/Cing has nothing to do with a processors appeal, they are doing the review for those who want to know what intel is up to, not what it can O/C.

  • Dranzerk - Monday, February 21, 2005 - link

    EE is what SLI is to nvidia. stupid. Reply
  • mlittl3 - Monday, February 21, 2005 - link

    Is it just me or is the EE procesors just a big scam? All of the game benchmarks show the 3.46 beating or tieing the 3.73. How can a reputable company like Intel fool consumers with that crap? I want the names of everyone who buys an EE based Dell XPC so that I can tar and feather them in the public square.

    I bet I can sell Amway to all those people. :)
  • mongoosesRawesome - Monday, February 21, 2005 - link

    "What Intel is counting on is that the increase in hit rate provided by a 50% larger cache will outshine the 17% longer access to L2 cache."

    Should be 100% larger cache...
  • AtaStrumf - Monday, February 21, 2005 - link

    One thing you completely left out of the conclusion, but I think you should definately add is:

    Don't buy Intel until they have a chipset out that will support dual core.
  • danidentity - Monday, February 21, 2005 - link

    Nice article, but why no overclocking results? That's very dissapointing.

    Surely you have a P5AD2-E to test these new chips with.
  • nourdmrolNMT1 - Monday, February 21, 2005 - link

    whoa.... i got something right.


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