Performance Test: Configuration

To provide a baseline for future motherboard tests, we tested all three 3.2GHz processors using our latest Motherboard tests. The same Socket 478 motherboard, the widely available and excellent performing Asus P4C800-E, was used for all tests. This is our standard Socket 478 motherboard for memory testing, and it is the motherboard recommended by both Corsair and OCZ for running their fastest DDR550 memory.

 Performance Test Configuration - 3.2GHz Socket 478
Processor(s): Intel Pentium 4 3.2E (Prescott, 1MB L2 cache)
Intel Pentium 4 3.2EE (512kb L2 Cache + 2MB L3 cache)
Intel Pentium 4 3.2C (Northwood, 512kb L2 cache)
RAM: 2 x 512Mb OCZ 3500 Platinum Ltd
2 x 512Mb Mushkin PC3500 Level II
Hard Drive(s): Seagate 120GB 7200 RPM (8MB Buffer)
Video AGP & IDE Bus Master Drivers: Intel Chipset Drivers
Video Card(s): ATI Radeon 9800 PRO 128MB (AGP 8X)
Video Drivers: ATI Catalyst 4.1
Operating System(s): Windows XP Professional SP1
Motherboard: Asus P4C800-E (Intel 875P - 478) Rev. 2.00
BIOS: Release 1015

It has been reported on other sites that the P4C800-E will not run the Prescott processor. We had no problem at all with the 3.2E Prescott on our P4C800-E. This particular board has been at AnandTech for about 2 months and is a late model Revision 2.00. Asus tells us that all versions of the P4C800-E will work fine with Prescott as long as BIOS is updated to version 1014 or later. You can find a CPU compatibility list for Asus motherboards at

All performance tests were run with the ATI 9800 PRO 128MB video card with AGP aperture set to 128MB with Fast Write enabled. Resolution in all benchmarks is 1024x768x32 unless otherwise noted. Results at 1280x1024 have also been provided where they are useful in comparing performance.

With the retesting required to compare Prescott, EE, and Northwood, benchmarks were updated with additional games and updates to other benchmarks.

Content Creation and General Usage

We have recently updated to the latest release of Winstone benchmarks. Veritest Multimedia Content Creation Winstone 2004 and Veritest Business Winstone 2004 are now the standard tests for system benchmarking.

Media Encoding

Divx 5.1.1 has added support for additional extensions on both Intel and AMD processors. As recommended by both Intel and AMD, we have updated to Divx 5.1.1. We also updated to the latest XMpeg 5.03 as the front end for Media Encoding. Encoding is now benchmarked as a common dual-pass setup, so the results reported with XMpeg 5.03/Divx 5.1.1 are not comparable to earlier Media Encoding results.


We have added several new benchmarks to our standard Gaming tests. These include Halo, Microsoft's Direct X 9.0b game; Splinter Cell, a DX9 game; X2 Benchmark, a DX 8.1 game that includes Transform and Lighting effects; the DX9 Aquamark 3; and the DX 8.1 Comanche 4 benchmark. Since we have found that Comanche 4 can become video card limited at higher resolutions, we will only include benchmarks that run with 4X anti-aliasing enabled to differentiate system performance better using our standard ATI Radeon 9800 PRO video card.

We have dropped Yeti Studios DX9 Gun Metal 2 from our standard motherboard and system benchmarks, since there are many other DX9 choices now available that measure system performance variations better.

Heat and Cooling

All of our testing was done on air with Intel's stock CPU cooler supplied with the 3.2E. There is absolutely no doubt that Prescott gets hotter than either Northwood or Extreme Edition in our benchmarks. We did not measure temperatures, but the Heatsink felt much warmer during benchmarking Prescott. This was also the case with other HSF, like the Zalman 7000, OCZ Eliminator 2, and Thermalright SLK900. However, we never experienced a shutdown or throttle during several days of testing, and we did not have to use water-cooling to keep temperatures under control.

Our advice is to buy Retail with the Intel HSF or use only the best HSF with Prescott because it is definitely a hotter CPU than Northwood or EE. For those who will overclock, the Intel HSF is outpaced pretty quickly and you may need to consider water, phase-change, or other cooling methods. This should not be a concern for normal operation, however, since we had no real issues with the standard Intel heatsink.
Index Content Creation and General Usage Performance
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  • mindless1 - Sunday, April 18, 2004 - link

    WOnder of all wonders... we have evolved to supporting INDUSTRY STANDARD image file formats yet the review uses proprietary pics. I (and I suspect others) are "a rock" on this point, won't run flash. Using such pics in an article simply causes readers to go elsewhere, which in an overall elite-snob sort of way may not matter but in the grand scheme of things, losing readers beside of abandonment of industry standards is just a dumb idea.
  • Aervires - Saturday, February 14, 2004 - link

    Are you sure you bought both processors retail?
    The P4EE is $955 AND THE A64FX-51 is $745
    The total cost a the P4EE will run you more however both are a waste of money. Also the when socket 939 comes BEWARE.
  • Aervires - Saturday, February 14, 2004 - link

  • Pumpkinierre - Saturday, February 14, 2004 - link

    #9 Trog, if it was only pipeline related then the p4EE comanche4 results should have the same as the northwood. But clearly it is better because of the extra cache 2Mb L3. The Prescott has 1Mb L2 and 16K L1 so it should have results in between the 3.2EE and 3.2c (if not close to the P4EE) if it had the same core as the n'wood and cache latency. In fact it is markedly down in commanche4 cf. with N'wood. Given that other games benchmarks/demos and tests have the two processors within 10%, I dont think this failure is solely as a result of the 31 stage pipeline and branch predictor etc. (remember intel also improved its efficiency with a lot of tweaks). The main problem is the cache latency has slowed down and this obviously has a marked effect on comanche4 as it would in real time gaming where memory subsystem latency is paramount. See here:

    "Yes, unfortunately, we have to state that not only the size of Prescott’s cache-memory has grown bigger, but also its latency. And the latency grew up a lot, I should say: for L1 cache the latency doubled! As a result, Intel will no longer be able to boast the extremely low latency of its L1 data cache. From the temporal point of view, the latency of Pentium 4’s L1 data cache got close to that of Athlon 64 L1 cache, though the latter is four times larger. However, the increase in the L1 cache latency is another forced measure, so that the new Pentium 4 processors on Prescott core could go beyond 4GHz core frequency.

    Similar changes were made to the L2 cache, too. In terms of L2 cache latency, the new Prescott processor yields to Northwood, as well as to the competing CPUs from AMD Athlon 64 family."

    That, plus poor fpu plus heat- not a good gaming cpu scenario. Intel have blundered big time and they must be rushing to get something out soon to relegate this doozer to the dustbin of history.

  • truApostle - Friday, February 13, 2004 - link

    The P4 extreme is a total waste of money, IMHO. To spend $550 more dollars only to gain 3-5 fps in some of the new(er)games is NOT worth it. OF course if you are still playing Quake III then you will realize some smokin fast frames in which case it's all overkill anywho. In every bench from content creation to encoding to gaming the P4EE was marginally ahead, at best. I guess if your a Rockefeller or a Rothschild then it's okay to build a system based upon that proc.

    I think the best deal out right now is a 64 3400. Benchmarks are really close to FX-51 and are matched too (content creation, encoding) or better (in gaming benchs) than most Pentium archrivals. Just my humble opinion.

    Either way isnt it a great time to be human, with all this technology to play with.


    -when you aim for perfection, you find that it's a moving target.

  • sipc660 - Friday, February 13, 2004 - link

    we seem to go down the same road as with the previous article.

    #1 was right you should overclock both 3.2C and 3.2E to show the overclocked performance delta with the measured temperature.

    that should give people who are interested in buying either a better comparison since the chips are going to be the same price at launch

    what you also should drain out of intel is wether or not it has built in 64 bit circuitry. and can it be unlocked through bios at a later stage.????

    right now at the moment it seems 3.2C is a clear winner regardless of the high end workstation performance.

    overall i would buy barton before i'd buy any of the intel chips. i don't beleive anyone here would buy any of these chips till they seriously come down in price.

    just keep it cool (hehehehe)....

    go amd

    P.S: cramitpal is a passionate joker, if no one can c that than you are blind. personally i'd give him a nice friendly hug if i met him on the street.

  • Superbike - Friday, February 13, 2004 - link

    I think I'll pick up a Prescott I need a computer/space heater.
  • edub82 - Friday, February 13, 2004 - link

    Well this article clinches it for me...
    The 3.2EE must be mine, the increased performance over that pathetic 3.2C is well worth the 600 extra dollars I'm going to have to spend.
  • kmmatney - Thursday, February 12, 2004 - link


    Athlon 3400+ $270
    2x512Mb PC3200, Corsair: $155
    MSI KT8 NEO $97

    Total Price $522.

    That's the system we just ordered at work. We do a lot of image processing and image compression, and fpu intensive image manipulations and the Athlon is faster than a P4 - at least with our particular applications.
  • vedin - Thursday, February 12, 2004 - link

    That's true johnsonx but..

    Athlon 3400+ $404
    2x512Mb PC3200, Corsair: $155
    MSI KT8 NEO $97

    Total Price 656.

    And it's like, what? .5% slower than the Athlon FX-51?

    I see your point about the FX though, as do most here. It's kinda useless with a much cheaper AMD option right next to it performance-wise. But either way, the system I just described makes BOTH systems look silly for buying, unless you just like spending money.

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