Final Words

So there you have it folks - the 1066MHz FSB does absolutely nothing for performance. The 3.46EE does manage to outperform its 3.4GHz/800MHz FSB predecessor, but the margin of improvement is negligible. Intel desperately needs a win here and other than the more affordable price of the Pentium 4 560, there's very little going for the CPU king these days. It will take higher speed Prescott CPUs or dual core in order for the added bandwidth of the 1066MHz FSB to truly be of any use - and it will take lower latency DDR2 memory to finally give the latest Pentium 4 platforms lower latency memory access than the ones they replaced.

We can only wonder what Intel is thinking, releasing an entirely new chipset just four months after they released the original. Granted with very few 925X designs on the market right now, there shouldn't be too many upset 925X owners, but it's still a very strange situation. Either the 1066MHz FSB is going to make its way to CPUs faster than we have anticipated, or Intel has just introduced the world's first useless FSB improvement for the next 9 months.

The move to the 1066MHz FSB is in sharp contrast to the past two FSB bumps that we've seen from Intel. The introduction of the 533MHz FSB back in 2002 yielded up to a 12% gain in gaming performance, and a 3 - 6% gain in individual applications as it was paired with PC1066 RDRAM. Then came the 800MHz migration that showed a 3 - 9% increase in gaming performance, and just under a 12% increase in professional application performance. But with the move to the 1066MHz FSB we have a platform launch that, in the spirit of the 925X and 915 launches, does virtually nothing for performance.

Is it worth it? Sure, 1066 will be worth it when there are higher clock speed (or dual core) processors to take advantage of it. But given that Intel isn't planning on ramping clock speed up too high anytime soon, we'd say that the 1066MHz FSB is best left for late next year, when more useful implementations of it will appear.

Cheap - High End: Athlon 64 3800+ vs. Pentium 4 560
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  • T8000 - Thursday, November 4, 2004 - link

    The most important part of this release is the Intel 925XE chipset, that will allow much higher overclocks because of its 1066 bus support.

    This is because the 925XE will have the right divider to reach 1066 without any PCI-E overclock.

    So with a 925XE mainboard, you can run an Intel 530 CPU at 4Ghz with any PCI-E GPU you choose, because only the CPU will be overclocked and Prescott has excellent chances of reaching 4Ghz with modest water cooling or good air cooling.
    Reply
  • Odeen - Wednesday, November 3, 2004 - link

    Realtek codec on an Intel board... and here I thought Intel actually made quality motherboards, which entails Sigmatel or Soundmax onboard audio chips.

    Sigh :(
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Wednesday, November 3, 2004 - link

    Slim: You're right... my bad. I didn't read every single page. I read the couple of introductory pages, then skipped to the test configuration page, perused a few benches, and then skipped to the conclusion.

    The measured results of course are no different than I thought they would be...
    Reply
  • bob661 - Tuesday, November 2, 2004 - link

    We need to have our own review website called www.dontreleasesh!tunlessitsactuallyabetterproductthan theonebeforeit.com. Reply
  • SLIM - Tuesday, November 2, 2004 - link

    johnsonx,

    Anand did isolate the fsb as the sole variable when he DOWNclocked both chips to 3.2ghz (266 x 12 and 200 x 16) on page 3. There was a slight caveat that faster chips would benefit more from a fsb boost. And yes the faster bus increased performance by almost 1% in some tests woohoo!!!

    SLIM
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Tuesday, November 2, 2004 - link

    One thing that might've been interesting to see:

    Overclock the 3.4EE to 3.46Ghz by OC'ing the FSB to 203Mhz or 204Mhz (812 & 816 respectively). This would completely isolate the effect if the increased clock speed of the 3.46EE, showing only the increased FSB performance... at that point I suspect that the tiny performance gains would completely evaporate.

    Mind you, I'm not suggesting this would change the conclusion much, but it would put a big exclamation point to it...

    BTW, one does have to wonder why Intel bothered with this. If the 3.46EE/925XE combo is no faster than the 3.4EE/925X combo (I'm assuming the 925X=925XE @800FSB), then why go through all the trouble? Indeed, isn't it true that an 'old' 3.4EE/875 combo is faster still?

    Good grief, at least when AMD releases a new top-end chip it is actually measurably faster. Regardless of whether the rating is 'earned' or not, no one can argue that the 4000 isn't (generally) faster than the 3800, nor that the FX-55 isn't faster than any other A64.
    Reply
  • Tides - Tuesday, November 2, 2004 - link

    Some benchmarks? Hardly. AMD owns in actual games, workstation apps, and half of the other stuff. Not to mention AMD doesn't make you upgrade to ddr2, and AMD cpus are 64bit. Intel's new chips have low shelf lives while the current AMD 64's you buy will last you a lot longer.

    Performance, realiability, and long lasting.
    Reply
  • danidentity - Tuesday, November 2, 2004 - link

    IntelUser2000, you couldn't possibly be any more wrong. I will be the first to admit that AMD chips excel above Intel chips in many benchmarks.

    However:

    1. Intel is no where near dead. Calling them so is ridiculous. In Q3 of this year Intel posted revenue of 8.5 billion compared to AMD's 1.2 billion, or SEVEN times as much.

    2. AMD is NOT closing "very rapidly" in marketshare. It would appear that way from reading sites and forums like these, but it gives you a false impression. Keep in mind that the largest supplier of PCs on the planet puts Intel chips in every machine. AMD's mobile chips can't compete with the Pentium M in terms of performance and functionality.

    3. Intel is not stupid, they have some of the best engineers on the planet. If they seriously thought that AMD was going to topple them as the market leader, or even if they are predicting it, you can GUARANTEE they have something in the works to strike back. They have the means and the money.

    4. While many people don't know exactly what clockspeed is, everyone thinks it is the ultimate measure of performance. That mindset will take a LONG time to change, and by then, Intel will have something new.

    Most people out there don't even know AMD exists. Just because AMD chips beat Intel chips in some benchmarks posted on technical computer sites, don't mean they're going to topple Intel.
    Reply
  • JonahStone - Tuesday, November 2, 2004 - link

    Performance is not the only reason why somebody buys a CPU. Although 64 bit might not be available now, does not make it unimportant. Many who buy a computer will keep it for a long time. I do not want to buy a new PC in a year's time to run 64 bit apps. All reviews keep on comparing 32 bit performance and do not even mention the advantage 64 bit will bring. It does matter!!!!!!! Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Monday, November 1, 2004 - link

    Intel is not doing bad. They are doing terrible. So terrible that you might as well call them dead. Probably will last till 2009 before they fill bankruptcy.

    To those people who say people in forums don't know anything and that there are other people stupid enough to buy Intel chips(I mean all Intel chips): Uhh, yeah, get your head straight, since AMD is closing with Intel very rapidly in marketshare, in server, desktop, and laptop, and that means that gamers actually do make a difference(albeit slowly) making other people buy computers. You think other people will buy P4's because of high clock speed? That's BS, since people who is stupid enough to buy Intel chips don't even know what clock speeds does. There are only a very few that knows computers JUST enough to say clock speed is good.
    Reply

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