Pentium 4 3.46 Extreme Edition and 925XE: 1066MHz FSB Support is Hereby Anand Lal Shimpi on October 31, 2004 3:00 PM EST
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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.