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
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  • Alfaneo - Friday, August 26, 2005 - link

    here is 478 pin result
    Run All Summary

    3dsmax-03 Weighted Geometric Mean = 16.99

    catia-01 Weighted Geometric Mean = 14.27

    ensight-01 Weighted Geometric Mean = 20.60

    light-07 Weighted Geometric Mean = 12.34

    maya-01 Weighted Geometric Mean = 18.69

    proe-03 Weighted Geometric Mean = 16.74

    sw-01 Weighted Geometric Mean = 14.16

    ugs-04 Weighted Geometric Mean = 18.35
  • blckgrffn - Thursday, February 24, 2005 - link

    Let's hope that they don't post it because they know that running 1T is imperative to get good performance number, and thus use it by default.
  • Hans Maulwurf - Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - link

    Many other sites don´t publish their command rate either, this looks very strange for me. Most sites used to publish them before. I don´t understand...
  • L3p3rM355i4h - Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - link

    I'm assuming 1T, although the ammount of pwnage that would occur if it was 2T would be incredible.
  • Zebo - Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - link

    Derek/Anand- Why is it you don't say what A64's command rate was? 1T or 2T? This makes a huge impact on A64's performance (as shown by Anand right here and myself in forums) and is sloppy jounalism to leave out. Sure "other" sites do this crap but not anandtech.:|
  • Dualboy24 - Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - link

    I am just not finding the releases to be impressive lately... I am waiting to see the future dual core etc... perhaps that will wow us all. Its just not like the 90s anymore where it was always an exciting time with CPUs.

    Perhaps a battle between 56kbps modem models would prove entertaining :) L()L
  • neogodless - Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - link

    #64 I'm saying I don't bother. I don't do that at work (P42.4C) either. At work, I listen to MP3s while having 2 e-mail clients open, various browser windows and tabs, a development environment, FTP, database manager, various IM programs, remote desktop, etc. And I do about the same at home, though usually on a smaller scale. And it works fine. However, if I go to a web page that gobbles up resources (poorly written javascript, i can give you an example page), I'm able to do everything else on the HT machine which shows about "53%" overall CPU usage. An the Athlon 64, if something gobbles up CPU, I see "99%" usage and a sluggish environment. But it's ALL subjective... I want to see Objective measurements.

    I also don't want to see Athlon vs. Intel opinions/flames because I'm not claiming one or the other is better... just asking for objective measurements.
  • RZaakir - Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - link

    neo, are you saying that you have problems running a game and listening to MP3s simultaneously on your Athlon 64?
  • RockHydra11 - Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - link

    Disappointing to say the least....
  • neogodless - Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - link

    I'm not sure why I got attacked for requesting Multi-tasking benchmarks. I prefer my AMD for gaming, and I prefer the Intel at work where I run lots of programs at once but (unfortunately) never game. It's not a fair comparison anyway because my home machine is limited by only one monitor, while my work machine has two.

    Yes, many benchmarks are optimized for Hyperthreading, and if they are synthetic, then it doesn't matter. I'm asking for benchmarks with programs you use every day. If they're optimized for Hyperthreading, then you will see real world benefit from that, when using an HT enabled processor.

    When I run games on my AMD64, it gobbles up all the CPU (even if it's an old game) for whatever reason, and I don't find it practical to leave a game running in the background while doing something else. I've done it, and it didn't greatly hinder doing some small task like check e-mail or send an instant message, but I wouldn't intentionally do it, especially if I decided I'd rather listen to Mp3s than finish my game...

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