Pentium 4

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Recently Intel introduced their newest line of the Pentium 4 processors with the new Prescott core. In this paper I will discuss how the Pentium 4 processor works and the changes that have been made since its release, but mainly on the modifications in the newest Pentium 4's with the Prescott core. I will also briefly compare the performance levels of some of the different types of Pentium 4's. The Pentium 4 line of processors encompasses a large range of clock speeds, from 1.7GHz up to 3.6GHz in the Prescott chip. Pentium 4's are all built with the same Netburst microarchitecture, but there are varieties of front side bus speeds, chip layout, and cores available. For example at 2.8GHz, one could choose from four different Pentium 4s: the 2.8GHz (a Northwood core with a 533MHz front-side bus), the 2.8C (Northwood again, but with an 800MHz bus), the 2.8A (Prescott with a 533MHz bus), or the 2.8E (Prescott with 800MHz bus). In all there are four types Pentium 4 versions that Intel has released each having slight improvements then the last. The first Pentium 4 (Willamette) was introduced in November 2000 to replace its predecessor the Pentium 3. The Pentium 4 was the first to have a totally new chip architecture since the 1995 Pentium Pro. The biggest difference being Intel's introduction of the Netburst microarchitecture, which involved structural changes that affected how processing takes place within the chip. Aspects of the changes include: a 20-stage pipeline, which boosts performance by increasing processor frequency; a rapid-execution engine, which doubles the core frequency and reduces latency by enabling each instruction to be executed in a half (rather than a whole) clock cycle; a 400 MHz system bus, which ena... ... middle of paper ... ...helped immensely in offsetting Prescott's enlarged 31-stage pipeline, but did not entirely make up the gap. On balance, Prescotts are slightly slower than Northwoods. In time it is expected that the Prescott P4s will look relatively stronger as SSE3 instructions are adopted in more software application and, especially, as clock speeds rise. But it seems that the real strength of Prescott seems to lie in its Hyper-Threading performance. In the most of the multitasking tests, the Prescott performed better than the Northwood CPU. The Pentium 4 Extreme Edition was the best performer, but unfortunately it is also very expensive. The P4 Extreme Edition had the best results for content creation and video editing applications. Also as Intel suggested the P4 Extreme Edition performed very well for games, but I do not believe it is significant enough to warrant the extra cost.
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