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3. Intel Desktop CPUs - Pentium 4

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Desktop CPU Guide

Page 3 of 11

Intel Desktop CPUs - Pentium 4

The next 4 pages list details on Intel processors. Use the Index to jump to the processor you are most interested in.

Intel Pentium 4 (800 MHz bus)
Intel Pentium 4 (533 MHz Bus)
Pentium 4 at 2.2 and 2.4 GHz (0.13 micron)
Original Pentium 4 (0.18 microns)
Pentium III
Pentium II
Celeron (400 MHz bus, 0.13 micron)
Celeron (400 MHz bus)
Celeron (100 MHz bus, 0.13 micron)
Coppermine Celerons
Obsolete Celerons
Intel Pentium Xeon CPUs

Intel Pentium 4 (800 MHz bus) - On April 14, 2003, Intel announced the Pentium 4 processor with Hyper-Threading Technology operating at 3 GHz with an 800 MHz system bus instead of 533 MHz, the previous highest speed bus.

Per Intel, "The new 800 MHz bus can transmit information within the PC up to 50 percent faster than the previous version. With Hyper-Threading (HT) Technology, users can perform multiple complex tasks with greater responsiveness from their PCs. For desktop applications, these tasks include accessing instant messaging while playing a favorite online game or downloading music while manipulating digital photos. Advanced digital content creation tasks such as 3-D modeling, rendering and video editing are some of the workstation applications that benefit from these new features.

"Designed specifically to support the Intel Pentium 4 processor with HT Technology, the Intel 875P chipset, formerly codenamed Canterwood, supports dual-channel DDR400 MHz system memory, providing exceptional performance across a full range of multimedia and 3-D intensive applications. The chipset introduces two significant platform innovations: Intel Performance Acceleration Technology (PAT) and Communications Streaming Architecture (CSA). PAT speeds data flow between the processor and system memory to increase performance. The 875P chipset also offers a dedicated networking bus based on Intel's new Communications Streaming Architecture. CSA, in conjunction with the new Intel® PRO/1000 CT Desktop Connection gigabit Ethernet controller, doubles the networking bandwidth possible with today's PCI bus based solutions.

"Additionally, the 875P chipset includes a high-performance AGP8X graphics interface for an advanced graphics experience, integrated Hi-Speed USB 2.0* and Serial ATA, and dual independent DMA audio engines enabling a user to make a PC phone call while playing digital music streams. The new 875P chipset offers built-in RAID capabilities utilizing the latest Serial ATA interface for accelerated disk I/O. Error Correction Code is supported for users that demand memory data reliability and integrity. Additional technical information on these chipsets is available at"

On May 21, 2003, Intel announced three Intel® Pentium® 4 processors supporting Hyper-Threading (HT) Technology and a trio of chipsets enabling faster and more feature-rich corporate and consumer PCs at mainstream price points. The new Intel Pentium 4 processors -- 2.80C, and 2.60C, and 2.40C GHz -- come equipped with HT Technology and an advanced 800 MHz system bus that allows information to flow to and from the processor more quickly.

Also launched were the Intel® 865G and 865PE chipsets, formerly code-named Springdale, supporting HT Technology and Intel's advanced 800 MHz system bus and other industry leading features that deliver excellent performance for desktop computer users. The chipsets improve productivity and enable richer digital media, gaming, and broadband experiences.

The Intel 865G and 865PE chipsets are designed specifically to support the Intel Pentium 4 Processor with HT Technology and Intel's advanced 800 MHz system bus.
They also include a high-performance AGP8x graphics interface for an advanced graphics experience, integrated Hi-Speed USB 2.0 and Serial ATA 1.5Gb/s (150MB/s). Intel also offers these chipsets with optional built-in RAID capabilities utilizing the latest Serial ATA 1.5Gb/s interface for accelerated disk I/O. Additionally, the Intel® 865P chipset, was also launched today. The Intel 865P chipsets offer the above features with support for Intel's 400MHz and 533MHz system buses.

The Intel 865G chipset supports dual-channel DDR400/333/266 memory, providing exceptional performance across a full range of multimedia and 3-D intensive applications. It also incorporates a new generation of integrated graphics, named Intel® Extreme Graphics 2, and is targeted at the high-volume business and consumer desktop market segments.

The 865G chipset also offers a dedicated networking bus based on Intel's new Communications Streaming Architecture (CSA). CSA works in conjunction with the new Intel® PRO/1000 CT Desktop Connection to double the Gigabit Ethernet networking bandwidth available on today's PCI bus based solutions.

The Intel 865PE chipset with support for 800MHz system bus and dual-channel DDR400 memory, works with today's advanced AGP8x graphics cards to provide flexibility for consumers, and higher end performance for graphics intensive applications. A third chipset, the Intel 865P, supports dual-channel DDR333/266 memory, AGP8x graphics cards and both 533 and 400 MHz system buses.

On June 23, 2003 Intel introduced the 3.2 GHz version of this CPU.

Intel Pentium 4 (533 MHz bus) - On May 6, 2002 Intel introduced the Intel Pentium 4 processors at 2.53, 2.40, and 2.26 GHz which used a 533 MHz system bus and were built with Intel's 0.13 micron technology.

Previous Pentium 4 processors interacted with the rest of the system using a 400 MHz system bus. Intel also introduced the 850E chipset, which is designed to operate at the new system bus speed.

On August 27, 2002 Intel introduced the 2.50, 2.60, 2.66, and 2.8 GHz Pentium 4.

Per Intel, "With high-performance PCs, consumers can dramatically reduce the time it takes to encode digital media such as music, pictures, and movies. A computer based on the Pentium 4 processor operating at 2.8 GHz can convert more than five one-hour videotapes to MPEG-4 digital video in the same time a 500 MHz PC can convert a one-hour videotape. Compared to a 500 MHz PC, consumers can edit photos more than four times faster with a PC based on the Pentium 4 processor 2.8 GHz."

Chipsets that support the 533 MHz bus. The Intel® 850 chipset family supports dual-channel RDRAM memory. The Intel® 845G and 845E chipsets provide both 533 and 400 MHz system bus support and integrated Hi-Speed USB 2.0.

2.2 and 2.4 GHz Pentium 4 (0.13 micron) - The 2.20 and 2.4 GHz Intel® Pentium® 4 processors are based on Intel's 0.13 micron manufacturing process. The new Pentium 4 processor increases the performance scalability of the Intel® NetBurst™ micro-architecture by delivering higher clock speeds with lower thermal power and doubling the Level 2 cache to 512K. The 2.2 GHz Pentium 4 was introduced on January 7, 2002 and the 2.4 GHz Pentium 4 was introduced on April 3, 2002.

845 Chipset. Also announced on January 7, 2002, was the 845 chipset. Per Intel, "The Intel® 845 chipset features support for PC133 SDRAM and DDR200/266 SDRAM, providing a significant increase in the performance of a Pentium 4 processor-based system at a relatively low cost. The 845 chipset features a Write Cache that prevents writes from conflicting with critical reads, Flexible Memory Refresh for the most efficient use of memory, and up to 24 Open Memory Pages that increase access to memory for better system multitasking."

Pentium 4 (0.18 microns)On November 20, 2000 Intel Corporation introduced the Intel Pentium(R) 4 processor at 1.5 and 1.4 GHz. In December 2000, Intel began shipping a 1.3 GHz version of the Pentium 4 processor to help establish the brand at mainstream price-points. On April 23, 2001 Intel announced it was shipping the 1.7 GHz Pentium 4 and on July 02, 2001 Intel announced the 1.6 and 1.8 GHz Pentium 4 CPUs. On August 27, 2001 the 2 GHz Pentium 4 was shipped.
The 1.3 - 2 GHz Pentium 4s were manufactured using a 0.18 micron process and had a 256K Level 2 cache.
Per Intel,"The Pentium 4 processor delivers a new generation of performance for processing video and audio, exploiting modern Internet technologies, and displaying 3-D graphics. Its foundation is the new Intel(R) NetBurst(TM) micro-architecture, a collection of unique technologies that will power Intel's most advanced 32-bit processors for consumer and business users over the next several years of computing."

Intel® Pentium® 4 processor logo
(Photo Courtesy of Intel)

The Pentium 4 processor is designed to give users performance where they can appreciate it most," said Paul Otellini, executive vice president and general manager, Intel Architecture Group. "Whether streaming content, playing interactive games, encoding video and MP3 files, or creating Internet content -- the Pentium 4 processor is designed to meet the needs of today's most demanding computer users."

The Intel(R) NetBurst(TM) Micro-Architecture and Intel(R) 850 Chipset. The Pentium 4 processor with Intel NetBurst technology is the first completely new desktop processor design from Intel since the Pentium Pro processor, with its P6 micro-architecture, was introduced in 1995.
Highlights include Hyper Pipelined Technology, which enables the Pentium 4 processor to execute software instructions in a 20-stage pipeline, as compared to the 10-stage pipeline of the Pentium III processor. Hyper Pipelined Technology supports a new range of clock speeds, beginning today with 1.5 and 1.4 GHz, with plenty of headroom for the future.
For higher performance, the Rapid Execution Engine allows frequently used Arithmetic Logic Unit instructions to be executed at double the core clock. The industry's first 400 MHz system bus speeds the transfer of data between the processor and main memory. In addition, 144 new instructions have been added to further speed the processing of video, audio and 3-D applications. These and other technical innovations make Pentium 4 processor-based PCs the ideal machines for creating and experiencing Internet media.
The Pentium 4 processor platform is based on the high-performance Intel(R) 850 chipset. The Intel 850 chipset's dual RDRAM* memory banks complement the Pentium 4 processor's 400 MHz system bus, providing up to 3.2 gigabytes of data per second. Intel also announced availability of the Intel Desktop Board D850GB, which supports the new Pentium 4 processor in the ATX form factor.
Additional information about the Pentium 4 processor is available from Intel at

Pentium 4 Performance

Initial reviews of the Pentium 4 showed it to be a mediocre performer when running typical Windows tests and applications. It had about the same speed as a 1 GHz Pentium III and per some tests the 1.2 GHz AMD Athlon outperformed the new Pentium 4 at 1.5 GHz. While the Pentium 4 was designed for graphic applications, it did not show significant increases in speed in current day graphics applications.
There have been two chains of thought as to why the Pentium 4 is not faster. One explanation is that current day software is not designed to take advantage of the Pentium 4's new abilities, and others hint that Intel may not be done with this CPU and that better and faster CPUs will follow it. In either case, we did not recommend this CPU when it was first produced to the average computer user as it appeared more of a niche CPU for the future high-end gamers and graphics designers. However with the production of the 1.7 GHz and faster GHz Pentium 4s, this CPU has the added muscle to perform all computing tasks.

Several performance evaluations of the Pentium 4:

April 20, 2001 InfoHQ Editorial - Intel's Latest Pentium 4 Performance Tests. Intel has released new test data outlining the speed advantages of the Pentium 4 over the Pentium III. These tests can be found on Intel's web site.
Highlights from the testing of a 1.5 GHz Pentium 4 against a 1 GHz Pentium III include:
-- The Pentium 4 is 27% faster than a Pentium III at certain Internet applications which include Adobe Acrobat, Flash, XML, and Java.
-- The Pentium 4 has 35% faster "3D visualization". Examples of this include graphic rendering and video frame rates. (Note that the Pentium 4 has not been shown to play most 3D games any faster than a Pentium III. - Ed)
-- The Pentium 4 can run Adobe Premier 5.1 (a graphics creation program) 30% faster.
-- The Pentium 4 can run Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 7 about 62% faster.
From these tests, one can only conclude that a graphics professional would have the most to gain from using a Pentium 4. Unfortunately, in everyday applications and games, the Pentium 4 has not shown significant speed advantages over the Pentium III, and in most cases, the AMD Athlon Thunderbird has been shown to out perform the Pentium 4. Instead of its hoped for effect of showing superiority over the Pentium III, these tests support the conclusion that the Pentium 4 is a niche CPU.

Performance of the 1.7 GHz Pentium 4. The Pentium 4 at 1.7 GHz is finally gaining some respect. It still dominates professional type graphics, but its clock speed is helping it make up its deficiencies in other areas. Also, some games (Quake III Arena, MBTR) are taking advantage of the Pentium 4's new features and are running faster than on Thunderbird Athlons.

So how to choose between an Athlon Thunderbird, Athlon XP, or Pentium 4? In general everyday applications, it should be assumed that a 1.2 GHz Athlon Thunderbird is as fast or faster than a 1.5 GHz Pentium 4, and the 1.30 and 1.33 GHz Athlon Thunderbirds would be equivalent in performance to the 1.7 GHz Pentium 4. Athlon XPs run 25% faster than a Pentium 4 at equivalent clock speed (so an Athlon XP 1800+ would be 25% faster than a Pentium 4 1.8 GHz CPU).
This comparison formula cannot be used with Pentium 4s faster than 2.0 GHz, as Intel went to a 0.13 micron architecture and doubled L2 cache to 512KB to produce all faster Pentium 4s.
Even though AMD went to an 0.13 micron process for the Athlon XP 2200+, the 2200+ (at 1.8 GHz) can be considered to be even in performance to the 2.2 GHz Pentium 4, and outclassed by all faster pentium 4s.

If you have one specific type of application that you are most interested in running at a high speed, a visit to the manufacturer's web site might provide CPU performance information.
In general, we recommend you decide on the performance you need, and see which processor will provide the most power for your money.


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