After feeling soured by Intelís 3.46GHz Pentium 4 Extreme Edition, which requires a new motherboard, costs more than a modest mortgage payment, and offers little in the way of extra performance, we were understandably down on the Pentium 4ís future potential.
But Intel isnít ready to roll over by any means. Itís unveiling an attractive BTX strategy that promises to standardize the way small form-factor cases are designed, while simultaneously augmenting cooling performance and reducing some of the noise pollution generated by an excessive number of fans. Intel is also taking the wraps off of a 3.8GHz Pentium 4 that boasts more than just an extra 200MHz. It isnít the Athlon 64-killer that Intel so desperately needs, but it is an undeniable step in the right direction.
Pentium 4 570J at 3.8GHz
Of course, Intelís Pentium 4 570J comes in lieu of the 4GHz processor that was originally slated to emerge before the end of 2004. Naturally, it centers on the Prescott core, which compromises a little performance for augmented clock frequency through a lengthy 31-stage execution pipeline. The core is also manufactured on a 90nm lithography process and features 1MB of L2 cache, in addition to SSE3 and Hyper-Threading technology.
In fact, the 3.8GHz chip is almost identical to the 3.6GHz variant that precedes it. But there are a couple of notable improvements that accompany E0, the new revision as identified by CPU-Z. The first is Intelís XD hardware bit, an equivalent to what AMD calls Enhanced Virus Protection and a natural complement to Data Execution Prevention in Windows XP Service Pack 2. In adding the feature to its Pentium 4, Intel is establishing some degree of parity between its own processor family and competing Athlon 64 chips, which have supported the feature for more than a year already, in addition to CoolíníQuiet and 64-bit extensions.
Intel stands to benefit from enabling its EMT64 and DBS technologies, already available to servers through Xeon, in the Pentium 4 as well. Weíve already heard that a limited number of Prescott cores shipping to large system builders support EMT64, but representatives from Intel claim that Pentium 4 570J does not.
The other improvement is an enhanced halt state that improves Prescottís thermal characteristics. Notorious for running hot, the enhanced halt state is a boon to the architectureís heat output and as youíll see in the overclocking results. Clock scalability improves appreciably.
Unlike the previously announced Pentium 4 3.46GHz Extreme Edition, Intelís Pentium 4 570 employs an 800MHz front side bus, meaning it will work with existing 925X motherboards. A BIOS may be required to properly identify the new stepping, but our test platform immediately recognized the 3.8GHz processor.