Pentium 4 NetBurst
Intel continues to battles its declining image and the rising success
of competitor clip maker AMD.
Many were sceptical that the Pentium 4 with its funky 'NetBurst-Architecture',
'Rapid Execution Engine', and 'Hyper Pipeline, would save it from
losing its number one spot as the world best PC Chip Maker.
Intel calls the new architecture of Pentium 4 'NetBurst' yet nothing
in the data released to date shows any indication that upload and
download speeds will be any faster. So taking a non-Internet approach,
does 'NetBurst' refer to other performance characteristics such
as its 'Internet-accelerating' processor.
It really doesn’t matter what they call it, all the PC user
wants is to work as fast as possible and reliably as possible.
From the overview we have done to date, it appears that P4 NetBurst
is aimed to improve performance of Internet Gamers, rather than
professional users. Other hints at this include Intels focus to
deliver highest clock rates. But clock rate does NOT automatically
translate in performance.
The key here as a buyer is not to be fooled by hip marketing names
and high Giga-Hertz numbers – they don’t necessarily
translate into faster processing. Between the lines we can expect
that P4 NetBurst includes:
Rapid Execution Engine
Faster System Bus - Cache - improving transfer
rate from 1,066 MB/s (Pentium 3) to 3,200 MB/s. [ At best config
AMD 2,133 MB/s. This enables the P4 to exchange data with the rest
of the system faster than any other x86-processor. The fastest processor
bus doesn't help much unless the system's main memory can deliver
data at an according pace. Intel's new Pentium 4 850 chipset uses
two Rambus channels RDRAM; delivering the same data bandwidth as
Pentium 4's new bus (3,200 MB/s].
Advanced Transfer - 256 kB L2-cache is same size
as P3 but the P4 uses 128-Byte cache lines, which are divided in
two 64-Byte pieces, allowing it to fetch data from the system (main
memory, AGP, PCI, ...) to give an impressive data bandwidth between
L2-cache and core of 44.8 GB/s for Pentium 4 @ 1.4 GHz and 48 GB/s
for Pentium 4 at 1.5 GHz.
Advanced Dynamic Execution (Execution Trace Cache,
Enhanced Branch Prediction) – at only 8 kB, it replaces the
L1 instruction cache of Pentium III to enable its extremely low
latency of only 2 clock cycles. Intel P4 proudly boasts on the branch
prediction unit that aids the execution trace cache. With a branch
target buffer is 8 times larger than Pentium 3 and a new algorithm
eliminate 33% of the mis-predictions of Pentium 3.
Hyper Pipeline - Pentium 4 has no less than 20
stages [ 10 in P3]. This longer pipeline delivers the highest clock
rates; the smaller or shorter each pipeline stage, the fewer transistors
or 'gates' it needs and the faster it is able to run. Unfortunately
this also means more 'in-flight' instructions capable of being lost
taking longer for the pipeline is filled again. The Pentium 4 pipeline
can manage up to 126 instructions 'in-flight', including up to 48
load and 24 store operations.
Enhanced Floating Point and Multi-Media (SSE2)
All the means is the Pentium 4-systems have the highest data transfer
rates between processor, system and main memory; a clear benefit.
What remains to be seen is how the multiple high priced RDRAM will
impact the overall price.
The excellent data throughput of Pentium 4's system bus and memory
interface makes it perform extremely well in Quake 3 and MPEG4-compression.
Even so, this doesn’t make it the greatest and best performing
processor in the world.
Pentium 4's strongest feature is possibly its clock speed potential,
and with the Rambus finally delivering to design spec in harmony
with RDRAM it poses a real threat to AMD.
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