Prescott Arrives

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After looking at the benchmarks it is clear the processor has it’s advantages and disadvantages. Sure it’s slower than Pentium 4 Northwood chips at the same clock speed, but that was just the case with the original Pentium 4 (Willamette) hit the market and look now! The addition of extra L1 and L2 cache was a smart move by Intel because without it performance would be lower in many of the benchmarks we looked at. It’s also too soon to judge the impact of the new SSE3 instructions. Since there are only 13 new instructions (SSE2 had 145) I wouldn’t expect a huge increase, but time will tell.

Right now the Prescott is a tad slower than the Northwood at equal clock speeds, runs hotter, and draws more power, but thats not the whole story. Intel has told us that the Prescott will get better as Intel comes out with higher clock speeds. The sweet spot for the Prescott is rumored to be around 3.8-4.0GHz, which are speeds that are not too far away.

One thing you might have noticed in this review is that I didn’t touch on temperatures or overclocking of the Prescott. I will be putting out individual reviews covering both of those issues and both are important areas to cover. The Prescott sample we have overclocks very well, which could be different from the retail versions. Just to give you a heads up we are seeing 4GHz+ with little effort on our Engineering Sample.

The new 3.4GHz Extreme Edition that we tested along with the Prescott was very impressive, as well as the $999 price tag that comes along with it. Overall the Intel 3.4 EE and AMD A64 FX-51 led the majority of benchmarks and are both still the CPU’s to have if the budget allows.

Overall the first new processor of 2004 seems to be a peak ahead for the near future. In the upcoming months we have Balanced Technology Extended (BTX) interfaces, new CPU sockets, PCI Express, and hopefully the new software to use SSE3 and other new technologies.

Legit Bottom Line:

Intel was able to launch the Prescott processor with major core architecture changes without having a negative impact on performance. Intel now has a core that can be ramped up to 4GHz and beyond with ease!

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