Intel's Entry Level Dual-Core Processor: Pentium D 805

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On April 7th, 2006, Intel silently launched the Intel Pentium D 805 processor.  That makes the Pentium D 805 processor the entry level dual-core CPU for any Intel platform.  Running at 2.66GHz the Pentium D 805 utilizes a Front Side Bus (FSB) of 533MHz and a clock multiplier of 20.  To make this an entry level processor Intel gave it a 533MHz FSB, which is a slower than the other dual-core processors that all run on a 800MHz FSB and it does not have Enhanced Intel SpeedStep technology for better thermal regulation. 

What does this mean to you?  It means that Intel has released a dual-core processor priced at under $130.  We couldn't ignore this budget dual-core processor and ordered one from chiefvalue.com this past week and it has been on the test bench since it arrived!

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The Intel Pentium D Processor 805 runs at 2.66GHz with a 533MHz FSB and shares two seperate 1MB L2 caches that are located on the procesor.  The 805 is a Smithfield dual-core processor and does fully support 64-bit computing via the Intel EM64T technology.

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Inside the retail packaging you get the processor, an Intel heat sink fan cooling unit, and the owners manual with the Pentium D sticker on the back. Now that you know what you get for ~$130 US let's take a closer look at our processor and start the overclocking.

The Intel 805 Stepping

Our retail processor came with a product code of BX80551PE2666FNSL8ZH and had a pack date of 02/23/2006.  Looking up sSpec code we found (Link) that the processor is designed to run at 1.25V-1.400V and is a B0 core stepping. We also found the product code for the OEM version of the Intel Pentium D Processor 805 - HH80551PE0672MN. Doing a couple searches on Froogle and Shopping.com we had no luck finding any OEM versions for sale, but a Google search found two companies in Russia that listed the 805 on their product pages.  If an OEM version comes out the pricing would more than likely be even lower than the $130 product we have here today.

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Looking at the 805 processor itself we find the usual markings found on retail processors.  No Engineering Sample (ES) processor for this review.  Currently there are two Intel 805 reviews on the internet and both were done using Intel ES processors making this the first online article done by a review site of the retail version (that we know of).   Looking at the last line of code we believe that this processor was made during the 50th week of 2005 in Malaysia.

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Using CPU-Z 1.32.1 our Intel Pentium D Processor 805 was able to plug-in-play in our ASUS P5WD2 Premium motherboard.  A quick look at CPU-Z showed that everything was up and running at the correct speeds and voltages.

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The Smithfield core is basically two Prescott processors bolted together and does tend to get warm. We highly suggest using water cooling and when using our Corsair Nautilus 500 water cooler temperatures were not a concern. Now let's take a look at some general benchmarks at default and start the overclocking!

Overclocking From Default

Intel Pentium D Processor 805 Test Platform

Component

Brand/Model

Live Pricing

Processor

Intel Pentium D 805

Motherboard

ASUS P5WD2 Premium

Video Card

BFG Tech 7800GTX

Hard Drive

Western Digital WD2500

Cooling

Corsair Nautilus 500

Power Supply

OCZ 600W Powerstream

Operating System

Windows XP Professional

On our test system we ran 2GB of PC2-6400 memory at 4-3-4-8 timings.  During default testing DDR2 533MHz memory was run as the only available dividers allowed 400MHz and 533Mhz memory options.  At 190MHz FSB the memory was running with 4-3-4-8 timings, but at a higher frequency of 760MHz.

Performance Testing:

We started off at default clock speeds and ran Super Pi Mod 1.5 and 3DMark 2005 to see how our platform performs.

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After running Super Pi Mod 1.5 to 1 million places we found that the benchmark took 48.578 seconds to complete and the overall 3DMark 2005 score was at 6551.  Not the most impressive of scores from what we are used to, but then again this is less than $130 processor right? 

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We then started raising the Front Side Bus up and found that while the system would post at 200MHz x 20 (4GHz) it would not load Windows no matter how much tweaking was down.  We settled at running a 190MHz FSB with a multiplier of 20. At this setting we were able to run the Intel Pentium D Processor 805 at 3.8GHz on the default voltages with no issues at all.  Our Super Pi time went frrom 48 seconds to 34 seconds, which is 14 seconds faster than default.  The overall 3DMark 2005 score went up from 6551 to 8416, translating to a 28.5% score increase.  If you do the math on the Super Pi time decrease it also shows a 29% performance increase. 

By going from 2.66GHz to 3.8GHz, a 1.14GHz overclock, we were seeing benchmark scores go up around 29% even though we were able to get an extra 43% clock frequency increase on the processor. 

Let's take a look at the SiSoftware Sandra 2005 Multi-Media Benchmark

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At default speeds the 805 processor comes in a tad below the Intel 820 processor.  A score of 30290/35924 is respectable, but let's see what we get at 190MHz FSB.

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Now that is more like it!  At a 190MHz FSB the Intel 805 processor easily passes up the Intel Pentium D Processor 840 and comes pretty close to the 840 Extreme Edition. 

Unstable Overclocking

While 190MHz was the highest 100% stable overclock we were able to run several benchmarks at 194MHz with partial stability.  Anything over 195MHz and any attempts at increasing the processor voltage resulted in BSOD's and failed post attempts.  Below is a screen shot of the highest we could get Super Pi to run on the Intel Pentium D 805.  Notice that CPU-Z is correctly showing the voltage being used as 1.376V as the voltage is at the default 1.4V in the BIOS.

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Final Thoughts and Conclusions:

We were able to go out and purchase a $130 processor that has nearly all of the latest and greatest features from Intel and overclock it to run with the best that Intel has to offer.  This processor is ideal for budget systems and those looking for a cheap way to get a Vista ready platform for the next generation of Windows next year.  In terms of overclocking this processor couldn't be any easier to overclock.  With no voltage increase required, all that needs really needs to be adjusted is the memory dividers and the Front Side Bus (FSB).  Since the Front Side Bus is running below 200MHz no voltage adjustments are needed on the chipsets and the PCI dividers are not being pushed out of tolerance. 

If you are looking for an inexpensive way to get into a dual-core system and don't mind overclocking then the Intel Pentium D Processor 805 should be high on the list.  The locked multiplier of 20 is the limiting factor when it comes to overclocking and performance, but for this price point I'm sure many will suffer. When it comes to pricing the overclocked Intel 805 processor performed just better than the Intel 840 processor. The Intel Pentium D 840 Processor can be found for ~$350 making this ~$130 processor a steal. With a price tag that is $220 lower than the 840 and better performance to boot, the Intel 805 is a no brainer for those looking for the ultimate in price versus performance!

We ordered our Intel Pentium D Processor 805 from ChiefValue.com for $130.99 last week and currently they are priced even lower at $129.79 shipped.  For the overclocker getting a 3.8GHz processor that needs no voltage adjustments for $129.79 shipped is nearly unheard of. To make things even better a high-end enthusiast motherboard is not needed for overclocking as running under 200MHz FSB is no big deal. Keep in mind that even when overclocked to 3.88GHz we were only running a FSB of 777MHz! Running a 200MHz FSB is default on many boards and nearly all of the newer Intel chipsets support a 266MHz FSB processor. An ECS 945P-A motherboard running the Intel 945P chipset is rated to run up to 1066MHz FSB and can be found for only $85 and will run the Intel 805 with no problems. For roughly $215 you can have a motherboard and a dual-core processor running ~3.8GHz with a little luck!

After using the Intel Pentium D Processor 805 for the week we found it a joy and an easy choice for all of those on a budget.  An editor's choice is going out for this one!

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In closing I'd like to thank you for reading this article and be sure to visit the forums and give us your take on the Intel Pentium D Processor 805!  I wonder if Intel will come out with a Pentium D 905 processor!?!?!

Legit Bottom Line: The Intel Pentium D Processor 805 is the lowest priced dual-core desktop processor on the market from either Intel or AMD and overclocks to become a great performing processor at a killer price.