Pentium IV, the "Extreme Edition" for gamers

Surprised no one mentioned this yet, but Intel just announced a new P4 version for Gamers, aimed at blunting the AMD 64.

P4 Extreme Edition (In best Monster Truck Commercial Voice) is a 3.2 GHz P4 with 512kb of L2 cache and a whopping 3MB of L3 cache, which is the big new feature. Plus Hyperthreading.

So Case, what does 3MB of L3 cache do for us perofrmance-wise? Is it a barn burner of an enhancement?

Depends where it’s located, and what speed it’s running at.

The big problem with L3 cache back in the day was latency. Yeah, it ran at a decent speed, but it was located far away from the CPU, on the mainboard, and so it took a while to access. You got a link to any detailed info on this cache?

Heh, the funny thing is L3 cache isn’t likely to help much with games but I could see CAD guys jumping all over it… if the P4 had a half-decent FPU.

It’s not 3MB, but 2MB; there’s still 0.5MB of L2, of course, so 2.5 total.

Machfive, Jakub: The L3 cache is SRAM, is on-die and runs at the full speed of the processor. It’s not the old style, off-die L3.

Oh, and it does help in games. You get a pretty good bump in performance from a stock 3.2GHz P4. Intel chose 2MB of L3, not just to piss on AMD (though that was, I suspect, part of it), but because they found out that vertex buffers in many games fit neatly inside 2MB.

So it’s faster than a stock P4. Really. I know this.

But is that speed bump enough to justify the cost of these new processors? Bring on the Half Life 2 benchies!

Oh dear. Full speed L3? If that’s the case, why the hell didn’t they roll that into the L2 cache? It doesn’t seem to make much sense. If you’ve got two 40 gig hard drives, or an 80 gig hard drive, you’ll be able to store slightly more data on the 80 gigger since there’s no “gap” between the two drives.

In a small amount of cache like the L2/L3, that “gap” is even more critical.

The P4EE is based on the Xeon Gallatin core, which was designed for workstations and low-end servers. I believe that it’s a circuit layout issue. Since it’s based on the Northwood core, enlarging the original 512KB means moving around a lot of other traces, which takes large amounts of time with a chip that large, and hand-tuned to boot. So it’s easier just to add more silicon, and the lay out an L3 cache.

So wait a tic - This isn’t even based on an upcoming core, it’s nothing more than a rebaged Xeon?

I’d still like to see benchmarks, but it seems like a rather half-assed move on their part. Half-measures are the suck.

It’s a little more than that. The Xeon w/2MB cache max out at 2.8GHz, and only support a 533MHz FSB. The P4EE runs with an 800MHz FSB and at 3.2GHz. Despite the higher clock, it supposedly generates less heat than the Xeon. The stock cooling solution for the standard 3.2GHz P4 is all that’s needed. I suspect they’re being very selective about the bin sorting of this die.

That’s still not much to celebrate. Isn’t there an upcoming core Intel’s working on that supports enough new features there’s some debate over whether it’ll be called a Pentium 4 or given a new number?

Yes, that’s the processor that’s codenamed Prescott, and will be on a new 90nm manufacturing process. First CPUs will probably arrive by year’s end. Prescott will have 1MB L2.

However, Intel suggested quite strongly that there would be future P4EE-type processors, so it’s likely that there will be the stock Prescott and… something more.

Hooray, we’re a market segment!


Yeah, Prescott. If this would’ve been a Prescott with 2 megs of L3, I’d have been impressed. ;)

I can already imagine the marketing campaign, in which Intel pays to have DOA3 ported over to the PC and runs TV spots with the tagline “It’s never looked so real!” :wink:

Will this new L3 cache make my internet faster? Will it double the size of my hard drive? What outlandish claims will Intel make about this CPU during commercials? I’ll bet each CPU comes bundled with one of the Blue Men from the Blue Man Group!

You didn’t hear? There are tiny Blue Men inside the processor, which is how they can fit all that broadband inside the transistors!


woohoo! this sounds like the cpu for me! let me lace up my nikes…

And how much is this wonderchip going to cost ?

Unknown – but almost certainly north of the current P4/3.2 pricing, which is around $600. I’m predicting $700-750 (US).

Unknown – but almost certainly north of the current P4/3.2 pricing, which is around $600. I’m predicting $700-750 (US).[/quote]

Ouch !

Ah, it’s on-die. I thought it’d be on-board. I can see it helping performance quite a bit, if the memory logic co-operates.