The new driver release 12.10 did not show any impact on the Sysmark 2001 scores of either of the two processors, which is why we decided to omit the results.
The benchmark scores generated with the 12.10-driver may not display as much of a difference to the scores of driver 6.67 as some of you might have expected. However, we were clearly able to see what difference the Pentium 4 optimizations are able to make. NVIDIA's implementation of P4-enhancements into their new graphics card drivers could be seen as a first step into the era of P4-optimized software. Intel can only hope that others will soon follow NVIDIA's example. You can't blame Intel of laziness. Intel's excellent tools as well as documentations required for the generation of P4-enhanced code are available for quite some time. Once the majority of software has been tailored to Pentium 4, we will finally see the benefits of Pentium 4's architecture. If Intel continues its aggressive pricing policy along with this development, Pentium 4 could become a lot more attractive. AMD needs to be aware of this situation. It has to ensure that Athlon enhancement tools will make their way into the offices of software developers as well. This will be particularly important for upcoming AMD-processors with a new architecture, such as e.g. the Hammer-line.
Let's see what happens next. We all know "one swallow does not make spring." It might well be that we will have to wait a long while until another important software will actually become P4-enhanced. Until then Pentium 4 will have a tough standing against AMD's very attractively priced Athlon processor, which is performing extremely well with today's applications.