3.8 GHz P4-570 and E0 Stepping To End Intel's Performance Crisis


Not long ago, Intel officially cancelled the 4 GHz Pentium 4 Model 580. Intel's problem was clear, however: with AMD's best offering now clearly superior to theirs, Intel couldn't let the 3.6 GHz P4-560 remain its top model. For this reason, Intel is today launching the Pentium 4 Processor 570 at 3.8 GHz. Considering the heat and throttling issues of the 3.6 GHz chip, this looks like a rather bold move. Has Intel finally managed to master the Prescott's heat dissipation problems?

Compared with its predecessor, the thermal specifications of the 570 have not changed - the thermal design allows for a maximum of 115 W. This "envelope," as it is called, should be good enough to allow the extra clock speed of 200 MHz, an increase of 5.5%.

And even though one shouldn't expect much from such a small increment in speed, the new P4 will certainly make life difficult for one of its fellows: the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition at 3.46 GHz with 2 MB L3 cache. The extra features of the EE chip likely won't be able to compensate any longer for the sheer difference in clock speed. In addition, the Gallatin-based Extreme Edition lacks the SSE3 instruction set, which is slowly but surely gaining importance. As a result, the Extremely Expensive Edition will eventually lose its reason for existence.

Intel is also finally introducing the highly-anticipated E0 stepping of its Prescott processor core. In addition to the non-execute feature (also known as Execute Disable or Execute Disable Bit), the revised core offers Enhanced Halt Mode and Thermal Monitoring 2. While the former feature offers load-dependent clock speed modulation, the latter uses the same basic technique to protect the core from overheating. Thus, we expect noticeable improvement in thermal loss during idle time.

Let's see how the new chip measures up.