All Aboard! P4 with 200 MHz FSB and the i875P Dual DDR400 Chipset

Conclusion: For Intel, The World Is Hunky Dory

Compared to the previous Pentium 4 3.06 GHz (133 MHz FSB), the new P4 3.00 GHz (200 MHz FSB) succeeds in making significant performance gains in applications with frequent memory access. With this, Intel has scored a significant jump on its arch rival AMD. In addition, Intel can boast AGP 8X, Dual DDR400 and integrated Serial ATA (including RAID).

We got a pale impression of the Intel CSA technology, which enables the motherboard manufacturers to connect Gigabit LAN chips directly to the northbridge of the 875 chipset. However, whoever wants to offer this feature must use Intel network chips, since these are the only ones that can handle CSA at the moment. Although the competition from 3Com, Linksys and Netgear is about 20% to 30% less expensive, this type of chip has to give priority to the ICH5 Southbridge, which, with a 266 MB/s (Hub Link) connection, eventually becomes the bottleneck. After all, USB 2.0, Serial ATA, Ultra ATA and video streaming together gobble up quite a lot of bandwidth.

The new Pentium 4 3.00 GHz costs $417 per 1000 units. Two 256 MB Dual-DDR400 modules (PC3200) with CL2 are currently available in stores for $180. We were able to determine a shift in the market structure with regard to Rambus. The prices for PC1066 of a comparable level are about 50% more than for DDR400.

The clock is ticking for AMD, and hopefully it won't stop. As ever, there's nothing to be done but wait for the Hammer desktop platforms, but the ambitious goals will become mere illusion if no action is taken soon. AMD is at least also planning to soon raise the FSB clock to 200 MHz for its current Athlon XPs, but at half the bandwidth compared to Intel.

Uwe Scheffel