The Top Models Together: P4 3.2 GHz And Athlon XP 3200+
This test has a historic quality; the eternal rivals meet again and for the last time, shortly to be replaced by new processors. If AMD had been able to step up the pressure in the last 12 months, then the Pentium 4 would have been history long ago. And if the Athlon 64 were already available on the market, then Intel would have long since launched the Pentium 5 (codenamed Prescott). In the meantime, however, Intel has been seemingly carefree in the last few months, although there could soon be an end to this.
Because of its rival's difficulties, the P4 with the Northwood core has been guaranteed a longer life and is now celebrating its three-year anniversary. However, with the announcement of a new version, the end of the road has been reached: in its top version, the P4 runs with 3.2 GHz - and Intel doesn't want to demand a higher clock rate of its old veteran with the Northwood Core. After all, the processor is based on 130-nanometer structures that have remained identical ever since the core was introduced with 2.2 GHz. Clock speeds starting from 3.4 GHz are reserved for the Pentium 5, which should be celebrating its debut this year - but only if AMD has brought its Athlon 64 to the market already.
In any case, the evaluation of the Prescott is running at its peak - working samples without a fixed multiplier have been circulating for months already. Essentially, almost all of the Pentium 5's new features are known, and this new processor, like its predecessor, is built on Netburst architecture (more on this later on in the article).