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Pentium 4 "Prescott" 1066 MHz FSB:
Looking Beyond the Horizon!


Compressing Multimedia Data

Remember that our standard test settings for MP3 encoding with variable bitrate (VBR) do not allow direct bitrate control, that is it is completely up to the codec. But the use of q=0 parameter (the highest CBR quality) in this version significantly slows down the operation and makes the codec cache-hungry. That's why we used a more standard setting as an alternative --alt-preset standard.

LAME (standard iXBT.com test)

When q=0, a large cache is of critical importance, that's clear.

LAME (--alt-preset standard)

...But with --alt-preset standard all processors demonstrated approximately the same results. A paradox appears in this connection: none of the presets can be considered good from the point of view of its usage in the tests. In the first case we can see the difference, but this preset is somewhat "synthetic". In the second case, the preset is rather relevant from the point of users, but it shows practically no differences between processors...

Windows Media Audio 9

Another candidate to elimination: very quick and very nondiagnostic. But in this case audio data compression is endangered to drop out from our method in pleno...

Mainconcept MPEG Encoder

Updated MPEG Encoder supports SSE3, and one can assume that it procured Prescott's victory on a 1066 MHz bus together with high operating speed with memory and traditionally high gain from Hyper-Threading. There is a second option possible: in its competition with Pentium 4 XE everything was resolved by the frequency, and the large L3 of the latter was left out of job adding no points.

DivX Pro

It's difficult to tell DivX preferences of this version so far: either to a large cache or to a short pipeline (remember that it's longer in Prescott core than in Pentium 4 XE).

Windows Media Video 9

A similar situation. But the fact that even non-top AMD processors successfully catch up with our "future Pentium 4" is alarming. By the way: Athlon 64 3500+ and the new ATI platform were "invited" into this test exactly to track such situations: it's natural when A64 is outscored by the other two contenders - it's weaker by all parameters. But when it goes on a par with one of them, it means that top AMD processors will probably ride high in this test.


Previously registered bugs were obviously fixed in the new XviD version, and now the situation with Pentium 4 performance changed cardinally, especially with respect to the new core. Well, it's nice when the new is faster than the old: at least it means that we are paying not for nothing...



Large cache in Pentium 4 XE obviously had its effect here. While Prescott looks not very good - it's again almost on a par with Athlon 64 3500+. Even 7-zip free-threading and the highest frequency among the contenders together with fast memory were of no help.


WinRAR would show preference to AMD before, so nothing has changed. And the large cache was of no help to P4 XE - Prescott looks quite advantageous against it.



No comments... DOOM 3 is hardly a good test for processors. Of course, it's not a top video card - but what's the point in testing a CPU with software, for which a graphics chip is much more critical?


It's a game, which, according to Andrey Vorobiev – hardware editor of the 3D Graphics Products section, heavily depends on a CPU. The latest version includes two built-in benchmarks, we decided to check both of them.

The new C5L2 is much better for CPU testing. And the results look quite optimistic for the Intel platform: ultraexpensive (and thus not very popular among common users) Extreme Edition is no good, while Prescott at 1066 MHz FSB demonstrates decent results.

Unreal Tournament 2004

Ons_dria demo on the ATI Radeon Xpress 200 + AMD Athlon 64 3500+ platform just showed blue screen of death (BSOD), that's why the diagram does not contain results for this testbed. However, both diagrams produce an impression that this game does not depend heavily on a processor. Still, let's wait for the results of top AMD processors. Only they can be shown at advantage in Unreal Tournament 2004 (according to the breakaway demonstrated by Athlon 64 3500+ in Primeval demo).


Let's precondition that a guest star is a guest star, it's used only to make a background. So we shall not touch the results of the new ATI platform and Athlon 64 3500+ processors in our conclusions. This topic will be reserved for separate testing (which is round the corner).

What concerns the comparison of results demonstrated by the first Intel processor officially supporting 1066 MHz FSB with the performance of an overclocked Prescott, on the whole it looks peachy for the latter. Of course there are some crevasses, but not many. And in many cases Pentium 4 Extreme Edition even lags behind, sometimes you cannot explain it even by the frequency difference. To all appearances (though it's too bold to draw conclusions based on a single test), increasing the core frequency and the memory system performance is strategically more correct than increasing the cache capacity. But on the other hand, store is no sore, so that could be combined...

Thus, on the whole, the future of Prescott looks good after the FSB is upgraded to 1066 MHz. All we have to do is wait for a CPU based on this core, which will officially support it. And if there appears Prescott with 2 MB L2 (there are some rumours...), it will have all chances to combine the best properties of both Intel processors represented in this test.


Stanislav Garmatiuk (nawhi@ixbt.com)

November 29, 2004

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