Jonathan's Hardware Thread 3.0 (Q1 2004)

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Jonathan's Hardware Thread 3.0 (Q1 2004)

Postby Jonathan » Thu Feb 05, 2004 7:06 pm

Prescott launched as the Pentium 4E processor.

Extreme Tech wrote:CPU Price
Pentium 4 2.8GHz $178
Athlon 64 2800+ $193
Pentium 4 3.0/3.06GHz $218
Athlon 64 3000+ $233
Pentium 4 3.2GHz $278
Athlon 64 3200+ $293
Pentium 4 3.4GHz $417
Athlon 64 3400+ $417
Athlon 64 FX-51 $725
Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.2GHz $925
Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.4GHz $999


That's the good news.

Anandtech.com wrote:If you’re looking for nothing more than a purchasing decision let’s put it simply: if you’re not an overclocker, do not buy any Prescott where there is an equivalently clocked Northwood available.


That's the bad news.

The other news will be nVidia and ATI's spring refreshes, which aren't out yet.
Last edited by Jonathan on Thu Feb 05, 2004 10:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Dave » Thu Feb 05, 2004 7:12 pm

"extreme" is the best marketing could come up with?
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Postby Jonathan » Thu Feb 05, 2004 10:19 pm

I was holding out for "Pentium 4 Pro Special Edition" but no one listened to me.
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Postby quantus » Thu Feb 05, 2004 10:32 pm

What was the difference between a pentium and pentium pro way back when? I know I could answer this like 4 years ago :(
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Postby quantus » Thu Feb 05, 2004 10:35 pm

Dave wrote:"extreme" is the best marketing could come up with?

Hey, marketing is a tough job! You should cut them some slack. I'm gonna go wait for another blue man group commercial to come on now, or at least I would if I bothered to watch tv anymore.
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Postby Jonathan » Thu Feb 05, 2004 10:56 pm

quantus wrote:What was the difference between a pentium and pentium pro way back when? I know I could answer this like 4 years ago :(

Pentium is a pipelined, in-order, superscalar machine with order 2. Pentium Pro is a pipelined, out-of-order, superscalar machine with order 3.
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Postby Jonathan » Tue Feb 17, 2004 8:43 pm

http://news.com.com/2100-1006_3-5160169.html?tag=nefd_top

Intel will come out with a server chip next quarter that adds 64-bit processing power to its current x86 line of processors, the company's chief executive said Tuesday.


Intel's approach will be compatible with AMD's.

Prescott features 64 bit extensions. These will be turned on in the Xeon line first, much like Hyperthreading was introduced for Xeon first and found its way down to Pentium 4 eventually.
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Postby Jonathan » Tue Feb 17, 2004 11:51 pm

This is a reply to Peijen's inquiry about 64 bit computing.

There are really two aspects of 64 bit computing. There's using 64 bit instructions and primitives. There's also AMD's specific 64-bit extensions to the IA32 or x86 instruction set, hereafter referred to as x86-64.

The reason to move to 64 bits is simply address space. 32 bits let you address 4 GB of memory. In practice, this usually limited to 2 GB of memory due to operating system limitations. A 64 bit system has a much higher limit. A few workloads out there use integers larger than 4 billion, and these also benefit from 64 bits. Floating point code almost always uses doubles nowadays anyway, so we're already using 64 bits there. There is no advantage to moving to 64 bits for floating point.

That is it, the whole list of reasons to move to 64 bits. Any other advantage you may attribute to a 64 bit processor is implementation specific. Things like bus width are not mandated by the width of the processor's internal data paths.

The disadvantages of 64 bit processors are subtle. First, it requires a longer page walk to translate all 64 bits of your address. A smart TLB scheme can hide much of this impact. Your address pointers are now 64 bits in length. This will inflate your code size, which means your code takes up more room in the cache. Your instructions will also grow some, depending on implementation. The 64 bit extensions to the CISC x86 instruction set depend on a certain set of prefixes to be added to the instructions that use them, so binaries will be slightly larger in most cases.

The x86-64 specification has one other alteration from standard IA32. The architectural registers have been doubled, both in number and in size. Doubling them in size is a natural part of extending a 32 bit ISA to 64 bits. Doubling them in number is something AMD just decided to do. This results in fewer spills, which nets you some reduction in code size. Depending on the circumstances and implementation, this may also result in fewer memory accesses.

The Athlon 64 or Opteron processor implements these features. It also, among other improvements, has an integrated memory controller. The memory controller on other system sits in your motherboard's north bridge and coordinates stuff between the CPU and memory. An onboard memory controller generally reduces the average latency of a memory access. This can have a performance improvement. This benefit is not specific to 64 bit code.
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Postby Jonathan » Wed Feb 18, 2004 12:10 am

The NX bit will also be enabled in Prescott/Nocona.

Execution Protection (no execute, or NX). NX calls into features in the CPU to mark memory so that code can't be executed from that memory, mitigating against worms such as MSBlaster.


Currently K8 and Itanium are the only processors that support the NX bit.
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Postby Jonathan » Wed Feb 18, 2004 12:16 am

And, in closing:

AMD has been charging premium prices for its Athlon 64 and Opteron line. Intel will be competing with Opteron directly with 64 bit Xeons in the next quarter, and AMD's prices have already dropped.

Prescott launched. It needs to scale up in clock speed dramatically over the next few quarters or else look pretty bad compared to Athlon 64. There's no telling when Prescott will be 64 bit enabled, but expect the same price pressure on Athlon 64 that happened to Opteron when that happens.

A Northwood P4 at 2.8 GHz for well under $200 looks mighty fine to me. Were I buying a processor now, I'd probably buy that. For forty bucks more, you can get a 3.0 GHz one. If you want to spend a whole lot of money on an AMD part, I'd spring for the Athlon 64 3400+ before I went for the Athlon 64 FX-51, as the 3400+ has most of the performance of the FX-51 at 2/3 of the cost.
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Postby Jonathan » Wed Mar 10, 2004 7:37 pm

We're not quite done yet!

Intel gave me a 3.0 GHz HT 512KB Pentium 4. I just finished ordering all the parts I will need. Here's the list of components, prices, and reasoning behind each purchase.

    $0 3.0c GHz HT 512KB Pentium 4 - This Northwood based core is designed for a 800 MHz FSB. However, motherboards based on Intel's 865 and 875 chipsets are excellent front side bus overclockers. Furthermore, the man in the debug lab who gave me this part noted that the tray of processors it came from ran fairly fast. He, for instance, had his running at 3.6 GHz, or 960 MHz FSB. That's a 20% overclock, which seems reasonable and achievable. Normally you would choose a cheaper part to overclock, like a 2.8c or a 2.4c P4, but you can't get any cheaper than free. All the rest of my purchases were made with this 20% overclock in mind.
    $127 Asus P4P800 Deluxe Motherboard - Asus is one of the top names in motherboards. This is their flagship product with the 865 chipset. I chose a Taiwanese motherboard with an Intel chipset because these are the best overclockers (runner up was Abit's IC7). I decided against purchasing the 875 chipset product, the P4C800, because the 875 is overpriced. I went with the Deluxe version of the P4P800 because I wanted Firewire ports. The RAID capabilities are just a bonus.
    $269 OCZ PC3700 Gold Rev. 2 DDR RAM 2x512MB - This was the toughest component to decide on. Early on I decided I wanted 1 GB of RAM in two 512MB sticks, as this will provide the best performance right now and the most expandibility going forward. Remember the 865/875 are dual channel chipsets and require two sticks of DDR to perform best. A cheap pair of 512MB DDR400 would run $150. The most expensive, fastest RAM can cost upwards of $350 for 1GB. All things being equal, I would choose the cheapest memory. However, at the same latencies, faster memory performs better. And, of course, lower latency memory performs better. Interestingly, lower latency appears to be more important than faster bandwidth, keeping CPU speed constant. OCZ PC3700 Gold Rev. 2 offers the best of both worlds, however, as it is fast memory that overclocks well and has extremely good latency at any speed. Anandtech's testing shows OCZ PC3700 Gold Rev. 2 at the top of the charts in performance at speeds up to 1000 MHz FSB. There are more expensive DDR sticks which will exceed 1000 MHz FSB, but remember I am only shooting for a modest 20% overclock. This memory is a good compromise between performance, overclocking, and price.
    $7 Arctic Silver 5 - There's been some scandal recently about some "silver" thermal pastes containing zero silver. That's why I went with the name brand stuff. I decided to spring for the stuff with real silver in it because I know that will work well. I didn't look at as many reviews for this. I do know that some compound thermal pastes work very well at very high temperatures, but I don't plan to overclock my processor that much.
    $27 Thermaltake Xaser Spark 7 with variable speed fan. Copper conducts heat better than aluminum, so I knew I wanted a heat sink with at least a copper core. As it turns out, I was able to find an all copper heat sink for less than $30, so I went ahead and bought it. The variable speed fan is 21 dB at its slowest setting. It has a temperature sensor which raises the fan speed if the core gets hotter. The high speed noise level is 43 dB, which is acceptable. Sadly, this heat sink was missing its retention clip, so I returned it.
    $129 Lian Li 6077B - Aluminum for light weight, great for LAN parties. Removable motherboard tray for easy upgrades. Thumb screws to preserve my sanity and thumbs. Good airflow for cooling. Front USB, headphone, and Firewire ports are a modern necessity.
    $53 Antec True380s PS - Great combination of stellar power delivery with quiet operation. Delivers a great big chunk of amps on the +12V rail for smooth processor operation. Single fan for extra quiet operation.

edit: put in name of heatsink and the fact that I returned it.
Last edited by Jonathan on Sun Mar 14, 2004 9:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby VLSmooth » Wed Mar 10, 2004 10:55 pm

I only had time for a quick glance but it looks good to me 8)

Unfortunately I know very little regarding pentium specifics (CPU/mobo). Regarding the heatsink, if it works, it works, although I prefer ThermalRight with at least an 80mm fan (92 is even better, if it fits). Artic Silver is worth the peace of mind, case is good since you're willing to foot the bill, and the PSU is a winner. As for RAM, I thought Intel was more bandwidth happy than latency? (cost efficiency wise). Overall, an ice package.

edit: I meant ThermalRight, not Thermaltake, I use the SLK series.
Last edited by VLSmooth on Wed Mar 10, 2004 11:48 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Jonathan » Wed Mar 10, 2004 11:08 pm

I'll put in the specifics of the heat sink I purchased later. I bought it from Fry's, not Newegg, so I don't have the specific part name in front of me.

The goal was to push the limit of the CPU's speed without overspending. We'll see how well I do when I assemble stuff this weekend.
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Postby VLSmooth » Wed Mar 10, 2004 11:46 pm

Here's an example of a ThermalRight heatsink:
http://heatsinkfactory.com/cgi-bin/HFAs ... gno=HS-006

It uses a series of notches to accept fans of various sizes.
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Postby Jonathan » Thu Mar 11, 2004 5:30 pm

The new Grantsdale HSFs are pretty sweet. They're completely radial and round. Look like jet engines.
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Postby Jonathan » Thu Mar 11, 2004 5:31 pm

VLSmooth wrote:Here's an example of a ThermalRight heatsink:
http://heatsinkfactory.com/cgi-bin/HFAs ... gno=HS-006

It uses a series of notches to accept fans of various sizes.


Give you a dollar to find the dB rating on the socket 478 one.
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Postby Jonathan » Thu Mar 11, 2004 6:48 pm

That's the Thermalright SLK-947U Copper Heatsink, btw. Anandtech likes it.

I'll find out what I bought from Fry's tonight.
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Postby VLSmooth » Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:05 pm

Dwindlehop wrote:The new Grantsdale HSFs are pretty sweet. They're completely radial and round. Look like jet engines.

Heh, too bad round heatsinks typically suck 8)
Last edited by VLSmooth on Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby VLSmooth » Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:06 pm

Dwindlehop wrote:That's the Thermalright SLK-947U Copper Heatsink, btw. Anandtech likes it.

I'll find out what I bought from Fry's tonight.

Heh, the key point is I like it 8)
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Postby Jonathan » Thu Mar 11, 2004 9:33 pm

VLSmooth wrote:
Dwindlehop wrote:The new Grantsdale HSFs are pretty sweet. They're completely radial and round. Look like jet engines.

Heh, too bad round heatsinks typically suck 8)


Huh? I'm telling you they're all going to be like that. Why do they suck?

On a BTX board, you'll have the clearance around the CPU to vent air on all sides. The fan will draw air from the case and force it into the heatsink, which has fins radiating in all directions. The air is funneled out through all those fins. Looks like a major win to me in terms of airflow and surface area.
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