Intel’s Pentium Extreme Edition 965 processor

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN you pack a quad-SLI graphics subsystem, a Sound Blaster X-Fi audio processor, a physics acceleration chip, a RAID 10 disk array, four gigs of DDR2-1200 memory, and Intel’s next-generation dual-core processor into a single box with a 64-bit OS and fire up Unreal Engine 3? I have no idea, but to tide us over until that’s possible, today Intel is introducing a new speed grade of its top-end desktop CPU, the Pentium Extreme Edition 965.

Before you nod off to sleep and plant your face in the keyboard, realize that this CPU is actually a pair of chips wound up to 3.73GHz and, well, that’s a lot and stuff. Perhaps more importantly, thanks to refinements to its 65-nanometer manufacturing process, Intel has found a way to crank up the clock frequency while dialing back the heat on this double-barreled blowtorch of death. In fact, it’s more like a blowtorch of pain now, with power consumption actually reduced from the Pentium Extreme Edition 955 we reviewed a few months back, despite the 965’s increased clock speed.

The result could be that this CPU based on a lame-duck microarchitecture manages to do something few Pentiums have done in recent times: catch up with the competition from AMD in terms of performance and power use. And if that doesn’t work, we can always try turning up the clock speed to 4.53GHz, right? Let’s have a look at what Intel’s new fastest processor has to offer.

The 965 takes a bow
For the unfamiliar, Pentium Extreme Edition processors are Intel’s flagship desktop products, the top-of-the-line fastest CPUs it sells, traditionally priced just one buck shy of a cool thousand. The Extreme Edition 965 is primarily distinguished from the previous model 955 by its higher 3.73GHz clock speed. Like the rest of the Pentium D 900 series, Intel manufactures these chips using its 65nm fabrication process, and although they’re billed as dual-core processors, they’re really more like Siamese twins, with a pair of identical Pentium 4 “Cedar Mill” chips arranged together in one package. Each “core” is an independent CPU, complete with its own 2MB of L2 cache onboard.

Because the 965 is an Extreme Edition, though, it has a few extras the Pentium D 900 series lacks. The 965 comes with official support for a 1066MHz front-side bus, allowing it to talk to the rest of the system—and its two cores to one another—at an accelerated pace. Dual-core Extreme Editions also have support for Hyper-Threading, which creates an irresistible bragging-rights scenario. Fire up Windows Task Manager or the like, and you’ll see four virtual CPUs showing on this single-socket wonder. If that’s not enough to impress your friends, perhaps the Extreme Edition’s unlocked multiplier will do the trick. This thing overclocks easily with no need for bus speed adjustments or running the rest of the system at odd frequencies. Heck, the Intel motherboard we used for this review comes complete with easy BIOS-based multiplier adjustments and fine-grained control over CPU overvolting. (There was a day when the impact of those words would have bordered on cataclysmic, but now, such things are practically expected, even from Intel.)

The Pentium Extreme Edition 965 processor comes in a standard LGA775 package The 965 has also learned a trick the 955 didn’t know: the enhanced “C1E” halt state that kicks in when the operating system lets the CPU know it can sit idle briefly. C1E turns down the CPU clock frequency dynamically, conserving power and reducing heat production. Previous Pentium 4 and D processors came with C1E halt state, but it wasn’t implemented in Intel’s earlier production 65nm processors. This useful mechanism makes a return in recent steppings of the 965, including the one we received for review. When idle, this puppy eases back its clock rate to 3.2GHz. The 965 still doesn’t work with Intel’s Enhanced SpeedStep clock throttling tech, but that’s hardly a major drawback given the minimal practical differences between C1E and SpeedStep.

Here’s your morsel of Moore’s Law food for thought for the day: the Extreme Edition 965 is literally twice the CPU of the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.73GHz introduced just a little more than a year ago. The P4 Extreme Edition 3.73GHz was a single-core 90nm chip based on the same NetBurst microarchitecture, with the same 2MB of L2 cache, the same 1066MHz front-side bus, and obviously the same 3.73GHz clock speed. Only thing is, each of the Extreme Edition 965’s two cores have faster L2 caches than older 90nm processors, so the 965 is a little more than double the fun. Not bad for a year’s progress, huh?

Our testing methods
Please note that the two Pentium D 900-series processors in our test are actually a Pentium Extreme Edition 955 chip that’s been set to the appropriate core and bus speeds and had Hyper-Threading disabled in order to simulate the actual products. Performance should be identical to the real McCoys.

As ever, we did our best to deliver clean benchmark numbers. Tests were run at least three times, and the results were averaged.

Our test systems were configured like so:

Processor Pentium Extreme Edition 840 3.2GHz
Pentium D 930 3.0GHz
Pentium D 950 3.4GHz
Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.73GHz
Pentium Extreme Edition 955 3.46GHz
Pentium Extreme Edition 965 3.73GHz Athlon 64 X2 3800+ 2.0GHz
Athlon 64 X2 4800+
2.4GHz
Athlon 64 FX-57 2.8GHz
Athlon 64 FX-60
2.6GHz
Opteron 165 1.8GHz
Opteron 180 2.4GHz
System bus 800MHz (200MHz quad-pumped) 1066MHz (266MHz quad-pumped) 1066MHz (266MHz quad-pumped) 1GHz HyperTransport
Motherboard Intel D975XBX Intel D975XBX Intel D975XBX Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe
Board revision BQBX4500151 BQBX54500151 BQBX55201124 1.01
BIOS revision BX97510J.86A.0354.
2005.1208.1112
BX97510J.86A.0354.
2005.1208.1112
BX97510J.86A.0669.
2006.0301.1046
0806
North bridge 975X MCH 975X MCH 975X MCH nForce4 SLI X16
South bridge ICH7R ICH7R ICH7R nForce4 SLI
Chipset drivers INF Update 7.2.2.1006
Intel Matrix Storage Manager 5.5.0.1035
INF Update 7.2.2.1006
Intel Matrix Storage Manager 5.5.0.1035
INF Update 7.2.2.1006
Intel Matrix Storage Manager 5.5.0.1035
SMBus driver 4.5
IDE/SATA driver 5.52
Memory size 2GB (2 DIMMs) 2GB (2 DIMMs) 2GB (2 DIMMs) 2GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type Crucial Ballistix PC2-8000
DDR2 SDRAM
at 800MHz
Crucial Ballistix PC2-8000
DDR2 SDRAM
at 800MHz
Crucial Ballistix PC2-8000
DDR2 SDRAM
at 800MHz
Crucial PC3200
DDR SDRAM
at 400MHz
CAS latency (CL) 4 4 4 2.5
RAS to CAS delay (tRCD) 4 4 4 3
RAS precharge (tRP) 4 4 4 3
Cycle time (tRAS) 15 15 15 8
Hard drive Maxtor DiamondMax 10 250GB SATA 150
Audio Integrated ICH7R/STAC9221D5
with SigmaTel 5.10.4825.0 drivers
Integrated ICH7R/STAC9221D5
with SigmaTel 5.10.4825.0 drivers
Integrated ICH7R/STAC9221D5
with SigmaTel 5.10.4825.0 drivers
Integrated nForce4/ALC850
with Realtek 5.10.0.5970 drivers
Graphics GeForce 7800 GTX 512 PCI-E with ForceWare 81.98 drivers
OS Windows XP Professional x64 Edition
Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2 (WorldBench only)

Thanks to Crucial for providing us with memory for our testing. Their products and support are both far and away superior to generic, no-name memory.

Also, all of our test systems were powered by OCZ PowerStream 520W power supply units. The PowerStream was one of our Editor’s Choice winners in our latest PSU round-up.

The test systems’ Windows desktops were set at 1152×864 in 32-bit color at an 85Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

The tests and methods we employ are generally publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.

Memory performance

Although the dual-channel DDR2-800 memory subsystems on our Intel 975X test rigs have a peak theoretical memory bandwidth of 12.8GB/s, the Extreme Edition 965’s system bus maxes out in theory at 8.5GB/s. In actual use, with overhead, our synthetic memory bandwidth tests place this combo at about 6.6GB/s—below its theoretical peak but above anything else around. The dual-core Extreme Edition 965 achieves only a hair’s breadth more throughput than the single-core P4 Extreme Edition 3.73GHz

Our rendition of Linpack is no great measure of scientific computational power, but it does give the Extreme Edition 965 a chance to show off its boffo L2 cache, which markedly outperforms the 90nm Pentium 4 XE 3.73GHz’s like-sized cache. Intel’s 65nm SRAM offers superior performance at the same clock rate.

The 965’s impressive memory bandwidth and large, speedy L2 cache can help mask memory access latencies, but those latencies remain quite a bit longer than on Athlon 64 processors with their built-in, on-chip memory controllers. Note, also, that the Extreme Edition 965’s faster front-side bus doesn’t really help cut access latencies in comparison to the Pentium systems with an 800MHz bus.

Gaming performance

F.E.A.R.
We tested F.E.A.R. by manually playing through a specific point in the game five times for each CPU while recording frame rates using the FRAPS utility. Each gameplay sequence lasted 60 seconds. This method has the advantage of simulating real gameplay quite closely, but it comes at the expense of precise repeatability. We believe five sample sessions are sufficient to get reasonably consistent and trustworthy results. In addition to average frame rates, we’ve included the low frames rates, because those tend to reflect the user experience in performance-critical situations. In order to diminish the effect of outliers, we’ve reported the median of the five low frame rates we encountered.

We played F.E.A.R. with both CPU and graphics performance options set to the game’s built-in “High” settings.

Above the following benchmark graph, and throughout most of the tests in this review, we’ve included a Task Manager plot showing CPU utilization. These plots were captured on the Pentium Extreme Edition 955 system, and they should offer some indication of how much impact multithreading has on the operation of each application. Single-threaded apps may sometimes show up as spread across multiple processors in Task Manager, but the total amount of space below all four lines shouldn’t equal more than the total area of one square if the test is truly single-threaded. Anything significantly more than that is probably an indication of some multithreaded component in the execution of the test. Because WorldBench’s tests are entirely scripted, however, we weren’t able to capture Task Manager plots for them.

Battlefield 2
We used FRAPS to capture BF2 frame rates just as we did with F.E.A.R. Graphics quality options were set to BF2’s canned “High” quality profile. This game has a built-in cap at 100 frames per second, and we intentionally left that cap enabled so we could offer a faithful look at real-world performance.

Unreal Tournament 2004
We used a more traditional recorded timedemo for testing UT2004, but we tried out two versions of the game, the original 32-bit flavor and the 64-bit version.

Half-Life 2
We also decided to try out the 64-bit version of Half-Life 2. This one is also a timedemo.

Our real-world application benchmarks begin painfully for the Extreme Edition 965, as it shows itself to be the cream of Intel’s crop but not up to the task of taking on AMD’s finest. This story will be a familiar one to many watchers of the CPU wars of the past couple years, but things have improved for Intel for several reasons. The Extreme Edition 965’s gravity-defying clock speed is one reason; although its performance per clock may be relatively weak in these types of applications, clock speed makes up for a lot. On top of that, the advent of multithreaded graphics drivers looks like it provides a real boost for the Extreme Edition 965 over its like-clocked P4 Extreme Edition 3.73GHz counterpart. As a result, the 965 could be a credible choice as the centerpiece of a gaming system, with average and median low frame rates that are passable in our tests. Our seat-of-the-pants impression during our gameplay testing was reasonably good, as well. You could save several nice fistfuls of cash and get comparable performance by going with a low-end Athlon 64 X2 instead, though.

3DMark05

Our 3DMark results align pretty well with the results of our gaming tests. 3DMark05’s CPU test is different animal, though; it’s multithreaded and uses the CPU to perform vertex calculations.

The Extreme Edition 965 excels at handling 3DMark’s multithreaded vertex processing algorithms, beating out even the ferocious Athlon 64 FX-60 in one test.

WorldBench overall performance
WorldBench uses scripting to step through a series of tasks in common Windows applications and then produces an overall score for comparison. More impressively, WorldBench spits out individual results for its component application tests, allowing us to compare performance in each. We’ll look at the overall score, and then we’ll show individual application results alongside the results from some of our own application tests.

Desktop processors from AMD and Intel used to be relatively closely matched in overall WorldBench performance, but the introductions of higher speed grades and revision-E CPU cores from AMD have opened up a performance gap. The Extreme Edition 965 makes up a little ground, but not nearly enough. Audio editing and encoding

LAME MP3 encoding
LAME MT is, as you might have guessed, a multithreaded version of the LAME MP3 encoder. LAME MT was created as a demonstration of the benefits of multithreading specifically on a Hyper-Threaded CPU like the Pentium 4. You can even download a paper (in Word format) describing the programming effort.

Rather than run multiple parallel threads, LAME MT runs the MP3 encoder’s psycho-acoustic analysis function on a separate thread from the rest of the encoder using simple linear pipelining. That is, the psycho-acoustic analysis happens one frame ahead of everything else, and its results are buffered for later use by the second thread. The author notes, “In general, this approach is highly recommended, for it is exponentially harder to debug a parallel application than a linear one.”

We have results for two different 64-bit versions of LAME MT from different compilers, one from Microsoft and one from Intel, doing two different types of encoding, variable bit rate and constant bit rate. We are encoding a massive 10-minute, 6-second 101MB WAV file here, as we have done in many of our previous CPU reviews.

MusicMatch Jukebox

The Extreme Edition 965 breezes through our audio encoding tests with ease, but the FX-60 again takes the top spot overall.

Video editing and encoding

Windows Media Encoder x64 Edition Advanced Profile
We asked Windows Media Encoder to convert a gorgeous 1080-line WMV HD video clip into a 320×240 streaming format using the Windows Media Video 8 Advanced Profile codec.

Windows Media Encoder

Adobe Premiere

VideoWave Movie Creator

You can’t go wrong with an Extreme Edition 965 for video processing, but some of the AMD processors again finish faster.

Image processing

Adobe Photoshop

ACDSee PowerPack

picCOLOR
picCOLOR was created by Dr. Reinert H. G. Müller of the FIBUS Institute. This isn’t Photoshop; picCOLOR’s image analysis capabilities can be used for scientific applications like particle flow analysis. Dr. Müller has supplied us with new revisions of his program for some time now, all the while optimizing picCOLOR for new advances in CPU technology, including MMX, SSE2, and Hyper-Threading. Naturally, he’s ported picCOLOR to 64 bits, so we can test performance with the x86-64 ISA. Eight of the 12 functions in the test are multithreaded.

Scores in picCOLOR, by the way, are indexed against a single-processor Pentium III 1GHz system, so that a score of 4.14 works out to 4.14 times the performance of the reference machine.

The 965 further solidifies its grasp on the title of Intel’s Fastest Processor, but it’s a step behind the Athlon 64 FX 4800+ and its twin, the Opteron 180.

Multitasking and office applications

MS Office

Mozilla

Mozilla and Windows Media Encoder

The 965’s performance in office applications is obviously excellent—but not as excellent as the competing AMD products’.

Other applications

Sphinx speech recognition
Ricky Houghton first brought us the Sphinx benchmark through his association with speech recognition efforts at Carnegie Mellon University. Sphinx is a high-quality speech recognition routine. We use two different versions, built with two different compilers, in an attempt to ensure we’re getting the best possible performance.

Despite its single-threaded nature, Sphinx runs faster on the Extreme Edition 965 than on anything else. Sphinx has shown an affinity for large, fast L2 caches with data prefetch mechanisms and systems with lots of memory bandwidth. The 965 delivers in spades on both counts. WinZip

Nero

The 965 XE retains its usual spot above the rest of the Pentiums but below the faster AMD offerings in these tests.

3D modeling and rendering

Cinebench 2003
Cinebench measures performance in Maxon’s Cinema 4D modeling and rendering app. This is the 64-bit version of Cinebench, primed and ready for these 64-bit processors.

The Extreme Edition 965 nearly catches up to the Athlon 64 X2 4800+ in Cinebench’s multithreaded rendering test, aided by Hyper-Threading, which the Cinema 4D renderer uses well.

The rest of the Cinebench tests are single-threaded shading exercises, which the 965 handles adeptly.

POV-Ray rendering
POV-Ray just recently made the move to 64-bit binaries, and thanks to the nifty SMPOV distributed rendering utility, we’ve been able to make it multithreaded, as well. SMPOV spins off any number of instances of the POV-Ray renderer, and it will divvy up the scene in several different ways. For this scene, the best choice was to divide the screen horizontally between the different threads, which provides a fairly even workload.

We considered using the new beta of POV-Ray with native support for SMP, but it proved to be very, very slow. We’ll have to try it again once development has progressed further.

We’ve been rendering the same scene in POV-Ray for years, and it has been a long, hard struggle for the NetBurst microarchitecture to handle it well. With four threads, though, the 965 comes within a handful of seconds of matching the Athlon 64 X2 4800+. Not too shabby, all things considered. 3dsmax 7 rendering
We tested 3ds max performance by rendering 20 frames of a sample scene at 320×240 resolution. This particular scene makes use of a motion-blur effect that requires extensive multi-pass rendering. We tried two different renderers: 3ds max’s default scanline renderer and its built-in version of the mental ray renderer.

3ds max proves to be a tougher challenge for the Extreme Edition 965, especially with the mental ray renderer, where the relatively low-end Athlon 64 X2 3800+ outdoes it.

SiSoft Sandra
Next up is SiSoft’s Sandra system diagnosis program, which includes a number of different benchmarks. The one of interest to us is the “multimedia” benchmark, intended to show off the benefits of “multimedia” extensions like MMX and SSE/2. According to SiSoft’s FAQ, the benchmark actually does a fractal computation:

This benchmark generates a picture (640×480) of the well-known Mandelbrot fractal, using 255 iterations for each data pixel, in 32 colours. It is a real-life benchmark rather than a synthetic benchmark, designed to show the improvements MMX/Enhanced, 3DNow!/Enhanced, SSE(2) bring to such an algorithm. The benchmark is multi-threaded for up to 64 CPUs maximum on SMP systems. This works by interlacing, i.e. each thread computes the next column not being worked on by other threads. Sandra creates as many threads as there are CPUs in the system and assigns [sic] each thread to a different CPU.

We’re using the 64-bit port of Sandra. The “Integer x16” version of this test uses integer numbers to simulate floating-point math. The floating-point version of the benchmark takes advantage of SSE2 to process up to eight Mandelbrot iterations at once.

If you want to do lots and lots of iterations, high clock speeds can be a powerful ally, and so it is here. The Extreme Edition 965 posts new records in these tests, leaving the AMDs in the dust.

Power consumption
We measured the power consumption of our entire test systems, except for the monitor, at the wall outlet using a Watts Up PRO watt meter. The test rigs were all equipped with OCZ PowerStream 520W power supply units. The idle results were measured at the Windows desktop, and we used SMPOV and the 64-bit version of the POV-Ray renderer to load up the CPUs. In all cases, we asked SMPOV to use the same number of threads as there were CPU front ends in Task Manager—so four for the Pentium XE 840, two for the Athlon 64 X2, and so on.

The graphs below have results for “power management” and “no power management.” That deserves some explanation. By “power management,” we mean SpeedStep, PowerNow!, or Cool’n’Quiet. In the cases of the Pentium XE 840 and the Pentium XE 965, the C1E halt state is always active, even in the “no power management” tests. The Extreme Edition 955 and the P4 Extreme Edition 3.73GHz don’t support the C1E halt state or SpeedStep. We have omitted the Pentium D 930 and 950 processors here because we don’t have actual samples of these individual chips; our “simulated” versions with an underclocked Extreme Edition 955 are fine for performance testing, but not for power consumption.

In spite of its higher clock speed, the Extreme Edition 965 draws much less power than the 955. That’s impressive. Of course, these are power consumption numbers at the wall socket, so various inefficiencies in the system power supply chain will inflate the differences between the chips to some degree. But over 50W less power use under load for the 965 XE is a noteworthy result, regardless. At idle, the C1E halt state on the 965 kicks in, lowering power draw there compared to the 955 XE. Notice that we also have numbers for the 955 XE on a “new mobo.” You may have noted in our testing methods section that we tested the Extreme Edition 965 on a newer revision of Intel’s “Bad Axe” D975XBX motherboard. We received the new motherboard during our efforts to resolve some overheating problems with our original 955 XE setup. I wanted to be sure the motherboard wasn’t the main cause of the power consumption differences between the 955 and 965 processors, so I tested the 955 on the newer-rev motherboard, as well. As you can see, the motherboard did play a partial role in the power use difference under load, but not at idle.

The most eyebrow-raising result of all here is that the Extreme Edition 965 system consumes no more power under load than the Athlon 64 FX-60 system. That’s huge. I would be more impressed were it not for the relatively high power consumption of the Asus A8N32-SLI motherboard and the nForce4 SLI X16 chipset. The AMD processors can post lower numbers on a different motherboard like the Asus A8R32-MVP. I note that issue because it’s only fair, not to take away from Intel’s accomplishment here, which is still eye-popping. Obviously, Intel’s 65nm fabrication process is improving with time.

I should mention, however, that the cooler Intel shipped with our Extreme Edition 965 review sample was very loud under load, just like the replacement cooler we eventually used to help resolve our thermal problems with the 955 XE. It’s not exactly whisper-quiet at idle, and when you fire off a program that heats up the chip, the cooler spins up linearly in a whining, hissing crescendo. You will almost certainly want to go with an aftermarket cooler with this CPU if this cooler is representative of what Intel is shipping with retail boxed processors.

Overclocking
So the Extreme Edition 965’s performance at stock speeds is decent but unspectacular. Power consumption, however, is magically lower than the 955’s. And it gets even better. Using a Zalman CNPS9500 LED cooler and a bump in voltage from the stock 1.3V to 1.4375V, I was able to overclock the 965 to a staggering 4.53GHz, simply by raising the CPU multiplier in the BIOS.


Holy cow!

The processor was stable at this speed while running four simultaneous instances of Prime95’s torture test loop for 15-20 minutes, so I decided to go ahead and run some benchmarks.

When the Extreme Edition flips bits at 4.53GHz, its performance is directly in league with the Athlon 64 FX-60, even in UT2004, which has given this CPU microarchitecture nothing but fits over the years. I was curious to see what this massive overclock did for power consumption, so here are the numbers.

The C1E halt state brings the overclocked 965 back to 3.2GHz at idle, just like it does at stock speeds. However, the higher CPU voltage raises idle power consumption. Under load at 4.53GHz, the 965 doesn’t exactly conform to the Kyoto protocol, but it could be worse—as the Extreme Edition 840 is.

Conclusions
I said in my review of the Extreme Edition 955 a few months ago that Intel wouldn’t likely catch up to AMD using processors based on the NetBurst microarchitecture. My faith in that prediction has been shaken somewhat by the Extreme Edition 965’s combination of overclocking headroom and reduced power draw. This CPU is still no match for the Athlon 64 FX-60—or even the Athlon 64 X2 4800+—when running at its default 3.73GHz clock speed. But this puppy is a powerful reminder of the benefits better process technology can bring. For its mission in life as a thousand-dollar play-toy that will serve as the centerpiece of an ultra-high-end PC, likely with exotic cooling and extensive overclocking, the Extreme Edition 965 is a startlingly worthy rival to the Athlon 64 FX-60. That mission isn’t exactly a populist one, and the 965’s virtues don’t put Intel’s other desktop processors on par with the Athlon 64 X2 in the meatier, more value-driven part of the market. For high-rent PCs, though, the 965 has undeniable appeal—not that I recommend dropping a grand on a processor. My Midwestern sensibilities would never condone such madness. Intel also plans to bump up the regular Pentium D to 3.6GHz with the release of the Pentium D 960. Had I known that sooner, I’d have disabled Hyper-Threading and underclocked the Extreme Edition 965 in order to provide some performance numbers for it. Unfortunately, I found out too late, so we’ll have to look at the Pentium D 960 in a future article. Intel also hasn’t yet set pricing on the 960, so I can’t comment on its likely mix of price and performance.

The Extreme Edition 965 is almost certainly one of the last of its kind before the sun sets on the NetBurst microarchitecture and on the Pentium name, believe it or not. It’s also the best of its breed, as is expected in the ever-progressing world of microprocessors. Already, though, most of our attention is focused intently on the promise of what comes next: a new microarchitecture with much higher performance per clock and per watt than this one. Given what Intel’s 65nm fab process has been able to do for the Extreme Edition 965, AMD may have one heck of a fight on its hands if the upcoming Core microarchitecture is anywhere near reasonably competent.

Comments closed
    • PerfectCr
    • 14 years ago

    Show of hands? Who is actually going to buy this? I am not sure why Intel would bother. They’ve already admitted “something meatier” is on its way. If I were Intel I would not release anymore products until Conroe.

    “He is another EE, based on the old architecture we’ve already said flat out sucks, but please spend $1000 for an outdated CPU today!”

    I don’t get it. If they didn’t want cannibalize sales then they should have waited to unveil Conroe.

      • Shintai
      • 14 years ago

      The same type of people that buy AMD FX CPUs. If money is no issue and you suffer from spendthrift…

      Around the 500-550$ seems peak in my eyes. I wouldn

        • PerfectCr
        • 14 years ago

        Yeah, true. If Conroe performs as “advertised”, I will definitely get one. UT2007 performance will be key for me.

    • DrDillyBar
    • 14 years ago

    STOP teasing with the Physics!!one! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Wee! : ยง[<http://physx.ageia.com/footage.html<]ยง (Cellfactor RULZ!)

    • BobbinThreadbare
    • 14 years ago

    y[

    • hellokitty
    • 14 years ago

    This processor does quite well when overclocked to over 5Ghz.

    That is exactly what Intel tried to pass off as Conroe a couple of weeks ago.

      • Pettytheft
      • 14 years ago

      Still up to your conspiracy theories?

      • tfp
      • 14 years ago

      haha I needed a laugh thanks.

      • Convert
      • 14 years ago

      Let me guess, the tinfoil isn’t strong enough so you have switched to a faraday helmet.

        • Vrock
        • 14 years ago

        Totally OT….but Popular Science actually did an article in March’s issue that showed that wearing an aluminum foil hat can actually *help* certain radio frequencies to enter the head. Yup.

          • Convert
          • 14 years ago

          They can hear aliens after all!

            • Vrock
            • 14 years ago

            No, actually it’s just the government bands. How ironic: the very thing these people were trying to prevent is actually amplified by their “countermeasures”. Heh.

            ยง[<http://people.csail.mit.edu/rahimi/helmet/<]ยง Pop Sci mentioned the study, but the credit goes to those wacky MIT guys.

            • hellokitty
            • 14 years ago

            Yeah, yeahg,

            rinse your brains a bit better and let the truth come through.
            Too much tide left from the last wash.

            Than you’ll at least ask the question:

            Why did intel refuse to show the inside of the box, when it could have been so simple to do.

            If I want to sell you a car, and you ask to see the inside, do I refuse?
            Where is the logic in that ( obviously nowhere near any of you guys )

            • A_Pickle
            • 14 years ago

            Lemme put forth a question. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, Conroe performs as such when it is eventually released. What’ll you say then?

            -Pikl

            • Vrock
            • 14 years ago

            I’d buy one. That is, if AMD doesn’t have anything better by then, and it’s quite possible they won’t.

            • A_Pickle
            • 14 years ago

            Yeah. I can’t deny that I’d buy an X2 3800+ right now, and am actually looking at one, right now, because, right now, it’s what’s best. Once again, it flat amazes me the smackdown that 3800+ lays on the Intels.

            I’m just curious about HelloKitty’s plan of action, if his conspiracy theories don’t come to pass.

            -Pikl

            • Convert
            • 14 years ago

            Well obviously a conspiracy nut will never be satisfied. Without a doubt he will just come up with something else or fall back on the idea that it really was a oced p4 because Conroe had yield/clocking issues but now it has been fixed.

            • packfan_dave
            • 14 years ago

            And that a Conroe beats a slightly overclocked FX-60 handily, rather than just being competitive (which a severely overclocked P4 EE does), is at its best at different things than a P4 is, runs 64-bit code (so it’s not an overclocked Yonah either) and has 4MB of cache and no hyperthreading (both of which are pretty easy to prove) clearly doesn’t convince him either…

            • A_Pickle
            • 14 years ago

            Adaptive clockspeeds. Clearly the Pentium D 965 changed clockspeeds depending on the application so as to throw journalists off. And hyperthreading must’ve been turned off.

            -Pikl

            • zgirl
            • 14 years ago

            Not many of us here are convinced. Listen the part that is irratating most of the regulars here are people are acting like closed door Intel handled benchmarks are chiseled in stone and handed down by the CPU God himself.

            Guess what, they aren’t and the resonable folks here are interested and going to wait until product ships and the benchmarks can be *[

            • packfan_dave
            • 14 years ago

            Intel may have been understating what AMD will have available by the time Conroe gets out the door (it’s a new architecture, and could be delayed; AMD could have something up their sleave that they haven’t announced yet, AM2 and DDR2 might help more than expected, and/or they might well be able to get 3 GHz parts out the door in volume on 90nm — though it seems more likely they’ll need to go to 65nm for that).

            But if a production 2.66 GHz Conroe doesn’t put up numbers as good or better (Conroe optimizations will start showing up once actual Conroes are available, after all) than various review sites came up with (in a 975X motherboard/dual X1900XT Crossfire configuration), I’ll be shocked. The PR fallout would be terrible, certainly far worse than any benefits of staving off enthusiast purchases of X2s for 6 months.

    • Hector
    • 14 years ago

    Seems like you’re doing everything you can to say it’s decent processor as it gets dominated by 4800/FX the whole way- I really how you talk about the dominance on only thing 965 excells in – synthetic benchmark Sandra.

    y[

      • Glorious729
      • 14 years ago

      Hector? Hector Ruiz? Is that you?

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 14 years ago

      The did have the Opteron and the FX-60 overclocked, it you took the time to read the review.

        • Hector
        • 14 years ago

        2.8?!?! Thats not an overclock that’s 200Mhz when most anyone hitting 3 or 3.2 with 60’s on air.. heck 165@3 aint too hard
        ยง[<http://img88.imageshack.us/img88/3712/165304ghzdualsuperpi32m1680x10.jpg<]ยง

          • Convert
          • 14 years ago

          Cpu’s are not created equal.

          • Shintai
          • 14 years ago

          Everyone hitting 3.0 and 3.2Ghz on an AMD? BUahahahhahaa…

          Most people are just around 2.9-2.95Ghz at peak. At 3.2Ghz you are close to 200-250W due to design limitations. Why do you think a FX-62 gonna be a 125W part. No you gotta wait for 65nm before getting that speed. Most people..ahaha. maybe 5 people using exotic cooling with liquid nitrogen or liquid oxygen can get 3.2Ghz.

            • Severus
            • 14 years ago

            Indeed… 3GHz is attainable, but rare. The 90nm dual cores almost universally peak somewhere above 2.6GHz, but even that’s not assured. Some people never make it past 2.4. I can as high as 2.9 and run Prime95 on both cores for at least one iteration, but the voltage is so high at that point that even my somewhat high-end air cooling can’t cope and the processor hits 70C after one iteration of Prime, and at that point I shut it down because I’d prefer not to be the proud owner of a $300, 939-pin paperweight.

            Anyway, the point is that, as stated above, not all CPUs are created equal and if every CPU (or even just, say, 10% of them) could hit 3GHz then AMD would have released a 3GHz dual core part. They haven’t. So we can assume that processors capable of scaling that high are a small percentage of total yield, and can further take from it that the odds of your (lower binned) chip hitting those speeds are bordering on the remote.

    • ReAp3r-G
    • 14 years ago

    well i’m not really surprised by the benchmark scores between intel and AMD. this extreme edition is using the going to be phased out netburst microarchitecture, so no surprise why it lost in many benchmarks. just waiting patiently for the Core microarchitecture to arrive. maybe then we can see a significant increase in performance in the Conroe processors.

    • Convert
    • 14 years ago

    nbhhbnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn m nhb <— Face planting the keyboard

    I wish nvidia would get its act together and focus on power consumption for the platform. ~25w difference is nothing to sneeze at for just the motherboard.

      • Lazier_Said
      • 14 years ago

      Per SPCR, ยง[<http://www.silentpcreview.com/article299-page5.html<]ยง , the standard NF4 SLI is significantly lower powered than the NF4 SLI X16.

        • Convert
        • 14 years ago

        And ATI’s crossfire express 3200 is less than sli x16

      • Shintai
      • 14 years ago

      You need to teach both ATI and nVidia that in their extreme wars with endless power consumption is a problem. So that aint gonna happen for years to come. When you dont have a problem with quad sli needing 850-1000W PSU, then I doubt you have a problem with a motherboard doing the same. Everyone got 500-600W PSUs anyway…right?… ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • Convert
        • 14 years ago

        It won’t be that long before they focus on power consumption for the platform, well maybe not for desktop. Although when mobile and server want it and since these chipsets are all nearly the same nothing stops the desktop version from inheriting it.

        When you have Intel and AMD sometimes fighting over a few watts it seems ridiculous not to have a fit platform.

          • Shintai
          • 14 years ago

          I doubt its around the corner, too much at stake in the “benchmarks”.
          Most mobile solutions from ATI and nVidia is also rather high compared to the CPUs in wattage.

          Good thing is Intel is shifting to 90nm chipsets this summer, and if reviewers put more presure on it, it should happen for the rest too.

        • Anomymous Gerbil
        • 14 years ago

        Huh? If you don’t like the heat, stay out of the kitchen – at least, just buy lower-powered cards.

        Who cares if the top of the range cards require lots of power and produce a lot of heat? If anyone wants that then good luck to them – and you can buy all the low-power/low-heat cards you like. Each to their own.

          • Shintai
          • 14 years ago

          Ehm, wakeup call for you. Look at the average mainstream power consumption over the years aswell. Its not just highend cards anymore.

          Cards like x800XL was a lonely bird.

          Hell, even mobile solutions are getting rather high. People like you just legalize their way of doing. Who cares if you need a 1000W PSU and spend 5000$ on your powerbill a year on your PC alone.

            • Anomymous Gerbil
            • 14 years ago

            Ehm, reality check for you.

            Firstly, I don’t “legalize” anything. I make choices as a consumer. You can do the same thing, although either you don’t understand that, or you pretend that their is no choice in order to “support” your exaggerations.

            Secondly, I don’t need a 1000W PSU; I get by just fine with a 350W unit whose power indicator shows that I am using far less than its rated capacity. Clearly, neither do I spend anything like $5,000 on my power bill; I spend much the same as anyone else with a 350W PC spends. Your exaggerations add nothing to the debates here.

            If I wanted a PC that uses less power, I could get one – but I choose slightly faster options to run the software I use at speeds I find acceptable. If you want to run a PC that uses less power and less electricity, that’s great, and that’s entirely your choice – such PCs and components are readily available for purchase. I just don’t understand why you get so upset when others choose faster (or more power consumptive) options – you really need to get over it.

            And even with all of this, you are clearly missing the bigger point. And that is, this is about software, not hardware. Every year, software does more and more – compare your games of today with those of 10 years ago. Or the ability to do 3D graphic arts rendering now versus then. Or mathematical processing, or database processing etc. Generally speaking, these massive increases in computational ability will make increasing demands on power (and heat). The manufacturers try to improve the technology to claw back some of those losses, but the need for speed often outweighs the ability of new tech to reduce power usage. So, again – you are welcome buy a slower/cooler PC if you are prepared for a generally slower computing experience. In the meantime, to rail against manufacturers for providing the hardware that people want to run their software at the speeds they want, is just too silly to comment on, *[

            • Convert
            • 14 years ago

            “Cards like x800XL was a lonely bird.”

            What? The x800xl wasn’t that great. Not to mention the thing was loud and hot (I owned not only a agp version but a pci-e one too).

            Great card for price/performance though and I didn’t mind slapping a aftermarket cooler on it.

            Nvidia isn’t doing a bad job with power consumption now days thanks to the switch to 90nm.

            SLI is another story heh.

            Mobile wise Nvidia has boasted that it has stayed within the same envelope for the 6800 to 7800 switch and the 7900 switch will decrease it even more. Staying the same and decreasing isn’t bad.

            • Shintai
            • 14 years ago

            x800XL used less power than even a 7300 today. hot, loud? Add a Zalman VGA cooler and it can run passive without fans on. (I am)

            Look at nVidia for notebooks, nobody picks them for long battery life notebooks. You always get an ATi something or Intel GMA. And ATis powerconsumption is rising.

            • Anomymous Gerbil
            • 14 years ago

            It seems you still don’t get it. It doesn’t matter if more higher-power gear is produced; low-power gear is *[

            • Convert
            • 14 years ago

            Where are you getting these numbers. TR’s own review disagrees with you, the x800xl pulls more than the 7600gt. The 7300gs uses gddr2 anyways.

            I already said I put a aftermarket cooler on it, also it couldn’t run passively. I even have a fair bit of airflow going through the case. If you got it to run passively that doesn’t mean other cards can’t or that other cards with better performance can’t.

            *Also mobile graphics comparisons are almost non existent. Doesn’t really matter anyways, you said “Hell, even mobile solutions are getting rather high.” when they have stayed the same and decreased for the last 3 generations. Granted it isn’t the same as the cpu world and I will give you that but 3 generations worth is great.

            • A_Pickle
            • 14 years ago

            q[<"Where are you getting these numbers. TR's own review disagrees with you, the x800xl pulls more than the 7600gt."<]q Holy jesus. At first I doubted you -- but the 7600 GT pulls less power than the X800 XL -- and the X800 XL was tested with a single-core 4000+ whilst the 7600 GT was tested with a dual-core 4800+. JEEZ. My Northwood system officially pulls watts. ๐Ÿ™ -Pikl

    • Forge
    • 14 years ago

    So yours is unlocked 12X-60X, but it’s also an ES. Will retail 965EEs be unlocked as well? If so I’ll have to keep an eye out for one once Conroe drives the last of Netburst out to eBay pastures.

    • leor
    • 14 years ago

    couldn’t they at least have cranked up the speed to 4+ ghz to make people FEEL like they’re getting something decent for all that money?

    didn’t intel hit 3.8ghz a year ago or something?

      • Sargent Duck
      • 14 years ago

      Intel did hit 3.8Ghz. But the problem was that as soon as the processor came under load, it would become too hot, and scale back. I believe it had the C1 halt state, so at idle is was never at 3.8.

    • Chaos-Storm
    • 14 years ago

    #40 Just to make fun of the fact that it is about as fast as an X2-3800. That alone was worth seeing. Even if i could afford it, I probably would never pay a grand for the CPU alone. (Especially since a lower grade CPU of the same core costs half as much an is easily overclockable to that speed)

    • Krogoth
    • 14 years ago

    Intel should market this chip for $500 if they wanted to sell it off. It’s a complete joke like the rest of the Prescott based P4EE at $999.

    The upcoming Conroes are going to eat this SOB for lunch figuratively and literately.

      • totoro
      • 14 years ago

      OK, the conroes are not going to ‘literally’ eat the XE.
      They are not going to batter and deepfry a chip, serve it with some sort of dipping sauce, and chow down. < / nitpick>

      dangit, now i’m hungry. : )

      • PerfectCr
      • 14 years ago

      And since you can fry bacon on the presshot, conroe can eat that too!

        • A_Pickle
        • 14 years ago

        Not to sound/appear fanboyish, but the link below seems properly relevant to this string of comments.

        ยง[<http://www.phys.ncku.edu.tw/~htsu/humor/fry_egg.html<]ยง -Pikl

          • Vrock
          • 14 years ago

          That’s actually pretty “cool”, for lack of a better word. ๐Ÿ™‚

            • A_Pickle
            • 14 years ago

            Someone should do that on a Pentium D. ๐Ÿ˜€

            -Pikl

    • gavinjcd
    • 14 years ago

    Once again both Sandra and 3DMarks CPU benchmarks give Intel top honours when EVERY other test bar sphinx says otherwise. Those synthetic benchmarks have got to go. How can you post them up and call them useful…..if you ever called them useful. Hang them out to dry already.

    Seriously though I don’t see the point of posting scores of benchamrks that are flat out wrong. Real world tests prove they are wrong. All they are is a great big pile of propaganda.

    Gav

      • A_Pickle
      • 14 years ago

      You mean like 3DMark05?

      I agree, a lot. I’d love to see a lot more “workstation-esque” benchmarks. Some more 3D animation, specifically with 3D Studio Max R7, Lightwave, and whatever else you have. Maybe a Blender benchmark or two. I do like that you guys are doing a lot of encoding ones, though, thanks for that.

      -Pikl

      • Zenith
      • 14 years ago

      Agreed. Hang them out to dry(die!)

    • GodsMadClown
    • 14 years ago

    Is there a reason this article isn’t showing up in the RSS feed?

    edit: It’s there now, thanks to whoever fixed it, I guess.

      • indeego
      • 14 years ago

      Perhaps like much of the RSS world, it’s borkedg{

      • kfc
      • 14 years ago

      RSS sucks and is a waist for the TR staff

        • Usacomp2k3
        • 14 years ago

        waste?

        • Vrock
        • 14 years ago

        Waste.

        • A_Pickle
        • 14 years ago

        I rather like RSS. Except for my Google newsfeed. Maybe I should get an RSS directly from AP or Reuters.

        -Pikl

    • totoro
    • 14 years ago

    I like that the X2 3800 holds up so well against all those ~$1000 behemoths.
    I too have the -[

      • Spotpuff
      • 14 years ago

      I as well have lost interest in high end hardware. Why would I want to look at benchmarks for hardware I can never afford?

      X2 3800+ is like $320 CDN and the reviewed chip is probably $1000+

      Not worth it for anyone other than e-cockery

        • Beomagi
        • 14 years ago

        Because it’s an indication on what you can achieve with a lesser cheaper cpu. Because technology trickles down – not all chips on that new process tech would run at that speed, at that stock voltage, so it’s an indication as to what would come to what we can afford. When i dump my athlonxp/board/ram/vid off onto my bro, i’m going to probably be playing with an 805 – it’s smithfield unfortunately, but it still has the same tech and architecture I can take advantage of through an overclock. If i can get to 3.8GHz, i’d be happy as a clam, and pretty warm during winter ^_^

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 14 years ago

    Me 2 *sigh*
    EDIT: meant to be a reply to #7

    • tay
    • 14 years ago

    Quake4 benchmarks? Considering that it is one of the few multi-threaded games. Other than that what a pointless chip.

    • Capsaicin
    • 14 years ago

    q[

    • Sargent Duck
    • 14 years ago

    I love the opening two paragraphs. Absolutely classic. Now to go read.

    • Ruiner
    • 14 years ago

    ctrl-shift-F

    now I can read the ‘conclusions’ page without having a seizure.

    • R2P2
    • 14 years ago

    I realize the P4EE has never offered great bang for the buck, but performance relative to the X2 3800+, that probably costs 1/4 as much, is just embarassing.

    • flip-mode
    • 14 years ago

    Hooray?

    I have to say that it escapes my understanding why one would choose this CPU rather than wait for Conroe. Likewise, I don’t understand why Intel would bother with this release. I wouldn’t buy anything at the top end at this point, until Conroe is released, FX whatever not withstanding.

    Would anyone here buy one of these if they had the cash? If so, help me understand why.

    • MagerValp
    • 14 years ago

    Well that was pathetic.

    • Dposcorp
    • 14 years ago

    Very interesting article.
    I guess the Pentium can still pull a few new things out of its bag of tricks.
    4.5Ghz with a stock cooler is nothing to sneeze at.

    • A_Pickle
    • 14 years ago

    I’ll admit, those AMD chips flat amaze me. The definitely did something right in there that Intel completely balked at. Pentium 4’s, at the very least, /[

      • Beomagi
      • 14 years ago

      i’m impressed – that’s REALLY nice power saving that would hopefully trickle down. They do compete better overclock for overclock. It’s sad to see the line die off just as it was getting compeditive again. Oh well.

        • A_Pickle
        • 14 years ago

        It’s a damn shame they never benched those Pentiums that went to 7 GHz and the like. ๐Ÿ™‚

        -Pikl

          • Beomagi
          • 14 years ago

          I doubt those were benchable ๐Ÿ™‚ but i’ll bet 65nm single cores can be.
          Fugger and the Koreans got that with a 90nm right?

            • A_Pickle
            • 14 years ago

            Seriously. Those asians can overclock something fierce!

            -Pikl

            • droopy1592
            • 14 years ago

            Korean gamers are generally more of an enthusiast than we are. But I’m sure you know that.

      • SGWB
      • 14 years ago

      y[

    • Dposcorp
    • 14 years ago

    q[

      • ElderDruid
      • 14 years ago

      I admit to having a “warm and fuzzy” there for a few seconds….

    • PerfectCr
    • 14 years ago

    Queue Intel fanboys in 3…2…1….

      • A_Pickle
      • 14 years ago

      That’s rather ridiculous.

      -Pikl

        • PerfectCr
        • 14 years ago

        Yes, you are

          • A_Pickle
          • 14 years ago

          Clever.

          -Pikl

            • PerfectCr
            • 14 years ago

            ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • flip-mode
      • 14 years ago

      Applause to AMD fanboy for throwing the first shizball /sarcasm

        • PerfectCr
        • 14 years ago

        Nice try, but search all you want, you will not find one fanboy comment I have ever made on either side.

        I just like making fun of them. I guess you could say I am a fanboy of fanboys!

          • derFunkenstein
          • 14 years ago

          WTF do you always need to start stuff for anyhow? You’re just a giant PITA when you do it.

            • totoro
            • 14 years ago

            Dangit, now we got PITA’s, bacon, eggs and chips all in the same commentary. Way to help me stick to the diet, guys! ; )

            • A_Pickle
            • 14 years ago

            That makes me very hungry. Fortunately, I’m making White Castle cheeseburgers. Mmmm.

            -Pikl

            • zgirl
            • 14 years ago

            That explains a lot, you have no taste in food either.

            • A_Pickle
            • 14 years ago

            So that’s no taste in food…. or processors. I guess Dr. Pepper is down there too? ๐Ÿ˜‰

            -Pikl

            • Vrock
            • 14 years ago

            I like Dr. Pepper…but White Castle? Eeww.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 14 years ago

            uhm..ew?

            • PerfectCr
            • 14 years ago

            Lighten up dude, this ain’t life or death.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 14 years ago

            I can’t lighten up when you constantly litter the site with witty banter and insightful, funny comments as the one to which I responded. For someone who whines about the deluge of news you sure make the most of it (and yes, I know this is a review on TR; it’s just what you’ve been doing for weeks)

            • PerfectCr
            • 14 years ago

            Set me to ignore then?

      • Sanctusx2
      • 14 years ago

      I don’t think even Intel fanboys would defend the current EE processors..

        • PerfectCr
        • 14 years ago

        There is one man, I am sorry, I mean pig, that would dare such a feat!

          • Logan[TeamX]
          • 14 years ago

          Pig… feat… it’s surprising he has his own left to stand on!

          /rimshot

          Thank you! I’ll be here all architecture.

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