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Intel Hardware

Preview of Intel's Dual-Core Extreme Edition 289

ThinSkin writes "Intel let sneak behind the curtain of its anticipated Dual-Core Pentium Extreme Edition processor for a full performance preview with benchmarks. Bundled with essentially two Prescott cores on one die, the Extreme Edition 840 processor clocks at 3.2GHz and contains a beefed-up power management system to keep the CPUs running cool during use. Expect Intel's dual-core line to hit the streets sometime this quarter. No word on pricing yet." Update: 04/04 17:26 GMT by T : Timmus points out FiringSquad's preview, too, writing "The benchmark results are mixed, with a few applications taking advantage of the new CPU, and some that don't." And Kez writes in reference to this article to say: "Our article on, covering the P4 EE in detail, states the price as £650 (that's what we're looking at in the UK anyway, not sure about the U.S.)."
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Preview of Intel's Dual-Core Extreme Edition

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  • Ketchup (Score:2, Interesting)

    by drivinghighway61 ( 812488 ) on Monday April 04, 2005 @12:20PM (#12134586)
    Intel is just playing catch-up now to AMD. With AMD's 64-bit architecture being chosen by the market over Intel's shoddy architecture, Intel is ahead only in name-recognition. As the article says, AMD has been working on their dual-core offering for a year longer than Intel. AMD is a year ahead in development. Their offering is likely to be much more robust than Intel's with that extra year.

    But, who knows? Intel seems to be shipping first. And we all know, Real Artists Ship.
  • by Rude Turnip ( 49495 ) <valuation&gmail,com> on Monday April 04, 2005 @12:24PM (#12134629)
    If I wanted to build a Windows system for gaming, would I have to buy Windows XP Pro for multiprocessor support...or is this dual core configuration invisible to the OS, meaning I could get away with XP Home for $100 less.
  • Re:Cool?!? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pg110404 ( 836120 ) on Monday April 04, 2005 @12:29PM (#12134681)
    It seems to me they'll need the power management to keep it from melting itself

    Don't forget the 50 Gigawatt power supply!

    The processor alone consumes (last I heard) about 100 watts and if it's essentially two processors in one, will require a really really good power supply. That means to use this proc, you'll instantly need 100 extra watts out of your power supply.

    If they have to have power management to keep it from meltdown, just how much more computing CAN you get out of it anyway? To me the second core would be running at about 20% duty cycle to keep it from catching on fire.

    On the plus side, they could always mod the case to throw off that heat like a space heater. Coffee warmer in the summer, foot warmer in the winter.
  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Monday April 04, 2005 @12:35PM (#12134733) Homepage Journal
    Then they'll call it "ExtremeX!" I feel bad for the engineers who come up with these designs which are then crapped on by their marketting department.

    Which probably has a lot to do with the success of the Dilbert strip.

    This morning, on the way in to work, the BBC World Service had another feature on managment (flavor-of-the-day) trends. I suppose marketting does the same thing, but nobody has actually put their finger on it, yet.

  • by Esion Modnar ( 632431 ) on Monday April 04, 2005 @12:37PM (#12134772)
    You can get OEM versions of XP Pro for as little as $125. I'd buy Pro over Home, even if I had a single CPU. Too many times I have gone to do something on a Home box (which I was able to do all day long on Pro), only to find out, "What do you mean I can't do that?!?!"

    It's just irritating.

  • Buuuuut (Score:2, Interesting)

    by skomes ( 868255 ) on Monday April 04, 2005 @12:41PM (#12134809)
    Why do we have dual cores? Everybody's admitted they are going to be prohibitively expensive, so is it just for show? Let's see some AFFORDABLE dual cores before we start heralding them as the future of processors.
  • Re:Ketchup (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 04, 2005 @12:47PM (#12134866)
    "this whole thing about them having an extra year isn't exactly true - they've had much longer than that."

    Too true. I read an article on the other day comparing Intel and AMD's dual core approaches and it said that AMD had always designed the Athlon to be dual core since 1999...they just never put the second core on yet.
  • Re:How about (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dink Paisy ( 823325 ) on Monday April 04, 2005 @12:50PM (#12134893) Homepage
    So what you are saying is that AMD CPUs have more overhead due to cache coherency traffic on the point-to-point CPU links, whereas Intel CPUs don't generate cache cache coherency traffic except on invalid misses, since they can snoop the shared memory bus? And perhaps you could clear up for me what the northbridge for a newer AMD CPU does. I thought the main function of the northbridge was the memory controller, which is included on die on newer AMD CPUs.
  • Re:How about (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tomstdenis ( 446163 ) < minus poet> on Monday April 04, 2005 @12:54PM (#12134926) Homepage
    No, you got it backwards. The AMD cpus [as I understand it] have DEDICATED pipes to the other cpus. They're 8/16 bits wide and run at [forget but think it goes upto 1.6Ghz].

    So cpu 2 and cpu 3 could talk and not get in the way of cpu 1 and the memory bus. Yes, there is "northbridge" for memory but there still is a memory bus. The Intel cpus have no dedicated bus and ALL talk over the same bus.

    Not having either combo of boxes I can't tell you which is faster but usually AMD is much faster than Intel just on the pure "not being a Ghz pusher".

  • Re:How about (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jskelly ( 151002 ) on Monday April 04, 2005 @12:58PM (#12134966) Homepage
    Isn't there also a dual-core PowerPC/G5 in the works? I think it hasn't been announced officially, but it seems to have been accidentally confirmed by IBM [] and by Apple [] as well.
  • Long term solution? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:07PM (#12135041) Journal
    Excuse me if this sounds unusually stupid at Slashdot, but they will in other words release 3.2 GHz dual core models initially? Won't they then have developed a new technology just to hit problematic clock frequency spoken of at ~4 GHz almost immediately? I was always thinking of something like two 1.6 GHz cores possibly with some tricks to achieve similar speeds as a current 3.2 GHz P4... Am I missing something here or is this just an unusually short term solution?
  • Apple n Oranges (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zioncity ( 862007 ) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:11PM (#12135076)
    I wonder how it will compare to a dual core G5 chip from Apple.... whenever they get it out, which with all this dual core news from Intel, I would think it would be soon.

    WWDC perhaps?
  • Short term flop (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Blitzenn ( 554788 ) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:13PM (#12135091) Homepage Journal
    It's more like a short term flop in my eyes. With this Dual core bearly beating a slightly fast clocked single core procesor in only a small handful of tests coupled with it's extremely high cost, it's dead before it even hits the streets. People are not going to spend 2 or 3 times the amount of cash for that kind of performance. It's just not going to happen.

    I agree that the expectation is double the core, double the power. This test processor is dismal in that regard. I guess we will all have to wait until AMD releases their product results, so that Intel can see how it's supposed to be done.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:13PM (#12135097)
    You're right on the money there. If there's one very disturbing trend in the retail computer market it is the reliance on gaming for sales. I browse computer shops all the time and the other day my wife was with my just to kill some time before catching the subway.
    We walked into a computer shot and a sales guy jumped on us in no time. We let him show us around and do his schtick for a bit and then I asked him why they didn't have any machines slower than 1Ghz for my wife who just browses the web but mainly user her PC to write reports. This guy straight faced says --oh because the games. You can't play games on those old machines.
    Well my wife is a rather stern businesswoman and she wasn't even going to bother responding to this idiot. She just gave him one of those you are a worm looks and turned away. I said look man, in all confidence I can assure you my wife is not into video games. So, can you get me something like say right around 1Ghz or maybe half that, that costs a few hundred bucks less than these other models. I knew he couldn't and we weren't planning to buy anything anyway, but I just wanted to see what he would say. Sure enough, he goes right back to the game plan --well that stuff we just don't sell it because it . . . well you can't play games.
    When we left the store my wife was genuinely impressed. She couldn't believe that the sales drone has been so single-mindedly obsessed with gaming. What had happened to the PC market that grew up around the IBM PC standard? You know, what happened to the B in International Business Machines. The IBM PC is dead. Now we seem to be dealing with IGM which apparently stands for International Gaming Machines, but who is this company? If we wanted games, we could get just a PS2 after all.
    But even if PC gaming was an absolute must and folks like my wife were the tiny minority, this new Intel EE looks like a loser. As the parent post points out, lowering the clock speed is not going to be a selling point for gamers. And power management? This does not look well at all for Intel.
    Of course what would I know. Once I got MAME going years ago on my 400MhzK62 I figured I had no reason to every upgrade again because I had basically reached nirvanah right here on Earth. Gaming, shit, I got more games than I should ever need long ago.
    I don't get Intel. I never did though. I just wish Via Epia was a bit cheaper and easier to find.
  • by MankyD ( 567984 ) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:34PM (#12135360) Homepage
    No, in that they provide two entirely distinct functions in the computer. With out dragging on too much, take the simple example of upgrades. I, myself, have upgraded my GPU twice since my last processor upgrade - not including the new graphics card I bought along with it orginally. Do you expect me to buy a new CPU every time I want improved graphics performance?

    There may be a niche market for this, handheld devices and the likes, but not for the general computing market.
  • by hirschma ( 187820 ) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:37PM (#12135397)
    The review is useless without comparing their test box to an Opteron dually. Since the details regarding how AMD is going to implement dual core is well known, they could take an existing AMD dually, and hobble it with a slower hypertransport setting which would give a pretty accurate simulation.

    This lack of comparison indirectly tells me that AMD's dual core solution is going to wipe the floor with Intel's, even more so than the current AMD performance advantage over Intel on single core procs.

    I wonder how big a gun Intel put to their head. I also wonder how much AMD is pissed off at being "scooped", when they've been working at this for a much longer time.

  • by John Miles ( 108215 ) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:44PM (#12135476) Homepage Journal
    eBay is a good place to buy EPIA boards.

    The reason they don't make 1 GHz CPUs is because they would never sell enough of them for proportionally-lower pricing to make sense. Chip manufacturing is full of sweet spots. This is why Mini-ITX boards with the slower Centaur processors are actually significantly more expensive than commodity Intel/AMD boards. They amount to a low-volume niche product with no economies of scale to speak of, so you won't save any money just because you're buying a slower CPU. You are paying for the privilege of not having a fan.
  • Die vs. core (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Prof. Pi ( 199260 ) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:49PM (#12135537)
    A die is a term for a discrete piece of silicon.

    You are correct. A "two die module" would have two separate pieces of silicon, interconnected through one of several techniques.

    But this is /., where you're supposed to cheer for AMD and mock everything Intel ever does. Just remember this, and you can get lots of 'Informative' mod points, even if you don't understand even the most basic terms of chip manufacturing. At least that's what I can figure by looking at what gets modded up around here.

  • Yawn... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gillbates ( 106458 ) on Monday April 04, 2005 @01:56PM (#12135616) Homepage Journal

    even the Extreme Edition dual core CPU only has an 800MHz effective FSB, not 1066MHz

    It doesn't make much sense to put two processors on the same bus, and then lower the bus speed. And, as the benchmarks showed, single-threaded applications ran slower on the dual-core processor than on the regular P4

    I understand "dual core" has a certain market appeal - much like faster clock speeds. Never mind the fact that bus bandwidth and hard drive speed have a greater overall effect on system performance.

    Those who want dual cores would be better off buying a computer that was designed to support multiple cpu's - for example, a UNIX workstation. It doesn't matter how many cores you put on a chip if your memory bus can't feed them:

    1. An P4 can theoretically execute 2 instructions every clock cycle.
    2. Make that 4 instructions/clock for a dual core.
    3. Each instruction averages 4 bytes of data access. Since we'll consider the instructions to be cached, we'll ignore the memory access for them, for now. So we're up to 16 bytes of throughput per clock cycle.
    4. At 3200 MHz, times 16 bytes/clock, we're up to 51,200 MB/s theoretical throughput.
    5. Yet, the 800 MHz FSB (which transfers 8 bytes/cycle) can only do 6400 MB/s throughput.
    Granted, 6.4 GB/s is very fast - But even a single core P4 can saturate the memory bus. What point is there in adding another core (aside from marketing hoopla), when the bus can't run fast enough to support it!

    It seems to me that Intel added the power management features to the chip because they knew that the second core was going to be idle most of the time.

  • Re:Yawn... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:34PM (#12136031)
    I've been looking at this lately, and your analysis in exactly right: CPU speed is currently an order of magnitude faster than memory bandwidth. It's not the CPU that is slowing down your application; the CPU pipelines are spending half their time stalled waiting for data. Therefore adding another CPU doesn't help! Furthermore, cache actually slows down the writing of streamed data (due to the need to read each cache line before writing back a modified cache line). What I can't understand is why they don't simply use a memory bus that is the same width as a cache line, so that an entire cache line can be read or written in a single memory cycle.
  • by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Monday April 04, 2005 @02:58PM (#12136281) Homepage Journal
    more sense?

    Seriously, what's the point?

    Nothing wrong with dual CPU servers, heck, I've got two Linux dual-CPU boxen sitting at home, but in terms of ROI, it would make far more sense getting better bandwidth or just giving the machine more RAM or better disk access, than it would wasting all that money on the CPUs.

  • by MojoStan ( 776183 ) on Monday April 04, 2005 @08:49PM (#12139726)
    Another good reason to buy XP Pro over XP Home, even for single CPU systems: free exchange [] for the 64-bit edition [] of XP Pro.
  • Re:Cool?!? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fshalor ( 133678 ) < minus threevowels> on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @09:50AM (#12143139) Homepage Journal
    Um, the machine's cool and quiet and fast.

    With Dell, it's pick any two day. Well, actually, pick one.

    We have a dual g5 tower that you can't tell is on and it crunches numbers faster than the intel xeon preceision 650's from dell. Which are Loud! and Hot!.

    The air is barely warm at the back of the g5.

    That's not a "Hey ! Look at me!" featurism. It's a "Hey! I was designed properly and you can ignore me!" featurism.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling