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Table Of Contents  CertiGuide to A+ (Core Hardware)
 9  Chapter 0010:  CPUs
      9  V  Pentium Family CPUs

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Pentium IV(a) and Northwood (Pentium IV)

Ok. Read very carefully, because marketing naming conventions were created to fool you.

The older Pentium IV has been renamed as the Pentium IVa. Of course, in the field, they will just be called Pentium IV, since they were shipped before this name change. The IVa is a 423-pin package (socket), with the 400 MHz system bus. The first speed offering of the Pentium IV is 1.5 GHz (gigahertz), and was aimed at entry-level professional workstations. Originally, the Pentium 4 was released as a SEC connector, however it was recalled.

What is clear about the Pentium IVa is the fact that it requires RAMBUS on the motherboard. While RAMBUS certainly can have good performance, it used to have a stupidly high price tag. RAMBUS (and other memory types are discussed further in the chapter on RAM.)

It is no secret that your author was strongly opposed to the Pentium IV (before this brain dead chip was later remarked to the Pentium IVa. Details of what that garbage looked like follow.

[spacer]Pentium IV – Oops!

As reported by Darek at
http://www.emulators.com; used with permission:

“In what can only be considered a monumental lapse in judgment, Intel went ahead and threw out the many tried and tested ideas implemented in both the PowerPC and AMD Athlon processor families and literally took a step back 5 years to the days of the 486… It seems that Intel is taking the approach similar to that of their upcoming Itanium chip - that the chip should do less optimization work and that the programmer should be responsible for that work. An idea not unfamiliar to RISC chip programmers, but Intel really went a little too far. They literally stripped the processor bare and tried to use brute force clock speed to make up for it!”

This expert on emulators ran several tests to compare the new chip to some older ones and here are his conclusions:

"Except the idea doesn't work. Benchmark after benchmark after benchmark shows the 1.5 GHz Pentium chip running slower than a 900 MHz Athlon, and in some cases slower than a 533 MHz Celeron, even as slow as a 200 MHz Pentium in rare cases." "The 1.5 GHz Pentium 4 wins of course, but barely over the 900 MHz AMD Athlon at about 1/3 the price and 60% of the clock speed. Worse, the Pentium 4 fails to even cut the processing time in half compared to the much slower clocked Pentium III and Celeron systems. The Pentium 4 is barely twice as fast at this benchmark as a 500 MHz Pentium III."


Pentium IV formally known as Northwood

Intel wor
e so much egg on their corporate face, they really had to make the new Pentium IV rock. And they did. It is a solid neck and neck race with AMD, at least on features, if not price. The worst thing (beyond current price) that can be said about the new Pentium IV (no a) is it needs a power connector called an ATX12V. Don't have one? No big deal. An adapter that fits a spare drive connector is <$10 USD.


The new Pentium IV is based on a new physical socket called MPGA and features 478 pin socket quad pumped from 100Mhz to 400Mhz. Rambus only support died with the Intel 845D chipset supporting DDR ram, and RAMBUS pricing fell to match other ram types.

The real Pentium IV is built using .13 micron technology, and has a 55 million transistor count. Yes, fifty-five million transistors, powered at 1.5 V, down from the 1.75 V in the Williamette Pentium IV. Sorry, no SMP support. Reports abound about it being rock stable, and an over clocker's dream. The race between Intel and AMD has served the industry.

In closing, a warning. Some Pentium IV CPU's were created with the older Williamette technology. To be safe, don't buy a Pentium IV that is less than 2.2 GHz


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