Update 8/4/01: After posting this review, we recieved a lot of complaints about the charts being zoomed in, and makes the gap between the Athlon and Pentium 4 look huge. That was a mistake we made in Excel, and was fixed as soon as we could get the new charts uploaded. All of the charts now start at 0.
The processor world is currently in an on-going battle between the powerhouse Intel, and its once inconceivable rival, AMD. Each company has a new generation of processors, Intel with the Pentium 4, and AMD with its Palamino.
The first thing we need to understand is Intel's competition, as well as their other processors that are available. Currently the fastest processor (In terms of clock speed) from Intel is the 1.8GHz Pentium 4. AMD currently has the 1.4GHz Athlon.
After reading that, you should have two questions in your head. One, if the 1.8 GHz chip is available, why are we reviewing the 1.7GHz chip? The answer to that question is quite simple, by the time we could finally get Intel to send us a Pentium 4 to review they only had a 1.7GHz chip available, even though we did ask for a 1.8. Not only that, but if you have ever read some of the other Pentium 4 reviews with pictures of the chip, you may have noticed that they say "Intel Confidential". This means that the processor is an engineering sample and the multiplier lock has been taken off, which isn't like that on a retail chip. Without a multiplier lock, it would have allowed us to overclock our sample, but unfortunately Intel didn't send us an engineering sample. Actually the D850GB motherboard, which Intel was nice enough to include didn't seem to have any options to change the FSB or voltage settings anyway. We hope that by the time this review is posted, Intel can set aside a 1.8GHz chip for us to take a look at, if that does happen, be sure to see a review on it soon afterwards. Also as a quick side note, according to Intel's roadmap, their 2GHz Pentium 4 is slated to be released sometime in Q4, most likely in September to be more specific.
The second question you should be thinking is how come AMD has a chip that runs only 1.4GHz, while Intel has one at 1.8GHz…Wouldn't that make Intel a clear winner? Not necessarily, today clock speed doesn't guarantee a performance winner as there are a lot more aspects to what is faster. We will talk about some of the hard numbers and comparisons between the processors later in the review when we start getting into the benchmarks.
Now that I have given you a bit of an introduction to the review and the background of where the processor world is currently at, lets start talking about the technology that goes behind the Pentium 4. Since this is our first actual processor review, and specifically of the Pentium 4, we have published a separate in-depth article today on the technology itself. The article is written by Paul Mazzucco, our processor/technology editor. He is also helping me out with a couple aspects of this review. You can check out the article by clicking here. In case you really aren't interested in going in-depth with the Pentium 4, the next page is a brief overview of what the technology behind the chip offers.
>> Technology Overview