by March 2, 2002 0 comments

After the introduction of the P4 processor on Socket 462, Intel has been changing to the Socket 478. While the first few processors on the new socket were based on the Willamette core, now we have two new processors with the Northwood core. Northwood is manufactured using 
a 0.13 micron process as against 0.18 micron, and has twice as much L2 cache  at 512 KB.


2GHz: Rs 24, 000; 2.2GHz: Rs 33, 000 
Meant for: High-end graphics
Features: Northwood core, socket 478, 8 KB L1 & 512 L2 cache
Pros: Good performance
Cons: Expensive
Contact: Computer Vision, Delhi. 
Tel: 011-6967547/ 6963213 

We tested the two processors using an Intel D850MD motherboard, IBM DeskStar 7200 rpm HDD, 256 MB RDRAM and
a GeForce2 GTS based graphics card. The most important observation in our tests has been the noticeable increase in
performance when going from the older Willamette 2.0 GHz to the newer Northwood 2.0 GHz. For example, in Content
Creation Winstone 2001 while the 2.0 GHz Willamette P4 scores a 58.2, the Northwood part at the same frequency scores
almost 8% higher at 62.6, and the 2.2 GHz part scores 16% higher at 67.5. This trend is more or less reflected identically in
all benchmarks including gaming in Quake III Arena, 3DMark2001, Serious Sam and applications like MP3/DivX encoding. 

The Northwood core is a good move on Intel’s part. However, it still has trouble defeating the Athlon XP in quite a few
enchmarks even though it enjoys a huge clock speed advantage. For those who have faith in Intel’s promise to deliver, the
new Northwood seems to be a good deal especially because no changes in the socket are forecast in the near future. 

   Quake  Arena III Serious
CC Winstone Business
  (fps) (fps) 2001 2001   (sec)
P4 2.0 GHz
237.5 96.3 58.2 50.9 NA NA
P4 2.0 GHz
241.7 106.2 62.6 55.7 32 162
P4 2.2 GHz
255.5 112.6 67.5 58.3 29 153

The bottom line: Performance comes for a price, and the new processors are priced at Rs 24,000 and Rs 33,000 
for the 2.0 GHz and 2.2 GHz respectively. The target remains the high-end user who is into CAD/CAM or heavy

Anuj Jain at PCQ Labs

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