Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 840 - Page 2

..:: Pentium Extreme Edition Processor ::..

On the outside, the Extreme Edition 840 looks like any other Pentium 4 based off of the LGA775 package. Luckily even with the additional core Intel didn’t move to a new processor socket for these dual core processors, though don’t expect to be able to simply swap one of these into your i925X, or XE motherboard. You’ll be required to upgrade to the i955x chipset if you’re looking to use one of the Extreme Edition 840’s.

The Extreme Edition 840 is based off of two separate “Prescott” cores merged together in a multi-core packaging method. AMD has been hitting at Intel about this type of implementation because AMD believes a true dual core solution embodies two physical processors interconnected on one die, not two dies merged together. Arguments aside, the Extreme Edition 840 comes in clocked at a respectable 3.20GHz. Remember, given that we’re seeing two cores at use here several new factors come in such as yield requirements that make these dual core processors run at lower clock speeds.

It’s no secret that the “Prescott” core was, well, hot. Processors based off of this core were known to become quite warm under both idle and load situations. Intel has implemented in two forms of clock control in order to help keeps these temperatures down given that now we’re seeing not one, but two cores running active. One “Prescott” by itself was toasty, but two? The voltage requirement for the Extreme Edition 840 is the same as any “Prescott” core, between 1.200 and 1.400V. The real kicker is the maximum current of 125A! This translates into a Thermal Design Power spec of 130 Watts.

What do all these numbers translate into in the end? One hell of a hot processor. Intel’s stock heatsink solution has enhanced the copper core volume in order to help remove more heat from the processor at a faster rate. The fin surface area has also been increased to aid in cooling, but even with these enhancements this Extreme Edition 840 runs extremely hot. In our torture test the processor reached 73C under full load. This is worst case scenario, i.e. No intake or expulsion fans, etc. but this is still the hottest processor we’ve tested to date.

Two features of the Extreme Edition 840 that were only recently introduced throughout the Pentium 4 line are the Execution Disable Bit, as well as Intel’s EM64T Technology. As one would expect, the Extreme Edition 840 comes with all of Intel’s latest technologies, especially 64-Bit processing support. The main pitfall to the way the Extreme Edition 840 is put together is the shared FSB.

..:: Dual Core : Is It For Me? ::..

Let’s be frank for a moment. In actuality, Joe Schmoe likely wouldn’t see much, if any, benefit from switching over to a dual core processor at time being. Given that the bulk of software out there now is only single-threaded, the dual core option would blow out the window and be ineffective. The performance under these applications will look just like a regular Pentium 4 running at 3.20GHz. This isn’t to say, however, that others wouldn’t reap a wealth of benefit from a dual core solution.

Software that is multi-threaded, such as CAD, DV Editing, and a few Gaming applications would see a nice performance boost from the two execution cores. This is a primary reason why Intel doesn’t expect to see too much of an uptake of these processors throughout the remainder of the year. For most of us, there really is no reason as of yet to put these processors to use. If you’re in the field of DV or CAD, then these processors could provide a cheaper upgrade from current multi-processor systems. The strengths of dual core in a single-threaded environment lie with multi-tasking. Dual core setups will allow for a far more responsive system in a multi-tasking environment, which we will soon see.