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Intel Pentium 4 Guide (Page 2/17)

Posted: December 10, 2000
Written by: Tuan "Solace" Nguyen

Not Just a New Name

While the Pentium III offered users new and exciting speeds, that was mostly all that was to it. The most significant change it went through was a die shrink from 0.25 to 0.18 micron, which enabled Intel to lower power requirements and, most importantly, add on-die L2 cache. The onboard L2 cache gave Intel a significant lead over AMDís reigning Athlon processor and gave Intel the top spot. The Celeron also received a 0.18 micron makeover and became one of the most demanded processors on the market. People were just pushing each other to get a hold of one -- mainly for its overclocking prowess.

Eventually, Intel knew that its precious P6 architecture had its days limited. It knew that in order to improve its processors significantly, it would have to come up with a new way of doing things. And thus, it innovated with the Pentium 4 processor.

Innovating however, can sometimes lead to failure; not all companies innovate with success. With so many new features in the Pentium 4, itís hard to figure out whatís good and whatís not. Iíll take you through some of the new features that are integrated into the Pentium 4 and show you which one will affect your computing future.

Letís take a look at the processor itself.

The Chip

The following is a picture of the 1.5GHz Pentium 4 processor.

Click for a larger picture


Physically, not much has changed from a PGA Pentium III. What has changed is the number of pins used. The Pentium 4 uses a Socket 423 interface and requires different power and cooling settings than its older brother. The core itself is sealed underneath a protective metal cover to avoid problems like ones AMD faced with users crushing their own processors.

Click for a larger picture


Intel wonít be sticking to Socket 423 for much longer though. Next year, it will introduce a new Socket 478, which means that the Pentium 4 itself will see physical change -- or perhaps not. Intel may make the new socket accept initial Pentium 4 chips. This is a definite possibility considering Intel once did the same thing with its Overdrive processors. Overdrive compatible motherboards had sockets that were larger and had more pins than regular processors. Both regular Intel and Intel Overdrive processors would fit perfectly in and function just fine. This would be a smart thing for Intel to do if it hasnít already intended on doing so.

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