P4: the verdicts
Intel demands a recount
In that peculiar variant of masochism, known only to CPU manufacturers, Intel has submitted its P4 chip for review to a motley collection of hardware headcases.
The reviews are already rolling in, and they're proving to be a mixed bag. We'll do a manual recount at the end of the week, and see if the vote's changed.
The reviewers' consensus is that raw clock speed is disappointing and that for the time being, the high price outweights the good points.
The main sticking point is the dearth of software optimised to run with this processor, so most people are (still) waiting to see what the P4 can really do.
As per usual, Tom Pabst has pulled out all the stops with a blockbuster. "Whatever Pentium 4 is right now, it is certainly not the greatest and best performing processor in the world. It's not a bad performer as well though", he says.
However, Intel seems "very determined to make Pentium 4 a success and I have the feeling that it will succeed. The implementation of SSE2-instructions into future software as well as the usage of code-optimizing compilers for Pentium 4 will make sure that Pentium 4 will be standing in a much better light very soon".
The good doctor also loves the clock speed potential for the Pentium 4, which is, he reckons, its strongest suit. "Intel has finally won back the ability to make AMD's life a lot harder."
And he has some nice words to say about Rambus! But finally, if it's price/performance on a budget Tom still recommends the Athlon. If you are a style warrior. "It's a bit like getting designer furniture. You don't really need it, but it's damn cool to have it."
Anandseems almost personally offended by the P4's poor benchmark performance. It promised much but has delivered really very little. Buying one now wouldn't make sense, Anand says. It is slower, more expensive and if that isn't enough, you have to buy a whole load of new kit just to get it to work. Fine if you need a bit of retail therapy, but otherwise quite disappointing.
Meanwhile, HardOCP finds quite a few kind words top say about the new Intel beast, despite its struggle to keep up with an overclocked T-Bird 750. Overall, if you are looking for a new machine, or you are into counting triangles Kyle says go for a P4. However, the hobbyists may prefer to stick with an AMD socket A system for the time being at least.
Planet Hardware gets its first look at the P4 and puts together a couple of benchmarks. It tries to forgive the P4 its sluggish nature, blaming optimisation and driver problems. The guys conclude that the P4 is an impressive piece of hardware, destined to do well in the high-end consumer sector.
Sharky reckons that until the price comes down, the real point of the P4 must be to generate interesting reading material for hobbyists. Yet another review that sounds a note of regret that the P4 hasn't matched the industry's hopes (rather than expectations) for performance.
And lest we forget - what about overclocking? Not may people seem to have had a go, but Tecchannel.de did. They've put together a review of the P4 1.4, 1.5 and 1.6 GHz.
Of course, our very own Andrew Thomas also had a bit of a bash at making the P4 run extra fast, and also got it up to 1.6GHz. The Full Coverage, Register style, is here. Any abuse about the P4 coverage on The Reg can (please) be sent to him, not me. ®
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