Intel's Pentium 4 with 533MHz Bus and The i850E Chipset
2.4 and 2.53GHz performance with a 533MHz Front Side Bus

By, Dave Altavilla
May 6, 2002



There are many architectural attributes of Intel's Pentium 4 processor, that will drive incremental performance for CPU core, as the months and years roll on, in their battle against their primary competitor, Advanced Micro Devices.  Intel engineered the P4 core with a staggeringly deep 20 stage pipeline, that allows clock frequencies to scale with ease.  There are certainly pros and cons to having this deeply pipelined architecture.  However, in a market where MHz and GHz are king, not only will more clock cycles drive performance, they will also do more to catch the eye of the average consumer, than any marketing weasel could ever dream of.

Additionally, Intel has taken the time to leave the "hooks" in their new flagship CPU, that will allow for compensation over the inherent latencies associated with this deep 20 stage pipeline.  Certainly, the move to doubling the cache size of the initial core, to 512K with the Northwood release, proved to be big step in the right direction.  However, as we've mentioned in previous processor showcases here, "speeds and feeds" are also extremely important to keep those cache tables and pipelines full of data.  Today Intel is releasing of the "B" step version of the Pentium 4, now with a 533MHz front side bus, allowing the CPU core to be fed with more of what typically is the limiting factor for most processors on the market today, bandwidth.

This move to a 533MHz bus is another enhancement to the Pentium 4 core that rounds out the processor's architecture to its fullest potential.  Here's a quick scan of the vital signs.

Specifications of the Pentium 4B 2.4GHz and 2.53GHz Processors
Core clock speed now fed with more bandwidth

  • Available at 2.26GHz,  2.4GHz and 2.53 GHz speeds
  • 533MHz "Quad Pumped" Front Side Bus
  • Based upon Intels 0.13 micron manufacturing process
  • Now built on 300mm wafers for 2X die out per wafer and lower cost
  • 512K on chip, Full Speed L2 Cache
  • Rapid Execution Engine - ALU clocked at 2X frequency of core
  • 128bit Floating Point/Multimedia unit
  • "Hyper Pipelined" Technology for extremely high clock speeds
  • Featuring the Intel "NetBurst" micro-architecture
  • Supported by the Intel 850 and i845 chipsets, as well as other chipsets from SiS and VIA 
  • Fully compatible with existing Intel Architecture-based software
  • Internet Streaming SIMD Extensions 2
  • Intel MMX media enhancement technology
  • Memory cacheability up to 4 GB of addressable memory space and system memory scalability up to 64 GB of physical memory
  • Support for uni-processor designs
  • 1.5V operating voltage range

 

   

Looking at things from a hardware perspective, not much has really changed for the CPU or the i850E chipset that officially supports its new front side bus speed of 533MHz.  Actually, the CPU core is identical to previous Northwood CPUs, with the exception of a lower multiplier and the characterization that Intel did to bring the core up stable with a 533MHz front side bus. 

For the longest time, we were baffled somewhat by the fact that we weren't getting unlocked engineering samples from Intel for the Pentium 4 anymore, since Willamette.  With the release of this chip, light has certainly dawned on us a bit.

 

Architecture, Motherboards and The Setup