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Product: Pentium 4 1.5GHz
Company: Intel
Estimated Street Price: $848.00
Review By: Julien JAY

New SSE2 Instruction Set

Table Of Contents
1: Introduction
2: CPU Architecture
: SSE2 & CPU Design
4: i82850 Chipset
5: Intel D850GB Motherboard
6: Benchmarks

7: BenchMarks' Results Analysis
8: Conclusion

Review Quotes
  "Just like the MMX the SSE 2 set of instructions is no use if you don’t have compliant applications that take benefit from it"  

Intel introduced the MMX (MMX for MultiMedia eXtensions) instruction set back in 1996: this was the first instruction addition to the x86 architecture since the i386 was released. Remember, the MMX instruction set was full of multimedia dedicated features that were here to accelerate applications which used them. MMX applications came a bit later on the market but most users enjoyed MMX benefits especially in games since game developers adopted them quickly. More recently Intel added SSE (Streaming SIMD Extension) to its Pentium III: this was a set of 70 supplementary extensions that used the SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data) technology just like the MMX or 3D Now (From AMD). SIMD principle is simple: it should treat only one pass of several data with only one instruction. Compared to a standard SISD x86 instruction (Single Instruction Single Data) where one instruction should give one result the SSE can give up to 4 results in the same clock cycle. The SSE instruction set principally enhances audio and video compression processes as shown by our tests: indeed compressing an audio file of 130 MB took 8.5 seconds against 10.3 seconds using a Pentium III 1GHz: for this kind of task the Pentium 4 boosts performance up to 28%. SSE 2 brings several enhancements dedicated to boost MPEG 2 encoding and file encrypting processes. First it adds 144 new instructions (oriented on memory and cache management) to the SSE & MMX existing ones but it can now handle integers of 128-bit numbers (1 per cycle), and double precision floating of 64-bit (two per cycle). Just like the MMX the SSE 2 set of instructions is no use if you don’t have compliant applications that take benefit from it: actually few applications manage it except the Direct X 8.0 API. But some compatible applications should be out very soon like the Windows Media Encoder 2, Dragon Naturally Speaking 4, etc. We also ran another test showing the undeniable power the Pentium 4 brings to high demanding multimedia applications: compressing an Indeo video of 15MB into an MPEG2 one took 1.05 minutes against 1.38 minutes for the Pentium III 1GHz, showing a difference of more than 42%. The performance enhancements shown by the tests are due both to the higher frequency of the CPU and it’s various MMX and SSE instructions.


CPU Design


    Intel Pentium 4 1.4 GHz and 1.5 GHz are both engraved using 0.18µ technology and comes with 42 million transistors (in comparison an Athlon uses 37 million transistors). Pentium 4 chips are now presented as a 423 pins (53 gold pegs more than on the Pentium III) CPU chip since Intel decided to abandon the proprietary Slot 1 connector introduced by the Pentium II. The Pentium 4 1.5 GHz uses a 1.7 volt alimentation. Much bigger than the Pentium III PPGA versions the 217mm˛ chip doesn’t use the OLGA (Organic Land Grid Array) cartridge anymore. On the bottom photo of the Pentium 4, you see a metal part in the center of the CPU: this was added by Intel to protect the die unit from damage if the radiator was incorrectly mounted. New processor generally means new chipset to handle it: that’s the case of the Pentium 4 which is only supported by the Intel i850 chipset, one of the finest chipsets out on the market.


Intel Pentium 4 processor


<-- CPU Architecture

Intel i82850 Chipset -->


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