Intel Ups Ante

Northwood offers smaller footprint, lower cost

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Intel's latest Pentium 4 combines elements to guarantee success,performance gains, cost savings, a 30 percent decrease in power consumption and 40 percent smaller transistors.

Code-named Northwood, the new processor is now available in 2.2GHz and 2.0aGHz clock speeds. The "a" suffix differentiates the Northwood-based 2GHz Pentium 4 from the previous-generation 2GHz Pentium 4.

Moving to a 0.13-micron design enabled Intel to reduce power consumption 30 percent while increasing transistor switching speed by 40 percent. It also resulted in lowered introductory pricing.

In trials performed by the CRN Test Center, the 2.2GHz Pentium 4 proved 15 percent faster than the previous-generation 2GHz Pentium 4. The 2.0aGHz Pentium 4 showed 4 percent more performance than the 2GHz processor.

Test Center engineers benchmarked a Northwood Pentium 4 and a 2GHz Pentium 4 using BAPco's SYSmark 2001, which runs 14 applications in a multitasking environment to gauge overall system speed. The benchmark provides three scores: an Internet content creation score, an office-productivity score and an overall score.

Engineers built two systems around identical components where applicable. Both systems used an ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon AGP video card, an Adaptec 29160N SCSI controller and a Seagate Cheetah X15 36LP SCSI hard drive.

The pre-Northwood system used a Gigabyte GA-8ITX motherboard based on Intel's 850 AGPSet chipset, configured with 512 Mbytes of RIMM memory from Kingston Technology. Both Northwood-based processors were tested on an Intel D845BG system board, configured with 512 Mbytes of Double Data Rate PC2100 RAM from Kingston.

Windows XP Professional was used in all tests.

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