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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [02.20.05]
Manufactured by: Intel


Is It Still Hot?

With all these new power conserving features, I wanted to find out if the Prescott runs as hot as it ever did. Using a flat thermistor placed near the corner of the CPU (where the round copper slug of the heatsink is not making contact), I got these results. Not that the AMD CPU's were not tested, as there would be no way to make a direct comparison with the coolers I have.

Now this is the most interesting benchmark of the entire review!

First, addressing the idle temperatures, you can see what Enhanced Halt State is doing for the temperatures here. The 660 (3.6 GHz) and 630 (3.0 GHz) are both idling at 2.8 GHz, and are able to get much cooler. The Extreme Edition does not halt, so idles at a toasty 50 degrees.

However the big surprize to me is how low the stress temperatures are on the 600's. As you can see, the 500 series are as hot as they've ever been, reaching 60 degrees C. But the new CPU's being introduced today, even though they have a higher transistor count and larger core, don't even get hotter than 50 C. Interestingly, this stress limit is roughly the same temperature as the 500's idle temps! Wow!

Although I triple-checked the results, I'll have to get to the bottom of this. Perhaps when we're ready to tackle 64 bit performance I'll have the answer. For now, consider this a nice bonus from the 600 series Pentium 4 from Intel.

Although some nifty features were added to the Prescott core - 64 bit computing is nothing to ignore (at least it won't be when the time is right) and the extra cache helps in some cases, the most intriguing addition to me is the combination of Enhanced Halt State, and Enhanced Speedstep. These power conserving features seem to keep the new Prescott as cool at load as it used to be at idle. And when at idle, it barely goes past room temperature.

Although gaming performance is definitely lacking compared to the Athlon64, the P4 actually exceled in nearly every other test we could throw at it. Whether it's audio encoding, video encoding, multimedia apps, office apps, or productivity, the Pentium 4 consistently comes out on top.

But gaming was another story. A BIG story if you're reading this site most likely.

Another issue is price; the P4 is almost always more expensive than its similarly rated A64 counterpart, especially with the new chips.

The 600 series will be sold alongside the 500's. Performance-wise, they are roughly the same, with the 600's having a slight edge. With the added benefit of EIST and Halt State, I see the 600 being a better buy, if pricing calms down a bit. EM64T is a non-issue to me still, as it has been for almost 2 years now with the Athlon64.