Willamette Performance Revealed

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Conclusion and Footnotes

The initial product offerings in the Pentium 4 family are impressive for their achievement, and even more so for their scalability potential in the near future. They have raised the clock frequency bar by 300 MHz over their closest rival and offer absolute performance on optimized applications similar to the very fastest RISC processors. Unfortunately, for mainstream PC users the P4 might as well be a RISC processor, as far as being able to provide an immediate and consistent boost to the performance of existing legacy applications optimized for the PIII and K7.

As the P4 begins the long frequency scaling process ahead of it, more and more P4 optimized applications will become available and its appeal will quickly broaden. With an expected shrink to a 0.13 um process in the second half of next year, the P4 will likely be an extremely competitive product that will soon leave the PIII in the dust and relegate it to spending its twilight years in portable PC compatible applications. Although the nature of the AMD x86 processors that the P4 will compete against in the coming years is uncertain, it is apparent that AMD will be hard pressed to retain the unprecedented level of competitiveness versus Intel they have enjoyed since the introduction of the K7 family. The only certainty in the upcoming round of competition is that PC buyers will be among the winners.

[1] “Intel Pentium 4 Processor and Intel 850 Performance Brief”, Intel Corp., Nov. 2000.

[2] “Intel Pentium 4 Processor Optimization Reference Manual”, Intel Corp., 2000.

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