..:: Pentium D Processor ::..
On the outside, the Pentium D looks like any other Pentium 4 based off of the LGA775 package. As with the Extreme Edition 840, don’t expect to be able to simply swap one of these into your i925X, or XE motherboard. You’ll be required to upgrade to either the i955X or i945 chipset if you’re looking to use one of these Pentium D processors. The Extreme Edition 840, if you’ll remember, can only be used on the i955X chipset presently.
The Pentium D is based off of two separate “Prescott” cores merged together in a multi-core packaging method. The Pentium D 820 comes in clocked at a respectable 2.80GHz. Remember, given that we’re seeing two cores at use here several new factors come in such as yield requirements that make these dual core processors run at lower clock speeds.
It’s no secret that the “Prescott” core was, well, hot. Processors based off of this core were known to become quite warm under both idle and load situations. Intel has implemented in two forms of clock control in order to help keeps these temperatures down given that now we’re seeing not one, but two cores running active. One “Prescott” by itself was toasty, but two? The voltage requirement for the Pentium D 820 is the same as any “Prescott” core, between 1.200 and 1.400V. Luckily, the TDP of this processor is far lower than that of the Extreme Edition. The 820’s TDP is 95W, still toasty but nothing like the 130W of the Extreme Edition. . The 820 does not feature Intel’s EIST for cooling. The lowest clock multiplier for EIST is x14, which is the standard multiplier for the 820. EIST is equipped on all other Pentium D / Extreme Edition CPU’s, which dynamically clock down to 2.80GHz when the system is idling along.
..:: Dual Core : Is It For Me? ::..
Let’s be frank for a moment. In actuality, Joe Schmoe likely wouldn’t see much, if any, benefit from switching over to a dual core processor at time being. Given that the bulk of software out there now is only single-threaded, the dual core option would blow out the window and be ineffective. The performance under these applications will look just like a regular Pentium 4 running at 3.20GHz. This isn’t to say, however, that others wouldn’t reap a wealth of benefit from a dual core solution.
Software that is multi-threaded, such as CAD, DV Editing, and a few Gaming applications would see a nice performance boost from the two execution cores. This is a primary reason why Intel doesn’t expect to see too much of an uptake of these processors throughout the remainder of the year. For most of us, there really is no reason as of yet to put these processors to use. If you’re in the field of DV or CAD, then these processors could provide a cheaper upgrade from current multi-processor systems. The strengths of dual core in a single-threaded environment lie with multi-tasking. Dual core setups will allow for a far more responsive system in a multi-tasking environment, which we will soon see.