Pentium 4 v Athlon XP

Intel has upgraded the Pentium 4 architecture to support a 533MHz frontside bus. Check out our comprehensive benchmark tests to see how this affects the balance of power with AMD.

Intel has recently launched three new processors that feature a 533MHz frontside bus (FSB), compared to the previous generation’s 400MHz FSB. The new flagship CPU is clocked at 2,533MHz, or 2.53GHz, and there are also new 533MHz-bus Pentium 4s running at 2,400MHz (2.4GHz) and 2,266MHz (2.26GHz).

Intel's 533MHz-bus Pentium 4s




Codename Northwood Northwood Northwood
Frontside bus speed (MHz) 533 533 533
Level 1 cache (KB) 8 8 8
Level 2 cache (KB) 512 512 512
Fabrication process (microns) 0.13 0.13 0.13
Die size (mm2) 146 146 146
Voltage (V) 1.5 1.5 1.5
Power consumption (W) 59.3 57.8 56
Price ($) 673 562 423

In our benchmark tests, which were performed by ZDNet Germany's Kai Schmerer, the new 2,533MHz Pentium 4 with 533MHz FSB performs very well, heading the rankings in all but a few cases. Only when running mainstream applications and some Internet-related tasks does AMD’s top-of-the-range Athlon XP/2100+ retain an edge. To accompany its new Pentium 4 processors, Intel has released a new chipset, the 850E, that supports the 533MHz FSB and Rambus memory. Further 533MHz-bus P4 chipsets are expected in May that will provide support for cheaper DDR memory.