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Last week, Intel Corp.'s flagship processor was a Pentium 4 running at 3.06GHz; today, it's a Pentium 4 running at the fractionally slower 3.0GHz. What happened? A new chipset platform and faster system bus -- 800MHz instead of the previous 533MHz (technically, quad-pumped 200MHz instead of 133MHz). Using dual-channel DDR400 system memory, the Intel 875P chipset can transmit information within the PC up to 50 percent faster than previous models, for a significant boost in overall performance.
In addition to supporting the latest AGP 8X, Serial ATA, and USB 2.0 interfaces, the 875P (formerly known by the codename "Canterwood") introduces what Intel calls Performance Acceleration Technology (PAT) -- speeding data flow between the CPU and system memory by optimizing internal data paths -- and a dedicated networking bus based on Communications Streaming Architecture (CSA). The latter works with Intel's Pro/1000CT Desktop Connection gigabit Ethernet controller to double the networking bandwidth possible with current PCI-bus-based solutions.
The 3.0GHz/800MHz-system-bus Pentium 4 processor ($417 in 1,000-unit quantities) features the same Hyper-Threading technology as its 3.06GHz sibling for speeding up multitasking environments or multithreaded applications. The 875P chipset ($50 without or $53 with integrated software RAID) adds another example by incorporating dual independent DMA audio engines, permitting the user to make a PC phone call while playing digital music streams.
(more to come)