In the computing and gaming industry there has been a constant struggle
between the hardware and software. Software companies develop new
applications that tax the best hardware and then the hardware companies
respond by creating new chips that can handle the software with
ease. Lately the hardware side has started to get far out ahead
of the software side.
On the CPU side of the game used to be purely CPU speed, but with the
speed of the chips starting to reach a peak the CPU makers were forced
to create new ways to increase performance. First it was the move
to 64 bit processing and now it’s on to adding a second processing core
to the chip. The new dual core chips should not be confused with
Intel’s Hyperthreading technology which offered a second software like
The dual core processors from Intel are named the Pentium D. The one we
have here today is the Pentium D 820. The Smithfield core is built on a
90nm process. Hyper-Threading is not in the Pentium D line but is
featured in the Pentium Extreme Edition. CPU throttling is also
non-existent on this chip as well. While I can understand the omission
of the throttling, I wonder why Intel decided to not include
Hyper-Threading on all their Pentium D lines.
Each 2.8GHz core on our Pentium D features 1MB of L2 cache and supports
an 800MHz FSB. The two cores lay side by side on the single chip. The
Socket LGA775 chip also features Intel’s EM64T, which allows for 64-bit
computing and access of more than 4GB of both virtual and physical
Power per watt’s going to be a big thing for Intel. They are going to
try to get as much power out of their processor while using less and
generating less heat to boot. With the 820, the dual core processor is
using less power than some of the top of the line single core
processors. The thermal design power of the Pentium D 820 is 115W.
Price wise, the Pentium D 820 is the lowest pricing dual processor chip
from Intel. As of this writing, you can pick on up for $245 from
NewEgg.com, which is second cheapest when searching with Pricewatch.
For comparison, the least expensive dual core Athlon is the X2 3800
running at 2.0GHz coming in at $322.
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