It is far not an easy task to test the new LGA775 platforms. The thing is that the mainboards based on i925/i915 are equipped with PCI Express x16 graphics bus and are incompatible with AGP 8x. Socket 478 platforms based on i875/i865 chipsets on the contrary support AGP 8x and have no PCI Express x16 bus. That is when we compare the old and new Intel platforms we have to use different graphics cards. We tried to eliminate the influence of this factor on the systems performance by using graphics cards based on the same graphics chip in both platforms. It was NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 with 128MB of graphics memory and 390MHz/700MHz working frequencies. However, our experiments showed that it was not enough. The thing is that NVIDIA doesn’t have an official driver for PCI Express x16. We had to use a beta driver (we used ForceWare 61.32), which are not always bug-free. Moreover, in some gaming applications these drivers have problems with the AGP 8x cards, and in some other apps – with PCI Express x16 cards. And in both cases the applications are absolutely different. Therefore, we limited the number of gaming applications we are going to run for benchmarking needs today. Here are the results obtained in those games where both: AGP 8x and PCI Express x16 graphics cards worked well:
These results show that the transition to the new platform didn’t result into any performance advantages for the Pentium 4 and Pentium 4 XE processors. If we compare the results shown by Pentium 4 3.4E on Prescott core with those of Pentium 4 550 working at the same 3.4GHz clock frequency, we will see that the CPU working in a system with DDR400 memory performs better than a similar LGA775 CPU. In fact this is not surprising at all. As is known lower memory subsystem latency matters much more for contemporary gaming applications than the high memory bandwidth. Therefore, DDR2-533 cannot yet provide the gamers with any tangible performance advantages. By the way, this is one of the reasons why Athlon 64 processors are so fast in games today. In fact the new Pentium 4 560 with 3.6GHz frequency can hardly compete with Athlo9n 64 3400+ at all.
The situation doesn’t get any better even for the Pentium 4 XE 3.4GHz, which suffered a complete disaster after shifting to the LGA775 platform with DDR2 memory. The new chipsets equipped with the DDr2 controller manage to perform much better with the Prescott based Pentium 4 processors, that is why Pentium 4 XE 3.4 appears faster than Pentium 4 (Prescott) only when it works in an i875P based system supporting DDR400 memory.
All in all, this means that gamers looking for maximum gaming performance should better forget about new Intel platforms. Moreover, processors based on AMD64 architecture can show much better performance in these applications so far.