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Intel Pentium 4 540 (3.2E) Socket LGA 775 Processor Review

Intel Pentium 4 540 (3.2E) Socket LGA 775 Processor Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The Pentium 4 3.2E LGA775 (Land Grid Array) Socket 775 processor is based on the same 0.09 micron manufacturing process as its Socket 478 Prescott cousin.
 85% Rating:   
Filed under: CPU / Processors Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Intel May 11 2005   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > CPU / Processors > Intel Pentium 4 540

Intel's chipsets for Socket 775: 915P/G and 925X

With the release of the LGA775 Pentium 4 processor also came a pair of brand new motherboard chipsets. This was exciting news for a number of reasons; Intel has generally been on the cutting edge in terms of introducing new features into their chipsets as they become available, and these two new products were no exception.

With the release of the 915P and 925X chipsets, computer enthusiasts were first able to get their hands on consumer level PCI Express enabled motherboards. As you know, PCI Express is the technology that is replacing the now aging AGP slot (if you don't know, check out our comprehensive PCI Express technology article here). ATI and nVidia and their licensees have already released several PCI Express compatible video cards, and it is inevitable that the technology will have completely supplanted AGP by the end of this year.

Aside from carrying video data, PCI Express also presents a considerable upgrade over the capabilities of the standard PCI expansion slot, enabling easy support for applications like gigabit Ethernet. Essentially, PCI Express allows for more high-bandwidth connections in your PC, both internally and externally, opening the gateway to future improvements.

A second new technology that was first seen on these new Intel chipsets is DDR2 memory. This next generation of the DDR (Double Data Rate) memory standard allows memory makers to ramp up the frequency of the memory to keep up with the demands of new processors as they are released.

This is more of an incremental upgrade than a brand new technology, but it is an essential step, since DDR memory has pretty much reached its maximum performance ceiling at the PC-3200 (DDR-400) speed. See PCSTATS DDR2 article here for more info. Both the 915P/925X chipsets support up to 4GB of DDR/DDR-2 memory.

The third feature that grabbed our interest when the chipsets were released is the ICH-6 Southbridge. The ICH-6 represents a considerable step forward from the previous ICH5 Intel Southbridge.

The Southbridge chip is an IC that handles the various I/O subsystems on the motherboard, like the PCI bus, IDE and Serial ATA for hard drives, USB, etc. It organizes the information that is to be sent to or received from these devices and communicates with the Northbridge chip which in turn talks to the processor and memory.

Both of these chipsets should eventually be ported to the new BTX motherboard form factor at some point in their active life, but right now things are a little confusing on this point. It appears that most developers are sticking with ATX for now, but may begin instituting a requirement for a new power supply since PCI Express peripherals in general and video cards in particular require so much power. Expect to buy a new 24-pin power supply of at least 400 Watts to go with your next new Intel board and processor.

We'll explore some of the above features in more detail later in the article. First let's take a look at the specifics of the two new chipsets, starting with the 915.

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Contents of Article: Intel Pentium 4 540
 Pg 1.  Intel Pentium 4 540 (3.2E) Socket LGA 775 Processor Review
 Pg 2.  CPU Features
 Pg 3.  Model Numbers
 Pg 4.  — Intel's chipsets for Socket 775: 915P/G and 925X
 Pg 5.  The 915G/P chipset
 Pg 6.  The 925X chipset
 Pg 7.  Test setup and SysMark 2004
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: Winstone 2002, Super Pi
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: Sandra 2004, POVray
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: ScienceMark, CINEBENCH 2000
 Pg 11.  Benchmarks: PCMark04, 3DMark2001
 Pg 12.  Benchmarks: 3DMark05, AquaMark3
 Pg 13.  Benchmarks: Comanche 4, UT2003
 Pg 14.  Benchmarks: UT2004, Doom3
 Pg 15.  Overclocking and conclusion

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