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Intel Xeon 3.06 GHz Socket 604 Processor Review

Intel Xeon 3.06 GHz Socket 604 Processor Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The Xeon CPUs we're examining have been built with 0.13 micron process technology, and are based on the Gallatin core which operates with a 533 MHz Front Side Bus (FSB).
 88% Rating:   
Filed under: CPU / Processors Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Intel Sep 29 2004   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > CPU / Processors > Intel Xeon 3.06 GHz

Hyperthreading Technology on the Xeon

The basic intention of Hyperthreading technology is to keep the processor as busy as possible. With that said, let’s take a look at how it works. A typical x86 processor is limited by the fact that it can only operate on one thread at a time. A thread is a set of related instructions created by a software application. Multi-tasking as we know it, based on Windows operating systems, consists of the CPU rapidly switching back and forth between the various threads created by running programs, prioritizing them on the fly.

If you want to get an idea of how many threads are currently being juggled by your processor on a Windows XP system, hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete and choose the task manager, then select the ‘processes’ tab. If you now select ‘view/select columns...’ and check mark the ‘thread count box’ you will see how many threads each process has created. No matter how many threads there are, the simple fact is that your CPU can only concentrate on one at any given time. The problem with this is that, depending on the type of actions the processor needs to perform with a particular thread, much of the capability of the processor(s) may be wasted. For instance, if all a particular thread requires is integer calculations like counting, the processor’s floating-point execution units (the parts of the processor that perform actions on data) are idle while that thread is being processed.

This is where Hyperthreading comes in. The idea is to throw two threads at the CPU at once, with the intention of reducing the amount of time that portions of the CPU are idle. On the software side of things, this splits the processor into two logical processors as far as Windows is concerned, each of which is operating on one thread at a given time. Depending on the nature of the threads being processed, performance may increase due to the increased utilization of the CPU’s available resources.

If you are interested in learning a little more about Hyperthreading, you may want to read PCSTATS Basics of HyperThreading article. Hyperthreading has many advantages, but discussing those points in detail is beyond the scope of this processor review.

Additional On-Die Memory

Xeon processors are capable of addressing up to 64GB of main memory, surpassing the built in 4GB 32-bit processor memory limit by using Intel’s Extended Server Memory Architecture to increase the size of available memory addresses to 36-bits. This must be supported by the operating system used (Enterprise editions and above of Windows NT/2000/2003 server).

This can significantly increase the performance of memory-hungry applications such as databases, web and email servers, simply by providing them with enough physical memory to prevent or minimize the use of virtual memory (space on a hard disk drive reserved by the operating system for use as memory when needed).

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Contents of Article: Intel Xeon 3.06 GHz
 Pg 1.  Intel Xeon 3.06 GHz Socket 604 Processor Review
 Pg 2.  History and Technology of the Xeon
 Pg 3.  — Hyperthreading Technology on the Xeon
 Pg 4.  Faster FSB and Cache
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra 2004, SuperPi
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: ScienceMark, CINEBENCH 2000
 Pg 7.  Two Fast Server Chips!

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