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Review: Intel Pentium III Tualatin 1.067Ghz

by Ryszard Sommefeldt on 19 February 2002, 00:00

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

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Intel Pentium III Tualatin 1.067Ghz


Introduction

It's pretty much obvious that the Tualatin range of processors were practise for Intel's recent move to a 0.13 micron process for the Pentium 4. Built on the 0.13u process and home to either 256kb or 512kb of L2 cache memory depending on the processor, the Tualatin Pentium III is Intel's last gasp with this generation of processors before the final death toll is sounded and the company moves to Pentium 4 wholesale for all of its consumer processors.

It's well over a year since Intel's ill-fated release of the 1.13Ghz Pentium III Processor (0.18u) and it was due to the process size that the architecture failed to debut at that speed, instead leaving the 1Ghz unit as the last official 0.18 P3 CPU. According to Anandtech, less than 200 of the 1.13Ghz processors made their way into the hands of (un)lucky consumers before they were recalled. If you own a legit 1.13Ghz 0.18u Pentium III then treasure that rare piece of computing history since the official line is that very few exist out in the wild.

So on to 0.13u for the Pentium III and valuable practice for Intel at 0.13 and the chance to tool up a fab or two, ready for when the Pentium 4 needed to move to 0.13 as it did recently with the Northwood 0.13 P4's. There are two versions of the new core in use for the new Pentium III's, the 256kb version, still called the Pentium III and the Pentium III-S with 512kb for the server market and priced accordingly.

It's the desktop version running at 1.067Ghz that we take a look at today with its 256kb of L2 cache. The die shrink brings with it a lower core voltage requirement at 1.45V and also some slight updates to the core with new hardware prefetch logic and some changes to the bus spec. These changes require chipset support and a handful of chipsets exist to support the new processors and their requirements including the test chipset, the Intel i815 B-Step.

Finally to differentiate the processor from it's Coppermin sibling, the new processor sport an integrated heatspreader like the debut and current Pentium 4 processors. Making heatsink application less stressful the heatspreader is very welcome.



Performance

We'll test the processor under the usual small array of processor and memory tests we use here at Hexus including SiSoftware Sandra and POVRay, a ray tracing renderer using our usual pawns test scene. First off, the test system.

  • Intel Pentium III 'Tualatin' Processor @ 1.067Ghz

  • Intel D815EFV Desktop Board

  • 512Mb PC133 SDR SDRAM

  • Asus V8200 GeForce3

  • IBM 45GXP UDMA100 Hard Disk

The Intel reference board is a compact board featuring only 3 PCI slots along with an AGP slot and plenty of on board features. The board has i815 video on-board, 4 USB ports, 100Mbs Ethernet port and on-board audio. QUite a full featured little motherboard with the wealth of on-board hardware offsetting the lack of PCI slots and it's always nice to see an AGP slot for dropping in a good AGP graphics card. We used a FOP38 for the heatsink with Arctic Silver II thermal compound and a 60mm Delta fan. Lastly the board features 3 DIMM slots for a maximum of 1.5Gb of memory and it was very happy with our no brand 512Mb PC133 stick.

We'll take a look at the stock performance at 1067Mhz (8 x 133) and then try our hand at overclocking the processor using the front side bus (remembering that Intel processors are multipler locked). Intel reference boards aren't known for their overclockability due to lack of processor voltage adjustment and the D815EFV is no different offering no voltage adjustment.

First off the results from Sandra at stock and overclocked speeds.

CPU Arithmetic Benchmark (1067, 8 x 133)



CPU Multimedia Benchmark (1067, 8 x 133)



As we can see, the processor does away with the 1.2Ghz P4 reference CPU with ease and approaches the performane of the 1.2Ghz TBird Athlon. Not amazing performance these days but respectable in the company it keeps within the test version of Sandra. The 1.33Ghz Athlon and 1.6Ghz Pentium 4 take the honours here.

We were pleasantly surprised to find the test system including board, processor and memory were able to run flawlessly at 160fsb. No voltage change for either processor or memory module (running at FSB of 160Mhz) and everything was super stable.

CPU Arithmetic Benchmark (1280, 8 x 160)



CPU Multimedia Benchmark (1280, 8 x 160)



As the CPU gets quicker it naturally starts to catch up on the 1.33Ghz Athlon and its bigger, badder brother the 1.6Ghz Pentium 4 in the reference Sandra results. At 160fsb the numbers look very good with impressive floating point multimedia performance being the quickest in the group, beating all reference processors. Impressive that the CPU was easily able to scale to this speed with no volatge increase, one of the benefits of the jump to 0.13u.

The final stable speed for the processor, motherboard and memory with their total lack of voltage adjustment turned out to be 166fsb giving a processor speed of 1333Mhz. Excellent performance from the processor and given the right board and memory module would surely hit 1.4Ghz and above. Excellent overclockers for sure.

At this speed the memory was running at 166Mhz CAS2 and the memory was the limiting factor here. The processor would go even further with the right memory module and all without a voltage change.

CPU Arithmetic Benchmark (1333, 8 x 166)



CPU Multimedia Benchmark (1333, 8 x 166)



Clocked as it was to 1.33Ghz, the processor became the fastest on test out of the reference Sandra processors, beating the 1.33Ghz Athlon and also the 1.6Ghz Pentium 4. You can now see why Intel has priced the new 0.13 Tualatin Pentium III Processors higher than its Pentium 4 processor since the P3's are actually quicker in some applications than Intel's new baby, the P4.

So we can see that with Sandra, the overclocked Tualatin was an excellent performer, beating all the test processors. The lack of voltage options on the motherboard, especially for the memory stopped us from going undeniably faster.

Finally to round off the look at performance we'll take a quick peek at POVRay and see how the performance compares to some of the processors we've looked at recently.



As we can see, the performance increase (remember lower is better) is linear with regards to FSB and the processor managing to run our recompiled Pentium III binary test in 66 seconds when clocked to 1333Mhz (166fsb). This compares to 55 seconds for a 2Ghz Pentium 4 and 54 seconds for a 1.33Ghz AMD Athlon XP1500 all running the same binary test.

The CPU turns out to be the slowest of the group by over 10 seconds (approx 20% slower) but still puts in an admirable real world performer. The Tualatin beats a slower clocked (1.6Ghz) P4 handily in the POVRay test when the Tualatin is run at 1333Mhz but can't compete with the superior performance of the AthlonXP 1.33Ghz and is 20% slower.

Overall, given the test platform a good performance from the processor, especially when overclocked. High praise for the overclock at standard CPU voltage and a pity we didn't have a more suitable motherboard in the labs to really push the CPU hard. Undoubtedly enjoying the die shrink however and a nice performance in its performance group.

Conclusion

The Tualatin core processors mark the end of the Pentium III blood line and many will be sad to see them go. They breathe new life into the processor range only to be marred by high price and low availability. It's clear that Intel would like the world to migrate to Pentium 4 as soon as possible.

However if you are a staunch supporter of Socket 370 P3's and SDR SDRAM, you could do worse than the 1.067Ghz Tualatin Pentium III Processor as a last gasp upgrade before forcing yourself to make the leap to current generation Intel or AMD platforms

The performance doesn't compare anywhere near todays systems, especially since the processor is crippled memory bandwidth wise at 133Mhz FSB using SDR memory. Open the taps a little and with the CPU begging to be overclocked, you might just find yourself with the final word in SDR performance on this generation of processor. Pick up these little pieces of computing history if you can since they are fine performers and overclock like champions. Remember that it also has a big brother in the 1.2Ghz Tualatin and that the current Celerons are also based on the core (with less L2 cache memory) and there are a few processors to choose from if you are locked to the S370 platform.

Nice 0.13u practise from Intel and you can certainly do worse than one of these when shopping for a Socket 370 processor.