Staff Writer, CNET News.com
In the latest Pentium 4s, cache is king.
Intel introduced a line of Pentium 4 desktop chips Sunday that contain 2MB of secondary cache, twice as much as current Pentium 4s, as well as technology from its notebook line that's designed to cut power consumption. Larger caches, a pool of memory located on the processor, generally improve performance.
The four chips included in the new 600 series of Pentium 4s range in speeds from 3GHz to 3.6GHz, and all of them feature an 800MHz bus. The top-of-the-line 660 Pentium 4 sells for $605 in quantities of 1,000, while the 630 sells for $224.
The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chipmaker also unveiled another member of the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition processor family, which runs at 3.73GHz and contains a 1.066GHz bus. These chips are used inside computers for gamers and serious hobbyists.
The new chips in some ways can be seen as some of the last of their kind. Starting in the second quarter, Intel will begin to sell dual-core processors. These chips won't run as fast as single-core chips (or at least won't continue to maintain the pace of the current speed increases) but they will contain two separate "brains," thereby improving overall performance.
Rival Advanced Micro Devices has said it will come out with dual-core chips in the summer and deliver a new family of energy-efficient notebook chips called Turion.