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Is Your P4 Working At Half Speed? 217

ArneD writes: "While browsing discussion-board I found this message about the P4. The message suggests that the P4, when stressed and getting hot, starts to halt 50% of the time. When checking mail your precious P4 works at 1.5Ghz but when used for something meaningful (recompiling your kernel?!? ;-) the processor may in fact be a mere 750Mhz since it starts to issue PROCHOT signals that tells the processor to switch itself on/off 50% of the time until it's temperature is within Intels spec-range again." (Read more.)

"More information can be found in Intels Pentium 4 Thermal Design Guidelines (check out page 23)."

Several readers have submitted news of this clock-throttling, one aspect of the P4's built-in temperature sensor system Intel calls "Thermal Monitor." One thing to point out is that the same design guidelines document goes on to say that "the clock modulation feature of Thermal Monitor is disabled by default ... OEMs are expected to enable the thermal control circuit while using various controls and outputs to monitor the processor thermal status." Other things being equal (even if they never are) is there some reason to prefer a chip for not having this capability? If someone forced me to accept a free and loaded P4 system, I'd rather it be cool down at 750MHz temporarily than toast at 1.5GHz.

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Is Your P4 Working At Half Speed?

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  • Those CPUs should say 1.5GHz MAX like CDROMs are labeled 48x MAX and such. Time for the FTC to smack Intel around. Hell, I'm surprised Intel isn't quoting their MHz in octal. The 2.73GHz P4! Oh wait, that's base 8.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...proudly designed for the 100-meter dash. If your task is the biathlon, then we suggest buying a dual-athlon.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There are two modes to the thermal feature basically automatic and manual. In automatic, Once the temperature rises over the set point, the clock now has a 50% duty cycle. This is what was being referred to. There is also the automatic mode. In this mode the following is supposed to happen: PROCHOT is asserted and software responds. the duty cycle can be set from 12.5% up in increments of 12.5%. The intention is that software can be written that sets the duty cycle to a value that is not so drastic as 50% and monitors PROCHOT and modifies the duty cycle if appropriate. In either mode if the temperature rises above the second set point, the part halts until it cools sufficiently. In practice I have yet to see a Pentium IV enter the duty cycle, this is most likely due to the measures the part uses to divert power from the units on chip that are currently unused. This feature is actually a large plus for any chip intended as a server processor that has been lacking in Intel parts for quite some time. The fact that software has some control in the matter is also a plus. This feature has been rather well thought-out when considerring it is Intel's implementation.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Good point. Intel should really hype the unique fecal skills of their processors.

    I just laugh at this whole throttling thing. People are surprised that a processor is so badly designed that when it does what it's supposed to, it has to shut itself down. You cryo people stay out of this; I don't think having some kind of six-pound heatsink with 12 fans on a 73 watt processor is a solution to a problem.

    *sigh* ... if only we could get away from the legacy of the 8086... We might have computer processors that consumed LESS energy than a backyard floodlight... and our PCs might not need radiators.

    Sun machines for less than $2K these days. G4s with your choice of OS X or Linux. How much longer can the PC hold on?

    Whatever, you guys. My machine does everything I need to and it does it cool. If you wanna deal with your PCs, have it your way.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I too have had a P4, personally, for about 8 months now running at 1.6GHz (overclocked 1.4), and it idles at 38 degrees C, and maxes out around 50. This is with a 1.1GHz heatsink tied on with string (because they didn't have P4 heatsinks at the time). At my work, we've had that same machine for about 11 months now (well in April'00 we got a P4 @ 1.1, May'00 1.3 and June'00 1.6) I run tonnes of stuff on this ALL day long, and have NEVER had a problem with it. We're even using it now as our main dev compiler box. How do I have these you ask? We're on Intel's Developers network designing software for their leading edge PCs, so we get everything as soon as it's stable enough to test (and in may cases, even when it isn't). These machines are stable and fast, In fact the uptime on mine is approaching 4 months now.

    And I really don't know what all the hub-ub is about. Ever since the PII there has been a "Catastrophic Thermal Shutdown" protection mechanism that would just stop the chip if it got to hot, so now all they're doing is halfing the speed so you don't loose whatever's on your system. I think that's a great idea. In case your fan stops or breaks, your chip won't fry, and you're system won't die either. You have time to save everything and shutdown gracefully instead of a BSOD-style shutdown. And mobile chips have had duty cycling (temp related too) since the MMX pentiums...

    I'm really sick of this AMD-loving antiestablishment bull**** of people who misconstrue the facts to make it look like something is better, or something else is worse. Who the hell cares? Buy your AMDs, buy your Intels, but stop spreading unwarranted and ignorant propaganda just because someone else likes a different processor than the one you bought.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    pentium4 comes directly from God, and questioning God's precision is blasphemous
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yup, linuxppc [] is pretty cool.
  • I can feel warm air coming off the base, but most of the heatsink is below room temperature.

    The only way the heatsink can be below room temperature is if there is active cooling involved. (There might well be, but I've not seen it on Orb-type heatsinks.) The reason metal feels cold is that it conducts the heat away from your skin faster than air does. Your nerves mis-read this as "cooler".


  • by Edge ( 640 )
    Some people seem to think this is some huge conspiracy by Intel against the consumer. Far from it. All of you overclockers should be well versed in the need for adequate cooling for your CPUs. Apply the same cooling procedures to your P4 and it'll run at full speed. Put some old brushless 1500 rpm fan and a crappy heat sink with no thermal compound under it on your chip and it's going to overheat.

    Why is it a problem that a chip has a feature built in that slows down the clock speed when it begins to overheat?

    Am I missing something here?

    Would you rather your poorly cooled, poorly ventalated system go into thermal meltdown?

  • That may not be too good either. Having too many fans can cause bad circulation pushing air back and forth to each other, doing nothing at all. Check out a pic at this site towards the bottom how "ATX Standards" show how to cool off the system...

    Basically, let the fan in the back suck air into the case and blow it over the CPU. If you put one in the front, point it so it blows air out of the case. That will help the other fan. If you turn it so that it blows inward, it will create back pressure for the other fan. As an old technician buddy of mine would say, "NFG".

  • by pb ( 1020 )
    Similarly, that post deserved your -2 Bonus. :)

    And yea, they obviously rushed this one even more than usual. Intel sucks...
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [].
  • by pb ( 1020 )
    Although that's not really acceptable for a released, commercial processor, I must say that it sure beats overheating!

    Why can't processors dynamically adjust their clock speed based on temperature in the first place? Transmeta does this somewhat, but it'd be nice if my chip could overclock itself, insofar as that is safe. :)
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [].
  • You can read about the temp specs in this document: (in pdf.. sorry.. that's all I could find) f/23794.pdf []

    It says 90C is the maximum die temperature. I guess that means you should start worrying if it hits 80C. My 900MHz T-Bird seems to hover between 60-70C. That bothers me, but I'm not sure what else I can do about it. I have a good heatsink that should keep it a lot cooler than that, but for some reason it doesn't seem to be working. I also added 2 extra fans to my case to help with airflow, but nothing seems to work.

  • I sincerely doubt you'd want that. If your CPU was able to achieve 2000 MHz, when not under load and 600 MHz when under load (hot), I'm pretty sure they'd sell it as a 2 GHz and not a 600 MHz processor (like with the P4). Apart from this, the idea is interesting.
  • There is nothing wrong with having a thermal throttle. In fact, it's a good feature.

    The real problem shows on page 25 or the Intel doc. That's where they reveal that the rather hefty heatsink requirements are targeted to be adequate for only %75 of full power.

    In other words, if you do compute intensive work, you will engage the thermal throttle on a regular basis unless you install an even bigger and heavier heatsink with even better fans.

    Most interestingly, it turns out that the full utilization dissipation is more like 73Watts. In other words, it's not actually significantly cooler running than the Athlon, in spite of marketing's sincere wishes to the contrary.

    So, the only real 'advantage' over the Athlon is vapor.

  • Notice however that his statement of 100% utilization was accompanied by "I track its performance and I can assure you that it has not ever slipped into the throttling"

    He is not saing that he expected the cpu utilization to drop top 50%, He is saing that he is running his apps at 100% cpu utilization and didn't notice any performance drop.. meaning that his cpu never kicked into the throttle mode. This 100% is meant to say that he is STRESSING his cpu.
  • You can have a dual p4; you just have to have one of them disabled at any given time...

    Actually, I wonder if they could build a motherboard where, if one CPU got too hot, it would switch over to the other one.
  • When you're gaming, your CPU probably spends a lot of time doing IO to the vid card. It's probably doing less than half the amount of floating point work it could be (if it were running code that did nothing but useless FP ops), which DivineOB says is the thing that makes the CPU hottest. (That makes sense to me, BTW, and I know some about computer architecture stuff.)

    The kind of code you have to worry about is SETI@home type stuff. (well, you would if it was optimized, but it isn't...) Reportedly,'s RC5 cruncher makes G4 CPUs hotter than pretty much anything else, because it makes full use of the Altivec and the regular pipeline at the same time. It only misses a few instruction scheduler slots, so it works things pretty hard. It's all integer, though, but I guess Altivec is different :)
    #define X(x,y) x##y
  • I think you should ammend your "many people have burnt or cracked their chips" with "people who do not follow AMD's cooling recommendations or improperly try to force a non-socket A cooler on to their chips".
  • by otis wildflower ( 4889 ) on Monday April 16, 2001 @07:57AM (#288499) Homepage
    Well lets just strap a box-fan on the side of the thing!!

    Hehehe looks like someone did []..

    Your Working Boy,
    - Otis (GAIM: OtisWild)
  • Um... no. It has nothing to do with the throttling. It has to do with Intel advertising their chips 'typical' power consumption, instead of everyone else who advertises maximum consumption, without labeling it publicly as typical. As in, the maximum power consumption of the K7 is the same as the P4, and it is reasonable to assume that the typical would be as well. But Intel marketing has made it seem as though the P4 is a much lower part than the K7, when in fact it is not.

    That is underhanded.
  • Okay, so this clears things up a little.

    So, basically,

    1) if you have proper cooling, it won't ever come into play (which sounded like it was the case anyway, since none of the benchmarks seemed to show this behavior)

    2) it is still somewhat underhanded to advertise the part as having a power consumption of 54W, making the P4 seem as though it consumes less power than the K7.

    3) it is still pretty silly for AMD _not_ to have some kind of thermal protection (though again, if you have proper cooling, it shouldn't be a problem).

    Now that we've got that cleared up...
  • It's not a rumor, the thing exists! A 4-way Foster (codename for the Xeon part) system called P-Shasta (which I got to work on! =D) was demoed last year.

    As to why it ain't out yet, I can't tell you. Sorry.
  • he is STRESSING his cpu

    I wonder how much stress non-P4-optimized code places on the processor. If one or two of the integer units aren't active because the code wasn't scheduled properly, you'll see 100% CPU utilization, but the CPU won't really be functioning at 100% of potential.

    Anybody have any numbers on instruction scheduling efficiency for the P4 on non-optimized code?
  • by Luke ( 7869 )

    ....Stanford University now for a solid month and has stayed at 100% CPU utilization.

    Remember, 100% utilization at 1.5Ghz is going to look the same as 100% at 750MHz. The useful info would be to run a program alongside that could monitor the current clock of the CPU. Either that or keep track of your work submissions to make sure they don't drop off.

  • What's really needed is for someone to fix or denigrate Java so that applets never crash in runing states.

    What's the difference between a Java applet stuck in a non-terminating loop chewing CPU, and one that's, say, searching the key space for a distributed code-cracking problem? As far as the Java runtime environment, nothing that it can identify.

    If I understand you correctly, the problem that you are suggesting that Java should solve is a variant of the halting problem, which is practically undecidable (it's theoretically possible for storage-limited machines, but not in any practical sense). In other words, it can't be done.

    Java can be faulted for many things, but this doesn't appear to be one of them.

    Go you big red fire engine!

  • Why can't processors dynamically adjust their clock speed based on temperature in the first place?

    Apple/Motorola started doing this with (I think) the original Duo series in 1992, and still do it today.

    A year ago Intel releases something similar for their notebook line of procs, and it's touted as a new and innovating feature. How will beleagured Apple ever catch up to such engineering marvels as this? :P
  • Hey, it fits my worldview, so i couldnt be happier.

    Allow me the dignity of my blinders. Im an AMD fan now (and building a cluster out of them to boot, if you want my spreadsheet of comparison benchmarks, feel free to ask).
  • I think intel made the announcement to drop prices to cover for this embarassing admission - so you still loosely 'get what you paid for'.

    Sounds fair to me.

  • AMD's PowerNow will do this too, both AMD and Intel have had CPU throttling in their cpus for a while.. be it for power or heat concerns, it has been around.

    I suspect that the P4 is already running faster then it should, I remember stories about Intel boasting about how they could overclock their chips to different speeds a while back.

    Anyhow, this isn't a big deal.. who wants their processor burning up anyhow?

  • Further than who is prepared for? Who are you to make this judgement? Who are these 'masses' you have so little respect for? Who is moral?

    Your post bespeaks of a quiet and pig-headed elitism that does you ill. I suspect you are probably a troll, and a stupid one at that.

    In addition to this problem with the P4 having nothing to do with the advance of tech in general, the advance of technology will never be halted as long as humans exist. If you feel that technology should or should not be used in certain ways, you'd better convince people you're right instead of hoping in vain for the advances to cease.

  • That actually sorta happened - The 1970s Cadillac 8-6-4 engine allowed you to turn off cylinders with a dashboard switch. One of the most profoundly stupid ideas of all time because you ended up with a heavy 4 cylinder engine with 8 cylinders on the crankshaft. After a couple years, the dealers just shorted the switch into 8-cyl mode.
  • Actually the 6 and the 4 of the 8-6-4 were intended to be normal operation. I was responding to hypothetical have-it-both-ways of the post above.

    Since you asked, I'd prefer the CPU sensor and the limp-home.
  • Some people (usually overclockers) have been doing something similar to this for quite a while. The way it's worked until now is that they run a program (waterfall for windows, or automatic under Win2k and {of course} Linux) that issues the idle command if the processor is otherwise idle. This saves energy, reduces heat, blah, blah, blah.
    The problem is then exactly the same as here:
    You've got a super-fast CPU, but you can't actually use it for long, intensive tasks.
    (i.e. 5 minutes into a game of Quake, the system will become unstable)
    The solution? *shrugs* Hard to tell. Wait for a CPU that won't do this. (AMD!) and don't overclock so much.
    Note: I love overclocking. I've overclocked every system I've had since my 483/33 My current main system won't overclock more than 5MHz. Life sucks for me. But I'll overclock my next system.

    Wombats: The Bulldozers of the Bush.
  • by Silver A ( 13776 ) on Monday April 16, 2001 @08:11AM (#288514)
    Is Your P4 Working At Half Speed?

    No, reading Slashdot isn't THAT taxing on my cpu.

    Unless you're using Mozilla.

  • ...I've been feeling guilty about reading /. and surfing when I'm supposed to be working.

    Thanks for explaining this!

  • Is any on this true ? Anyone found any links which can warrant this story ? Seems like slashdot is upto it's bang up job of screening !

    Grok the Demon !
  • That would be 5400 rpm, did your finger slip two keys over and hit the 6 instead of the 4 ? ;P
    Fred Ackermann
    mobile: 0402 293 572
  • I have always wondered whether it would be possible to design chips with integrated heat sinks, or air holes to allow better circulation of air around the chip. This would certainly help in the cooling process.
  • > What kind of CPU do you have ( speedwise) ?

    I just built a 1.2GHz system.

    > My 1100 Mgz thunderbird never goes below 60 C and I have seen it go as high as 72 C.

    I have the Global WIN FOP38, which IIRC is one notch above the minimal requirement, so maybe it's making a difference. I also used some extra case ventalation, so that might be bringing it down a bit as well.

    Unfortunately, the FOP38 is a bit on the noisy side.

  • /. is mangling my posts this morning, so I'll keep this simple on this third try...

    Go to Linux Today, and read the announcement about Alan Cox's 2.4.3-ac7, which just came out today.

    Maybe it will help you; maybe it won't.

    Maybe Slashdot will accept this post; maybe it won't.

  • > I think you should ammend your "many people have burnt or cracked their chips" with "people who do not follow AMD's cooling recommendations or improperly try to force a non-socket A cooler on to their chips".

    Do you know where I can find AMD's temperature recommendations? I just built my first system with sensors on the motherboard, and I got the lm_sensors stuff working with the 2.4.3 kernel Saturday, so now I can watch the temperature on my desktop with gkrellm []. But I don't know what I'm looking at. It usually hovers around 50C, but sometimes climbs as high as 57C when I've run an all-night number crunching job.

    At what point do I start worrying?

  • > Where can i find out about lm_sensors in the 2.4.3 kernel?

    You sound like 'Eliza'.

    Visit the lm_sensors page []. Notice that i2c support is built in to the 2.4.* kernels, so you won't need the separate download for that, but you do need to have the basic i2c support compiled in to the new kernels. (It may already be compiled in if you have a stock kernel.)

    Once you've gotten i2c support, just get the lm_sensors package and follow the instructions in the QUICKSTART file. When you're done, you'll have a hardware monitoring infrastructure, if your motherboard provides the info.

    Various user tools tap in to that infrastructure to give you a live display or plot the data. I've already mentioned gkrellm; you can find more at the lm_sensors site's links page [], or perhaps on google.

  • Intel is rumored to be making a Xeon P4 that will have SMP capabilities.

    I'm waiting for an SMP motherboard for the Athlons.
  • "This is not a bad thing, but a good thing."

    Ummm, I beg to differ. It *is* good that the CPU doesn't burn itself out - yes. But it is bad that the CPU kicks into this mode on common applications.

    If Intel is selling this chip as a performance solution then I want to be able to run it at 100% for 4-6 hours, for a kicking game of Q3 at a LAN party. I want to be able to do FP work 24/7 while I render an animation. If their CPU can't do these perfectly reasonable things they should mark it as such.

    Look at it this way - if Intel was selling a CPU for use in WebTV (or some other embedded application) and the user was able to do something, rapidly opening and closing a window for example, that overheated the CPU and it slowed down - that'd be fine. It'd still function as a WebTV box, and while the user was screwing with the CPU it wouldn't be doing anything else.

    Contrast that with them selling a CPU that they claim is a performance monster, better than any other x8 CPU. People expect to run their x86 machines at 100%, many servers at my work have been up for months and have been at nearly 100% load the entire time. When I installed a bunch of dual celerons a few years back as a rendering farm, they were at 100% for 18 months, running FP rending - about the hottest code you can get.

    If the P4 is sold to a market that expects this performance, it had better perform.

    If the only way to get a chip to overheat was to execute a tight loop of CPUID instructions, or something else that had no real purpose, then I would accept it kicking in thermal limiting. That's beyond reasonable operating specs (as in, performs no function, exists just to stress the product.)

    To use a car as an example - if I buy a car, I expect it to be capable of highway speeds for prolonged times. It's not okay that the company profiled drivers and decided that 99.2% of the time, a duty cycle of 70% 30mph, 20% 50mph, and 10% 60mph was all that was required. I'd expect the car to be capable of handling 65mph 100% of the time, for 8-10 hours. If it couldn't do this, I would like a thermal limiter where it warned me gracefully instead of blowing up, but I'd still take it back as defective.
  • Forget the Alamo, it's 2001, get over it.
  • Wasn't this previously a feature in the mobile line? Or did the mobiles throttle merely for battery life? I fail to see a problem with the feature as long as adequate cooling can be achieved that will allow you to run intensive apps without throttling coming in to play 95% of the time. Better this I suppose than the ease of frying Thunderbirds that I have heard about. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather have an Athlon than a P4 myself, but I about crapped when I saw Patrick Norton on The Screen Savers on TechTV frying Athlons merely by booting for a couple of seconds without a heat sink installed.
  • There is no 500MHz UltraSPARC III and UltraSPARC III is HOT and requires proper cooling. The lowest
    UltraSPARC III CPU runs at 600MHz and it is used in a $7000 Sun Blade 1000.

    The chip that you probably have is a 500MHz UltraSPARC IIe which (sorry to disappoint you) doesn't kick x86s ass. IIe is a stripped down version of II with a tiny cache and it was originally designed for low power consuption and embedded applications.

  • by bogado ( 25959 ) <bogado AT bogado DOT net> on Monday April 16, 2001 @07:45AM (#288528) Homepage Journal
    The only problem with this is the custumer that payed more money to have a fast machine and when he need the speed the processor get's 50% slower. I think this is a great feature, but something like this should be known to all, not hidden in some obscure tech documentation.
    "take the red pill and you stay in wonderland and I'll show you how deep the rabbit hole goes"
  • by OtakuMan ( 27083 ) on Monday April 16, 2001 @07:37AM (#288529)
    Copied Verbatim from

    Now that you guys have had a couple days to get excited about what Bert McComas had to say about the P4 clock throttling itself, I thought I would throw in my two cents. First off, here is the statement that is stirring the pot so well.

    Intel's Thermal Design Guide has revealed that the absolute maximum power dissipation of the 1.5GHz P4 is actually 72.9 watts. This is 33% higher than the published system design specification, and essentially identical to the 1.33 GHz Athlon. In order to prevent the CPU from exceeding 54.7 watt, thermal throttling is used. If performance critical applications drive CPU power above its artificially low 54.7 watt limit, the CPU is halted with a 50% duty cycle (alternating 2 microseconds on; 2 microseconds off) until it cools down. This effectively turns your 1.5GHz processor into a 750MHz processor - just at the moment you demand peak performance. On the other hand, you will probably still be able to check your email at 1.5GHz.

    While I don't know Bert, I have had the pleasure of meeting him and you have seen his links here on the [H] many times. On this occasion I think Bert has been sucking the crack pipe a bit too hard or either must have been in a terrible auto accident and had his cranium lodged in his rectal cavity and did not notice before he wrote the above statement.

    We have been running an over-volted overclocked Pentium4 with the factory heatsink installed now for some time. It has been running here beside my desk folding proteins for Stanford University now for a solid month and has stayed at 100% CPU utilization. I track its performance and I can assure you that it has not ever slipped into the throttling that Bert speaks about above. If Bert's apps are running at 50%, it is because he does not have the sense to put a heatsink on the CPU or either he is operating his P4 system in Hell. Bert is taking an Intel safety device and demonizing the P4 with it. Here is what Intel PR George Alfs had to say about Bert's statements.

    Hi Kyle,
    You can run benchmarks all day on a Pentium(R) 4 processor with the benchmarks unaffected by the thermal protection circuitry. The key is to have a robust heat sink and thermal solution. With the heat sink setup we designed for Pentium 4 processor systems, I have yet to see thermal protection kick in.

    I have to fully agree with George's statements and have a few things to add. Also, I think that "robust" need not be in his statement.

    What Bert may not know is that some mainboards have an adjustment in the BIOS that you can set yourself with the temperature that you want throttle to. (On our systems we have left it at default and never messed with the settings on the particular board that is Folding.) Yes, YOU can turn this on and off and fully control it on some mainboards. If you want a shield in between you and a burned up processor, set it low; if you want to forego the safety feature, set the temp high. I know that MANY of you wished that AMD had the courtesy to include a feature such as this instead of leaving their Athlon and Duron CPUs totally unprotected.

    We have never seen nor heard of the CPU throttling being active on any person's CPU and certainly have not experienced it ourselves (unless we FORCED it to happen) under conditions more strenuous than 99.9% of the P4s in the field will ever encounter. I do not suggest that DIYers or hobbyist go the P4 route if they want to buy a system for themselves, but bashing it on this front is simply bad journalism and transparent to many people.

    We here at the [H] have a lot of respect for Bert McComas' work and think he should step back up to the plate and possibly rephrase the statements in regards to this issue. Bert, we love you man, but you were just totally out to show Intel in a bad light this time, or were simply not thinking through the issue properly because you are being misleading and it looks to us as if you were trying to do it purposefully.

  • get's?
  • hmmm...

    netra x1 - 1U @ $995 (small 1U - I think it's only 13" deep). I've never seen PC hardware
    that's as compact (though if anyone has any

    You can power it on/off and boot through the serial port. It has dual ethernet interfaces
    and uses commodity sdram memory and IDE drives.
  • Koolance [] is a company with a "mainstream" water-cooled case.

    And it's quiet because water cooling is not only used for the CPU, but also hard disk, power supply and graphics card.

    Of course, I've seen 4 way powerpc systems that have no cooling required...
  • I recently bought a cheap-o locally built 700Mhz Celeron system to turn into a Linux server. It would run for several days and then shut itself off. After a bit of digging, I learned that the motherboard had a feature to actually shut down the entire system if it became too hot. I moved the box to a better ventilated area and it has been rock solid since. Really had me scratching my head for a while though. :)



  • by Spyffe ( 32976 )
    Although this may not be strictly speaking illegal, it is stupid to reward this kind of wholesale copying from another site with a +3 moderation.

    Slashdot would not be happy, for example, if someone began collecting their more interesting articles and reproducing them elsewhere. Hyperlinks were intended for a purpose! HardOCP deserves to have its content seen on its site, IMO.

    Although this instance of a post copying from another site (in this case HardOCP) may have been purely informational, the concept that messages with no original content can get modded up may become an encouragement for ACs, and eventually force less genial folks than Kyle to step up their actions, a la Church of Scientology.

    Posts exist to publicize original content. What has been done here is not that.

  • my asus a7v has software that monitors the cpu temp, and then clocks down if it goes above a certain level, of course, in this case, you can set the level, and i dont think it works the same way...

    i believe it actually lowers the clock speed, but im not sure how much...

    if there was more controll, this would be a good feature for overclockers, or people who have to operate their computers in a hot environment. i would rather have my computer run slower, than have to buy a new one because i burnt it out

  • I track its performance

    Maybe I was a bit quick in my comment, but the way he wrote the first part led me into thinking his way of tracking performance was checking the utilization. Rereading the part, I see that I was most probably wrong.

  • We have been running an over-volted overclocked Pentium4 with the factory heatsink installed now for some time. It has been running here beside my desk folding proteins for Stanford University now for a solid month and has stayed at 100% CPU utilization. I track its performance and I can assure you that it has not ever slipped into the throttling that Bert speaks about above.
    Of course it will be 100% CPU utilization. No matter what MHz it is running on, as long as there is work for the CPU, it will run at 100% utilization. It's not like when the clock speed drops, suddenly the work load will drop too.
  • So what happens if I run SETI@home? My current CPU is going 100% all of the time. (Or, at least the FPU is.) If (heaven forbid) I were to get a P4, would I be getting 50% performance all of the time? Why not just buy a 750-MHz CPU!
  • Well, I don't have any realistic expectations of finding extraterrestrial life. My interest is more to help demonstrate to policy makers more public interest in space and space exploration. I'd rather see the relevant resources being spent on developing space ships instead of bombs. It would also be nice if the human species doesn't end up being exterminated before getting off of this rock.
  • The PIII Systems Programming guide [] has a section on thermal control for the P6 core as well. Read chapter 12: System Management 12.14 Thermal Monitoring. On the P6, software can directly control the duty cycle or a default behavior can be programmed in to take affect when the system goes over a certain temperature. The on demand clock modulation can be a lot worse than 50%, the values range from 12.5% to 87.5%... Oh, BTW this stuff is almost always controlled by the BIOS so running linux won't change its behavior.

  • I always thought that Redundant applies to when it is a duplicate of another slashdot comment. Calling it Redundent makes it sound like it contains no new information.

    How about Overrated?
  • Yeah, I heard good things about Orb and I got myself one.

    Most of what I've heard about them has been not-so-good...mostly along the lines of "looks impressive, but doesn't get the job done." They don't appear to have much surface area to them, which is a Bad Thing (TM) for a heatsink.

    I bought this heatsink [] to go with my 1.0-GHz's cheap, but it gets the job done fairly well AFAICT (no lockups, and the heatsink only gets warm, not hot). The thermal pad at the bottom was removed and the appropriate amount of Arctic Silver II was scraped across the top of the die. There's no thermal monitoring on the motherboard (a Biostar M7MIA), so I can't provide numbers for comparison, but I suspect that mine is running much cooler than yours.

  • When will we see intel and AMD pushing refrigeration units for their systems?

    Ever hear of KryoTech []? Their website is pretty much content-free at the moment, but they sell refrigeration systems for overclockers. They also sell prebuilt Athlon-based systems...they had Athlons running at 1.0 GHz months before AMD shipped true 1.0-GHz Athlons. Last time I heard, their equipment, combined with the latest processors, was supposed to enable speeds up to 1.5-1.6 GHz. If a 1.2-GHz Athlon is an even match for a 1.5-GHz P4 in most tasks, imagine how an Athlon @ 1.5 GHz would compare to a 1.5-GHz P4.

    There are other companies out there in this business...KryoTech is the one that popped to mind first. I think Tom's Hardware [] did a review of a similar product from another company, and continues to use a system built around that product as its reference "absolute fastest you can get" system.

  • Does this mean that people who over-clock thier P4 systems are auctually likely to SLOW their cpu down?
  • Is Your P4 Working At Half Speed?

    No, reading Slashdot isn't THAT taxing on my cpu.

  • According to ZDNet today, Intel is chopping the price of the P4 chips by as much as 50% this month, ostensibly to compete with AMD. Now I see the REAL reason: Price equals performance! Chop the speed by half, chop the price! Crazy! Seriously tho, doesn't this happen on many notebooks when they go into power saver mode on battery?

  • by MustardMan ( 52102 ) on Monday April 16, 2001 @07:44AM (#288548)
    When things get too hot at work I switch into my brain-cooling mode. I spend 0.2 microseconds working then switch off to slashdot reading mode for 2 seconds. This modified duty cycle allows time for my brain to cool down. Once frustration levels are within acceptable tolerances, I switch back into 100% work mode.
  • Actually, my 1GHz Athlon frequently slows to a crawl when I'm doing disk access. I assumed is was something brain dead about the VIA chipset which would be fixed in the next kernel, but I suppose it could be related to the CPU. Any ideas?

  • Read the end, he isn't serious. Give him a Funny or 3.
  • You will be waiting forever as the chip was designed with no SMP capability == multi-processor P4 is not possible.
  • The whole "this is a good thing" argument is fine with me, except for the slight fact that it still leaves Intel being underhanded about how hot the P4 runs. With insufficient cooling, it runs at 1/2 speed at 53 Watts. They quote maximum performance, but quote the 53 Watt number, saying it is better than the T-Bird 1.33, instead of the more equivalent 73. At least, that's the issue I have here.


  • by Paradise_Pete ( 95412 ) on Monday April 16, 2001 @07:39AM (#288575)
    s there some reason to prefer a chip for not having this capability?

    Perhaps there's a reason to prefer a chip that doesn't get so hot in the first place. I heard Motorolla and IBM make one, and that some company has released a Unix variant that runs pretty well on it.

  • Introducing, in the 21st century, a chip without SMP capabilities, and that will still require you to buy a whole new mobo?

    You mean the Athlon? Or are you running quad Athlons are your Socket 7 motherbaord from 1995?
  • The article says that a thermal diode is responsible for triggering the throttled-down performance. But then it also says that the throttling happens due to the power consumption. These are different things: power consumption only causes the temperature to rise if the cooling is not slurping off excess heat fast enough.
    Anyone care to comment on this seeming discrepancy?

    Assuming that it really is thermal throttling, I would love to see what a good tech site like Tom's might be able to determine about the throttled down CPU when using various heatsinks. If that feature is really there then you should expect more powerful heatsinks give the same temperature as lesser heatsinks, but higher performance.

    In other words, it is possible to see this as a feature, not a bug. You get 1.5G when the processor is capable of it. You get half that when you are running hot; but with good enough cooling you should always get the highest performance possible.

    "Overclocking" may go away, replaced by "overcooling".

    -- props to Wreck ( --

  • by The_Messenger ( 110966 ) on Monday April 16, 2001 @08:43AM (#288582) Homepage Journal
    Why can't processors dynamically adjust their clock speed based on temperature in the first place?
    My Athlon Thunderbird does this. Around 90C, it dynamically adjusts its clock-speed to 0MHz.


  • Thermal throttling is a good feature to have, provided it doesn't kick in much. You'd like to have computers that continue to work with inlet air temperatures up to 100F or so; not everybody has air conditioning. And at high altitudes, air cooling isn't as effective, because fewer molecules of air are available to carry the heat away. Disk drives may also have problems at high altitudes, because the heads fly on an air cushion.

    Back when computers were sold to engineers, they came with a spec sheet with the environmental specs: allowable ranges on power, temperature, air pressure, and humidity. Compaq still provides them. Here are the numbers for a PIII desktop machine []:

    • Temperature Range
      • Operating 50 to 93F/10 to 35C
      • Shipping -22 to 140F/-30 to 60C
    • Relative Humidity (non-condensing)
      • Operating 20% to 80%
      • Non-operating 5% to 90%

    Note that any environment that isn't air-conditioned and humidity-controlled will probably go outside those ranges at some point in the year. So some form of overheat protection is essential to prevent component damage. A slowdown is better than a shutdown, which is better than a crash, which is better than a meltdown. You want thermal throttling, fan speed control, and emergency overtemp shutdown on anything used for more than Quake. Fortunately, those features only add a few dollars today.

    Surprisingly, Compaq's laptops have a 95F temperature limit, which is on the low side for a portable device.

    There used to be a saying in railroading: "Never buy equipment from a supplier who's in a better climate than yours". All the good railroad suppliers were in places like upstate New York, where they experienced snow, ice, rain, heat, and thunderstorms. Computing could use more of that attitude.

  • The issue to remember in any market is one of trust. The consumer must trust the manufacturer. In the case of the P4, Intel has lied desperately.

    This has been said of Intel over and over again. They were deceptive liars when they released the Pentium III, which was almost exactly the same as the Pentium II, except for the CPU ID (and perhaps other minor differences), and that was coupled with the privacy concerns of the CPU ID, which was going to ruin Intel by erroding trust amongst consumers.

    The Pentium Pro was also going to ruin Intel, as it was so expensive and didn't seem like it'd ever be worth the money for something that didn't perform much better. And so on... people have said more or less this same thing most of Intel's new processors. Ok, maybe this time it really will happen, but much more likely is that history will repeat itself yet again.

    In fact, the only time Intel's ever really had any major trust problems was when the FDIV bug hit, and when they finally did the right thing and offered to replace any FDIV-bug chip for free, consumer/business's trust was almost fully restored.

    The people in the streets are not buying the new wave of computers for the first time in computing history. Moores law is beginning to falter, manufacturers cannot keep up. We are truly hitting a social and technological ceiling in computing performance.

    This certainly isn't the first time there's been a slow-down in the market.

    Moore's law has been predicted to have run dry many many times. Right now doesn't seem like such a good time to be forcasting the end of Moore's law, since short-term incremental improvements (1.7 GHz up from 1.5 GHz on the P4) and long-term improvements (IA64, async "clocking", even finer geometry transistors in the lab, etc) are in the making.

    Just as predicting "everything the can be invented has been" didn't work in 1899, it's incredibly short-sighted today.

    Speech recognition isn't too hard to imagine today. While it isn't likely to become the primary way of interacting with the computer (ala Star Trek), it will certainly become a high-demand feature when it's refined and cost effective. Among other benefits, speech recognition may really open up the possibilities for people communicating with one another by email and discussion forums (like this one), as a great portion of the population has reasonably good speaking skills, but typing messages is "hard work".

    It's also not too hard to envision future software parsing natural language, at least with some level of success in understanding the meaning. Today's computer interfaces aren't much more sophisticated than caveman's point-and-grunt (well, maybe except for geeks/programmers who can use the command line). Today's successful user interfaces tend to build their success by arranging objects to be pointed at... but it's easy to see with the massive growth of available information on the web that point-and-grunt doesn't scale well. Quite a lot of research has gone into this dream. In fact, the aim of languages like XML are to facilitate computers being able to "understand" the information, so that new methods of interaction can be built (well, there's other shorter-term benefits too) When/if natural language parsion becomes a useful interaction technique, it will be very compelling (aka a "killer app") and today's computers will seem as ancient as black-n-white television (or perhaps an old Apple ][).

    There's many other amazingly short-sighed quotes lurking in sociology's post (hard to believe 3-4 people mod'd it up as insightful), but perhaps the best is "Computers are at the base of all our technological advances." Perhaps that could be said of the written language or maybe even the printing press.

    There's plenty more to be commented upon, but, dear moderators, please take a moment to ask yourself how insightful is a viewpoint with very limited historical perspective that predicts no advanments in the future? Sounds to me like the wishful thinking of a luddite.

  • by Frank T. Lofaro Jr. ( 142215 ) on Monday April 16, 2001 @09:28AM (#288601) Homepage
    In related news, President Bush's latest gaffs were explained by stating that his Pentium 4 powered aritificial brain went into thermal throttling mode.

    The Secret Service is now charged with the responsibility of making sure his Peltier cooler is always firmly attached to his forehead.

  • by DeeKayWon ( 155842 ) on Monday April 16, 2001 @09:28AM (#288602)
    Reading Slashdot lowers your frustration level?

    I'd hate to have your job.

  • And that has what to do with the article? You're comparing a PIII vs an Athlon, neither of which is a P4. Besides that, there's a great number of things that can affect performance. The processor is but one of them.
  • by taliver ( 174409 ) on Monday April 16, 2001 @07:41AM (#288613)
    Page 26, they have a neat little graph that says that if the chassis has 70% of some optimal cooling capacity, the throttling won't happen. So since this is will keep an overheated processor from being cooked, I can only see this as a positive.

  • It seems to me that a lot of over-reaction is going on here. I mean, I dislike Intel's price/performace ratio as much as the next guy (Boo, Intel! Rah-rah AMD!), but we are talking about a feature that is not even enabled by default, and we have not really been given any facts to establish how common the slowdown is.

    The comments here make it sound like running a simple photoshop blur will make the CPU slow to a crawl in order to avoid going tits-up in under 5 minutes.

    For all we know, the only way to cause the clock throttle to choke up is running the chip heavilly with no fan in close proximity to a blast furnace under direct sunlight for three days straight...

    Just how hot is "too hot", and how much do you have to abuse the chip to get there? Until that question has been answered fully, I am going to view this as a lot of panic over nothing.

  • by FooManChuYouMoo ( 183196 ) on Monday April 16, 2001 @07:46AM (#288618) Homepage
    The guys at [H]ardOCP [] addressed this issue. Look under Sunday, April 15, 2001 - Ed 2. "We have never seen nor heard of the CPU throttling being active on any person's CPU and certainly have not experienced it ourselves (unless we FORCED it to happen) under conditions more strenuous than 99.9% of the P4s in the field will ever encounter. I do not suggest that DIYers or hobbyist go the P4 route if they want to buy a system for themselves, but bashing it on this front is simply bad journalism and transparent to many people." Sorry, I don't know of a way to direct link to an article on their site...
  • I had one.. heated the whole house.
  • Ahem. I am still waiting for real time raytracing to render asymetric multiprocessing via peripheral pseudo-"GPUs" obsolete.
  • by DaSyonic ( 238637 ) <DaSyonic@y[ ] ['aho' in gap]> on Monday April 16, 2001 @07:37AM (#288650) Homepage
    This wont happen if GOOD heatsinks/fans are used. These processors get hot. I wish AMD did this, as AMD is smokin. But for the price, you cant argue on AMD. Though many AMD users have either burnt or cracked their chips, so having protection like this isnt always a bad thing. just use good heatsinks and you'll probably be just fine and dandy.
  • by kbeast ( 255013 ) on Monday April 16, 2001 @08:16AM (#288656)
    That may not be too good either. Having too many fans can cause bad circulation pushing air back and forth to each other, doing nothing at all. Check out a pic at this site [] towards the bottom how "ATX Standards" show how to cool off the system...

    Honestly, Out of the two types of cases I have, I have a In-Win Q500A and two Enlight Cases (Full and Mid-Tower), the Enlights stay super cool, the panel is always cold to the touch, the In-Win burns up on the side...I love my Inwin case though...its just always HOT..

  • Ok, I see let me explain... The primary benefit is lower packaging costs in two ways... As I tried to state before (but didn't say properly), the packaging costs go up by about $1 per watt for each watt over 30... until you reach around 130W. At that point, air cooling will no longer suffice, so you have to use an alternate cooling method which costs lots more (this is always how I'e heard the rule stated--I don't knwo what the alternate method is). So, this techinque allows manufacturers to make processors which have cheaper packaging (saving money) as well as avoiding that 130w number (saving more money). Now, I understand your criticism of the technique. If it kicks in all the time, then it's probably not worth it. But that's not what this is targeted at. As has been stated, this technique never kciks in for 99.9% of people with a properly attached HS/fan, so it's more of just an emergency mechanism (in case the fan dies etc). Now, eventually (as has been published in the literature) people expect this mechanism to be applied more aggressively, so I'll briefly discuss that (but again, I don't think this applies in this case, where it is mostly just an emergency escape mechanism). Most applications are phase oriented... they do work for a while, then stream in a bunch of data, then more work etc. Well, as you probably know, during these data streaming periods, the processor is just sitting around doing nothing, so that would be an opportunity to cool off. Now, some applications (like the FP benchmarks from the SPEC suite) are highly highly optimized, so they spend their entire time in a small loop doing work all the time without ever pausing... Applications such as these which are constantly doing high heat operations (floating point operations generate a TON of heat) are going to trigger the mechanism. But, the majority of apps have this phased behavior where they intersperse low heat work periods between the high heat periods, and most likely, will usually avoid triggering the mechanism. Did I make the distinction clear? If you're interested, I could point you at some papers on the topic which do a better job explaining this than me (power isn't my area to be honest). So, to restate what I said, the benefit to the consumer is lower prices due to lower packaging costs, as well as possibly a higher performance processor in the general case. I don't know *anything* about layout, but I would imagine that you could use this technique also when the heat density of certain parts of the chip were getting to high. Where you get to place different components on the chip make a huge difference in the performance, so maybe you could use this mechanism to allow you to place, say, the fp function units closer to the register file, knowing that if the heat density in that region got too high you'd invoke this technique.
  • by DivineOb ( 256115 ) on Monday April 16, 2001 @07:57AM (#288662) Homepage Journal
    Come on people... you even made me log in to reply to this one... This is not a bad thing, but a good thing. Power has been a problem for cpus for a while. This is, in fact, actually a quite cool feature. Generally how processors are designed is you get some guy to generate the maximum heat producing code that he can find. It doesn't do anything useful, and generally consists of lots and lots of floating point instructions. Then, you find out how much this heat this program generates when run on your processor. Now, you design your processor to be able to tolerate the heat generated by this program. However, first of all, no program that does anything useful will ever generate as much heat as this test program. SO really, you're forced to design your processor packaging for a way overkill case just to be sure that you don't have your processor die when someone is doing legitmate work with an unoverclocked processor. It has been shown that packaging costs increase by about $1 per watt generated by a processor for every watt over $30, so you can see that developing your packaging for the worst case scenario can be quite expensive. The alternative, then, is exhibited in the P4... Build your processor packaging for less than the worst case, then use some form of thermal throttling to prevent overheating. This has two advantages 1) It lowers your packaging costs 2) It prevents processor death in the case of catastrophing failure (such as a fan dying). I expected that people would get up in arms about this feature, but really, most of you just need to learn about the most recent research in this field to see this is actually a step in the right direction. However most people on slashdot are primed to jump on Intel at every opportunity, so they interpret this in the worst possible light. And BTW, I'm getting my PhD in computer architecture, so I know what I'm talking about :P. There have been papers at all the major conferences for the past few years dealing with power issues, and I might work on one myself soon.
  • Yes, it is a good thing that the chip throttles itself down instead of melting down when it gets too hot. And apparently (contrary to the article), it won't throttle down if it has enough cooling. The issue is that Intel's specs are misleading as to what constitutes enough cooling -- they say 53W, but to actually get all the computing power you paid for, you need a 73W heatsink. It's like advertising a car as capable of 150 MPH and 50 miles to the gallon, but burying in the fine print that you get that gas mileage by turning off the V8 and running 10 mph with a lawnmower engine.
  • by markmoss ( 301064 ) on Monday April 16, 2001 @08:40AM (#288666)
    I guess my P60 would kill at Pentium 4 750mhz. It's not that bad, by almost an order of magnitude -- that is, you'd need a 500 or 600 MHz chip to beat the throttled down P4. And it only throttles down if your cooling isn't good enough. But the main point is, unless your software has been recompiled specifically for the P4 (and I don't know if there are compilers that will do that yet), the P4 will give you less performance for more cost as compared to the 1.2GHz AMD. The release of the P4 in its present status seems very premature...
  • My laptop has a CPU fan that only cycles on when the CPU gets too hot.

    It gets too hot and cycles the fan on whenever a java applet goes bugfuck in my browser and spins in the background, even after I close the browser. Happens about once a week, and more often if the offending websites increase my interest for a while.

    So "99.9%" might be a little understated. Most computers probably have similar problems with crappy applets. It may affect a particular user maybe only 0.1% of the time, but it will hit nearly every user at least once over a long enough span of time.

    Intel's half-speed hack might prevent a disaster. What's really needed is for someone to fix or denigrate Java so that applets never crash in runing states.

  • Remember that the Halting problem has to do with the infinitely general case. Invoking it to justify buggy specific cases is lazy.

    The problem is evident: Java is prone to getting into infinite loops that were not intended by the program designer.

    Much more so than any other piece of software I've run more than once in the past few years.

    Most coders have an intuitive understanding of the flow of their process, and do not create infinite loops, even if Turing says they're never 100% sure. Something about Java keeps this intuition from working.

    Most likely it has to do with race conditions conflated with external events and undisciplined state-machine design. Which, when you look at it, is the Java programming model. It's also the Windows, Mac, and X programming models. Java should be revised with the goal of obviating this high-probability trap.

  • by thopo ( 315128 )

    that sounds like why-your-intel-processor-is-bad-hype to me.
    you may want to read this posted on
    Hi Kyle, You can run benchmarks all day on a Pentium(R) 4 processor with the benchmarks unaffected by the thermal protection circuitry. The key is to have a robust heat sink and thermal solution. With the heat sink setup we designed for Pentium 4 processor systems, I have yet to see thermal protection kick in. George.
    (George = Intel PR George Alfs)

    And here is a small excerpt from Kyle's comment:
    We have been running an over-volted overclocked Pentium4 with the factory heatsink installed now for some time. It has been running here beside my desk folding proteins for Stanford University now for a solid month and has stayed at 100% CPU utilization. I track its performance and I can assure you that it has not ever slipped into the throttling that Bert speaks about above.
  • by Peter David Bailey ( 325360 ) on Monday April 16, 2001 @07:44AM (#288681)
    Props to Intel! What a way to keep their system in shape! Heat sinks and fans are already at the highest level of heat displacement they could possibly get. Fans have not evolved for decades - they've only gotten bigger. With normal methods of heat displation, Intel needed to find a new way to get rid of the excess heat the P4s create, and what better way than to have them alternate their cycles as on/off? Sure, you might only get half the clock cycles, but the ones you do get, are two times faster, so you are getting even more performance than a regular chip! I can see this coming into wide use in the server market, where most caculations are quick file access requests, because the average user doesn't need pure horsepower ontheir file server, they need faster disk speeds. I think this new design might also save some power in West, where the bulk of those machines will be bought and used. Then, the other west coast states such as Arizona, Nevada, and Texas can sell their extra power to California. Keep up the innovating Intel! I can't wait to get myself a dual proc p4!
  • by Tech187 ( 416303 ) on Monday April 16, 2001 @08:24AM (#288688)
    Motorola makes the StrongARM processor???
  • The post that started this whole thing comes from someone who misunderstood the table they were reading. The processor has a THERMAL sensor that kicks in when the processor overheats. The table lists 72 degrees C as the max for the P4 1.5 (Pretty dang hot) The table (see s/24919802.pdf page 70) recommends that those designing a cooling solution design it for at least 54.7 watts since that is a normal load on the chip. A thermal senser senses TEMPERATURE not the wattage the chip demands. So if the chip stays below 72 degrees C, no worries. AND... If you want to know how it runs, I'll tell you. SYSTEM CONFIG: P4 1.5 Boxed (stock fan), 256 Meg RDRAM, ATI RADEON64, Enlight 7237A34 case (stock)and D850GBAL boxed motherboard. The Fan1 and 2 connectors are temperature controlled, and the processor fan didnt even come on for the first 5 minutes from room temperature startup - wasn't needed yet... The case fan NEVER came on until we heated the inside of the case with a heat gun. (It came on at 49 degrees C) The stock Intel CPU fan ran at 2800 rpm while the processor was at a stable 34 degrees C. With the heat gun on the heatsink for a couple minuted I got the processor to register 52 degrees C and the fan was at 4500 rpm plus. After removing the heat gun, the chip colled back to 34 degrees C in about 1 minute. Now - here is the clincher for you naysayers... I ran 3DMark 2001 full test looped and never got above 45 degrees C. SO WHAT IS ALL THE FUSS ABOUT ?!? I think it is a great solution. Oh well- Some people just WANT Intel to be evil. I know this message wont even be a blip on anybodys radar screen, but hey - gotta say SOMETHING. BTW- Another article citing SpecInt2000 scores distorts the truth in the same way they claim Intel does. They only give you the information they WANT you to see. The score they show was just one part of the test. On the rest of the test the spread was much more significant. Just a final note: Always check their sources. Even when they say they are quoting from the manufacturers specs/facts, they sometimes interepret them wrong or distort them. DONT BE BRAIN DEAD AND JUMP ON ANY WAGAON THAT DRIVES BY !!!

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.