Tim Sweeney on Pentium 4

"I look at the P4 pragmatically,"

The Pentium 4 has met with a lot of criticism since its launch last year, mostly over its ineffective handling of current programs and its unusual architecture. It seems that the development community is also rather perturbed by it, with Tim Sweeney in an interview today at The Tech-Report, commenting that the Pentium 4 is a good architecture, "it's just not a good architecture for any of the current program executables on the market." "I look at the P4 pragmatically," he continues. "In terms of current applications, the P4 is basically equivalent to a P3 running at a few hundred megahertz lower clock rate. The P4 architecture, with its really long pipeline, doesn't seem to be designed for optimal instruction-per-second throughput -- the P3 probably beats it there -- it's designed to scale up to higher clock rates better than the P3." His comments echo what pretty much everyone on the Internet has been saying from day one, but his intuition stretches further, to its effects on the Unreal engine. "The Unreal engine is pretty sensitive to both memory latency and memory bandwidth. The P4's Rambus focus is OK for this, but it's not optimal. I expect DDR will perform better for most of the high-performance 3D games on the market." When we spoke to Tim just after the launch of the Pentium 4 about the possibility of recompiling Unreal with support for SSE2, his feelings for Intel's current compilers told a story in themselves. His sentiments there are echoed in this interview, where he points out that "it could be a year or more before good tools are available." Elsewhere, he commented that he thinks "'Netburst' is a buzzword, not an architecture." Check out the whole interview for more.

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About the author

Tom Bramwell

Tom Bramwell


Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.


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