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Home > Hardware Reviews > PC Parts

Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Intel D 820

1. Introduction

Although Intel manufactures a wide range of products, it is best known for its processors. And certainly, anyone who has used a computer has heard of Intel. So we'll skip the preliminaries and shoot straight into the review. :-) Some time back, we had reviewed the Intel D 840 Dual Core processor. This time we're going to be looking at the Intel D 820, Dual Core processor running at 2.8GHz with 1MB L2 cache for each core. The D 820 is the smallest of the D series and as is to be expected, also the most affordable solution in Dual Core.

Specifications

Architecture 90 nm technology
L2 Cache 2x1MB
Clock Speed 2.80 GHz
Front Side Bus 800 MHz
Chipset - Intel 955X Express chipset
- Intel 945P Express chipset
- Intel 945G Express chipset
- Intel E7230 Chipset
Socket LGA775

Features

  • Dual-Core: Provides two execution cores in one physical processor allowing the platform to do more in less time while enjoying smooth interaction with your PC.
  • Enhanced Intel® SpeedStep® Technology: Available with the 840 and 830 processors, Enhanced Intel Speedstep Technology allows the system to dynamically adjust processor voltage and core frequency, which can result in decreased average power consumption and decreased average heat production. By decreasing power and heat on Desktop PCs, system builders can (depending on system configurations) potentially lower acoustics, and even develop more innovative small form factor designs. Additionally, this feature may help address power concerns in companies with sites approaching the limits of bounded electrical infrastructures. Combined with existing power saving features, Enhanced Intel SpeedStep technology may provide an excellent balance between providing power when you need it and conserving it when you don’t.
  • Execute Disable Bit: This feature, combined with a supported operating system, allows memory to be marked as executable or non-executable. If code attempts to run in non-executable memory the processor raises an error to the operating system.
  • Intel® Extended Memory 64 Technology: Intel EM64T provides an enhancement to Intel’s 32-bit architecture by enabling the desktop processor platform to access larger amounts of memory. With appropriate 64-bit supporting hardware and software, platforms based on an Intel processor supporting Intel EM64T can enable use of extended virtual and physical memory.
  • 90nm Process Technology: The 90nm process technology is the latest in Intel manufacturing and technology leadership allowing for next generation transistor advantages, such as strained silicon lattice to deliver faster transistors and potentially increased performance.
  • Level 1 Cache: The Pentium D processor features two 16KB data caches. In addition to the data cache, each core includes an Execution Trace Cache that stores up to 12 K decoded micro-ops in the order of program execution. This can increase performance by removing the decoder from the main execution loop and makes more efficient usage of the cache storage space since instructions that are branched around are not stored.
  • 2MB Level 2 Cache: The Intel Pentium D processor based upon Intel 90nm process technology has a 1MB L2 Advanced Transfer Cache for each core (2MB total) improving overall system performance by allowing each processor core to have faster access to larger amounts of the most often used data.
  • Streaming SIMD Extensions 3 (SSE3): Single Instruction Multiple Data Extensions significantly accelerates performance of digital media applications and includes additional integer and cache ability instructions that may improve other aspects of performance.

Processor Features & Definitions

Architecture

Basic design of a microprocessor. May include process technology and/or other architectural enhancements.

Cache (MB/KB)

A temporary storage area for frequently accessed or recently accessed data. Having certain data stored in a cache speeds up the operation of the computer. Cache size is measured in megabytes (MB) or kilobytes (KB).

Clock Speed (GHz/MHz)

Speed of the processor's internal clock, which dictates how fast the processor can process data. Clock speed is usually measured in GHz (gigahertz, or billions of pulses per second).

Front Side Bus (GHz/MHz)

The connecting path between the processor and other key components such as the memory controller hub. FSB speed is measured in GHz or MHz.

The stock cooler that Intel includes in its retail version for the D 820 is similar to that of the D 840 but with some major differences from that of the P4 series, which however are not noticeable on first sight. If you look carefully at the two photos below, you'll see that the copper base that is common to all Intel stock coolers, is a little larger and fuller in the case of D series. The fins are also of a different design.

Click to Enlarge
Old cooler

Click to Enlarge
New Cooler

We'll now move onto the benchmark tests, to see what sort of performance the "junior" member of the Dual Core processors from Intel has to offer when compared to the D840 and the P4 650. The P4 650 and the D 820 have similar prices, with the D 820 slightly cheaper, so it will be rather interesting to see which one performs best, the Dual Core or the Single Core?




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