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The Pentium D brand refers to two series of desktop dual-core 64-bit x86-64 microprocessors with the NetBurst microarchitecture manufactured byIntel. Each CPU comprised two dies, each containing a single core, residing next to each other on a multi-chip module package. The brand’s first processor, codenamed Smithfield, was released by Intel on May 25, 2005. Nine months later, Intel introduced its successor, codenamed Presler,but without offering significant upgrades in design,still resulting in relatively high power consumption.By 2004, the NetBurst processors reached aclock speed barrier at 3.8 GHz due to a thermal (and power) limit exemplified by the Presler’s 130 watt thermal design power (a higher TDP requires additional cooling that can be prohibitively noisy or expensive). The future belonged to more energy efficient and slower clocked dual-core CPUs on a single die instead of two. The final shipment date of the dual die Presler chips was August 8, 2008, which marked the end of the Pentium D brand and also the NetBurst microarchitecture.
Pentium D/Extreme Edition
The twin-core CPU is capable of running multi-threaded applications typical in transcoding of audio and video, compressing, photo and video editingand rendering, and ray-tracing. Single-threaded applications alone, including most older games, do not benefit from the second core of dual-core CPU compared to equally clocked single-core CPU. Nevertheless, the dual-core CPU is useful to run both the client and server processes of a game without noticeable lag in either thread, as each instance could be running on a different core. Furthermore, multi-threaded games benefit from the Twin-core CPUs.
As of 2008 many business applications are not optimized for multiple cores. They run at similar speed when not multitasking on the Pentium D or older Pentium 4 branded CPUs at the same clock speed. However, in multitasking environments such as BSD, Linux, Microsoft Windows operating systems, other processes are often running at the same time; if they require significant CPU time, each core of the Pentium D branded processor can handle different programs, improving overall processing speed over its single-core Pentium 4 counterpart.
Comparison to Athlon 64 X2
The competing Athlon 64 X2, although running at lower clock rates and lacking Hyper-threading, had some significant advantages over the Pentium D, such as an integrated memory controller, a high-speed HyperTransport bus, a shorter pipeline (12 stages compared to the Pentium D’s 31), and better floating point performance, more than offsetting the difference in raw clock speed. Also, while the Athlon 64 X2 inherited mature multi-core control logic from the multi-core Opteron, the Pentium D was seemingly rushed to production and essentially consisted of two CPUs in the same package. Indeed, shortly after the launch of the mainstream Pentium D branded processors (26 May 2005) and the Athlon 64 X2 (31 May 2005), a consensus arose that AMD’s implementation of multi-core was superior to that of the Pentium D. As a result of this and other factors, AMD surpassed Intel in CPU sales at US retail stores for a period of time, although Intel retained overall market leadership because of its exclusive relationships with direct sellers such as Dell.
Comparison to Pentium Dual-Core
In 2007, Intel released a new line of desktop processors under the brand Pentium Dual Core, using the Core microarchitecture (which was based upon the Pentium M architecture, which was itself based upon the Pentium III). The newer Pentium Dual-Core processors give off considerably less heat (65 watt max) than the Pentium D (95 or 130 watt max). They also run at lower clock rates, only have up to 2 MB L2 Cache memory while the Pentium D has up to 2×2 MB, and they lack Hyper-threading.
The Pentium Dual-Core has a wider execution unit (four issues wide compared to the Pentium D’s three) and its 14 stages-long pipeline is less than half the length of the Pentium D’s, allowing it to outperform the Pentium D in most applications despite having lower clock speeds and less L2 cache memory.