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Date: February 28th, 2005
Article by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner, Head Editor & Hardware Reviewer)
Product Submitted by: Intel



Other than the 64bit functionality, there are several new features contained within Intel's new processors.

Execute Disable Bit Functionality

Malicious buffer overflow attacks pose a significant security threat to businesses, increasing IT resource demands, and in some cases destroying digital assets. In a typical attack, a malicious worm creates a flood of code that overwhelms the processor, allowing the worm to propagate itself to the network, and other computers.

Intel's Execute Disable Bit functionality, first released for the Intel® Itanium® processor family in 2001, can prevent certain classes of malicious "buffer overflow" attacks when combined with a supporting operating system. Execute Disable Bit allows the processor to classify areas in memory by where application code can execute and where it cannot. When a malicious worm attempts to insert code in the buffer, the processor disables code execution, preventing damage or worm propagation.

2 MB of L2 Cache

A larger cache size can help the processor more efficiently run many popular applications in digital imaging, music, video and gaming.

Extended Memory 64 Technology

Intel® Extended Memory 64 Technology is one of a number of innovations being added to Intel's IA-32 Server/Workstation platforms in 2004. It represents a natural addition to Intel's IA-32 architecture, allowing platforms to access larger amounts of memory. Processors with Intel® EM64T will support 64-bit extended operating systems from Microsoft, Red Hat and SuSE. Processors running in legacy* mode remain fully compatible with today's existing 32-bit applications and operating systems.

*Legacy mode is where a 32-bit application is running under a 32-bit operating system.

Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® Technology

The Intel® Pentium® 4 processor 6xx sequence is the first desktop processor to introduce support for Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® technology. First delivered in Intel mobile and server platforms, Enhanced Intel SpeedStep technology can provide average power savings depending on system usage and design.

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 can 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 can provide an excellent balance between providing power when you need it and conserving it when you don't.

To take advantaged of Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® technology, certain requirements must be met:

An Intel® Pentium® 4 processor 6xx sequence is currently required to support Enhanced Intel SpeedStep technology. Unspecified future Intel® processors may also have support for Enhanced Intel SpeedStep technology.

A motherboard with one of the following chipsets is currently required to support Enhanced Intel SpeedStep technology: Intel® 910 or Intel® 915x/925X/XE Express Chipsets.

The motherboard manufacture's system board must support dynamic VID. All Intel® desktop boards support dynamic VID. See for available Intel desktop boards. For all others Contact your motherboard manufacture for specific support for dynamic VID

A BIOS must have support for Enhanced Intel SpeedStep technology. For Boxed Intel desktop boards see For all others contact your motherboard manufacture.

Operating System:
An OS that supports Enhanced Intel SpeedStep technology is required. Current supporting OSs include:, Microsoft Windows* XP SP2 includes native support for Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® technology. Linux* support is also available. (Public Kernal: 2.6.9, 2.6.10; Red Hat*: EL4 or higher; SUSE*: SLES-9 SP1). Contact your OS vendor for more information.

No specific software or driver updates are currently required. However, it is recommended that you always have the latest drivers for you system hardware.

What do all these new features mean to the average user?

Execute Disable Bit Functionality

Although it is more targeted towards the server market than the desktop, this feature does have a useful purpose when applied in a desktop working environment. What this function more or less does is stop any malicious code usually associated with viruses and worms from swamping the processor and causing a buffer overflow that can quickly render a computer useless within seconds and can propagate throughout a network. When the processor finds that programs are asking permission and trying to use certain parts of the buffer where application code is not allowed to run, it will stop the program execution and kill it before any damage occurs.

2 MB of L2 Cache

As we all know, the more on-chip memory you have, the less your processor will have to hunt for processing fodder from your slower system memory and then to the even slower hard drive. Although this purely will help processing speeds, in this case the larger on-chip L2 cache is implemented to partially counteract the slight performance disadvantage from the larger 31 step pipeline incorporated into this new generation of processors.

Extended Memory 64 Technology

The almighty question, what does 64bit technology do for the desktop computer user. To be honest, not a whole lot.

Although 64bit technology allows the operating system to handle up to 256 Terabytes of system memory which up from 4 gigabytes which can be efficiently used for 32bit computing memory address space allocation.

Let me pose this honest, yet important question to the reading population, how many of you really need any more than 4Gb of memory in your new computer? To the graphic professionals, server administrators and video editors this will definitely serve a purpose, but to the home user, it is not needed.

Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® Technology (6xx Series Only)

With Intel not exactly having a cool history when it comes to processor temperatures, they decided to implement a new power saving and thermal output reduction capabilities in their latest 6xx series processors.

Using the 3.6Ghz 660 used in this review, when the processor is inactive or has a minimal load, the processor gradually lowers the core voltage and underclocks the processor via the multiplier to 2.8Ghz to lower idle temperatures and to lower computer power consumption. Once the operating system or application is initialized, the processor instantly and seamlessly advances the clock rate to full speed.




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