Pentium 4

What Does Pentium 4 Mean?

Pentium 4 was a series of single-core central processing units (CPU) for desktop PCs and laptops. The series was designed by Intel and launched in November 2000. Pentium 4 clock speeds were over 2.0 GHz.


Intel shipped Pentium 4 processors until August 2008. Pentium 4 variants included code named Willamette, Northwood, Prescott and Cedar Mill with clock speeds that varied from 1.3-3.8 GHz.

The Pentium 4 processor replaced the Pentium III via an embedded seventh-generation x86 microarchitecture, known as Netburst Microarchitecture, which was the first new chip architecture launched after the P6 microarchitecture in the 1995 Pentium Pro CPU model.

Techopedia Explains Pentium 4

The Pentium 4 architecture enhanced chip processing in the following ways:

  • Performance was boosted by increased processor frequency.
  • A rapid-execution engine allowed each instruction execution to occur in a half-clock cycle.
  • The 400 MHz system bus had data transfer rates (DTR) of 3.2 GBps.
  • Execution trace cache optimized cache memory and improved multimedia units and floating points.
  • Advanced dynamic execution enabled faster processing, which was especially critical for voice recognition, video and gaming.

After May 2005, Intel produced dual-core processors as Pentium Extreme Edition and Pentium D, which was a shift toward dividing instructions among processors (parallelism). In July 2006, Intel released the Intel Core2 line of quad, dual and single core processors.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…