NetBurst is the common name to the micro-architecture that all Pentium 4 chips shared.
The Northwoods were probably the best in terms of power/heat output per clock / per unit of performance among this bunch, and for a long time they were tied with Prescotts in terms of performance per clock as well. But on the grand scale of things - they still sucked badly per clock compared to what came afterwards. But not so much compared to what was there before.
As for the article, it is written OK (they could have used more paragraphs to make it more readable), but the information is interesting and relevant. One thing that you can derive from it is why the HyperThreading technology was relevant to the Pentium4 and actually helped improve multi-threaded performance in some cases, despite there being a single physical core: when you have lots of branch mis-predictions and pipeline trashing, the other thread can really get some work time while the first thread is stalled.
With that said, and despite the fact that most people at Intel would admit that NetBurst was terrible, I do feel that people today are not totally fair when judging it, and they miss the big perspective.
While NetBurst is trounced totally by all the architectures that came after that, and by a huge margin, in its time it was still delivering peak performance.
Yes, the contemporary AMDs were beating it soundly clock-for-clock, and even the Pentium III was more efficient in that sense that the Pentium 4, but hey - a Pentium 4 actually could run at 3GHz. The P-III and Athlon XP architecture simply could not. So at that point in time, if you took the very best the P4 had to offer versus the very best of the other architectures, no matter how efficient, the P4 would win, no questions asked.
As I've said it a few times before - in a desktop setting (where I care not about power or battery life - just performance), if I was looking for an ancient system to still be somewhat useful today, I'd take a ~3GHZ P4 with HT over a ~2GHZ Pentium M any day.
Current: X220 4291-4BG, T410 2537-R46, T60 1952-F76, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G
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