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Thread: Intel vs AMD......again




  1. #1
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    I was lookin at buying a new computer in the near future and as always came across the usual problem of P4 or Athlon XP.

    Now I know that the athlons are significantly cheaper but they also seem to be falling behind performance wise now with the release of the P4 2.4 Ghz.
    I also read from this website about the pessimistic outlook for the future of AMD chips with the slow FSB.

    What should I do if I am after performance?
    And should I wait?? Is there anything coming soon that will have significant performance advantages over what is available today?

  2. #2
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    It depends what you mean by "Near Future" :)

    If that means the next few months, then the likely candidates will be the "Northwood" Pentium 4 and the "Thoroughbred" Athlon XP.

    The Pentium 4 is ramping up in speed quite nicely now, and is the favoured choice by TweakTown staff (if we had a vote I think the Athlon would lose). The Athlon isn't as scalable as the Pentium 4, due to its shorter pipeline. My prediction is that until AMD release the Opteron (and the consumer-level version) that Intel will rule the performance roost.

    Unless AMD introduce a heat spreader with the Thoroughbred (which rumours say they will) then this leaves a delicate core that can be crushed by novice heatsink installers. Pentium 4 CPU's have no such problem - short of crushing the thing with a sledgehammer (pardon the pun) :D they are pretty much bulletproof.

    The Pentium 4 also "clock throttles" when it gets too hot, which prevents the chip from self-destructing like an Athlon (without a decent motherboard) will. Contrary to what AMD freaks preach, clock throttling only kicks in when the CPU is nearly hot enough to boil water, not at lower temperatures, so performance doesn't dip.

    DDR SDRAM is common on Pentium 4 platforms now, and has a wide range of supporting chipsets from Intel, SiS and VIA. If you want performance on an Athlon platform you only have VIA as a serious contender. Whilst their KT266A and KT333 chipsets are rather nice, you don't have the wide choice that you do with an Intel platform.

    The slow FSB issue is also compounded by the fact that the Pentium 4 scales a lot better with faster memory than the Athlon. This is due to the differences in architecture. SSE2 is also rapidly gaining support with graphics and gaming programmers, and is a "must-have" for any modern game.

    So my money is on the Pentium 4..... and Socket 478 is likely to be around longer than Socket A IMHO :)

  3. #3
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    thanks for that :)
    interesting cos i was always under the impression that enthusiasts were always die hard AMD fans....
    Yeah i think i will be buying in the next few months cos my crappy P3 450 can barely run any games properly now.

    Been noticing that no P4 boards seem to come with USB2 though.....which is not a major concern but just interesting.

    thanks for the help

  4. #4
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    Most of us are AMD fans due to the cost factor when ya consider here in Australia that an Athlon XP2100+ costs around $550aus and a Pentium-4-2.2A is just over $1000aus and then a Pentium-4-2.4A is around $1300aus. :smokin:
    <center>:cheers:</center>

  5. #5
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    Well, I guess that I'll be the one to play devil's advocate then so that we can see both sides of this coin...

    Though Intel has done a fine job of boosting the magic number of MegaHertz into their processors, this longer pipeline that has been so highly valued is also a serious setback. Yes, it does give the processor the ability to scale higher, but it also requires that the entire pipeline be dumped when the data that is traveling through it starts coming from a different location. This takes a good bit longer to perform because of this longer pipeline, so when you start flipping through programs, the AMD line will do a better job.

    The idea that the Socket 478 will be around longer than the Socket A is a no-brainer. AMD has already stated that the newer Hammer processors will require a different Socket design, so this isn't a surprise to anyone. But also consider that the Socket A has been around for some time already while the Intel has gone through it's Socket 370, Socket 423 and now the Socket 478. Who here is showing the ability to stick to a winning architecture?

    I will agree that Intel has more manufacturers for supporting chipsets, but VIA is is one of those as well. Other companies have made chipsets for AMD processors, but they just weren't the performance hounds that the VIA branded ones are; and let's be realistic here. If someone is buying an AMD, then they're looking for performance. If someone can't cut it in this task, then they will fail. This is why the SiS branded chipsets don't sell worth a crap... they tend to be non-performers.

    Also to consider in this equation is the fact that though Intel has the crown of outright speed, the AMD line of a comparable spec'd processor will blow away the Intel counterpart, even in the Northwood line. So even though 2.4GHz sounds really cool, you get the same and even better performance from a lower clocked Athlon.

    The clock throttling issue is a moot point anymore since AMD now supports this feature as well. Yes, you have to have a modern motherboard, but if we're building a performance rig, then we already have a modern motherboard. And the heat spreader is all but a done deal from what I understand from the Hammer line coming soon.

    There ya go. High numbers may make you sound cool to your friends, but performance is where it really is at, so choose wisely. Though AMD doesn't appear to be ready to boost the FSB of their processor anytime soon, they do have some new technologies in place that will make things very interesting in the processor wars.

    And yes, as you can tell from my comments, I vote for AMD.
    Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill
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  6. #6
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    yeah its a difficult time to be deciding whats better hey!
    i guess in the end it all comes down to price......like you say the P4 2.4 is 1300-1400 which is a damn lot of money....

    To get performance from the P4 that is comparable to the AMD does it require RDRAM because the motherboards with RDRAM support seem to be very scarce and expensive. Or will the SiS chipset with DDR333 suffice for the P4.

    Withe AMD, is there much gain with DDR333...i hear it is negligible where as there is significant gains for the P4 with faster ram.

  7. #7
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    The real gains with DDR333 and an Athlon are in overclocking (not by a lot) though the CPU's usage of the memory bandwidth isn't compromised when DMA hardware is also accessing the memory. :smokin:
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  8. #8
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    Gonna have to disagree (politely) with the Tweaktown staff on this...
    I have built 28 systems in the last week and repaired 14...
    I also do beta testing on everything from Onyx 2 (SGI) to old Amigas...

    1. Of the 14 repairs I've done, 3 were P4's and 1 was a Duron. The P4s were DOA on 2 (bad CPUs) and 1 was a bad motherboard, the Duron was a dead mobo (no Athlon returns yet...), the rest were P3s...

    2. Of the systems built, 14 were Celerons, 8 were Athlons, 1 Duron, and 1 P4...

    3. "Thoroughbred" is the .13u chip and will actually run cooler (lower voltage)

    4. Clawhammer is due Oct. 29

    5. I have yet to even hear of a real-world "meltdown" on an Athlon system (unless of course you remove the heatsink like Tom Pabst did...), but most newer Athlon mobos include the newer diode so this is no longer an issue...

    6. I am alloted 1 free system of my choice every year from one of my clients (no, not the Onyx...!). I chose an AthlonXP 1800 with the MSI K7N420 board and am STILL exstatic! (of course, next year it will be a dual Sledgehammer!). I based this on my own testing (subjective as that may be) between a 2.0 GHz P4 with the Abit TH7-II mobo and the Athlon System...
    Both worked great, but the Athlon was quicker on my 3D apps (3DStudioMax) and I HATE to wait! :-)

    7. I liked the Athlon so much, I ended up buying shares in the company (so I am slightly biased...but for a good reason!)

    8. At the local computer store where I do consulting work, they have all upgraded their home systems to Athlons

    9. This may be slightly off topic, but as an example: 6 months ago the worldwide share in servers for AMD was approximately 0%, as of last week it is 6%. That's astounding growth in the most demanding area of computing.


    Some last words of advice...

    1. Whether you choose Intel or AMD, AVOID VIA CHIPSETS! Their drivers have caused me more pain than anything else in the computer world!

    2. If you choose an Athlon, I strongly suggest MSI's NForce board!
    (with one caveat...if you will be using Win98, avoid the NForce boards at all costs!) Of all the systems I have built, the MSI K7N420 Pro with Windows XP is the most troublefree/stable/fast/easy-to-build ever...

    Just my $.02 worth...

    Cheers,
    Charles

  9. #9
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    interesting again
    cos always hear people saying intel more stable, reliable and so on
    do u think its worth waiting for the clawhammer?? its not that far away i guess....

    and integrated graphics.....don`t like the sound of that.....they about geforce 2 level right??

    thanks
    :bounce:

  10. #10
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    "integrated graphics.....don`t like the sound of that.....they about geforce 2 level right??"

    Yup...and I have always agreed before now...(though I don't even use it, I have a GeForce 4600 in the AGP slot...). To be specific, it's a (this week) GeForce 2 MX400 with 32 MB (using your system Ram). Rumour is that the GeForce 4 version is due out next month (though this is just a rumour so far...).
    The board's audio is Dolby Digital, and the on-board LAN actually seemed faster than my old LAN card (could be I'm imagining it, or it could be that it's part of the chipset...though I believe it is connected to the Northbridge with HT connects instead of using the PCI bus). As I said though, it is rock solid, fast as H**L, and updates it's drivers automatically (using Live Driver and Live Bios). I don't think you'll ever find a better driver writing company than NVidia...JMHO

    "do u think its worth waiting for the clawhammer?? its not that far away i guess.... "

    Depends on what you need when...remember that "shipping in Oct" means we in Oz won't get it until Jan. at the earliest...

    Cheers,
    Charles

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