Which is better? AMD Athlon or Intel Pentium 4?

By SharkFiNbowL · 177 replies
Apr 22, 2003
  1. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    If you are going the AMD route, then you would be best to consider nForce2 chipset mainboards in preference to VIA chipsets (e.g. Abit NF7-S v2.0 or Asus A7N8X-Deluxe v2.0). Also, as regards the fsb speeds of 266/333/400 (double-pumped fsb) for AMD CPUs, if you operate your mainboard memory in dual-channel memory mode, with two sticks of DDR then the memory bus performance also doubles to equivalent of 532/666/800. Note that Intel's latest chipsets use quad-pumped fsb so 200 translates to 800 effective (for both fsb and memory bus) for Intel (533 has now become obsolete).
  2. Hey, I have a question.

    How exactly do you dual or quad pump the fsb in an AMD? I'm all hyped up about buying an AMD Athlon XP 3000+ and then I have a good look at the FSB, 333Mhz! Bahh! Makes me want to keep using Intel.

    Also, what's the big idea! Tons of people say that P4 is way faster than AMD. Such as advertisements in magazines, "AMD Athlon XP 3000+ (2.17Ghz) 333FSB." What the freaking hell!? If this is the case I'd rather go with an Intel P4 @ 3.06Ghz + 800Mhz FSB! What the heck does the 2.17Ghz mean, I've got to get it strait!

    I thought AMD Athlon XP was "~400Mhz" faster than an Intel such as stated in an earlier post.

    And if so the 3000+ runs at 2.17Ghz and everyone complains about Intel's prices, what is there to complain about? They are about one Ghz faster!

    Someone explain please!
  3. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,978   +15

    Uh, I have caused some confusinon :( the 3000+ is referring to how it performs compared to a pantium4. Even though its real frequency is 2.17Ghz, it PERFORMS like a 3(ghz) Pentium 4, or better. The 2.17Ghz means its operating at 2.17Ghz :) Thats the clock speed for the CPU. So you can buy a 3Ghz P4 for "x" amount of money, and the 3000+ AthlonXP for "x" amount of money less ;) Sure its only operating at 2.17Ghz, but it PERFORMS like a 3Ghz Pentium4. So go buy the 3000+ instead and save yourself tons of money :D When it performs just as well as a Pentium4 @ 3Ghz that costs ways more.

    ps, Im feeling a bit smilie happy right now...yea, its like that - :grinthumb
  4. eddy05

    eddy05 TS Rookie Posts: 152

    Which is why I said you should NOT compare by clockspeeds alone.

    Take a look at benchmarks! They'll prove you. The PR ratings on each Athlon XP gives you it's approximate performance against Intel's CPUs. ie. an Athlon XP 2800+ performs around an Intel Pentium 4 2.8ghz.
  5. teleport

    teleport TS Rookie

    Asus A7N8X looks very promising. And I can use my old 800Mhz Athlon K7Thunderbird temporarily, can't I?

    If so that means I just have to shell out for the board and memory. As the A7N8X can support 333 and 400 DDRam would I be THAT MUCH BETTER OFF going for the faster RAM at £25 more. Or what is this "DUAL CHANNEL" memory mode Nic mentioned? Would this mean I'd be better off buying 2 slower DIMMS rather than 1 Faster 1?
  6. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    Yes, you can use your old K7 temporarily. The dual-channel mode is provided by the mainboard if you choose to run it that way, but it requires memory to be configured as a pair of identical sticks (e.g. 2 x 256MB).

    I suggest you go for PC3200 memory to support the 400 fsb that will become the norm. Some excellent memory is made by TwinMOS and its VERY fast and also VERY cheap, you can get two sticks of 256MB (512MB total) over at Komplett for around £60.22, which is half the price of Corsair DDR, but it performs just as well.

    TwinMOS PC3200 DDR
  7. teleport

    teleport TS Rookie

    Cheers Nic.

    So Dual-Channel will be an option in the BIOS and if the motherboard can use DDRam it can dual-channel I take it?
    I think I might go for 2x512MB.

    What happens if you then populate the 3rd slot with a DIMM? (or even both the 3rd and 4th on some motherboards)
  8. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    With more than two sticks of DDR you won't be able to run in dual-channel mode. Get the TwinMOS w/Winbond memory (available in 512MB @ Komplett for £60.64) as its fantastic value and VERY fast (uses the same winbond chips as used in Corsair modules - there are non-winbond versions also, but avoid these).

    TwinMOS PC3200 DDR - Review
  9. Ok, see I'm having a little debate at home here. It's AMD vs Intel. My stepdad claims Intel is way faster than AMD Athlon XP processors by about +400Mhz.

    I'm looking at these two here:

    "AMD Athlon XP 3000+ (2.17Ghz) 512k 333FSB" 369.99
    "Intel Pentium 4 3.0Ghz S478 512K 800FSB" 499.99

    He claims he's got his resources, an entire book on AMD vs Intel, showing that Intel is way faster and what not. I need some backup here before he changes me back to being dedicated to Intels! I'm hyped about buying an AMD now, but that is fading away. The more it fades the more I wanna buy an Intel.
  10. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    There a £130 difference in your comparison, hardly fair is it. The AMD system is *slightly* slower in most benchmarks, and faster in others, and will leave you with £130 more to spend on other components. Its your choice at the end of the day, and AMD has announced new faster 400 fsb processors that should be in the shops soon. Also you could save yourself around £300 and overclock one of the very fast Athlon XP 1700+ (soon to be discontinued) CPUs that are available for around £45 from CPU City.

    Read the Hexus review over here ...

    AMD XP1700 JIUHB - Hexus

    Order one over here ...

    CPU City
  11. eddy05

    eddy05 TS Rookie Posts: 152

  12. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 993

    Forget about what you stepdad claims........if you want to get the most from the amount you are going to spend, AMD would be a wiser choice.
  13. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,345   +13

    I agree with nic and young&wild. Most all benchmarks I've seen, seem to be about even up. If money is the only issue, probably the AMD, is the way to go. By the way I've got a P4 3.06 and am very happy with it.
  14. Wait a second here. I'm for performace. I'm a hardcore gamer, love to game and also a programer and a web designer, when I'm not gaming, I usually have 20 applications open at once.

    I don't care about price, I care about performance. Now with that said, what do I buy? Intel or AMD.
  15. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    if what you want is flat out performance then go for a P4 with the new 800mhz FSB and a intel 875P based chipset.

    Recently a friend of mine that owns a computer shop got in one of the new P4 2.4 Ghz 800 mhz Fsb chips and built a system with it I got to play with it for a short while (was going to bencahmark it but the buyer showed up early to collect it.) anyway on the bench side by side he had one system a P4 2.53 (533 mhz fsb) intel 850E chipset mobo with 1 Gb of Rambus 1066. and then the other system the P4 2.4 Ghz ( 800 mhz fsb) intel 875 chipset mobo with 512 PC2700 ( 1 stick) and even though he wasnt using the dual DDR mode( the 875P supports dual Channel DDR) yet the 2.4 800 mhz FSB was noticeably faster than the 2.53 with 533 fsb.
  16. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    Get yourself a VapoChill or Prometia system and you can clock that P4 all the way to 4 GHz and beyond.
  17. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    The Inquirer has just publisher a story regarding benchmarking discrepencies of AMD vs Intel CPUs. You can find it over here ...

    Did AMD's Athlon XP 3000+ earn its rating?

    Here are some quotes ...

    "... The PC WorldBench 4 benchmark suite is application-based. It's not relying on esoteric synthetic methods, which is what makes its reviews all the more interesting to read, and from my perspective, believable ... Hardware web sites have concluded that the P4 wins the synthetic tests. But when it comes to real world benchmarks, Athlon is leading the pack. This assertion was reflected in the PC World results ..."

    "... If a benchmark is a measuring standard, we'll need to define "standard" as well, which means an authorized model of unit of measurement that is widely used and respected. Well, it's clear that later versions of SYSmark, Content Creation Winstone, and 3Dmark fail the definition test. AMD accused BAPCo of Intel bias with respect to SYSMark 2002, the disparities between the later versions of Content Creation Winstone are clear for all to see, and Nvidia has made lots of noise about the latest release of 3DMark ..."

    "... AMD has been able to reliably measure how its platform architecture improves and compares to the competition. Even with last year's release of the Intel 3.06 GHz P4 Hyper-Threading processor, AMD's benchmark results show that overall, it trails the Athlon XP 3000+ by 17% with HT enabled, and by 11% with it disabled. So with AMD and others alleging Intel bias in benchmarks, what is it that has changed in these later generation benchmarks that shows the Netburst architecture in such a favorable light? Netburst is a netbust when older, more respected benchmarks are used. Likewise, Hyper-Threading comes up a negative ..."

    "... For a similar price, and knowing how much better Athlon performs against Celeron, how many people would recommend to their friends, relatives, or colleagues a Celeron-based system? Not many I hope. But what actually happens is very different. For every Athlon that AMD sells, Intel probably sells at least two Celerons. Consumers and businesses continue this blind approach to IT expenditure ..."

    "... After the launch of the P4 in November 2000, consumers who had purchased PCs based on that processor thought that they had made an informed buying decision. It was based on the premise that a P4 with a higher frequency than a PIII or Athlon would deliver superior performance. They were wrong. Now they have filed a class action lawsuit against Intel, Gateway, and Hewlett-Packard because of alleged deceit ..."

    "... Consumers can be gullible when they have money to spend. Many may purchase Celeron-based systems believing them to be good value. Unfortunately, when they discover the disparity in performance against a comparably priced Athlon system, just like those who have already filed against Intel et al, those people will want their pound of flesh ..."

    "... Doing a comparison of Athlon against the 3.06 GHz P4, you have to give AMD credit for keeping the Athlon architecture competitive for so long. When the two models are compared, the XP 3000+ is 29% slower in frequency, its FSB has 38% less bandwidth, its die size is 22% smaller, it uses 29% less power at maximum load, it doesn't use SSE2 extensions, it doesn't have Hyper-Threading technology, yet the vast majority of the hardware community did not conclude that the 3000+ rating was unfair. When one looks at what Athlon delivers, less is most definitely more, and it really does highlight the inefficiencies of the Netburst architecture ..."

    "... So when you come to read the next round of processor comparisons, bear in mind that there are two sides to every story. My advice is to read all shades of opinion. This will give you a real perspective of what's been said. Read also the discussion boards, as the opinion expressed there will also help in determining what the bottom line really is. By doing what I suggest, you should be able to make an informed buying decision based on need ..."

    "... With the latest revelations about alleged Intel strong-arming of companies that had planned to be present at the AMD launch of Opteron, and the continued allegations of Intel favoritism in benchmarks, there really can be no smoke without fire - and yes, the fire is burning brightly ..."
  18. eddy05

    eddy05 TS Rookie Posts: 152

    Amazing! That's a very good story there. I feel that the moral of the story, is that you do not trust totally what the manufacturer might say. This is a great article for those who are thinking about which manufacturer they should choose in buying their next CPU.
  19. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,978   +15

    Nice find :D
  20. lokoo

    lokoo TS Rookie

    Here's my two bits for whatever's worth. I have a P4 2.4G on a 850 MB sitting next to a XP 2100+ on a KT333 MB. I find for speed the 2100+ still beats the P4, but for overall smoothness and stability it's the P4. DIYer's will no doubt all go for the XP as you can just do much more with AMD vs Intel. I really don't think the two can ever be compared. The P4 is like a Mercedes sports coupe and the XP is like s Porsche. The max speed will pretty much be the same but you get different speeds at different gears. The Porsche gives you more raw power but the Mercedes gives you comfort as well. I'd like to have both!
  21. groovewerx

    groovewerx TS Rookie Posts: 16

  22. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,978   +15

    whats that have to do with anything? its a dual P3 mobo for sale...maybe some benchmarks showing the dualies out-perform a P4? ....:rolleyes:
  23. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    More bugs discovered in Intel Chips ...

    Intel warns of bug in McKinley Itanium II

    I guess even a Mercedes has its faults ... ;)

    PS: Most of AMD's past problems have been due to the cheap mainboard chipsets, made by companies such as Via (who have improved a lot recently). Now that AMD has nVidia making nForce2 chipsets for them, even that old argument doesn't stand up any more. If you were to just look at the CPU, you'd find that AMD has a much better record than Intel at producing bug free CPUs.
  24. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    Now, children, what have you learned? Tell your mommie and daddie to buy you an AMD Athlon XP for Christmas!
  25. groovewerx

    groovewerx TS Rookie Posts: 16

    and a freezer to place it in.
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