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Which is better? AMD Athlon or Intel Pentium 4?

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

    groovewerx TS Rookie Posts: 16

    "which is better" was the question. in my experience as a daw user and builder, i have first hand knowledge of several hardware combinations that work better than others when it comes to a/v computing.

    not the load of a game rig but a/v stresses a cpu just as much if not the same. i have yet to come across a benchmark or benchmarker that addresses professional a/v requirements so all i can offer is the results of real-time comparisons and shootouts.

    for professional a/v, a pair of p3/1000s makes the old & new competition look like toys. perhaps thats why some gamers are obsessed with them.

    so in the end, that board for sale has alot to do with this.

    btw: q3 runs flawlessly on the vp6 with radeon ve, a pair of p3/600 up to 1000 and 512mb sdram.
  2. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    dude I ran my Athlon XP 1.73 ghz with a cheapo $8 heatsink and fan. cooling isn't that much of a problem with Athlon processors as people make it out to be.
  3. groovewerx

    groovewerx TS Rookie Posts: 16

    i was speaking from a full a/v workload, and what works best perspective. i doubt the average consumer or gamer can come close the making a fast cpu sweat.

    those demented few that mount outboard motors inside their cases do it because they've unlocked the secret to excessive speed. with that speed comes alot of heat.

    with such a vague thread title, i assumed the dude was shopping for a workhorse. so to answer the athlon vs p4 issue, it all depends on what he needs them to do. i prefer to use intel chips with chipsets because imho, that combination is a close to stable as a pc can get.

    intel parts tend to live longer and run cooler under stress as well.
  4. Steg

    Steg TS Rookie Posts: 269

    cooling an Athlon is not as hard as people make it! i bought a XP2100+ retail (which comes wif an AMD fan for an extra £10) and that keeps my chip at 50degrees (idle) 56degress(playing doom 3 alpha) and it out performs my dads Intel 2Ghz by a factor of 1.5 in 3dmark2001SE and SiSandra 2001SE (and was quite alot cheaper)

  5. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    From a 'historical' perspective, it was true that Intel systems were more stable due to Intel manufacturing both the cpu AND the chipsets. However, that was in the past, and we are now in the present, so it makes no sense whatsoever to quote misleading info that is no longer applicable today.

    Same for cooling, AMD processors require less cooling than their P4 counterparts (depending on model), though if you look back at the Athlon 1.4 GHz it was the hottest cpu around at that time, and still is even by today's standards. Newer processors have changed all that and swung the table around on Intel.

    Furthermore, how many users are likely to do A/V editing on their PCs? A VERY small number is my guess (I don't personally know of anyone - although I am planning on doing a little in the near future). Most apps that users run every day don't support dual CPUs so you only get the performance of one processor, which being a 1GHz P3, is likely to be very slow on most tasks.

    PS: Just to follow up, with the launch of Athlon XP 3200+, it looks like AMD is not doing quite so well now, probably due to lack of SSE2 support and Hyperthreading, which is now supported by todays compilers, which optimise for Intel CPUs. Looks like AMD has some way to go before they can claw back some market share, which will likely only happen with Athlon64.

    A quote: "... Like it or not, the Pentium 4 struggles somewhat with business applications. Along the same lines, the Athlon simply won’t overtake the Pentium 4 in SSE2-optimized code until it becomes compatible (which will happen when Athlon 64 debuts). So the key here is to determine what sort of applications most closely match your workload and choose a processor accordingly ..." - FiringSquad
  6. groovewerx

    groovewerx TS Rookie Posts: 16

  7. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    What are these "most tasks" ? If you don't play the latest games and don't use the most resource-intensive operating systems with all the bells & whistles, I see no problems with 1 GHz machine. Even 500 MHz should be adequate for office use, for example.
  8. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    It's true that you don't necessarily need a fast cpu for many office tasks (I'm running a 1.3GHz CPU), but once you have tasted faster systems, its difficult to go back.

    An analogy: I still have an old 12x CDR drive, which will burn a CD in around 7 mins, which is more than adequate, but once you get used to 2 mins (52x) then 7 mins seems like an eternity.

    Same for processors and office applications, a fast CPU makes scrolling through large documents, and recalculating spreadsheets feel much quicker and smoother, though saving a couple of seconds here and there, doesn't actually matter much in reality.

    So why do users even bother to upgrade at all then? Why do fast CPUs sell?

    The answer is because there are times when you do need the horsepower of a fast CPU, and then that old slow 1 GHz just feels so inadequate and tedious (e.g. games, graphics editing, software development, video editing, zipping files, copying/moving large files, etc.) that it stresses you out. However, just as you say (Mic), most of the time that 1 GHz is more than enough for most of us, but for times that we need more, it simply isn't going to cut it.

    No one likes an unresponsive computer, so faster is always going to be better, even if you don't really need it (all the time), and that's exactly why many of us eventually upgrade. If speed didn't matter, then why does anyone even bother to take notice of benchmarks?

    You only need to take a look at this site, and others, to see that speed does in fact play a significant factor in our buying decisions (like it or not), and saving money by buying a slower CPU, is not something most of us are interested in unless we have a restricted budget and can't afford to spend any more.

    Having sufficient power now, helps prepare for the next round of bloatware that is just waiting to be released, and means we can hold off on that upgrade for a little while longer. A 1 GHz CPU is certainly not enough for me, and I don't believe many other users here would swap their faster CPUs for that 1 GHz P3.

    PS: Mic, I noticed that you are running a 1.8 GHz P4, despite the fact that you say 1 GHz (and even 500 MHz) is more than adequate. Not meaning to be rude Mic, but perhaps you should practice what you preach. :blush:

    Edit: Speed is relative - what is fast to one person, might seem slow to another. It basically comes down to what is the current 'norm' at that particular time, and 1 GHz CPUs have long since been overtaken by much faster processors. Even an old 486 CPU will run Office software, though it will feel like wading through treacle.
  9. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    groove: well obviously overclocking will overheat your processor, that is the same with any processor including pentiums
  10. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Well, I didn't say it's more than adequate, and I use this for more than just simple "office" things. However, I've been trying to get rid of this and getting a dual-P3 instead for some time now. It's just that dual-CPU boards with DDR memory are hard to find here..
  11. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

  12. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549


    Can't see why you'd want to trade that 1.8 GHz P4 in for that feable 1 GHz Dual P3.
    That P4 you have there is one of the most overclockable CPUs around.

    Take a look over here ...

    1.8 P4 @ 3 GHz

    Quote ...
    "I have my wife's P41.8A@3.006GHz, on an ASUS P4PE
    CPU vcore of 1.85, memory@6,2,2,cas2.5, 333MHz"

    System ...
    P4 1.8@3.006GHz | Volcano 7+ | ASUS P4PE | 512MB Kingston 2700 DDR RAM | Leadtek Geforce 4 Ti4600 ULTRA TD 128MB MyVivo | 40G Barracuda IV Hard Drives | Onboard Sound | 17" LG 775FT Flatron Monitor
  13. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,977   +15

    Plus majority of the applications dont support dual cpus. Im not sure if games do, but I doubt it.
  14. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Not really related to this XP vs P4 anymore.. but anyhow, ---agissi--- and Nic, I use mainly BeOS, which is very multithreaded operating system and all of its applications can multiple CPUs if available due to its design. However, I had some problems with over 2 GHz single CPUs, that's why I'm "going backwards" from your point of view. I know how P4s overclock, I had 1.6@2.5 aircooled once ;)
  15. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    BeOS ???

    "BeOS -- the world's most efficient and intelligently designed operating system. BeOS is optimized from the ground up to excel at handling high-bandwidth audio/visual tasks (some call it "The poor man's SGI"), and is radically fast, no matter what you're doing. But being media-optimized doesn't mean you can't get your daily work done in BeOS too -- the system makes even general productivity tasks a joy, thanks to features like fine-grained pervasive multithreading, a fully scriptable architecture, a sophisticated inter-application messaging model, symmetric multiprocessing, and real-time handling of all tasks." - The BeOS Bible

    I guess you're not interested much in playing games then (Mic). That's a very strange choice in OS - Are you a graphics artist maybe?
  16. groovewerx

    groovewerx TS Rookie Posts: 16

  17. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 993

    Hmm....artist? I think he's an advocate for use of alternative OS software. Think about it, ever wonder why he's in-charged of the Alternative OS section of the forum?;)
  18. somekid007

    somekid007 TS Rookie Posts: 271

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------Originally posted by acidosmosis

    AMD = cheaper and faster
    Intel = more expensive and slower

    Buy AMD. That is all you need to know.


    hehe. i see u havent been paying attention to benchmarks lately. The Northwood "C" benchmarks whips comparably PRICED Athlon XPs all over the place. Check out Tom's Hardware and Anandtech.
    The 800 MHz FSB Pentiums 4 ownz


    Athlon XP 2800+ Barton- $171
    Pentium 4 2.4 GHZ "C"- $174

    the intel wins 19 out of 28 benchmarks (1 tie)

    Athlon XP 3000+ Barton- $252
    Pentium 4 2.6 GHz "C"- $215

    the intel wins 22 of 28 benchmarks and is $35 cheaper

    Athlon XP 3200+ Barton- $294
    Pentium 4 2.8 GHz "C"- $274

    the intel wins 25 of 28 benchmarks and is $20 cheaper

    I haven't even compared the 3.0 GHz and 3.2GHz procs yet either.

    plus the Abit IS-7 on the i865PE chipset outran most i875P mobos in anandtech's benchmark
    ( http://www6.tomshardware.com/cpu/20030521/index.html).

    this mobo is also cheaper than comparable nForce2 mobos

    Abit IS-7- $109
    Abit NF-7S- $123

    yes, there was once a time when wut u said was true, but now, it is the opposite.

    ps. i'd pay more for a 350 hp Benz over a 450hp Chevy =)
  19. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    Oh please do not tell me you are paying attention to benchmarks. geez.... I'm not even going to say it.
  20. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,345   +13

    Here is part of the conlusion of a comparison of the top of the line AMD and Intel cpu's at Extreme Tech.
    FutureMark part of this comparison here. If you want to read the whole article, get it here. It's quite long, and there are a lot of other game benchies.

    Extreme Tech's last word on the subject;
  21. Tman5487

    Tman5487 TS Rookie

    The argument over heating, in my opinion, is correct that athlons run hot. My xp3000+ runs at 56c under a full load not overclocked.
    I did overclock it to 2.26 however for grimms and giggles and it never went above 58, but that temperature seems a little high to me because my friend is running 38 degrees on his duron 900!
  22. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    Tman5487: Get a grip, and stop drawing incorrect conclusions. Of course faster processors run hotter, so its no surprice that an xp3000+ runs much hotter than a duron 900. However the Pentium 3.06 GHz runs the hottest of all current processors on the market. And it isn't temperature that you should be looking at, because that depends a lot on your current system and the heatsink fitted. You should be looking at power consumption as this is where all the heat comes from ( xp3000+ = 74w, p4@3.06 = 82w).

    If you want the fastest cpu, regardless of price, then the top end P4C's are your best bet right now (due to support of SSE2 instruction sets - thats why they benchmark higher on newer software only). If its value for money, biggest bang for your buck, that you are after, then an athlon will serve you well. Otherwise you might wait for the Athlon 64 to appear later this year, as it will give Intel quite a fright, and does support SSE2.

    Intel created SSE2 in order to compete with AMDs 3D Now! Pro, and since Intel seem to have market support it is their instruction sets that end up being used. If AMDs 3D Now were being implemented more by software houses, then the situation would be reversed and AMD would demolish Intel in all benchmarks.
  23. tommie j

    tommie j TS Rookie

  24. tommie j

    tommie j TS Rookie

    ......put very well nic, cheers. thats why i own one of each. :grinthumb

    new guy- tommie j
  25. aoj145

    aoj145 TS Rookie Posts: 82

    Intel or AMD??? Blah!

    Cyrix all the way!!!!
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