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Once and for all...
AMD vs. Intel
SEOMike




msg:1566797
 8:47 pm on Nov 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Whenever you talk to someone who builds systems, they are usually biased towards either an AMD or an Intel product. I like Intel's products because over the years I have experienced the fewest problems with systems based on Intel processors. (Same reason I prefer Western Digital over their competitors...)

In my experience, a heavily used (& well maintained) machine based on an AMD will last about a year and a half before giving strange errors and having the processor get really hot. I usually see Intel products lasting anywhere from 3-5 years. Is this something that has only occurred in my strange realm?

SO, let's hash it out. I'd like to hear some other input on why you like a certain brand... and most importantly why you don't like the other.

 

Macro




msg:1566798
 9:23 pm on Nov 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

PC or Mac, Frontpage or Dreamweaver? Everybody will have their opinion - you won't get a definitive answer here. Do your research, base your decision on what you are comfortable with. Choosing the right supplier for your PC is more important than deciding AMD vs Intel.

You are incorrect in your assumptions in para two. There is no evidence of this and, in fact, overheating can happen to an Intel. CPUs like the Prescott run particularly hot. A good PC builder will incorporate adequate cooling whether it's AMD or Intel. That's not your problem. OTOH, the myth that AMD is cheaper needs to be dispelled. There is little to choose between the two in terms of pure price.

The hard disk isn't your problem either. WD has had their faulty batches (even with their Fluid Dynamic Bearing drives) just like IBM/Hitachi and Maxtor and Joe Bloggs. Only BIG PC manufacturers will know the % of drives that go faulty with each manufacturer and they won't disclose those figures. So you'll never really know what chance you have of your disk going faulty. Your warranty with your PC supplier and the efficiency with which they'll resolve faults is what matters. (Like for like all makes run at pretty much the same speed. Yeah, really. The fastest non-SCSI drives though are the WD Raptors though the new Maxtor and Seagate with NCQ - slightly different from Raptor's TCQ - and the right Intel motherboard can run faster than the Raptors but you need to have the right motherboard. I am digressing...)

Advantages with the Intel at present are some cool new technologies like PCI Express, DDR2 etc some of which won't reach AMD for a while yet. AMD's major advantage at the moment - apart from 64 bit CPUs - are technologies like on chip (CPU) memory controllers.

If you're talking to people who are biased one way or the other - you're talking to the wrong people. Anyone who fancies himself enough to declare one or the other better .... is best avoided.

SEOMike




msg:1566799
 11:13 pm on Nov 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

You are incorrect in your assumptions in para two

No, I'm not. In my experience this is what happened. Maybe it was a difference in motherboards or something but of the systems my employees and I built, the only differences in the two (besides environments) were the processors and motherboards. These computers were well maintained (cleaned on a schedule, kept dry, etc) and well cooled. These are my observations over a 5 year stint running my own small business IT solution company. (providing service to Drs, Dentists, Vet. Clinics, construction companies, etc) Of course "your results will vary" and that's why I started this thread... to see if there is an overall picture I can look at because this forum reaches people from all different parts of the world. And... like you said, manufacturers aren't going to own up to failure rates.

Anyone who fancies himself enough to declare one or the other better .... is best avoided.

Ouch. So by the same logic... someone who declares a Mac as the best solution for them, or an iPaq as the best PDA in their experience is to be avoided? Interesting opinion. So what do you say about people who categorically dismiss other people's opinions while trumpeting their own? We can only learn what our lives teach us. Instead of telling AMD supporters they are wrong, I'm merely trying to broaden my horizons by finding out their successes because my experience is limited to a few hundred PCs.

I still appreciate your reply though Macro. Thanks for your input.

evinrude




msg:1566800
 1:09 am on Dec 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

My own personal experiences have placed AMD above and beyond Intel. Servers and desktops I build have all been AMD because my experience with Intel based computers has been horrid. Perhaps it was a fluke, but I've had several machines die in the 1-2 year timespan, whereas the machines I've built using AMD processors are still alive and kicking. My wife has been using the same computer for about 5 years. Slow as hell, but has never died.

It all pretty much comes down to what you started using to begin with, and personal experience. I'm not a zealot for anything processor or os or whatever, I just like what I use. :)

Macro




msg:1566801
 10:18 am on Dec 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

>> So by the same logic... someone who declares a Mac as the best solution for them

That is not what I said. The operative words being "for them" which I didn't use. Again, and put differently if you prefer, anyone who categorically preaches that one is better than the other is talking ballcocks.

The AMD overheating is what you believe happened. Fair enough. If it was a heat issue - it may not be the AMD products themselves. The level of skill involved in properly designing and building a PC is far above most PC builders today. No personal offence but do you know how much of heat your CPU was generating? How to calculate the heat generated by the AMD CPUs you were using? How to build adequate ventilation? The heat dissipation capacity of the PSU fans and other fans in your systems? In fact, did you even know the CFM of air flowing through the case? Did you have full control of the airflow in the system or did you have air leaking in from cracks at the bottom/rear? Or did you just bung in what you thought was a good CPU heatsink and fan and keep your fingers crossed? If you did you can't accurately blame the "motherboard or something" in the AMD technologies. The PCs probably worked, whether they were built to a high quality standard is another matter.

I would be very surprised if all your diverse client base of Drs, Dentists, Vet. Clinics, construction companies all kept the PCs you supplied in such good nick and "well maintained (cleaned on a schedule, kept dry, etc) and well cooled". PCs need to be designed to take a certain amount of "abuse" over time. Maybe you just got luckier with the CPUs fans you were using for the Intel motherboards. Or that you got unlucky with not desgining airflow around the northbridge chipset on AMD motherboards.

From the tens of thousands of systems I've managed quality control on to the 300 odd reviews of PCs I've done I have never made a simple statement claiming that Intel or AMD was better. Unfortunately a lot of so called PC engineers will be happy to state that "Intel is the best" or "AMD rulz". My advise is still to avoid them. If they specifically mention they want Intel for SSE2 and provide the reasons for that - it is a different matter. But they make these wild statements to give you the impression that they know something about PCs. Don't be fooled. They'll likely not know the difference between AHCI and ASCII, Ultra 320 and Fibre Channel, or SMART and SATAII. They are pretend engineers, people who know how to hold a screwdriver and fix 8 components together using the odd screw and some sticky tape.

I have several PCs some of which are AMD, others of which are Intel so I am in neither "camp". Your questions are too general and involve brands rather than technologies. The type of answers should really be ones like: "I like Intel because they keep to their roadmap", "I like AMD because they allow Via, SiS et al to make mobo chipsets", "I like Intel because they offer a range of technologies going beyond CPUs and mobos - like network cards, SCSI RAID controllers etc", "I don't like Intel because they tried to force a proprietory RAM (RDRAM) on a reluctant market"... etc

If you want to compare two processors rather than two brands then choose a specific Intel processor Northwood/Prescott/LGA775 and discuss it's merits and shortcoming. Or choose an AMD Thunderbird/FX55 and discuss it's merits and shortcomings. "Intel" and "AMD" each cover a range of "brands", they are not products. Each manufacturer has it's good and not so good products.

SEOMike




msg:1566802
 1:39 pm on Dec 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

"I like Intel because they keep to their roadmap", "I like AMD because they allow Via, SiS et al to make mobo chipsets", "I like Intel because they offer a range of technologies going beyond CPUs and mobos - like network cards, SCSI RAID controllers etc", "I don't like Intel because they tried to force a proprietory RAM (RDRAM) on a reluctant market"... etc
The AMD overheating is what you believe happened. Fair enough. If it was a heat issue - it may not be the AMD products themselves. The level of skill involved in properly designing and building a PC is far above most PC builders today. No personal offence but do you know how much of heat your CPU was generating? How to calculate the heat generated by the AMD CPUs you were using? How to build adequate ventilation? The heat dissipation capacity of the PSU fans and other fans in your systems? In fact, did you even know the CFM of air flowing through the case? Did you have full control of the airflow in the system or did you have air leaking in from cracks at the bottom/rear? Or did you just bung in what you thought was a good CPU heatsink and fan and keep your fingers crossed? If you did you can't accurately blame the "motherboard or something" in the AMD technologies. The PCs probably worked, whether they were built to a high quality standard is another matter.

I do not appreciate the personal attacks. I don't know why you choose to insinuate that I am a moron. Is that your general view of sucessful business people? That they really don't know what they are doing and there is no reason for their success?

All systems I installed were maintained by my staff on a regular basis based on their envrionments. And yes, I did know how much heat the CPU was generating because I'm not an idiot. My staff and I were trained professionals with educations in PC& Network hardware and maint. We had all the proper utilities, software, and knowledge to build top quality systems. To that end, I sold the company for a large profit and was able to pay each of my 4 employees a 5 digit (US) bonus for their hard work over the years. And yes, I still had plenty of money left over.

Next time please keep your personal attacks and heckling to yourself as that's not constructive.

Evinrude:
I'm not a zealot for anything processor or os or whatever, I just like what I use.

Thank you for your comment. That's my exact position even though it's being twisted by another member here.

I hope this thread can take on a positive, informative note... but I doubt it. Apparantly some people aren't mature enough to talk about the issues without making personal attacks and they end up ruining it for everyone. What a shame.

Macro




msg:1566803
 4:01 pm on Dec 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

No personal attack was intended and I am sorry if that's how it comes across.

Companies that have built a "few hundred PCs" just don't have the resources to run a proper QC department, they are limited to the odd utility/soak test/burn-in program. So, again, no personal attack intended but it's a business fact that you can't afford professional testing equipment on that scale. A few hundred PCs a year is the kind of output you'd expect from a single guy working from his garage (A reasonable competent technician should be able to do a few decent PCs a day). And there's nothing wrong in that. A lot of the big IT boys started that way. But, I've yet to see a business of that size being familiar with the points and technicalities I raised in my post.

I never did question your business skills. :::confused:::: How did you get that idea? Well done on selling your business.

Once and for all...AMD vs. Intel

Sure. :)

[edited by: Macro at 4:17 pm (utc) on Dec. 1, 2004]

SEOMike




msg:1566804
 4:09 pm on Dec 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well, you're right... there was no huge volume of computers. It was about 340 total, all of which were built custom and replaced at least once. So around 700 computers over the years. We wired their networks, configured their servers and printers etc. We also had service contracts with them that had us maintain their computers which is where we saw the problems with AMD. Maybe it was just a bad batch of them, but categorically, they didn't perform as well for me as the Intel products. Again, that's why I posted... without exposure to thousands of computers, I can't really base an opinion... I just tend to prefer from my experience and am trying to validate it, OR dispel it with other's experiences.

Macro




msg:1566805
 4:21 pm on Dec 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

>> without exposure to thousands of computers, I can't really base an opinion

With my exposure to thousands of computers, and getting to speak to many different PC manufacturers, and considering you asked for opinions I'm offering that AMD vs Intel is not a serious question. It's a my toy is bigger than your toy rabble you get in some hardware forums. AMD and Intel are not products. As I said in msg #5:

If you want to compare two processors rather than two brands then choose a specific Intel processor Northwood/Prescott/LGA775 and discuss it's merits and shortcoming. Or choose an AMD Thunderbird/FX55 and discuss it's merits and shortcomings. "Intel" and "AMD" each cover a range of "brands"

longen




msg:1566806
 3:41 am on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

On a lighter note I tend to choose AMD because without them Intel would dominate even more, prices would be higher, choice less, fewer people could afford even an entry level PC.

fiu88




msg:1566807
 5:43 am on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Longen ..true! without AMD we'd be paying 5K for PII's.....

AMD for the best value proposition by far......

Hester




msg:1566808
 9:37 am on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

I use AMD at home but next time I need a processor I am considering Intel instead. I went with the AMD XP range when I built my PC because they were much cheaper than Pentiums. But I ended up spending much more on cooling.

I personally find you can run a Pentium in a standard (ie: not very good) PC case in a hot room and there will be no problems. But my past experience with AMD started like this:

I built a basic PC but it kept overheating. The PC would suddenly stop working and refuse to boot up until I had opened the case and cooled it down. Admittedly it was near a radiator, but my previous Tiny PC with Pentium II never had problems in the same room. I had an AMD XP 1700 which runs at 1.4GHz but it was obviously running too hot. So I bought a copper heatsink, but when putting it in managed to blow the processor!

So I went to a local computer store and picked up a Duron 800MHz for about 30 - bargain! It was able to run Windows just fine - I wondered if my XP 1700 chip was really needed.

I spent loads on extra fans but the case would only fit so many. So in the end I spent 99 on a Lian-Li aluminium case with about 6 fans in it. I also bought thermal paste for the processor/heatsink and studied the AMD online guide to cooling.

Eventually I upgraded the processor and bought an AMD XP 2000 which runs at 1.7GHz. I also have things like narrow cables inside to help the airflow.

All this cost me much more than if I had simply gone with Intel. I find it hard to believe that the PCs at work (where it can get very hot) carry on just fine, even though they only have a tiny fan at the back of the case. (They are Pentium IIIs running at 1.7Ghz.) AMDs practically need a wind tunnel to keep cool.

So although AMDs offer great value, you also need to consider spending a lot on cooling. So in my case, I found Pentiums to be cheaper and more reliable overall.

SEOMike




msg:1566809
 2:47 pm on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

The PC would suddenly stop working and refuse to boot up until I had opened the case and cooled it down.

That's exactly the behavior that I saw in the AMD based computers I built. The few that I finally got cooled enough (and I used the paste, the copper heat sinks, plenum, etc) were too noisy for their work environments.

If you want to compare two processors rather than two brands then choose a specific Intel processor Northwood/Prescott/LGA775 and discuss it's merits and shortcoming

Ok... lets. I'm not that familiar with AMD products anymore, so lets hear comparisons between top of the line processors from each. For instance:

This data may be a little old, but the P4 smokes the AMD in all but one test:
[passmark.com...]

and this page has some interesting info too:
[comx.co.za...]

It looks like the Prescott would be faster the the Opteron due to the large cache size and it's HT.

Macro




msg:1566810
 3:16 pm on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>so lets hear comparisons between top of the line processors from each
That is a wise way of comparing processors.

If you're looking at the Prescott then the phenomenal heat it generates is legendary and substantially more than the sub 30 watts of heat from earlier AMD CPUs; in fact it generates more heat than any standard AMD processor available today. Do you see why you can't compare makes and need to do it at the processor level?

BTW, the old Prescott is a 478 pin CPU that has been replaced by Intel's LGA775. And if you are comparing with an Opteron 2x then you can't even use the standard P4 and have to use a Xeon (which will make it more interesting because of the EM64T) but probably less relevant to home use.

Hester




msg:1566811
 3:24 pm on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

I want to know how AMD chips can stay cool enough to be used in laptops. Surely they would melt! (If it's a special cooler range, why can't you get these for desktop?)

Macro




msg:1566812
 3:28 pm on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Those two links don't inspire me with confidence. The first doesn't seem to know much about testing methodologies and the second claims the AMD has an 800 MHz FSB (it doesn't look like a typo). There are authorative sites like Tom's and Anand's but my advice is to place 100% trust in no online review (and most offline ones for that matter).

SEOMike




msg:1566813
 3:37 pm on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

my advice is to trust no online review (and most offline ones for that matter).

Hahaha... ok, so we are back to square one then.

Where ARE we supposed to base our opinions if we don't have access to a very large pool of machines or to high tech testing equipment?

I'm going to go back to my first opinion (which is based on my experience)...

AMD=Heat & Heat=lots of fans. Lots of fans=lots of noise. Lots of noise drives users crazy.

Intel=the Honda of processors - it'll always run

I want to know how AMD chips can stay cool enough to be used in laptops. Surely they would melt! (If it's a special cooler range, why can't you get these for desktop?)

That's a great question Hester... Anyone have any answers?

mack




msg:1566814
 3:42 pm on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have 2 always-on servers, both running AMD, been up now 24/7 for almost eight months, no real heat related issues, I guess the key, as always is to allow as much cooling as possible.

Mack.

Macro




msg:1566815
 3:52 pm on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hester, you can read about the "M" (mobile) range at AMD [amd.com] including on voltages, heat generated etc. It's different to the desktop range.

Hester




msg:1566816
 4:00 pm on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm guessing the mobile range is dearer, but even so, you'd think it would make sense to produce these for the desktop as well.

Nobody has mentioned overclocking yet - I guess this is an area where AMD would be the one to go for - I believe they are easy to overclock (if you don't mind any extra heat) but aren't Pentiums locked somehow so you can't use them at higher frequencies? Correct me if I'm wrong. (I have read AMD chips are also locked but people have got round this with by connecting the surface pins or something.)

Also, don't Pentiums come with glued-on heatsinks? My current processor came with a heatsink and paste from AMD themselves. It said the guarantee would be void if I didn't use them, so I did. No heat problems in my current case!

Macro




msg:1566817
 4:04 pm on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>Where ARE we supposed to base our opinions if we don't have access to a very large pool of machines or to high tech testing equipment?

You will not get definitive answers on the AMD vs Intel issue. Period. Your thread title may have been a bit too ambitious.

You can get detailed answers on little specifics, like which particular CPU is best at a particular task, running a particular set of code etc. But for accurate results even on that you need to have the right testing gear and a keen understanding of the technologies and testing methods which very few so called technie websites possess. Even then you may not be able to compare them fairly because you won't find one mobo that'll take both an Intel and AMD CPU. You'll have to use different mobos, maybe a PCIe card in the Intel along with DDR2 and an AGP card in the AMD with DDR1 and you've already got enough variables to make your results worthless.

I refer you to the first para of my first post.

SEOMike




msg:1566818
 4:17 pm on Dec 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Your thread title may have been a bit too ambitious.

A bit? haha... Apparently I'd say a lot.

Since it's going to be next to impossible to break it down on general terms, I'm going to keep with my personal experience. I like what works, and Intel works for me.

Thanks for all the input though. It sure has helped me see that being a DEVOUT supporter of Intel is too ambitious with my knowledge of the details. I'll just quietly support and keep building what I know.

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