Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 35.175.191.168

Forum Moderators: phranque

Message Too Old, No Replies

Pentium vs Athlon

A Mac inspired competition between PCs

     
5:04 pm on Aug 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:May 24, 2003
posts:381
votes: 0


I'm shopping for a new computer as my faithful 3yr old 650mhz is feeling its age.
Obviously, I'm looking to buy just under the latest greatest ($600-$800 range).

So I was reading about processor brands, and came across this article: wwwDOTpcmagDOTcom/article2/0,4149,806465,00.asp

The point is that Athlon has a shorter pipeline (10, almost like the Mac's 7), and Pentium has a longer one (20). Basically, shorter means better at efficiently changing it's mind, longer means better at continuous stuff like video and other technically predicable stuff.

So I'm leaning towards an Athlon as opposed to Pentium, which I had always thought was better. I realize it won't make a huge, maybe not even a noticeable difference. But I figured, why not?

So, any thoughts? Am I overanalyzing this? Any suggestions? (Note: mac is not an option :)

5:08 pm on Aug 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Nov 22, 2000
posts:384
votes: 0


I really can't answer your Q, but why not splurge once in your life. Get a G5 Mac.

I have an Athlon btw

5:11 pm on Aug 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member txbakers is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:Sept 1, 2001
posts:4392
votes: 0


I've used both, both have worked well.

I liked the Pentium montherboard better, but I'm sure the newer Athalon based boards have nifty features as well.

5:19 pm on Aug 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member macguru is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:Dec 30, 2000
posts:3300
votes: 0


I wonder what the Opteron can really do? Seems well suited for the Mac VS Linux competition... ;)
6:56 pm on Aug 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Mar 25, 2003
posts:970
votes: 0


I like Athlon better than P4. But then for any Power PC there are four foundations. They are :-

1)Processor
2)RAM
3)Motherboard and
4)Hard Disk.

Out of these Motherboard and sometimes even RAM differ with each Processor. As far as Hard disks are concerned the Higher RPM the better ;)

I have always felt that if each of these 4 parameters are tweaked properly than Athlon gives better value for money than P4 . HTH :)

7:12 pm on Aug 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:June 18, 2003
posts:400
votes: 0


I had an Athlon for a couple years-- the only difference between it and the Pentiums out there was that it was cheaper and generated more heat. I dunno why, but it was much warmer than the other PCs I encountered. Never had any trouble with it, but it was quite nice in the winter, sitting under my desk keeping my tootsies toasty. :D Make sure you get a good heatsink, though-- my hard drive failed and i don't know why but that might've been a factor. Still, y'all technical types probably are better at taking care of that sort of stuff.
9:37 pm on Aug 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Aug 3, 2003
posts:161
votes: 0


Go to tigerdirect.com. They have all the best prices.

The thing I don't like about AMD is their numbering system. I want to see how many Ghz the processor is. Not Athlon 2400+ or Athlon XP. That doesn't mean anything to me.

Another difference is that you can overclock AMD processors much easier than you can the Intel ones. This is risky though, because, like dragonlady7 said, they generate enough heat the way it is. But you can add an extra fan or get a liquid-cooled case (really nice, but expen$ive).

As a side note: the P4 is faster, but you probably won't even notice unless you do really intensive stuff (edit video, open all your graphics programs at once, etc.).

9:45 pm on Aug 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Feb 21, 2003
posts:2355
votes: 0


Go to tigerdirect.com. They have all the best prices.

Ugh - look at:

resellerratings.com/seller1983.html

Then try:

resellerratings.com/seller2121.html

The thing I don't like about AMD is their numbering system. I want to see how many Ghz the processor is. Not Athlon 2400+ or Athlon XP. That doesn't mean anything to me.

Read:
amdmb.com/article-display.php?ArticleID=124&PageID=2

the P4 is faster

I guess it depends on your config and how you're measuring it.

10:18 pm on Aug 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:June 9, 2002
posts:41
votes: 0


If you are not going to use it as a server, get the cheapest one.
You won't feel the performance difference in real life. You will not feel it even between 2.0G and 2.4G, not to mention between a X GHz Pentium and X GHz Athlon. That "X CPU is a little bit "faster" than Y CPU" is too much depend on the benchmark program.
2:54 am on Aug 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Aug 3, 2003
posts:161
votes: 0


I don't like the way newegg is set up. All the product info is crammed into a little box. They don't provide multiple snapshots like tiger direct does. Tiger Direct kills New Egg in terms of useability.

>Read:
amdmb.com/article-display.php?ArticleID=124&PageID=2

That article is biased.

4:57 pm on Aug 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:May 24, 2003
posts:381
votes: 0


I've used TigerDirect a lot and never had any problems, so that's where I plan to get it from. NewEgg didn't seem to be set up very well.

Whatever the performance (small as the gaps seems), price wins. I'll take the AMD :)

8:14 am on Aug 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

New User

10+ Year Member

joined:July 23, 2003
posts:15
votes: 0


When it comes to processors - I always buy in terms of reliability first, then speed. This is because I always leave my computer on 24/7.

Because Intel chips run cooler than AMD ones they tend to be more reliable - hence why most server processors used are Intels.

In terms of bang for buck though - AMD is better. However as chaitan states, you'll never notice the difference.

PCs have been marketed too much on the processor speed, its the only thing mentioned in most PC TV ads - and Intel love it. Always look for a decent (again, reliable & fast) harddisk, and bus speed.

8:37 am on Aug 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:July 26, 2003
posts:881
votes: 0


For a couple thousand I would just build my own monster machine...forget the distributors!

Gigabyte / Tyan dual-processor socketA board - $400 - 500
2 Palomino MP 2600+ - $450 - $500
512 meg (registered) PC2100 RAM - $120 - $150
120 gig ATA-133 HDD (or two ;) ) - $150 (or $300)
GeForce4 (FX5200) 128 meg - $80 - $100
SB Audigy2 Platinum (w/ bay box) - $180
other goodies - $200 - 300
----------------------
~ $1700 - 1900

Ahhh...yes! So lovely! One day you will be mine my darling...*drooling on the keyboard* :D--

Jordan

11:12 am on Aug 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from FR 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member henry0 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:Apr 19, 2003
posts:4449
votes: 11


I second JasonC but with a little add on
Yes Athlon run hotter than Pent

however the Pent 4 in the over 2 gig range runs also quite hot

MB running pent 4 seem to be very reliable (and de facto are)

4:37 am on Sept 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Full Member

10+ Year Member

joined:May 9, 2002
posts:241
votes: 0


I'll go for athlon.
9:56 am on Sept 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:July 31, 2003
posts:2280
votes: 0


We do thousands of benchmark tests each year on XP, MP, P4, Xeon and other systems (kinda like Tom's Hardware and Anandtech - both sites worth visiting).

Comments on AMD numbering, generating more heat etc. are all valid. Beliefs that Intel is necessarily more expensive are not. Neither is the assumption that dual CPU is faster than single CPU.

Mil2k is correct in that it's the sum of the components rather than the manufacturer of the CPU that matters. It's also the competence of the system builder - TRUST ME. I've seen cr*p systems put together by village idiots that have the BIOS configured incorrectly, had hard disks in PIO mode, had no IRQ allocated to graphics card... and worse. They perform at less than 70% of their true capacity.

On hard disks faster rpm is good. Larger cache is even better (IDE/SATA comes with upto 8 MB of cache now). RAID 0 will give you a further boost. Sticky me for a link to an article I've written on getting the best performance from your IDE sub-system.

With CPUs it's very much a matter of what benchmark you run. Sysmark, PC Mark etc tend to prefer Intel, especially Intels using RAMBUS memory. Magazines like PC Advisor use Worldbench which prefers AMD.

Avoid dual processors unless you know what you are doing. The Tyan Thunder and Tiger are both good boards, like the Gigabytes DPXDW but you'll find
A) dual cpu mobos have less features and tend to be a year or two behind single cpu mobos - no SATA RAID, Firewire etc and
B) They run slower on most programs. Unless your primary task involves using a program that is optimised for multi-processor operation, avoid them. (I've written a lengthy technical article on dual AMDs, again sticky me for URL if you wish)
If you must have a dual CPU do also check out Xeons. They used to cost the earth, but are not far off Athlon MP prices now.

MonkeeSage, I hate to do this to you but those are pretty average to low end specs you've got there ;-)

3:52 pm on Sept 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Mar 4, 2003
posts:96
votes: 0


Hi TGecho,

For your budget, I'd recomend AMD over Intel. Both have their strengths, but I find the Athlon XP line better suited to more modest budgets.

Give NewEgg a shot. Their site takes some getting used to (definitely geared to the more technical), but their service and support is among the best. I've heard a lot of bad stories about Tiger Direct, and I wouldn't keep rolling the dice with them. I recently built a system for my siter-in-law with the same budget. What ever you do, make sure you don't get cheap with the monitor or case. You'll appreciate a good monitor a lot more than a slightly faster CPU. Also, a good quality case and power supply (with plenty of cooling fans) will outlast any processor and motherboard.
Speaking of which, for your budget, I'd recomend the ASUS A7V8X-X motherboard and the AMD Athlon XP 2500+ CPU. Again, for your budget, that will give you a lot of bang for the buck. The processor runs at 1.83 GHz and has the Barton core (with 512K cache). That particular motherboard is cheap, reliable and has some very nice features including good integrated sound, integrated NIC and 6 USB 2.0 ports. Throw in 512MB of PC2700 memory and you have the foundation of a good system. How you spend the rest of your budget will depend on what you plan to use your computer for. If you are interested, sticky mail me, and I'll give you the full breakdown of the components, prices and links for the system I just finished for my siter-in-law. Total cost (system, 19" monitor, XP home, keyboard, mouse, speakers and shipping) was $888. Its an adequate game machine, but runs business apps like a champ and has a lot of room for upgrading, all without breaking the budget.

4:21 pm on Sept 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:July 26, 2003
posts:881
votes: 0


Macro:

Question....

"Neither is the assumption [valid, sic] that dual CPU is faster than single CPU."

Are you saying that if you have two processors of the same speed, there is no guarenteee they will be faster than a single processor of the same speed?

Jordan

4:56 pm on Sept 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:July 31, 2003
posts:2280
votes: 0


Monkeesage, not only is there no guarantee but you'll find that they are generally SLOWER. In many applications having 2 x Athlon MP 2600s will give you slower speeds than 1 x Athlon XP 2600+ (using the same dual CPU mobo to allow for reliable comparisons). If you were using single CPU you'd use a nforce2 or KT333/400/600 chipset board anyway. These will put you even further ahead of the dual CPU brigade ;-)

There are other variables like FSB etc which are quite messy in AMD's product range - you can get the same "number" processor with not only different fsb but also different clock speeds! - but the simple answer is that dual processor is usually slower than single processor on most benchmarks. Athlon XPs can also be tested in a dual CPU configuration (they do work, despite what AMD says!)with similar results.

Strangely 2 x XP sometimes turns out better scores than 2 x MP ...but that is another story ;-)

5:01 pm on Sept 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:July 31, 2003
posts:2280
votes: 0


MonkeeSage, there's also the advantage that you could use DDR3200 or faster with a single CPU and you won't be stuck with slower registered ECC :-)
5:09 pm on Sept 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:July 26, 2003
posts:881
votes: 0


Macro:

So you're not saying that two processors of the same speed are slower than a single processor of the same speed, correct? You are saying that some configurations can be slower?

Jordan

5:17 pm on Sept 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:July 31, 2003
posts:2280
votes: 0


Jordan, sorry, perhaps I confused the issues with too many examples/configurations. Please ignore the configurations. I will re-word:

Most programs will run slower on a dual processor PC than on a single processor PC. Rare exceptions are programs like Adobe Premiere that are designed to make effective use of two CPUs. Hope that helps :-)

5:25 pm on Sept 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

New User

10+ Year Member

joined:Jan 16, 2003
posts:18
votes: 0


I actually went the route that griz_fan suggested on the latest box I built... ASUS A7V8X-X motherboard; AMD Athlon 2600+ CPU; 768 Megs PC2700; w/ RAID SCSI controller (off one of my other systems). Truth be told - I had some initial problems getting all of the BIOS settings correct - and had some compatibility issues trying to run an old GeForce 4 card in the newer 8X AGP slot (it should have worked fine; but had troubles booting/locked up occassionally when trying to post). Eventually I gave up on the old video card and upgraded. I've had smooth sailing since.

In terms of the Intel/AMD processor debate - my only reasons for going with AMD was that this time around I found a better deal on the AMD processor/MB bundle for the equivalent of the Pentium 4. My last box was a frankenbox running dual Pentium III 600's (on a Tyan's Tiger 100 Dual motherboard; not the Copermine versions, but the KATMAI 512 KB cache processors); 1.5 Gigs of PC100; both IDE and SCSI RAID; and basically ran as a powerhouse workstation for intensive processing applications and hosting a number of server testing environments (was a great box for me while in college - let me play with all kinds of great products).

5:31 pm on Sept 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:July 31, 2003
posts:2280
votes: 0


If it's of any help the brief explanation is that when you have two CPUs then the CPUs check in each others cache (little onboard memory) before running off to the RAM to get data. When a program doesn't make effective use of two CPUS one CPU is constantly wasting time checking the other CPU's empty cache instead of going off to the RAM for information. If this happens a million times a second there's a lot of wasted effort there which results in lower performance.
5:40 pm on Sept 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:July 26, 2003
posts:881
votes: 0


Macro:

The reason I'm confused is because I have used a dual Xeon server (1.6gHz, 400 FSB) and a dual Palomino personal PC (MP 1600+ (1.4gHz), 233 FSB), and both of them rendered 3dcg much faster than any single processor computer I've used (tested with Bryce4 and 3DSM). And I don't just mean a little bit faster, I mean a difference of a couple hours when rendering at sizes greater than 800 x 600 w/ dither. On the Palomino PC I've also tested MPEG-2 encoding, and on average it was 2 hours faster (3-4hrs total time) encoding 120 minutes worth of video data than the same computer with only one processor in it (5-6hrs total time).

Jordan

6:13 pm on Sept 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:July 31, 2003
posts:2280
votes: 0


Jordan, that is consistent with what we've discussed earlier. I haven't tested Bryce4 myself but it's the type of program that would be multi-processor enabled, as would encoding software. Try a general benchmark like Sysmark which is designed to imitate "typical/average user" use and you'll see what I mean :-)
7:14 pm on Sept 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:July 26, 2003
posts:881
votes: 0


Macro:

That makes sense. :)

I'll have to take you're word for it about the benchmarks, 'cause I sadly no longer have access to boxes. They were owned by my aunt's company and they recently had a bit of an internal squabble, which resulted in the co-owner of the company packing up all the 'puters in the office and taking them somewhere else, doh.

Jordan

8:56 am on Sept 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Nov 22, 2000
posts:384
votes: 0


Because Intel chips run cooler than AMD ones they tend to be more reliable - hence why most server processors used are Intels

thats a bunch of crap, has to do with marketing.

I have a tbird chip runs at most 95 deg after a 2 hour graphic rendering process... got 125 deg for the same rendering on a pIII.

doesn't mean a damn thing, do you really want to know why most high end machines run intel... I can't post that here.

11:30 am on Sept 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:July 31, 2003
posts:2280
votes: 0


Because Intel chips run cooler than AMD ones they tend to be more reliable

I won't vouch for the reliability comparisons but from experience the AMDs do generally run a little hotter than the Intels. At the time the Thunderbird was introduced AMD acquired quite a devoted fan base. Subsequent factors like their unusual numbering system, Intel's Hyperthreading, Intel's faster fsb, Intel's performance with RAMBUS memory etc did dent AMD's big fan base.

The difference in heat generated is more pronounced in a server room environment where air-conditioning sytems need to dissipate thousands of watts of heat. The AMD wouldn't be my choice there, I'm afraid.

7:23 pm on Sept 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Full Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Mar 21, 2003
posts:245
votes: 0


from all the benchmarks i've seen and from what i've witnessed, I would go for AMDs, but its not only the processor you have to think about, as mentioned above its the whole AMD/Pentium system you have to think about:

Pentiums have much faster ram, they can go up to something like 1GHz, its either rambus or hybrid DDR.

AMDs usually go with DDR ram wich can go at up to 400MHz atm, I've always found that the DDR on the Althon is much mroe benefiical, as the motherboard manufacturers to a better job of using it. Also the chips are based very neatly areound this architecture.

In benchmarks an Athlon XP 3000+ will pip a 3GHz P4 to the post with raw processing power, and the athlons are cheaper than the pentiums, this fact reall showcases how the general build of the AMD processors are of higher grade and contain more "transistors" or "switches". But the P4s do have a few nice advantages such as bigger on-die caches.

Personally, I usually stick with AMD, but have been tempted to go with one of those 3GHz P4s with 1GHz DDR ram, as a lot of programs and games integrate optimisations based on the Intel chipsets, so maybe I'll try a P4 for my next PC :)

This 39 message thread spans 2 pages: 39