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    AGW #30: AMD Now More Expensive Than Intel Clock For Clock
    Author: JonnyGURU
    Date Posted: March 20th, 2002
    Pages: 1
    >> Discuss This Article

    AMD processors are now more expensive than Intel processors clock for clock?!?

    If I had said the above sentence two years ago, people would think I had flipped out.

    Actually, even if I say that today people may still think I had flipped.

    Most people look at the price of the AMD 2000+ and the price of a Pentium 4 2000 and say, "What the hell are you talking about? There's a $120 difference between the two CPUs in AMD's favor?"

    Most people reading this know that an Athlon 2000+ CPU is "only" running at 1667 MHz, but they are accepting of the PR (performance rating) number of 2000 given to the CPU because in nearly every benchmark, the 2000+ CPU out benchmarks a Pentium 4 2 GHz.

    For those who were not aware that a 2000+ only runs at 1667 MHz, a bit of a surprise comes when they're told by a benchmark, CPUID or diagnostic program that their CPU was not running at 2 GHz!

    I'll get such a phone call or email about four times a day and when they find out that the CPU is in fact only a 1667 MHz, they're often upset, because an Intel Pentium 4 at 1.7 GHz is 33 MHz faster and costs $80 less! Never mind that in real world performance it's actually slower.

    No doubt that the price leader Duron and the "classic", and soon to be all but phased out, AMD Athlon processors are clear performance winners in every price point they reside. Even an Intel zealot can agree with that. And the whole purpose of the Athlon XP model ratings is to give a more concise comparison number to use when shopping processors as opposed to the megahertz rating used for Pentium 4s. In benchmark after benchmark, an Athlon XP running at 1667 MHz out runs a Pentium 4 at 2 GHz, and thus the "model 2000+" nomenclature. But supposedly as software is written to take advantage of the Pentium 4's Netburst and SSE2 architecture, the gap between the two CPUs close.

    This is really truer then I was even willing to give credit to. A friend of mine is currently building an "entertainment center" PC. One of the tasks of this PC is to catalog all of his CD's into a hard drive filled with MP3's. The software he was planning to use for the task of ripping and sorting the music claims to be "optimized for Pentium 4". Does this really mean that the code is actually written around the Pentium 4, and how much of a benefit will this mean for my friend? I don't know as I am not a programmer, but now he's hard set on making this entertainment center computer with a Pentium 4 processor.

    As it is, those who program aren't too happy with Intel's request to change the way they put code together. Looks like they're coming around after all.

    This CPU war has been going on ever since CPUs broke the 500 MHz barrier, where one camp will eventually out do the other, and then 6 months later the other company comes out with something else.

    Come to think of it, this war might even date back to the introduction of the AMD 386 DX 40!

    Sure, Intel has the Northwood now with 512K of cache, but around the corner from AMD will soon be the Thoroughbred and then the Sledgehammer, but also coming soon is Intel's plan to release a niche market Pentium 4 motherboard and CPU bundle that supports "performance tuning". And on and on the war between the two brands goes.

    Currently we have what many overclockers have called "the next Celeron 300A".

    For those who don't remember the 300A, it was a Celeron CPU that would easily do 450 at default voltage by simply changing the front side bus from 66 MHz to 100 MHz.

    The Pentium 4 1.6A, which is a 512K cache Pentium 4 Northwood that many of us have been able to run at least at 2.13 GHz by simply upping the front side bus of their motherboards from 100 MHz to 133. Sure it still doesn't run as fast as an Athlon XP 1800+ (1533 MHz) in half of the benchmarks out there (3DMark2001 blows it away with a GeForce3 Ti), but they both cost about the same and there's this certain sense of satisfaction in running a CPU at 33% overclock that makes it worth wild.

    For those of us that get a kick out of pointless overclocking, we are as happy as we've been in five years. This puts AMD in the back seat for the "casual overclocker" until the next "easily overclocked" AMD processor comes from the minds of Austin, Texas.

    The last such CPU from AMD was the 200 MHz FSB AXIA core 1 GHz Athlon that would do 1.33 GHz by simply moving the front side bus up. I had one that would do 1.4 at 140 MHz FSB. This PC is now my wife's as the overclocked P4 1.6A takes its place.

    Ah, if only the Athlon XP made it easier to adjust multipliers I'd be there in a heartbeat, but those organic packages make it tough. But AMD is not too concerned as the overclocker market is such a small market share. In reality, AMD has no real obligation to even throw us a bone, or even an unintentional bone like the AXIA core 1 GHz.

    It just goes to show you how the pendulum swings back and forth in the processor market. It's also nice to see the "underdog" AMD actually asking more money for their product AND getting it.

    Watching this market sometimes can be just as interesting as watching this year's Winter Olympics.

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