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CPU Buyers' Guide finalized!

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February 11, 2004 3:52:22 PM

<A HREF="http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/modules.php?nam..." target="_new">Yeah, it's done!</A>

Any comment about formatting?


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February 11, 2004 5:30:52 PM

The formatting is nice, very clear. you used red for "bad" cpu's, maybe use green for the recommended one's ?

Anyway I reread it (quickly) I have some additional comments / questions.

1) How often do you think you are going to update it ? Thing is, it may be somewhat reasonable today to recommend a XP1700+ for a basic computer, but a 2200+ costs $15 more (pricewatch). I expect in a few months, prices will be roughly be equal, hence, there would be no point in recommending a XP1700+. Maybe you should note something along those lines, not sure like "depending pricing and availablity" or whatever.

2) I would also add Prescott to the list of "not recommended". Not cause I like bashing prescott so much, but its pretty stupid if someone not knowing better decides upon a P43.2 after reading your guide, and comes home with a Prescott. We all know the P4C is the better choice.

3) I still object to this line: "and more than 4 GB memory addressing is not going to be necessary in desktop PCs at least until 2006,". it is both misleading and factually incorrect. As you should know by now, the real world limit is not 4 but 2 Gb per application. You can not expect someone reading a buyers guide to know this, and understand 2 GB is reserved for the OS kernel; heck even 95% of this forum didnt know this. So I think its misleading. Your 2006 statement is also very much a personal opinion, and hardly a industry wide consensus.

4) Lastly, I cannot see why you'd recommend Prescott to overclockers. I've seen Northwoods pushed higher than prescotts (you saw HardOCP's article ?) with considerable less heat output. Overclocking Prescott turns it into a 140+W monster, you just can't cool that adequately without watercooling or phasechange. at the very least, add that its only "recommended" for people with watercooling or more exotic cooling solutions, but frankly, I would not recommend at all in its current form. P4C is the better choice for overclockers.

those comments aside, great job. Now let's start linking people to it when they ask "what should I get P4 or AXP ?".

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
February 11, 2004 7:38:45 PM

#1) I will update after every AMD/Intel price cut and new product launch. I've recommended AXP 1700+ to 2600+ in basic PC category for $50 to $100 budget. I think it automatically tells "depending on pricing and avialability"

#2) I haven't recommended Prescott anywhere except as SSE3 development platform. And I've clearly mentioned P4 "C" in every P4 recommendation. Prescott is not a bad perfromer and have pretty good price/performance ratio compared to Northwood "C". So I haven't completely thrown it out like Celeron, P4-EE, A64-FX, AXP 2800+ to 3200+.

#3) I know about the 2 GB + 2 GB = 4 GB thing. I've said 4 GB addressing keeping this fact in mind (moreover, I've read that it can be 3 GB + 1 GB, with using a switch). 2006 means begining of 2006, my way of saying end of 2005. The people who are affected by current memory addressing limitation are photoshop professional, 3d modeler etc. They will need not only hardware, but also 64 bit windows and app. 64 bit Windows will come before end of 2004. And I think photoshop and other similar pro-level software will not come immediately (since I haven't read any such announcement). So it's actually going to be early 2006 when people who need too much memory will benefit from extra memory addressing capability of x86-64 CPUs. And 90% other users (gamers for example), will have no problem with 2 GB + 2 GB addressing limitaiton for at least 2 years.

#4) I'm possibly going to remove Prescott from overclocking section after reading the heat/power issues with overclocked prescotts. But in some early prescott reviews, I've read "prescott overclocks to 4 GHz on air" like things. So I thought prescott may be good for overclockers who have decent PSU and good air cooling.

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February 11, 2004 8:04:46 PM

>Prescott is not a bad perfromer and have pretty good
>price/performance ratio compared to Northwood "C"

Its prices are identical to NW, and it performs pretty much identical as well. so, no its not a bad p/p deal, but why the hell get a 70°C cpu if the same money buys you a otherwise functionally identical <<50°C cpu (P4C) ? As 3.6 and faster prescotts come out, there might be a reason to pick them up, but at current speeds, it makes no sense whatsoever compared to identically clocked, priced and performing northwoods IMHO.

> I know about the 2 GB + 2 GB = 4 GB thing. I've said 4 GB
>addressing keeping this fact in mind

You know, but the average reader does most certainly not know this. And your text is not helpfull in making him realize this either, quite on the contrary.

>The people who are affected by current memory addressing
>limitation are photoshop professional, 3d modeler etc. They
>will need not only hardware, but also 64 bit windows and
>app

No. A 32 bit app will be able to adress the full 4 Gigs when running under a 64 bit OS. The OS maps the kernel space to high memory regions, unaccessible to 32 bit protected mode apps, and can free up pretty much the entire low 4 GB for the app. There is definately a benefit running 32 bit apps under a 64 bit OS.

>And I think photoshop and other similar pro-level software
>will not come immediately (since I haven't read any such
>announcement).

Neither have I, but since Photoshop is already tweaked on the Apple G5 to take advantage of the 64 bit cpu (even though the OS is still basically 32 bit !), I would be surprised if it took long for a AMD64 Photoshop release.

> So it's actually going to be early 2006 when people who
>need too much memory will benefit from extra memory
>addressing capability of x86-64 CPUs.

No, like I explained above. upon release of 64 bit windows, they can benefit.

>And 90% other users (gamers for example), will have no
>problem with 2 GB + 2 GB addressing limitaiton for at least
>2 years.

Sure, they will manage with 2 GB address space, just like they will manage with only a gig of ram, and a 3 GHz orless cpu and a DX8.1 videocard. Does that mean no one benefits from >3 GHz, DX9/9.1c or several gigs of ram ?

Also consider this: windows maps the video memory in the upper 2 GB range. Twice !. That means, a 256 Mb card (pretty common place today) eats up half a gig of address space. Imagine 512 Mb cards (new upcoming Radeons and Geforces are supposed to support and implement this). 1 Gig down the drain. Now imagine someone wanting to use PCI-Express capabilities of using 2 such videocards ! Impossible on a 32 bit OS & CPU. Granted, not possible with current A64 boards either, but still something to consider if you think its gonna take 2 more years before anyone benefits.

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
February 12, 2004 4:45:10 AM

Quote:
Its prices are identical to NW, and it performs pretty much identical as well. so, no its not a bad p/p deal, but why the hell get a 70°C cpu if the same money buys you a otherwise functionally identical <<50°C cpu (P4C) ? As 3.6 and faster prescotts come out, there might be a reason to pick them up, but at current speeds, it makes no sense whatsoever compared to identically clocked, priced and performing northwoods IMHO.

Throwing away an Intel solution means one step ahead to make the guide controversial. This is why I don't want to throw out Intel solutions unless they are very bad. Though I haven't thrown Prescott out, I've always recommended Northwood "C" (clearly) instead of Prescott.

Quote:
Sure, they will manage with 2 GB address space, just like they will manage with only a gig of ram, and a 3 GHz orless cpu and a DX8.1 videocard. Does that mean no one benefits from >3 GHz, DX9/9.1c or several gigs of ram ?

DX9 cards are currently useful because they have more power and better AA/AF capability compared to older generation card. It has been almost ~1.5 years, but we are yet to benefit from R9700 shaders (except 3DMark 2003)

Quote:
Also consider this: windows maps the video memory in the upper 2 GB range. Twice !. That means, a 256 Mb card (pretty common place today) eats up half a gig of address space. Imagine 512 Mb cards

Very few people have 256 MB video cards. And more than 128 MB VRAM is useless now and for at least 1/2 years.

Your 64 bit predictions may prove correct or incorrect later. But saying more than 4 GB (2 + 2) memory addressing is going to be necessary within 2005 is like saying 6 months before "prescott will perform worse than northwood C". I don't want to make things controversiaal. Even if you're proved correct later, then it's not gonna hurt most of the people since they don't need more than (2 + 2) GB memory addressing.

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February 12, 2004 12:37:55 PM

>Throwing away an Intel solution means one step ahead to
>make the guide controversial.

Sure, ignore the facts and let the fear of getting flamed stop you from giving sound advice. Would you buy a 3.2 prescott when northwood costs the same ?

At the very least, let the reader make up his mind, but do mention currently prescott performs no better overall than NW , and runs *considerably* hotter.

>Your 64 bit predictions may prove correct or incorrect

I'm not "predicting" or guessing when I say memory hungry 32 bit apps will benefit from a 64 bit OS

> But saying more than 4 GB (2 + 2) memory addressing is
> going to be necessary within 2005

I never said that. nor did anyone, just potentially usefull, depending on your needs/apps. Doesnt strictly require 64 bit apps either to be usefull.

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
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