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criticism of THG by Inquirer

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June 1, 2004 2:14:27 AM

http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=16245


Tom's Hardware (THG) came to a less than positive conclusion when it said, "A close look at all the benchmark results reveals that the new Athlon64 just barely earns the performance rating 3400+. Out of 32 benchmarks, only 13 were decided clearly in favor of AMD's new contender. If you were to evaluate each of the 41 individual disciplines, the result would be even poorer." (3).

The enthusiast weighted benchmark index
We'll use THG's Athlon 64 3400+ review as an example, since it was critical of the chip's performance and its benchmarks generally show the P4 in a good light; but this could be applied to any review. If we put THG’s review benchmarks into their respective groups, and also add an appropriate weighting to reflect from an enthusiast standpoint the importance of each category, it becomes obvious that the 3400+ truly merits its rating.

The first thing to note in the gaming group is that the 3400+ won almost 75% of the disciplines. For many enthusiasts that would be enough to warrant the model number rating. When one also factors in that many would consider it the gaming equal to the 3.2 GHz P4EE as well, who is going to seriously tell the gaming enthusiast that the 3400+ barely earns its rating?

When everything is tallied together, the 3400+ comes out with 48 points and the P4 with 38, which is 56 and 44 percent of the weighted total. So when the weighted index is brought to bear, the 3400+ more than meets its requirement.

Does the weighted index
concur with the collective judgment?
For those that were critical of the 3400+'s performance, the weighted index certainly paints the 3400+ in a very different light. But can that be shown to be representative? One doesn't have to look very far to find out.
THG's own 2K3 Readers' Choice Awards voted the Athlon 64 FX-51 the best innovation in CPUs. (5). Its lead over the second placed P4 was 19.5%. From that it can be inferred that the 3400+, which offers comparable performance at over $300 less, would have won THG's award if it had been available at the time of the poll, and would probably have increased the winning margin as well.
X-bit labs had its own readership awards which corroborated THG's readership viewpoint as well, but to a far greater degree. AMD garnered two-thirds of the vote to overwhelmingly win the best CPU maker of 2003. Athlon 64 was no doubt the catalyst for that winning margin. Intel had to settle for the remaining third of the poll. (6).

If I glanced at a spilt box of tooth picks on the floor, could I tell you how many are in the pile. Not a chance, But then again I don't have to buy my underware at Kmart.

More about : criticism thg inquirer

June 1, 2004 3:04:20 AM

I read the whole article and I didn't see the Inquirer criticizing THG. Seemed to me they were just citing THG as a reputable source for hardware reviews.

The "weighted index" is the author's own formula for weighting the results to favor gaming benchmarks and to downplay the results of some synthetic benchmarks. The fact that the results favor AMD is interesting. On the one side of the coin it looks like they're manipulating numbers to make AMD look better. On the other hand, the results speak for themselves and (the general concensus is) AMD does make the better gaming CPU.

He that but looketh on a plate of ham and eggs to lust after it, hath already committed breakfast with it in his heart. -C.S. Lewis
June 1, 2004 11:58:25 AM

NOthing new. THG is a good source for benchmark results, you just have to be smart enough not to read the typical nonsensical comments/conclusion. In fact, it looks like they are beginning to realize this themselves, the latest S939 has no comments whatsoever on the benchmarks, just a conclusion. If you want some meaningfull analysis, I suggest you read aces' review.

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
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June 1, 2004 1:44:28 PM

NOthing new.

You got that right.


Looks to me that amd clearly won in performance and now THG is forced to admit that AMD is the better buy, but chooses to back up the conclusion by talking about Hyperthreading and SSE3 vs 64-bit and cool&quiet as if they are somewhat equal.

amd will have sse3 very soon. Will THG say amd seems to win most of our hand picked benchies but amd don't have centrino wireless tech. So we rate it a tie based on user preference.

We both know intel will be throwing some kind of blue crystal soon.

If I glanced at a spilt box of tooth picks on the floor, could I tell you how many are in the pile. Not a chance, But then again I don't have to buy my underware at Kmart.
June 1, 2004 5:17:50 PM

> but chooses to back up the conclusion by talking about
>Hyperthreading and SSE3 vs 64-bit and cool&quiet as if they
>are somewhat equal.

Indeed. But hey, SSE3 does SIMD on 64 bit floats, so it has to be comparable :) 

>amd will have sse3 very soon

Yeah, I'm dissapointed they don't have it yet, I was under the impression S939 A64's would have it (it was "done" several months ago according to a senior AMD chap). Regardless, to be fair, intel will have EM64T 'soon' as well, and most likely something like cool&quiet as well. If there is any cpu that needs it, its prescott, and it couldnt be that hard.

>We both know intel will be throwing some kind of blue
>crystal soon.

DDR2 anyone ?

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
June 1, 2004 6:44:34 PM

I read that as well and was a bit miffed by it.

Specifically:
>the new Athlon64 just barely earns the performance rating 3400+.

Well if it easily won the performance rating wouldn't it be a 3500+ or a 3700+?

Isn't that the point of performance ratings to describe what to expect. This way the consumer doesn't get more, or less, than what was expected, what was claimed by AMD?

It seems to me, based on that comment alone, the AMD 3400+ rating is perfect for that chip?

That little comment, that little gotcha, perturbed me.

Is seems a bit like saying, "That 400hp engine is barely 400hp". Huh? It was a 400hp engine, and it measured as such.
June 1, 2004 11:39:38 PM

I was a little miffed by that as well, but I think it was referring to the fact that AMD beat Intel on just <i>under</i> half of the benchies, 13 out of 30 IIRC.

He that but looketh on a plate of ham and eggs to lust after it, hath already committed breakfast with it in his heart. -C.S. Lewis
a b à CPUs
June 2, 2004 3:00:16 AM

Nothing to get excited about, barely meets the criteria still means the criteria was met. THG was probably just looking for general superiority rather than rough equivalency, because AMD got popular producing clearly better performing processors back in the day. Agree that most enthusiast will be most concerned about gaming performance, but THG is now catering to other markets, you might say pandering to them.

At any rate, Intel can't scale up as quickly as AMD and people are starting to take 64-bit seriously, so it looks like good news to AMD for the rest of the year at least!

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