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How much better is Athlon vs P3?

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Anonymous
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April 8, 2001 9:44:00 PM

I'll be buying a new (premade) computer within 1 week and I've narrowed it down to 2 choices. The only big difference is the CPU. One is a 1000mhz Athlon and the other is a 933mhz P3. Normally the choice would be obvious but there are some differences that might lead me to perfer the 933mhz P3. The 933mhz Ps is a Dell 4100. Dell's 4100 was voted the top midrange PC by PC World Magazine. Though that might be a matter of opinion I'm almost totally assured of reliability. The Athlon is from Gateway. Also, with Dell's PC I get a free CD-RW drive upgrade (as opposed to CD-Rom) The Dell PC is also $50 less in price and has a slightly better software package (MS Office vs MS Works). So to sum it up Athlon is more powerful but the P3 model comes reliable, with a free CD-RW upgrade, better Software, and $50 less. At what point does the difference in CPU get outwayed by other features?

Windows sux. Death to MS.

More about : athlon

April 8, 2001 11:53:06 PM

Since you are buying "pre-made", go with whichever one you are more comfortable with.

The 1Ghz Athlon will be faster then the 933 P3, but at these speeds, you probably won't notice any difference.

I would be more concerned with the type of motherboard, RAM, and peripherals that are used.

How much memory is in each system? Don't settle for 64Meg of RAM, get at least 128M (256M even better).

Both the Gateway and Dell come with low end 16M video cards. They will make for a very poor gaming machines regardless of the speed of the cpu. If you are into gaming, then upgrade the video card to at least a GForce2 MX 2.

How many PCI slots do you have for expansion in each system?

After you "balance" each system (adding RAM, upgrading the video card), compare the prices.

I wouldn't be so concerned about the CDRW drive. It is probably an older 8x4x32 model, and will not have RAW READ and RAW WRITE ability. Without this feature you will not be able to copy "protected" CD's. If you plan on getting a CDRW, make sure it has this ability.

<font color=blue>This is a Forum, not a playground. Treat it with Respect.</font color=blue>
Anonymous
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April 8, 2001 11:56:30 PM

Since you narrowed down to those two choice.. I would go for DELL P3 933Mhz... with CD-RW... cuz u really cant tell the differece between 933Mhz and AMD 1Ghz CPU.. and you will need CD-RW to burn musics and other stuff... :) 

hm... No signature.. :) 
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April 9, 2001 1:22:14 AM

Shop around there are more computer makers than Dell or Gateway.
You should get a good video card and at least 128mb of memory.
Another thing to find out is who has the better/ more powerful power supply. Very important for upgrades later.
But if you are going to buy one of those pre built systems,
I would go with the one that has the most features.
Maybe you can use them against each other to lower the price, or get more options :-)
Bob
Anonymous
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April 9, 2001 1:53:03 AM

How much memory is in each system? Don't settle for 64Meg of RAM, get at least 128M (256M even better).

Both the Gateway and Dell come with low end 16M video cards. They will make for a very poor gaming machines regardless of the speed of the cpu. If you are into gaming, then upgrade the video card to at least a GForce2 MX 2.



Both will have 128mb of RAM. I was planning on upgrading the video card to what you just said within a month after buying and putting the other video card in my old 200 mhz CPU

Windows sux. Death to MS.
April 9, 2001 3:45:55 AM

How much better is Athlon vs P3? Now there's a loaded question!

My PC has a Coppermine on a CUSL2 (i815 chipset) mobo. My wife's PC has a T-bird on a VIA KT133A chipset mobo. She and I have had our PCs for about 6 and 8 months respectively. My P3 PC has been rock-solid and 100% Win2K/device compatible. My wife's Athlon PC runs like the wind, but has had its share of nuisance (VIA) issues.

Most Intel PCs, such as the Dell 4100, use a motherboard with an Intel chipset, and IMHO that's a huge advantage when it comes to stability and compatibility. T-bird PCs almost always come with a VIA chipset mobo and VIA just can't seem to get it right (driver update after driver update)!

Another advantage that a P3 PC has over an Athlon PC is that it will run a lot cooler (which IMO should increase its longevity).

However, if you are willing to overlook those "practical advantages" for Athlon's "better performance" (the T-bird does have a better FPU than the P3), than by all means join the AMD crowd.
Anonymous
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April 9, 2001 4:14:26 AM

VIA is a problem that can be avoided by not buying a VIA chipset. Choose a good motherboard and then make your comparison. It seems to me that your problem is not with AMD but with VIA.

Windows sux. Death to MS.
April 9, 2001 5:15:42 AM

This is what I have run into several times...I browse the PC section and I see the "Great Gaming Machine" and "Cutting Edge." It was 1999.99 and came with a P4 1.5ghz and 128MB of Ram; but look what's under the hood...a real bad Intel motherboard; an nvidia 32MB TNT video card and it doesn't even have a CD burner! Cutting edge? Not exactly!

I hate when I see that because I think that both Intel and the computer companies are trying to trick the public. 1. It is Intel's fault for pricing their CPU's too high so manufactures have to put in crappy components. 2. the manufactures are trying to make money and make it so you would have to buy another PC again by next year. That is why I now build my own systems so I can control 150% of what goes in it and not some representitive from Gateway or Dell. I also find it a lot more fun!
Anonymous
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April 9, 2001 5:55:00 AM

Most of what your talking about are customizeable options. Not nearly as many options as building one yourself but still... I would never think of buying a PC without a little customization.

Windows sux. Death to MS.
April 9, 2001 6:49:32 AM

It all makes sense when you look at it from the programmer's point of view. With the 'closed-source' operating systems, how can you expect a programmer to see all the bugs ahead of time? Same deal with ntel. Ntel not only makes processors, but defines the standards (agp, pci, ata, dma). There's no doubt the ntel chipsets are stable. They had better be......

But AMD costs quite a bit less, and that's where the difference starts.
April 9, 2001 9:19:10 AM

Its bizarre how many complaints I see about AMD. I have an AMD Athlon 650 on an Asus K7V mobo. I have a triple boot system (Linux/Win98se/Win2k). I do reinstall windows 98 quite often, but thats because I experiment with a lot of programs, that systematically destroy the registry.

But, I seldom have any problems. Win2k runs rock solid. I do all my software development there. Even when *early versions* of my programs are leaking all over the memory, the comp handles it self well.

I think most of the problems come from people who get the first release of any motherboard (Intel AND AMD). These problems usually get sorted out in later revisions.


<i><b><font color=red>"2 is not equal to 3, not even for large values of 2"</font color=red></b></i>
Anonymous
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April 9, 2001 3:27:28 PM

>I was planning on upgrading the video card to what you
>just said within a month after buying and putting the
>other video card in my old 200 mhz CPU

My PC Hardware Timeline is a little fragmented, but I think AGP came out after the Socket 7 that is most likely running your "200 mhz cpu" was retired. The new box you're looking almost certainly uses an AGP video card (if it's not integrated!), so I'd take another look at your P200 board first.

I could be wrong of course...


In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is.
April 9, 2001 4:58:10 PM

Quote:
VIA is a problem that can be avoided by not buying a VIA chipset. Choose a good motherboard and then make your comparison. It seems to me that your problem is not with AMD but with VIA.

Huh? I don't think you fully read my prior reply! Did I indicate anything different?

Besides, it seems to me that you started this thread seeking assurance that Athlon was better than P3 and I answered with a comparison (from direct experience) by someone who has both... or did I misunderstand where you are coming from?
April 9, 2001 5:17:01 PM

<font color=blue>"T-bird PCs almost always come with a VIA chipset mobo and VIA just can't seem to get it right (driver update after driver update)!"</font color=blue>

I have to disagree (just a little bit).

I have 3 Intel machines, and 1 TBird with an Abit-KT7-RAID. The Tbird is as stable as the Intel machines, more so, in fact. Since going "live" on the new year, it has yet to freeze or lock up. After a game marathon session with my son (many different games, no reboot), my Celeron BX based system may occasionally freeze, requiring a reboot. Has never happened on my AMD system, VIA KT133 and all.

Granted, it did take me over a day to get the AMD system solid (finding the right drivers, and the USB took another day to get it working), but once done the system has been great.





<font color=blue>This is a Forum, not a playground. Treat it with Respect.</font color=blue>
April 9, 2001 5:17:13 PM

HG~ As you indicate, there's one heck of a lot of VIA chipset users out there who have not had your good fortune, my wife included (and she's a software engineer)! How many '4 in 1 driver' updates have you gone through to solve AGP and IDE issues, especially with Win2K?

As I conceded, Athlon's are terrific performers - mainly because of their superior (fully pipelined) floating point processing. As you well know, you just have to take extra measures to keep T-birds from overheating!

Re: VIA, AMD should follow Intel's direction in designing their own (complete) chipsets, as VIA's engineering leaves a lot to be desired.
April 9, 2001 5:28:41 PM

Quote:
Granted, it did take me over a day to get the AMD system solid (finding the right drivers, and the USB took another day to get it working), but once done the system has been great.

Again (as I said to HG), consider yourself fortunate. All anyone has to do to prove that VIA chipsets problems are for real is to do a search on "VIA" in Tom's Motherboard & Chipsets Forum (or AnandTech's, or Ace's, or...). The number of users experiencing VIA problems is staggering! The following (typical) example appeared just yesterday over in the Mobo-Chipset Forum:

<b>Re: 4 in 1 drivers</b>
Yeah. 4.29 drivers SUCK SUCK. Don't dare to get higher than 4.28 (these are more stable than the last). 4.29 AGP drivers suck.
Look, mate if you want my opinion, I don't like VIA. I have Asus CUV4x, (VIA Apollo Pro 133Z chip) and I'm gonna buy a new one - Intel 815E. I'm tired of those incompatibilities with SB LIVE, RAM, AGP cards, PCI cards, etc.
I want peace, and VIA is killing me.
April 9, 2001 6:27:44 PM

Just one, When I installed win2k. Nothing much after that. I did have a problem with the nVidia Drivers though. So, I Just installed the Creative labs ones. Since, I don't play games in win2k, its no problem.


<i><b><font color=red>"2 is not equal to 3, not even for large values of 2"</font color=red></b></i>
Anonymous
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April 10, 2001 12:29:35 AM

After going to gateway and being redirected between 3 different customer gateway customer service representatives I have been told that the current Gateway PC that I want to buy has a AMD chipset as opposed to VIA but I'm not sure I trust him. He sounded a little confused.

Windows sux. Death to MS.
April 10, 2001 5:27:53 AM

If you want to run W2k then get a P3, if 9x anything will do it. Dell is a black box, dont plan to "upgrade" it.
!