P4 or Athlon?

i have been an avid intel guy for years. i had a pentium 60 then pII 350 and now a PIII 800. it's itme to upgrade again though and i'm not sure what to do. i hear the P4 isn't thgat great and they're changing the P4 soon anyways, i don't want to buy somehjting that i knwo will be obsolete so soon. The problem is that i don't trust AMD that much. i work with the athlons right now for work and they always run 20 degrees hotter than their pentium counterparts. and are they rally faster, or just in some things while they lack the balls in others?
so which upgrade path do you guys think i should go to? i am weary of swithching from my friend intel but then again i don't want to buy a P4 that is going to be worhtless by the end of the year.

repeat after me, we are all individuals!
19 answers Last reply
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  1. If you buy a socket423 P4 then you will be stuck at 2Ghz.

    There is a Socket 478 P4 motherboard out that will support the upcoming 478 Willy P4's as well as the Northwoods.
    <A HREF="http://firingsquad.gamers.com/hardware/th7ii/default.asp" target="_new">http://firingsquad.gamers.com/hardware/th7ii/default.asp</A>

    If you decide to stay with Intel then wait until the end of this month, the CPU's are due for a price cut.

    Blah, Blah Blahh, Blahh, blahh blah blahh, blah blah.
  2. If you feel like sticking with Intel, the only caveat (besides the socket upgrade bit) is to stay away from the PC133-based i845. You either want RDRAM for your P4, or you want to wait for a DDR chipset--the P4 performs like an asthmatic snail when paired with PC133.


    "/join #hackerz. See the Web. DoS interesting people."
  3. well just read my sig for my opinion in a sentance :). But seriously athlon preforms better. ie tests show a 1.4 ghz athie out preforms a 1.7 p4. So which is better? Also the price is like a lot less! Pluss you gotta buy rdram. plus the p4 mobo's are slightly on the expensive side. For a overall excellent system go with an athlon. To finish your wallet, go with P4.

    Comparing AMD and Intel is like comparing a Ferrari to a Model-T…there’s no comparison.
  4. I wouldn't worry much about an "upgrade path". Once you buy a system, when you are ready to upgrade to the latest and greatest, you will in all probability need a new motherboard, and new RAM as well.

    This is true for both AMD and Intel. For example, the Palomino may run in some boards that were designed for the Thunderbird. But with boards using the KT133 chipset, you are stuck at 200mhz FSB, so unless a new MB is purchased, you cannot take full advantage of the upgrade. Intel is changing the processor socket, so the next P4 will not work with a board purchased today. Upgrade to a Tualatin, and you will still need a new MB.

    I have 3 Intel machines and an AMD T-Bird. The T-Bird with an Abit KT7-RAID motherboard has been 100% stable. No different then my BX based Intel systems (only faster). My next upgrade will be to AMD. More bang for the buck. Period.

    <font color=blue>This is a Forum, not a playground. Treat it with Respect.</font color=blue>
  5. Funny, in an earlier post I made an analogy of AMD with Intel as well. AMD=Honda S2000, Intel=Mercedes C320.

    Amd faster and cheaper, but benzo ...

  6. just get the athlon

    if in doubt blame microsoft...
  7. Your PIII 800 certainly isn't obsolete (and they overclock nicely, too!) I know people who are running them in the 1GHz range, with decent air-cooling.

    You might get more bang for your buck with AMD, but in my experience, there are still too many "bangs". The processors are great, even superior in most aspects (although perhaps, still too hot) but VIA chipsets? No thanks. Too much work. It's one thing to tinker with your machine for performance ... quite another to spend half of your time trying to keep the machine running due to one problem or another. If you want a relatively cheap, fast machine ... and an educational experience ... go with AMD. But if you want a stable upgrade path, I'd wait until next year, and go with the P4 mated with DDR ... and maybe a RAID IDE setup.

    Some people here may detest the P4 (and there are valid reasons ... the price and latency of RDRAM, for one) ... but personally, I think that it's kinda nice to just install the OS, load the chipset and ATA/100 drivers ... <i>once</i>, put in DirectX and the video card drivers, and go play a game without worries. Taking the guesswork out the equation isn't such a terrible thing, IMHO, even if you spend a bit more.

    Heck ... I remember when computers were <i>really</i> expensive, long before the Web was the Internet. The price of RDRAM didn't make me shake in my boots. But I think it pissed off a lot of teenagers who like to spend their money on partying, pizza and porn ... while praying that their parents will continue to ante up for the yearly tuition.

    I think the current version of the P4 has <i>had</i> a decent upgrade path. 1.3 to 1.8 (with 1.9 and 2.0 still to come) ... that's not so bad, RDRAM or not. And the 850 chipset is a rock. Hopefully, the 845 will be just as stable.

    But that's just my opinion. That can get you into trouble around here. Time to duck and cover ... here come the flames!!! AHHH!!! It BURNS, it BURNS!

    That reminds me, I was going to have split pea soup for supper. Hmmm ... maybe I'll just have a sandwich with my holy water.



    <font color=purple>My Rig:</font color=purple> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847" target="_new">http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847</A>
  8. I hate to ask to obvious.. what do you intend to do with the PC ? Games ? internet ? video editing ? Office ? I dont really see a whole lot of apps (even games) that dont run fast enough on a P3-800 with a decent videocard..

    Either way, I'll second some of the opinions already expressed here. AMD definately offers more bang for the buck... but steer clear from VIA chipsets. I've had my share of trouble with them, and while Im sure there are some people out there that have KT133A boards that run without a trouble, there are just too many users (like myself) that complain about USB support, STR3 not working, IRQ issues, etc.. And trust me, its not like I dont know a thing about assembling a PC.

    Now, wether you go intel or AMD, I suggest you wait a bit longer. This is an often heard response to "what should I buy", and usually I disagree, but now is the time to wait (especially since you current machine isnt really that slow, is it ?).

    If you want to go intel, wait for DDR boards that support Northwood (and maybe even Northwood itself). You'll thank me for it in a few years. Also, intel is about to slash prices on its current P4 line (by as much as 50% I heard!), so at the very least, wait for these (2-3 weeks I thought).

    If you want to go AMD way, I'd wait for a decent platform.. being either SiS 735 or nForce. You may also want to hang on to your current setup until the 1.5+ Palomino hits the shelves.

    If you really cant wait, I'd get a Athlon with an AMD760 based chipset. Most current boards seem to support the upcomming desktop Palomino ...

    ---- Owner of the only Dell computer with an AMD chip
  9. If you wanna give AMD a try wait until the athlon 4's come out. They are suppose to run 20% cooler and try to stay away from VIA chipsets.

    If you wanna continue on with intel definitly wait until the newer p4 comes out and do stay away from the sdram side of things. ddr-sdram p4's should be out in 2002. next month i heard also that intel is cutting prices.

    if you wanna give the current amd tbirds a try. go for the 1.33ghz ayhja cpu's. i had one (got burnt when my fan died the other day, it still worked but i'm not taking any chances i don't think you would either with any burnt expensive device) and it was great. The harddrive is a huge bottleneck so i wasn't able to see it at it's full potential. .

    i say stay with intel but wait until northwood comes out. Only go AMD if you wanna try something new.

    Have fun!
  10. try getting a few gigs of ram or getting a solid state hard drive... thatll break the bottle neck

    if in doubt blame microsoft...
  11. Toejam, please.... VIA may be 'bad', but they're not THAT bad.

    I've purchased a number of VIA boards over the years, the current last one bearing the aging kt133 chipset on an KT7 RAID.

    They've been as stable as their intel counterparts, if not more. Installing the 4in1 drivers may be a MINOR annoyance, as in install, reboot, bam you're ready to go.... but that's hardly "half your time trying to keep the machine running." I've never had conflicts with software due to VIA, and I've never had problems with VIA boards period. They've always been fast and cheap, and for me they have been completely stable. Have you ever even owned a VIA product and experienced the maintenance first hand?

    I can see how some people might have problems.... but those are generally computer illiterate people that don't understand that once every blue moon you NEED to flash your bios, and you NEED updated via 4in1 drivers. Just yesterday when I installed win2k on my windows partition, I took a quick glance at the updated faq site for the ABIT KT7 RAID. I needed a later bios version to head off problems in 2k, so what did I do? Download, flash, install 2k... no problems. How can that be so hard? And by the way... yes, it WAS quite nice to install the OS, install the 4in1 and highpoint drivers, download DirectX and the service pack, the nVidia 12.90's, and then immediately go play Tribes2. Not a damn bit of guesswork... gee... am I lucky?

    This 'war against via' is just so overdramatized and exaggerated for crying out loud. Just because people couldn't effectively discredit AMD for their powerful processor, they had to try to nail them in the most widely used chipsets - VIA. Admittedly, stupid people will have problems with VIA... but then again, stupid people tend to have problems finding where they saved their Microsoft Word documents. I'm not trying to paint VIA in gold and elevate them to heavenly status, but they're NOT THAT BAD!

    Besides, if VIA is such a big concern, you can still get quite a bang for your buck by going with AMD and a non VIA based board. And updating those 4in1 drivers every half a year or so or during major OS/software upgrades is not a good enough reason to write VIA off completely.

    And to the original poster... Wait for the "new" P4 if you want to go Intel again. The P4 is not a bad processor... a few kinks to work out maybe, but pretty solid performance if the apps you happen to use fall under the strong points of the P4. If you don't know if you need a P4, chances are you don't, and that AMD would give you better overall performance for a multitude of applications.

    "Laziness is a talent to be cultivated like any other" - Walter Slovotsky
  12. oh i do.. i have a 30GB 75GXP 7200RPM hard drive.. it crashed the other day and is going for an RMA replacement. The difference is soo huge though between the two drives. With the maxtor drive Diablo 2 runs slow even with a 1.3ghz cpu. but anyway i'm stuck with my maxtor drive until i get my replacement.

    good news though i get my new DDR motherboard today! Gigabyte 7DXR. I finaally get to drool over my case and motherboard and the PC2400 DDR stick i have. *drools just thinkin about it*. ANd then take my current Duron (my 1.33ghz cpu got burnt so thats going back on a RMA trip)and overclock it to hell. I'm sure it'll reach 133mhz but will the duron reach 150? it's a duron 700mhz btw.

    Have fun!
  13. i believe it is you who will have fun...

    if in doubt blame microsoft...
  14. thats actually my sig heh ....

    ya i'll have fun.. i was thinking 7x133 is 931mhz! and 7x150 is 1050mhz! worth a try.

    Have fun!
  15. worth a try... certainly...

    if in doubt blame microsoft...
  16. 1 thing sure wait a couple of week.

    Almost every thing go out in september

    ATI new card
    SIS 645 for P4 DDR 2700 support
    Socket 478 for P4
    Intel price cut
    Palamino 1.5 desktop

    AS you see every thing can change in september.Can here in september for benchmark.Anyway your P3 is still pretty fast.If i were you i wait for SIS645 and northwood.

    Intel price cut/DDR low cost/).13 micron/512KB L2 cache.
  17. Yes, sir ... they can definitely be just that bad. The idea of stability is not something I would associate with a VIA chipset.

    If you search on the forum for some of my previous posts earlier in the year, you'll find that I not only owned a system with an VIA chipset, but I spent several months doing everything possible to keep it running. And I am by no means an inexperienced user. I went to school ... I have my certification, and I build and service systems on a regular basis.

    I had to upgrade the chipset drivers on my last VIA system on six separate occasions. I flashed the BIOS three times. I replaced the PSU twice. I replaced memory modules. I replaced the video card. I replaced a hard drive. Wonderfully stable system, that.

    Are you lucky? Apparently. And exactly the kind of response I expected to my post, although, perhaps, most polite than others I have received in the past.

    I am <i>not</i> being overly dramatic about my last experience with a VIA-based system. I <i>did</i> spend the majority of my time with that computer attempting to keep it running. Not fixing minor, or inconveniencing errors ... keeping it up and running. I put more time into researching the problems I experienced with that machine than some people do learning a foreign language. It was a depressing, exasperating situation that I never intend to repeat.

    I don't care in the slightest who makes what. I despise the religiously fanatical attitude some people have in taking sides against either Intel or AMD. I stick to the facts ... the real-world scenario. If it works, I say so. If it runs great ... the same. If it costs me money, and functions on a sub-par level ... well, you can guess the response. And in my opinion, VIA is a third-rate chipset company that makes a decidedly inferior product.

    You may wish to "take-the-high-road" and attempt to sound like the Voice of Reason in comparison to my exaggerated claims. Other people have taken that same tact with me before, and sung out in the same vein. But that doesn't change a single thing that happened to me in the past ... I know what I used, I know what I experienced, and I know that what's left of that computer is now rusting in a landfill somewhere in South Miami, Florida.

    If I can help someone else make a more informed decision before making a purchase that was similar to mine ... then you bet, I'm going to speak my mind. Independently ... regardless of what anyone else says. If it so happens that a number of people are making claims that are similar to mine ... that's a coincidence. I didn't check with "them" first before posting. But it also might lend some credence to what I say. How many people does it take before a so-called fantastical scenario becomes a everyday reality?

    The truth of the matter is ... there are a hell of a lot of people who have had problems with VIA-based systems, and many of those problems were not minor irritations. Unless, of course, you consider regular hard lockups something to be dismissed as trivial.

    This isn't a war, unless you are silly enough to consider that it should be so, on some inexplicable level. It's a discussion about hardware, nothing more.

    I'd be very surprised to discover that YOU have ever owned a VIA product. If all that was ever required for a VIA mainboard was regular maintenance ... I would have never have said anything at all. And neither one of us would have found a reason to post in this thread.

    Walter may have been lazy, but at least he had an open mind.


    <font color=purple>My Rig:</font color=purple> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847" target="_new">http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847</A>
  18. I agree. I have my 866 p3 Cu Dell right now and it'll keep me happy for another year :)

    Althons and Pentiums are just melted rock. Who’s rock is better? Who cares, let’s play some games
  19. Toejam, I realize a lot of people have problems with VIA chipsets... just looking at numerous hardware forums across the web will tell anyone that much. *Usually* these people have not installed/updated software and drivers correctly, or they have done things that have compounded problems (power supply problems). 99% of these problems are usually resolved by reinstalling their hardware/drivers/software correctly or by replacing bad components that didn't play well with the system as a whole. Intel chipsets try to be stupid proof, and often are to their credit... but in *my* experience, VIA chipsets can be just as stable provided that they are carefully managed. I was a relative virgin to AMD until 7 or 8 months ago, when I built my first AMD/VIA system, which has been completely stable ever since, no matter what peripherals, cards, or OS's I throw at it. My previous experience with VIA had been solely with Intel, and those systems all turned out fine as well. Since then I've helped others in my area build their own budget or high end AMD systems, most of them involving a VIA board. I did the installations myself, and left careful instructions for the maintenace of the computer and where to download updated drivers, bios etc and how to install them. None have had a problem yet that wasn't resolved by keeping their system current.

    I can definately believe that you had those problems with your board, even though you did everything right. I think it's unfortunate that what must have been a flawed board ruined your experience with VIA, but I can believe it. You've got a legitimate complaint then, and I won't naysay your privilege to offer a valid opinion. It's just that far too often the intel fanatics reach towards VIA to try and make arguments against AMD. I am sorry, but my first thought was that you were another staunch Intel supporter... accept my apology if you will.

    You seem to have had the worst experience possible with VIA... I guess I've just had the best experience possible. And along that line I would whole heartedly recommend a VIA based board to anyone looking to purchase a new AMD system. Intel may be my next computer purchase, as I am in need of a video editing rig. Should Intel provide additional price cuts, a DDR platform, and a better P4, they'll get my money for the video rig. If not, then back to AMD.

    Proud owner of:

    Tbird 1ghz AXIA (in the process of collecting parts)
    PIII 800
    PIII 500
    PII 333
    486 DX2

    "Laziness is a talent to be cultivated like any other" - Walter Slovotsky
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