P4 / athlon review (and heatsink test)

Hi All,

Not sure if Tom will delete this factual post..but here goes.

The great Heatsink review some time back was for me the last straw for toms hardware. It was obviously aimed as an attack on the AMD. I mean heatsinks fall off all the time ;|..don't they..?

My biggest concern about the P4s throttle back feature is it allows OEMs to fit the most abysmal heatsinks to P4 machines as it "doesn't matter". result the P4 just slows down. But hey it can be sold as 2GHz cause it says that on the label.

Now for the subject of laptops with P4 processors, this is a blessing of course as when u fork out ure 1000's of dollars/pounds for a 2 GHz P4 laptop, it doesnt need to have a decent heatsink and fan which laptop manufacturers will love no doubt as it will reduce their costs.

Of course your 2 GHz laptop could drop back to a 1 GHz or less laptop after 10 mins when it heats up ..

now to the latest CPU XP/P4 review. I got to see this as a colleague brought it to my attention.

A few quotes sum it up for me >

1) At the low resolution of 640 x 480, the Pentium 4/2000 is in the lead, while the AMD Athlon XP 1800+, boosted by the enhanced Nvidia driver, takes the lead at the high resolution.

surely the Nvidia driver is the same for both Intel and AMD, is the Intel lacking something to make it inferior then?. Why use this hack journo way of trying to cheapen the better part?

2) The picture shows both mobos Intel and AMD, both have different video cards (why not use the same one).
The intel has four RAM Devices fitted, the AMD has one. (much faster memory bandwidth on the Intel due to interleaving oddly enough).

3) The Lame MP3 Encoder under Windows XP is used to convert a 178 MB sound file from a WAV format to a "MPEG-1 Layer 3" format. In this discipline, the Intel Pentium 4/2000 makes a clean sweep of the competition. Nonetheless, the new Athlon XP CPUs don't cut a bad figure, either.

There was one second between the 1800+ XP and the P4 2GHz, where is the "clean sweep"?? come on please..

4) The new Divx 4.02 codec, used together with Flask Mpeg 0.6, caused quite a stir - the AMD Athlon XP 1800+ beats the Intel Pentium 4/2000, knocking the ex-gold medallist out of its top position.

When was the P4 the "gold medallist"?.. this is hack journalism. just say the XP made a "clean sweep" instead aye ;)

5) This category of benchmarks is subject to change. Tom's Hardware has knowledge that the new DivX codec 4.5 is almost ready for release and Flask Mpeg is also working diligently on a new version of its code.

Does this mean there will be a more Intel favourable or AMD unfavourable Flask/divx codec?, surely not sponsored?

6)The sisfot memory benchmark shows clearly the four Dimm interleaving over a single dimm. this of course will colour all memory intensive benchmarks and make them worthless. (see mpeg2 video encoding etc..)

7) Why show a benchmark if as it states the makers of the benchmark utility had NOT implemented SSE detection for media encoding as it looked for "genuine intel".

If the XP couldnt be recognised as having SSE then the benchmark should not of been included at sll. very unprofessional.

8) Another one of the reasons is Windows XP, being forced as the successor to Windows 98/ME and Windows 2000 by Microsoft. In comparison to the past, the Athlon XP can profit from Windows XP, probably more than Intel CPUs. It seems that AMD helped Microsoft get the optimum out of its new CPUs.

So is tom saying that AMD have better relations with Microsoft? or the Intel isn't up to it. there is NO link between the XP operating system and the AMD XP, no link should be implied (even to try and cover up poor intel performance). XP is after all Win2k with a "fisher price" interface added.

A TOM quote on the first page: "Windows XP is becoming increasingly important. Windows XP comes with some SSE optmizations, which benefits both Pentium 4 and Athlon XP"

nuff said there then.

9) We were in for a surprise with the new MPEG-4-Codec DivX 4.02.1: when used together with Flask Mpeg 0.6, the Athlon XP 1800+ (clocked at 1533 MHZ) knocked the stuffing out of the Pentium 4, clocked at 2000 MHz. This is a watershed in CPU comparisons between AMD and Intel. Although the benchmarks favor AMD over Intel presently things can, and will change.

Why will they change, the P4 is a P4 and an XP is an XP unless of course you get somebody to hack the codecs and flask (sponsored?) to favour your processor.?

10) Performance = Clock Speed x Operations/Cycle

This equation helps explain the theory behind why the AMD Athlon XP, although clocked at a lower speed, is able to reach the same performance than a faster-clocked Intel Pentium 4. But one thing should be made clear here - since Intel introduced its 0.13-micron processor, the Northwood Pentium 4, it can turn the MHz dial up higher than AMD can. High clock speeds are a real burr under AMD's saddle, as has been shown by the developments of the past several months. While Intel has already cleared the 2000 MHz hurdle, AMD has barely scraped over the 1533 MHZ one from 1400 MHz.

Why is clock speed such an "anal" thing.. Intel can wind up the clock speed as fast as they like, they have the Speed fall back with temperature "feature" so stability isnt an issue.

the XP speed rating has some crying about the Cyrix PR rating which of course claimed faster than intel for the same clock. We know of course that the Cyrix had great integer performance but useless maths copro).

However the XP had to have something to show it was in fact faster than the equivalently clocked P4, clock speed is not everything, if it was then we would have 2 GHz 486's now.

And remember higher clock speeds DO equal more heat (if of course that is the real core speed in practice)

11 )Another factor is the stability and product quality of a system: while all Athlon processors suffered from occasional instability in our tests, the Pentium 4 platform ran without a glitch. Reasons for this behaviour might not lie in the processor itself, but rather in the motherboard design and the chipset used. Future driver updates might not just improve performance but also stability of a platform. And of course, every user knows that the lightweight price tags on Athlon XP processors may have a downside compared to their more expensive Pentium 4 rivals.

Ha, lightweight price tags, surely Tom meant to say the P4 is still a much more expensive part than the outperforming XP.

And ALL Athlon cpus (not just XP) had stability issues?, this is just another pro intelism to put an element of doubt in a buyers mind. Our athlon systems here are as stable as our Pentium 2/3/Celeron ones.

12) . Today's crop of 3D games are no problem for either the Athlon XP or the Pentium 4. They run very smoothly at high resolutions and refresh rates. In this case, it was up to game developers to tailor the 3D engines to work better with new technologies such as SSE and SSE2.

Anybody with sense knows that game developers will no alienate users of one CPU over another and they will NOT write their code so it favours the P4 in that SSE "Genuine intel" kind of way. I suspect most gamers use AMD for its performance per buck advantage.

Anyway i could no doubt find a load more biased statements and doubt inducing hints.

I'll check back to see if this gets posted "unedited" and welcome any comments from tom or other forum users.

P.S. i did email tom over the "heatsink" hack article but received no response so am trying the forum this time.


Bill Lewis

Managing Director
Kijoma Solutions Ltd
Electronic Product Design and Consultancy

Opinions stated here are my own and not neccesarily of Kijoma Solutions Ltd.

"The ferrari is faster then the mini but then this will no doubt change with new drivers"
10 answers Last reply
More about athlon review heatsink test
  1. Ok, I think you need to take a few deep breaths. Either one of us could be wrong, but here are my thoughts.

    1) Of course the drivers are the same, but that doesn't mean nVidia programmed them to do better on one or the other? That doesn't mean that they DO, just that it's possible. I believe Tom is trying to say that it is the case. He has no evidence, but he's not necessarily wrong.

    2) You're right, they are different. I thought they were the same the first time around, but I didn't look close. There is no reason for this, it's very strange.

    3) This has come up before, it's very odd wording, to say the least.

    4) The P4 2.0GHz beat the Tbird 1.4GHz in almost all reviews. I fail to see how this is "hack jounalism"?

    5) "Subject to change" means that it MIGHT change, not that it WILL change.

    6) There are not four RIMMs, rather two RIMMs and two continuity/termination RIMMs (forget which one, sorry).

    7) Agreed, the benchmark is false and shouldn't be included.

    8) Agreed, this is again, strange to say the least.

    9) He's just saying that times change, and so do processors. You don't expect your 486 to be the best performing CPU for all time, do you?

    10) I'm not sure exactly what you're saying, but ok.

    11) Agreed, he's using a very stable (and proven) chipset against a new (and unproven) chipset. Odd reviewing practices, IMO.

    12) I'm not sure what you're saying. Game developers use tools such as SSE and SSE2 because the CPUs are powerful enough themselves, so they're looking for other ways to get performance.

    I have never seen a post on a forum edited, no matter what it said. I have also never seen Tom or any of the other reviewers answer a post made to them.

    <font color=orange>Quarter</font color=orange> <font color=blue>Pounder</font color=blue> <font color=orange>Inside</font color=orange>
  2. Hi,

    Well i was waiting for a load of groupie trolls to chew me up, perhaps later ;)

    4) The P4 2.0GHz beat the Tbird 1.4GHz in almost all reviews. I fail to see how this is "hack jounalism"?

    I would hope a CPU running 600 MHz faster did :), i was of course referring to the "gold medalist" comment, is the P4 1.4GHz faster than the Athlon 1.4Ghz then?

    5) "Subject to change" means that it MIGHT change, not that it WILL change.

    yes but the wording is intentionally there to imply to readers along with all the other hidden agenda that it will get better "for the p4" soon. no evidence as you say, that it will.. so why does he imply this falsely.

    Apologies about the RIMMS mistake but two are beneficial, i will not bore you to death with the sequential read/write latency issues of memory but two are better than one in this config.

    re: 9) He's just saying that times change, and so do processors. You don't expect your 486 to be the best performing CPU for all time, do you?

    i expect an Intel p4 xGHz to always be just that, same for an AMD xGHz XP. its uneccesary words just to take the shine of the AMD performance.

    10 with this one, what i am saying is , saying "AMD cant hack faster clock speeds and Intel can" somehow makes them superior when impartial reviews show the XP 1800+ clocked at 1.53GHz equals or beats the 2GHz P4. in summary "CLOCK SPEED is no longer a usable marketing toy".

    11) you obviously did not read this > "while all Athlon processors suffered from occasional instability in our tests, the Pentium 4 platform ran without a glitch."

    He is stating to the reader that the P4 ran fine but ALL athlons, yes ALL, not just the XP suffered instability.

    This just places doubt in the mind of the reader over buying an "Athlon". Its a cleverly worded "doubt producer".
    This has no place in a review, only in say an Intel marketing document . Even then i am sure it would cause legal action to be taken.

    Thank you for replying though, i could of made the post far longer if i had scraped the surface of the "heatsink" fiasco with the dodgy "videos" of palomino cores toasting without a heatsink (see www.amdzone.com).

    If tom is an independent reviewer then he should be "independent", if he shares more than just the coffee machine with Intel then his reviews on CPUs with these biased comments are completely worthless except to the devoted intelites.


    Bill Lewis
  3. I started a thread with like half of your points over 16 hours ago, you should chime in there as it has garnered nearly 50 replies so far.

    "The Cash Left In My Pocket,The BEST Benchmark"
  4. 4) The P4 2.0 GHz was the single best processor for that task. Period. Tom wasn't referring to "per clock", but overall. That's what he meant.

    but two are beneficial, i will not bore you to death with the sequential read/write latency issues of memory but two are better than one in this config.

    I absolutely agree. I meant to say that, but forgot. Another oversight (handicap, some might say), on Frank and Bert's part.

    10) I agree, but the point is that AMD will have to go to a new core in order to get up to the clockspeeds they need to be at to beat Intel.
    Obviously clock speed isn't everything, but when a Tbird 1.4 equals a P4 1.8 in performance, then Intel gets up to a P4 3.5GHz, AMD can't still be sitting around 1.53GHz and expect to do well. That's what Frank is saying.

    "CLOCK SPEED is no longer a usable(sic) marketing toy"
    I disagree. It will be unuseable eventually, but it will take time for people to learn that clock speed isn't everything. Remember that AMD made a big deal out of being the first to reach 1GHz. That kind of thing will remain in people's minds for quite some time.

    Here's something interesting:
    On the Home Shopping Network (don't ask :), they were selling an Athlon XP system (overpriced, of course). The woman talking about it used an analogy of kids in a sandbox to explain how the XP is actually faster per clock. Nice to see that AMD's marketing is doing some good. But I digress.

    11) If they had instability with all the Athlons, then they have the right to say so. If I review a motherboard that does not work right, I'll say so, I'm not going to cover it up.
    Regardless, most likely the problem was that they simply switched out the processors, without changing any other hardware or reinstalling the OS. If that is the case, it is merely reviewer stupidity.

    <font color=orange>Quarter</font color=orange> <font color=blue>Pounder</font color=blue> <font color=orange>Inside</font color=orange>
  5. dude, you sound like a crybaby, THG gives you a favorable review on the AXP and all you can do is cry about it? you want the cake and eat it too?

    if you don't like some of the truths that were published at THG then go elsewhere, I'm sure Vanshardware.com and Amdzone.com are your cup of tea, nice objective reporting you'll find there. adios, sucka!

    "<b>AMD/VIA!</b>...you are <i>still</i> the weakest link, good bye!"
  6. You're apparently having problem of comprehending. He pointed out Tom's inconsistency and conflict in this review.

    :smile: Good or Bad have no meaning at all, depends on what your point of view is.
  7. Wait, so you think people SHOULD be lemmings, and not think for themselves?

    <font color=orange>Quarter</font color=orange> <font color=blue>Pounder</font color=blue> <font color=orange>Inside</font color=orange>
  8. >You're apparently having problem of comprehending. He pointed out Tom's inconsistency and conflict in this review.

    Tom didn't review the AXP.
    the first picture in the article(AXP doll beating up the Intel doll) should've been enough for you AMDroids but you want more, why don't you point out all the inconsistencies in Van Smith articles, am sure you'd pups would find them if you look hard enough.

    but since AMD is in a precious and fragile state you need to defend anything said against AMD even tho' it's true.

    oops I offended AMD oops, my bad.

    "<b>AMD/VIA!</b>...you are <i>still</i> the weakest link, good bye!"
  9. Yay!

    the first pointless troll reply!

    i'll read on.

  10. eh???
    i thought the amd doll was about to jump ontop of the intel one for some sweeeeeeet lovin!

    Is that a Northwoody in your pocket or are you just eXPited to see me?
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