I'm about to build my first system, and I was thinking of putting athlong 1600+ there, but now I keep hearing stuff about athlon being not as stable (though it preforms better) as the P4, and it has some heating problem..
so I guess my question is, if I want a stable system (high priority) and want it to be strong as well (next priority),
which cpu should I go with, and while you're at it, which board to go along.. (I'm looking atm at the P4 1.6-478 or athlon 1600+), once again consider that I'm a newbie, so if one of the cpu's is more problematic, I'd want to consider that. thanks in advance.
While it will not answer your questions on stability (I refrain from those posts as they just turn to flame wars), I suggest you take a look at the "New Computer System Guide" thread on this forum. It has some great suggestions for motherboards, processors, and RAM.
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Athlon CPU's are not unstable, but some of the chipsets that support them are. Have a look at Ray's post about stable AMD platforms.
if you're building your own system I'd suggest a p4. There is less of a chance of something burning up if you make an error building it.
It's true that there is less chance of burning up your CPU with a P4 (or cracking the core), but it you are careful with your installation and read all relevant instructions you still wont have any problems with an AMD system.
"Ignorance is bliss, but I tend to get screwed over."
The Athlon is just as stable as the P4, despite what some of the Intel lovers will tell you. Choose a good motherboard and you won't have any problems. It doesn't have a heating problem, either. It requires a heatsink and fan, just like any modern CPU. If you can read and follow directions, then you can install a heatsink properly, which will prevent your CPU from overheating. Some people here will try to mislead you or scare you. Just ignore them. Whether you get a P4 or an Athlon, you'll end up with a fast, stable system. You'll just pay a little less if you go with the Athlon and you'll end up with a little more speed.
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The amd system is a better value, if you are careful in choosing a motherboard and installing the cpu itself you will have an equally stable computing experience be it amd or intel.
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I'm not sure whether stability is an issue when comparing both processors, as I think stability is dependant on the chipset, and mainboard that you purchase.
However if your looking for a "highly reliable" system(24/7/365 - Server application), and don't care for price/performance, I would definitely go with the P4 due to it's fantastic Thermal management, allowing even complete cpu cooling failure(you *accidently* drop the box into a vat of moltern steel), however, with a processor at that speed, make sure you have a board capable of handling much faster Northwood P4's when they become available.
Though, if Price/Performance is what your looking for, I would go with an Athlon for better performance, though I would not leave it unattended for great stretches of time in a Server environment, or at least make sure that it can successfully shutdown if a CPU cooling failure occurs(ie fan stops working, due to continuous use).
for your first(and every other) system i sugest the P4. true, the athlon may be faster on some benchmarks but if your heatsink fan goes out(it happens) then your cooked and at a loss with the athlon.
i also agree that it is dependent on the chipset. i ahve never had a good experience with via(you have to install new pathches everytime you start the computer practically) and i don't know about nforce or sis. but i do know that intel makes a damn good chipset. i sugest getting a P4 with a motherboard manufactured by asus with an intel chipset. asus motherboards and intel never fail.
If you can read, follow directions, and have two hands, you can go for either system. I'm sick of people saying that a newbie can't handle an Athlon system. It's not the newbie who can't handle it, it's the guy who doesn't follow directions who can't. Pretty soon we're going to have to ask people what their IQ is before they can buy a CPU. This is ridiculous. Excuses, Excuses...
As far as stability, there are several motherboards out there that are stable. All the instability is refering to the VIA chipset, and there are alternatives to it. Stability depends on the motherboard, not the CPU.
Thanx all you guys, really great and helpfull advices. Though I'm a bit confused, it seems to me (from what you said) that both CPU's are VERY good, and that basickly I should be happy with either one. I'm going to read some more through the boards to see what people say. If you have any links you think are helpfull, or want to point me to some post, please do. Once again, thnaks for all of you!