Intel vs. AMD

I'm a little confused on the issue of CPU's and what goes with them. I haven't messed with computer stuff for about 2 years now (the last time I built one) and now that my PC bombed I need to build a new one.

I understand all the talk about the new cores that are out or are coming out. FSB confuses me a little. It seems like CPU-talk only goes to FSB133 but I see all kinds of other stuff like an FSB of 533. Is that only applicable to the dual- and quad-pumped stuff? If so that's still confusing.

Another part that confuses me is the Athlon XP ####+. What the heck is going on? All of a sudden there's no GHz rating. Is the #### supposed to be some sort of equivalent?

Finally, the RAM issue. In this article ( benchmarks are performed on P4's and Athlon XP's. Why is it that the RAM for the P4's is rated at 533 and 400MHz, while the XP's memory is only rated at 166 and 133MHz? Does this give an advantage to the P4's, putting them on unequal ground for the bechmark? Maybe there's something I have yet to learn about PC2100, DDR333, and what Rambus is exactly.

Thank you for all those who help clear this up. It's been a rough week so far ingesting all this knowledge.

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  1. For starters, I HIGHLY recommend you jump over to <A HREF="" target="_new"></A>. They have CPU lessons, teaching you arhitectures, comparing them. Them scoop over to their RAM theory section and you will learn how RAM works, as well as RDRAM technology.

    To answer you:
    1) FSB on the Athlons is DDR. So it's like saying Dual Pumped. A 133MHZ FSB means 266MHZ on Athlons.
    Pentium 4s use 64-bit, or Quad-Pumped bus, so 133MHZ bus on P4 means 533MHZ total.
    So in reality we are still at 133MHZ FSB these days, and use doubling techniques to go further. A real pure 533MHZ bus would be hard as hell to create what with noise problems. However whether a pure 533MHZ bus against a Quad Pumped 133MHZ one would perform better, is debatable and still not proven.

    2) AMD developped these ratings as to counter Intel's "MHZ means everything" motto. For that, they used ratings that compare their Palomino's clock speed to a Tbird's performance. So a 1.4GHZ Palomino performs around a 1.6GHZ Tbird. That is actually true btw because: A 1.4GHZ Tbird was able to compete the 1.8GHZ Wilamette easily. So a 400MHZ difference. The Northwood 1.8A, toned it down to compete 1.6As (hence 200MHZ difference now), and thus a 1.8A was better than a 1.4GHZ Tbird. So this means the 1.4GHZ Palomino, is better than the 1.8A, and thus it explains why the 1600+ rating, since you need 200MHZ difference for a Tbird against a Northwood to compete, therefore a 1.6GHZ Tbird CAN beat a 1.8A NW, but a 1.4GHZ Tbird can compete a 1.8 Wilamette.
    The ratings still work well today, so they are not as bad as they sound. AMD needed that to boost their sales, and it worked, as well as they saying out loud that MHZ isn't everything, which is true.

    3) That is a bit confusing by them but to clear it up, the Athlon setup is running at 266MHZ memory and 333MHZ too. The P4 is NOT running at 533MHZ memory, but PC1066, because RDRAM is also DDRing its own speed, hence the 533MHZ.

    I hope this clears up some of your questions!

    The sound of determination is the echo of will...
  2. 1.) When you hear 266MHz bus, it means 133MHz actually, using DDR. AMD created this naming system, which is technically nothing more than a lie, but does help explain the performance equivalent. Intel was forced by AMD's successful marketing of that lie to call their 133MHz bus "533MHz" which is roughly the performance equivalent because it uses quad data rate technology.

    The XP numbers are not a lie, but still a deception. They are meant to confuse the buyer into thinking they have a faster processor. An XP1600+ runs at 1400MHz. The PIII 1400 offers similar performance and is called a 1400. So it's really a scam. AMD could have simply stated that their processors were 15-20% more efficient than P4's, but they decided that deception would be more efficient.

    AMD makes nothing that can compete with Intel at the moment for speed. The XP2200+ offers similar performance to the P4 2.2A, but Intel offers processors up to 2.56B MHz. And for overclockers, AMD's are a terrible value, with the P4 1.6A easily hitting 2400MHz and costing far less than the 2200+, which can also hit 2400+ speeds of only 1800MHz with similar cooling.

    <font color=blue>By now you're probably wishing you had asked more questions first!</font color=blue>
  3. Robb, technology is changing so fast right now, its amazing to see whats going on, its kinda like watching a lead changing Nascar race. Right now Intel is in the lead with the fastest and most expensive processors available, and speedwise is kicking AMDs rearend, however this time last year AMD was king, so keep in mind that what you may decide to build today, will not stay Top of the Line for long, looking at AMDs past its not over yet, no matter how loud the ITELs trumpeters blow. You just need to take your time, and research the information available in the articles posted on sites like this, and links to other sites. I personally would love to bring you up to speed but theres so much info to give you I'd be typing for a couple of hours. Most of the opinions you'll get here will be product biased on their individual preferences, my advise to you is to start here at Toms in the CPU Guide, and Mainboard Guide links at the bottom of this page and then branch out from there and make your own decisions as to what to do and go with.
  4. Those were great answers and gave me nearly everything that I really wanted to know. Now I understand that basically all the CPU's and mobos start at 133MHz, and then AMD and the DDR technology dual-pump it while Intel does quad pumping.

    However, I still don't know which RAM type is associated with the Pentiums. I am still looking stuff up of course. I had this cool idea at Fry's today too. I'm thinking about getting a dual processor mobo, overclocking my first chip, and then adding another chip for upgrade down the road. P4's sound like they yield more in overclocking but that's a scary procedure to me right now, plus I have to read up on dual mobos and how that works. Thanks all and happy computing.

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