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CPU choices - reality check?

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December 8, 2002 11:20:22 AM

I have finally decided to get a new comp; I have been using a Pii300 for the last few years :p 

Anyway, I do a lot of 2D stuff (Photoshop etc.) and dabble in 3D modelling. Games really aren't my thing anymore. My current comp copes with most things, but crawls to a halt when the CPU really has to work (like scaling down and optimizing a 40 frame animated gif from 800x600 to 275x200 or something).

Anyway, I've noticed that the current Athlons are starting to lag behind the newer P4s. However, (BIG however) I can buy TWO XP2000s for the price of one 2.4Ghz Northwood, THREE XP2000s for the price of one 2.53Ghz Northwood, or EIGHT XP2000s* for the price of one 3.06Ghz Uberchip.

(* or two MP2000s + Dual Athlon Mobo + 512MB ECC DDR!)

So, is the real world performance difference between the new P4s and something like an XP2000 really worth it?
December 8, 2002 2:12:53 PM

NO.

You will always pay a ridiculous amount of money for the fastest chips. They are faster, but...
Is a Rolls Royce twice as good as a Ford? You can get like 10 fords for 1 Rolls, so what would you choose?

If a P4 3.06Ghz is, say no more than 20% faster in most circumstances than an XP2000+, but it costs 1000% more,
are you going to pay 1000% to get that extra 20%?
If you would like something faster than the XP2000+, why not consider an XP2400+ or so? They are also much cheaper, but not easy to find yet.

BTW, I have an Athlon XP 1700+, and this thing flies in 2D and 3D. I'm amazed at how fast it encodes DIVX or MP3 files.

I suggest you go for an XP2000+ or so, and use the rest of the money you saved by not buying a P4 to take your friends or family out on a weekend. That's much nicer than having a P4. And even cheaper too. ;-)

Cheers from Belgium;
Carl
a c 159 à CPUs
December 8, 2002 4:19:07 PM

Get yourself a 1.8a ($143 newegg) retail boxed and abit sa7 ($66 newegg) and run it at 140-145 fsb for a nice overclock. Plenty of speed with good memory, such as samsung pc2700 using the 4:5 ratio. It's not that much more than an athlon xp setup. Much quieter too.
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December 8, 2002 5:05:38 PM

Consider future upgrades also - probable future upgrade to a Barton 400MHz DDR FSB on the AMD side and Prescott 800MHz QDR FSB on the the Intel side. Tow choices here but with the the price range your targeting...:

- Asus A7N8X Deluxe motherboard. ~$150

- AMD Athlon XP 2400+ processor RETAIL. ~$200

- Two Corsair 256MB DDR400 SDRAM memory modules. ~$180

<A HREF="http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/modules.php?nam..." target="_new">Official Asus A7N8X thread</A>

<i>It's your world kid!!!</i>
December 8, 2002 5:48:24 PM

I don't think Intel is going to stop ramping up the current P4. And judging by recent events, I'd say the better upgrade path would be w/ Intel. Save for the price, there would be no reason to buy a brand new AMD system. SSE2, Thermal Protection, and HT are three good features AMD chips lack. Also factor in the price of a good Heatsink and Fan combo for your AMD. Where Intel ships retail setups that are not only efficient, but quiet, and rival high end, pricy setups in terms of performance and quality. Unless I was upgrading my AMD platform, I wouldnt consider buying an AMD processor.....Or if I was broke.

[-peep-].
December 8, 2002 6:16:42 PM

Quote:
I don't think Intel is going to stop ramping up the current P4.

Agreed. They won't stop ramping up the current P4 but they will slow down considerably. More focus on FSB speed, HT and DualDDR in 2003 as compared to 2002 when they focused more on clock speed. I would have recommended a Granite Bay setup but I can't recommend a motherboard that is not available. I recommend boards that have user feedback this is both plentiful and positive.

<i>It's your world kid!!!</i>
December 8, 2002 10:25:14 PM

Quote:
So, is the real world performance difference between the new P4s and something like an XP2000 really worth it?

No. If you aren't doing intensive 3D applications and you aren't playing games, an Athlon XP 2000+ will be more than adequate. I have an Athlon 1.4 GHz and it still performs great so I can't justify upgrading yet. I wouldn't worry too much about upgrades... I have only been able to do one CPU upgrade with any board. And if you get an nForce2 motherboard you will be able to upgrade your CPU at least once very easily because Bartons will be Socket A. With an Intel setup, you can still upgrade to at least 3.2 GHz or so with HyperThreading without even worrying about supporting a higher FSB. Upgrading is easy if you don't have to upgrade to the best (much cheaper too).
December 8, 2002 10:41:06 PM

Quote:
Save for the price, there would be no reason to buy a brand new AMD system. SSE2, Thermal Protection, and HT are three good features AMD chips lack. Also factor in the price of a good Heatsink and Fan combo for your AMD. Where Intel ships retail setups that are not only efficient, but quiet, and rival high end, pricy setups in terms of performance and quality.

I agree, if I had all the money I wanted to spend on a computer, I'd get a 3.06 GHz P4. But money is a very LARGE factor IMHO. If you just want your computer to work for you and do the applications (mostly 2D). Anything above an Athlon 1600+ will work great. If you need your computer to be the fastest among your friends, then you can consider paying 3 times the money.

Also, if you get an AMD retail CPU you don't need to get a Fan and Heatsink. They are shipped with them just like Intel's retail CPU's so you don't have to factor in that price.

If you want HT, then you would have to pay for the 3.06 GHz and I think that it would be MUCH better to save those hundreds of dollars by sticking with a 2000+.

Thermal protection is better on P4's, but I have installed a lot of Athlons and have never had one die a thermal death. None of my friends have had it happen either.

SSE2 is nice to have, but again, not worth the money. It helps on very few applications right now and in the future there are only a few applications that can take advantage of it. Even if an application is optimized for SSE2, it will still run fine on the Athlon. So in my opinion, it isn't worth paying much extra money for.
December 9, 2002 1:53:22 AM

I agree on getting the cheapest and not the best stuff. If you are budgeting you rather balance the components on your PC than having just the CPU at best. It's also based on what will satisfy your needs and the cheap Athlon XPs bundled with PC2700 memory or Dual DDR at best is the way to go. I say you have more than a year of no upgrades unless you change your purpose to gaming and higher 3D work you might wann get a better videocard and faster CPU and mobo.
a b à CPUs
December 9, 2002 5:05:32 AM

Quote:
My current comp copes with most things, but crawls to a halt when the CPU really has to work (like scaling down and optimizing a 40 frame animated gif from 800x600 to 275x200 or something).


Sounds like all you REALLY need is a faster CPU. If your board supports 100MHz FSB you might consider a Celeron 1.4GHz upgrade kit from Powerleap, then put off the new system for another 2 years.

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