The thermal testing was conducted in our Munich lab and done very carefully. We documented the whole test on video, because we considered it interesting for you to see how well Pentium 4 handles the heat sink removal and how nasty Thunderbird goes up in smoke. We never expected Palomino to die as well and we are glad that we taped this test, because we don't enjoy frying CPUs.
It cannot be denied that Intel is offering the by far better solution when it comes to thermal management. Pentium 4 dealt with the thermal disaster in an absolutely perfect manner. No data loss and no hardware damage is more than most of us would expect. Even Pentium III with its two-year old 'Coppermine' core handled the situation admirably. The system may have crashed, but the hardware survived.
AMD needs to do more work. Both Athlon-processors, the new one as well as the old one, died within fractions of a second. Our test scenario is far from outlandish - it happens all of the time. We recommend that every owner of an Athlon or Duron processor should check the seat of its processor heat sink and the proper operation of the heat sink fan on an at least monthly basis. Otherwise you are indeed facing a processor and a motherboard that goes up in smoke.
Download The First Tom's Hardware Test Lab Video!
If you want to experience the Athlon-smoke clouds or the clock throttling of Pentium 4, we recommend you download our video. It runs approximately 2:20 minutes. Our editor Frank Voelkel is an experienced videographer, who put a lot of work into this digital video. To bring the video down to a downloadable size, we converted it into MPEG4-format. Please make sure that you installed the DivX-MPEG4 codec before you run the video on e.g. Windows Mediaplayer.
Please follow-up by reading the article Cooling Off: THG visits AMD .