After no less than 25 result charts the final performance evaluation of Intel's new Pentium 4 1.7 GHz can only be "not bad, but not great either ". However, you might want to have a look at this:
|1K Unit Pricing Of Intel Processors in US$|
|Processor||Price since April 15, 2001||New Price|
|Pentium 4 1.7 GHz||N/A||352|
|Pentium 4 1.5 GHz||519||256|
|Pentium 4 1.4 GHz||375||193|
|Pentium 4 1.3 GHz||268||193|
This is not just a price cut, this is a big bang! Intel is cutting the Pentium 4 prices by half! Suddenly, Pentium 4 gains a whole lot of attractiveness. Admittedly, Pentium 4 1.7 GHz remains still significantly more expensive than Athlon 1333, but it has come a lot closer. Pentium 4 1.5 GHz might reach a similar street price as Athlon 1333, while Pentium 4 1.4 GHz can probably be bought for less than AMD's flagship. Pentium 4 1.3 GHz has just become obsolete. Each time when Intel wants to drop a processor it sells it at the same price as the next better model.
We have to wait for the street prices of Pentium 4 and should not forget the added costs of the motherboard and the RDRAM memory, but it seems very likely that Pentium 4 will gain a lot of popularity now.
Is Pentium 4 1.7 GHz worth the $352 (OEM price, not street price!)? Well, as long as you predominantly use the majority of common software that favors Athlon and as long as Athlon 1333 is still quite a bit cheaper than Pentium 4 1.7 GHz, I would still go for the AMD processor. However, for speed freaks it might be worth to have a look at OEM-boxes with Pentium 4 1.7 GHz processor. They might be well in the same price range as Athlon boxes with AMD760 chipset and DDR-memory.
In summary I would say that the performance of Pentium 4 1.7 GHz might not be such a great deal, but in combination with Intel's price drop it has become a very interesting high-end processor, especially for people who use a lot of upcoming software titles, as e.g. 3D-gamers. Intel was finally forced to come up with reasonable prices. The result will be a much higher acceptance of Pentium 4 processors. Now I am only waiting for 'Northwood' and 'Brookdale'. The times for AMD will finally become harder again.