Final Recount: Pentium 4 vs. Athlon

Bottom Line

This time I presented you four different benchmarks and in three of them Pentium 4 came out victorious. Basing a whole article on those four benchmarks would automatically have to lead to a favorable review of Pentium 4.

This is not my only Pentium 4 article however and those are not the only benchmarks we ran. Therefore the outcome still remains the same. Pentium 4 has got clear flaws, but it's not a piece of crap either. It performs well in 3D-games, it is able to do very fast video-encoding and it seems to give you some kind of edge using the Internet, boosting Intel's amusing 'NetBurst'-hype.

Pentium 4 is still much more expensive than AMD's Athlon, it only runs with the expensive RDRAM-memory and it requires a new kind of power supply and case, thus blowing up system costs even more. In office applications and several other areas Athlon is able to beat Pentium 4 and that at significantly lower costs. Then there is the issue that by this time next year a new model will replace the current Pentium 4, introducing a different socket (Socket478), which destroys a reasonable upgrade path.

There is enough that speaks against Pentium 4 for people who are reasonable. Once again I have to express my feel about Pentium 4 as some kind of life-style symbol rather than a must-have. However, AMD has started to run into trouble as well. While I am being bold enough supplying you with benchmark data of Athlon 1200/133 on an AMD760-platform, you are utterly unable to get your hands on one. It is currently unknown how long it will take until AMD760 motherboards will become available and the alternative ALi Magik1 platforms have so far shown significant lower performance than AMD760.

If you have dedicated areas in which you want your computer to perform particularly well, if those areas should be 3D gaming, video encoding or other bandwidth intensive software and if you should not shy away from high system costs and the missing upgrade path, you should indeed consider Pentium 4. However, if you want a balanced system with excellent performance at a good price I heavily suggest Athlon, even though you might have to wait until the high-end AMD760/DDR platforms will become available.