Pentium 4 Systems: To Buy or Not To Buy / To Cry Or Not to Cry


You've got $1600 or $2700 to spend on a new computer system. What will you do?

I guess it is pretty obvious that the purchase of a Pentium 4 system for $1600 is one of the least sensible things you could do with that amount of money. For that price you get way better systems with Athlon processors, as Gateway's Select 1000 example is demonstrating extremely well.

You won't find those 'bad apples' at Dell only. Gateway, HP and IBM are offering the same ridiculous configuration. Please be wise and don't fall for it. I mentioned it before; the PC-market has nothing to do with common sense. If the decision makers at Dell, HP, Gateway or IBM would think in a straight forward kind of way, they wouldn't offer those crappy P4-boxes and hype them with empty 'cutting edge' phrases. Why do those guys get away with it? Because there are hundreds of thousands of uninformed people out there who will continue to fall for hollow marketing phrases and throw their money away. The TV commercials of those OEMs may sound as sweet as they want, but the minds behind those $1600 P4-boxes are merely out to take advantage of the uninformed. It's close to modern robbery. I take my hat off to Micron, which simply DOES NOT sell any P4-systems, thus being the only OEM that can maintain a clear conscience in this ridiculous game.

Let's now get to something positive however. If you look at the prices, configurations and benchmark scores of those four tested systems, Gateway's Select 1000 seems to be the system with the by far best price/performance ratio. For only $1600 you get a system that is even able to beat an $1100 more expensive 'cutting edge' P4-system from Dell (and most certainly an equally priced P4-system from Gateway just as much).

The only system of the four that is really providing 'cutting edge' is Micron's Millennia MAX XP however, the only system that did NOT use this phrase in its marketing. If you want to go for a top-of-the-line system and have $2700 to spend, you can hardly make a better decision than to buy the Millennia MAX XP.

So what's the bottom line? Well, firstly I have to repeat myself for the 10,000th time, reminding you that systems with AMD's Athlon or Duron processors are the best you can get for your money right now. I also don't want to fail to mention that you can of course configure a Pentium 4 box that beats Micron's Millennia MAX XP in a few benchmarks, but for what price? I leave it up to you to decide what you want to think about Dell, the only large OEM that still doesn't offer systems with AMD processors. Are they really caring about their customers? I honestly wonder ...