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Intel Beats AMD To 2 GHz

Pricing [Updated]

Intel has dropped Pentium 4 prices once more, making the Pentium 4 models from 1.5 to 1.7 GHz reasonably attractive.

ProcessorPricing
Pentium 4 2.0 GHz$562
Pentium 4 1.9 GHz$375
Pentium 4 1.8 GHz$256
Pentium 4 1.7 GHz$193
Pentium 4 1.6 GHz$163
Pentium 4 1.5 GHz$133
Pentium 4 1.4 GHz$133
Pentium 4 1.3 GHz$133

Let's also have a look at AMD's pricing:

ProcessorPricingAugust 20, 2001PricingAugust 26, 2001
Athlon 1400 MHz(266 MHz Front-side Bus)$253$130
Athlon 1400 MHz(200 MHz Front-side Bus)$253$130
Athlon 1333 MHz(266 MHz Front-side Bus)$230$125
Athlon 1300 MHz(200 MHz Front-side Bus)$230$125
Athlon 1200 MHz(266 MHz Front-side Bus)$199$120
Athlon 1200 MHz(200 MHz Front-side Bus)$199$120
Athlon 1133 MHz(266 MHz Front-side Bus)$179$115
Athlon 1100 MHz(200 MHz Front-side Bus)$179$115
Athlon 1000 MHz(266 MHz Front-side Bus)$160$115
Athlon 1000 MHz(200 MHz Front-side Bus)$160$115

AMD just made a major price cut, so that even the fastest Athlon processor has a lower price than the slowest Pentium 4 processor. From that point of view it is obvious which product the majority of people should prefer. AMD continues to offer by far the best bang for the buck.

Conclusion

Benchmarking Pentium 4 against Athlon is a controversial thing. The right choice of applications can either make the one or the other look better or worse. Intel's new Pentium 4 at 2 GHz however is beating AMD's fastest Athlon in the majority of frequently used applications and deserves therefore the title 'fastest PC processor'. Intel won the 2 GHz race and it also retook the crown of the maker of the fastest CPU. I am hesitant, but in a way we have to respect those facts and congratulate Intel.

What remains the same however, is the fact that Pentium 4 is still significantly more expensive than a comparable Athlon processor. AMD's brand new price cuts make even the cheapest Pentium 4 look overly expensive. The price difference between Athlon 1 GHz and Athlon 1.4 GHz has become so small that almost everyone interested in a high-end system should go for an Athlon 1400. Buying a Pentium 4 would give you only marginally more performance, but for a much higher price.

Two things make it very hard for me to praise Intel any further though. The battle against VIA and its P4X266 chipset is something that I simply don't appreciate, because for us consumers, P4X266 is certainly a good thing. Basically, if Intel's managers would be real guys, they wouldn't fight with VIA in the courtroom, but release i845 with DDR-SDRAM support early and battle against P4X266 on a technology, performance and reliability level. The delay of DDR-i845 plus the threats against Taiwanese motherboard makers show that Intel is utterly unable to play it straight. I really wonder who is responsible for this attitude, since the most Intel people I know (except for a few really unpleasant ones) are honest, straightforward and hard-working guys that deserve everybody's respect. They also deserve to be represented by a management that sticks to rules of ethics and fairness to the benefit of its customers.

There's another reason why Intel's Pentium 4 2 GHz release might not be important after all. So Intel is back making the fastest processor. So Intel has won the 2 GHz race. Who really cares? The majority of people don't give a rat's behind about a 2 GHz processor! Who can blame them? Which application would justify the purchase of a 2 GHz monster for more than a tiny minority of people? Intel may have regained some prestige it lost to AMD a while ago. However, the current economical problems, the low NASDAQ and the recession in the PC-business will certainly NOT be solved with Intel's Pentium 4 2 GHz processor. What a shame!