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The Tom's Hardware Guide Power Box

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To be as fair as possible I used for each of the two processors the optimized code. Thus Pentium 4 is running the SSE2-enhanced code while the Athlon processors are running the 3DNow!-enhanced code.

With SSE2 enhancements the Pentium 4 is hard to beat. Even the Power Box isn't quite able to reach the scores of the Pentium 4 system.

Summary

In most applications Tom's Hardware Guide's Power Box was able to leave the high-end competition far behind. At the same time the Power Box is a real system, running quietly and reliably without making any headaches. Even the price of this box remains within reasonable limits. Basically, it's nothing else than a high-end Athlon-system, such as the Millennia XP boxes offered by Micron. The only difference is that we used Asetek's Vapochill and a specially selected Athlon-CPU. Vapochill goes for $650, but please don't forget that an Athlon 1200 plus Vapochill is not that much more expensive than a Pentium 4 processor.

The extensive benchmark comparison should also prove that one recent rumor about Athlon is false. Athlon is NOT scoring worse than Pentium 4 with GeForce 2 Ultra cards. In fact, it scores better than Pentium 4 in the majority of 3D-games, as my results clearly show. The myth that Pentium 4 is a great 3D-gaming processor is only true for Quake 3. Other 3D-games run better on Athlon and most certainly on the Power Box.

The next edition of our Power Box will include NVIDIA's upcoming 3D-chip 'NV20' and several other top-notch parts. If you enjoyed this article you should stay tuned for the next Power Box update.