[24hoursupport] AMD/Intel questions

  • From: "Ron Allen" <chizotz@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: 24hoursupport@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 04 Feb 2003 01:25:06 -0600


I'm looking at possibly building a new system soon, and am, for the first=
 time, seriously considering an AMD processor.

I have some questions.

First, I understand that the CPU performance when comparing AMD to Intel is=
 not directly related to the clock speed. In other words, a 2GHz P4 does=
 not give the same, or roughly the same, performance as an AMD at the same=
 clock speed. AMD CPUs seem to be rated at how their performance compares=
 to the clock speed of Intel CPUs. IOW, an Athlon 2400+ is supposed to=
 perform at least as well as an Intel CPU running at a clock speed of=
 2.4GHz, yet the actual Athlon clock speed is significantly lower. Have I=
 got this straight?

Second, I notice that the top of the line P4 motherboards have 400MHz bus=
 speeds, and support up to 533MHz FSB speed. The bus and FSB speeds on top=
 of the line Athlons are much lower, as in 266MHz bus, 333 FSB. Even if the=
 Athlon outperforms the P4 in raw CPU clock speed, this seems like a=
 significant bottleneck in Athlon systems as compared to P4 systems to me.=
 Comments? Explanations?

Third, in Intel based systems a major bottleneck has always been the amount=
 of L2 cache. When a manufacturer wants to make more money on a system, it=
 seems like the first thing they cut is L2 cache even though increased L2=
 cache can increase overall system performance greatly. I am amazed and=
 perplexed that I see no references to L2 cache when looking at Athlons at=
 all. What's the story folks?

Fourth, the motherboards I'm looking at for the Athlon all have VIA=
 chipsets, except one that has an SiS chipset. I've heard some bad stories=
 about VIA chipsets and graphics cards, specifically the GeForce line. I=
 will definitely have a GeForce4 or, if I wait to do this long enough,=
 whatever the next model is, and don't want any nasty surprises. Anyone=
 know about these issues and how big a concern they are? From what I=
 gather, nVidia is basing all of their development around an Intel chipset,=
 which of course I can't get if I go with an Athlon.

Fifth, I've seen mentioned some additional problems with VIA chipsets=
 becoming unstable with certain combinations of DDR RAM and other=
 flakiness. That bothers me too. Anyone have any information about that?

All this is making me wonder if I really want to go with an AMD CPU after=
 all. It's cheaper, there is no question, but the tradeoffs sure seem to be=
 adding up to me here. 

I have more questions, but that's enough for now :)



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