Need advice re: upgrading system

QuarterToThree Message Boards: Free for all: Need advice re: upgrading system
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Lackey on Sunday, August 19, 2001 - 08:35 am:

I've got my older system downstairs for the kids - Dell P2-400 MHz. But I also use it for playing multiplayer LAN, etc. so I'd like to upgrade it to the most cost effective machine I can put together with minimal effort.

I'd prefer to stay with Intel for maximum compatibility - that should create some howls. ;)

I assume the "easiest" upgrade is a full MB swapout. What do people recommend?

Thanks.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By David E. Hunt (Davidcpa) on Sunday, August 19, 2001 - 12:15 pm:

What is the budget?

-DavidCPA


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Lackey on Sunday, August 19, 2001 - 12:40 pm:

Oh, I don't know. Whatever makes sense (i.e., less than a new computer.)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Tim Elhajj on Sunday, August 19, 2001 - 12:45 pm:

Ok, easiest upgrade is the criteria?

I believe at 400Mhz in a P2, you're at the end of the line for the mother board, so your only option is to move to P3/P4. All things considered, it's probably your best option, too.

You have to decide between P4 and P3.

For P4, you need special requirements for the case and I believe power supply. You could probably replace your current PS and modify your present case, but that doesn't seem too "easy" so I'd go with a P3.

For P3, you're going to need mother board and CPU, and maybe new memory. All the rest of your parts should roll over to the new machine quite nicely.

I would go with a P3 combo deal from pricewatch.com. Find a vendor with a P3 mother board and cpu at a price you can afford. Determine the type memory (pc133/pc100) the new box is going to require and transfer the old, if appropriate. Just get some more memory--it's so cheap these days, you should make sure you have at least 256MB regardless.

When you get it all built, Fdisk the hard drive and reinstall the OS. Big upgrades work better if you start from scratch. Or do wumpus suggestion of renaming c:\windows and c:\program files.

Good luck!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Sunday, August 19, 2001 - 12:55 pm:

Typically dell cases cannot be used with aftermarket mobos-- the connectors for reset, power, etc are proprietary. So you'll have to pick up a decent case+powersupply. I recommend the Antec 1030s.

I really can't recommend the P4 for a number of reasons. If you're really stuck on Intel, then go i815 (asus cusl2-c) + 255mb pc133 + P3-933.

You'd get much better speed per buck if you went with the Athlon.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Sunday, August 19, 2001 - 12:57 pm:

Er, yeah.. from http://www.pricewatch.com

Athlon 1.4ghz -- $107
P3-933 -- $135
P4 1.4ghz -- $140

Bear in mind that the P4, even at 1.7ghz, isn't as fast as the Athlon.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Desslock on Sunday, August 19, 2001 - 01:25 pm:

>ear in mind that the P4, even at 1.7ghz, isn't as fast as the Athlon.

Except when it is, which is almost all of the time. You definitely get more bang for your buck with an Athlon, and it'll run some programs (office) at comparable or even better speeds, but not most games, especially anything released this year.

Stefan


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Sunday, August 19, 2001 - 02:59 pm:

Pentium 4 is a big, fat waste of time. If that's your bag, baby, then more power to you.

First, performance.

http://www.aceshardware.com/Spades/read.php?article_id=15000196

"It is important to evaluate your processor needs because you wonít be able to say whether the Pentium 4 is faster (at this moment) than the competition or not. For example, it is very fast in OpenGL shoot-em-ups and race simulators, but it isnít convincing in RTS and RPG and shoot-em-up DirectX games. It is faster than the competition in high-end 3D-software, but it takes a serious lashing in most 3D-animation desktop or low-end workstation software. The Pentium 4 shines in encoding and decoding, but falls short in a lot of popular tools for compiling, CAD and editing tools.

Over time, as more applications are optimized, either specifically for the micro-architecture via assembler-level
optimizations or are recompiled using optimized SSE2 compilers and libraries, the Pentium 4 will show better performance.
Corel Draw 10, Dragon Naturally Speaking, Rage Incoming Forces, MGI Video Wave III and The Print Shop are some of the upcoming software packages that will include SSE-2 optimizations.

Our bandwidth benchmarks clearly show what Aceís Hardware has been pointing out in our previous articles: RAMBUS is good technology (from a controversial company), but the i820 chipset and the 133 MHz bus totally crippled it. The Pentium 4 will probably also ramp very fast in clock speed, so AMD should not rest on their laurels.

Nevertheless, the survival series is not over. The Athlon 1200 with DDR is a more balanced and less pricey solution than the Pentium 4 with Rambus. The Athlon 1200 DDR came in first or second place in every benchmark while the Pentium 4 was very capricious with some ups but more downs. Most people hate upgrading their favorite software all the time and the Athlon runs legacy applications faster. IOHO, the FPU of the Pentium 4 should have been made more powerful."

Personally I would wait for the next P4 with 512k on-die L2. _All_ current P4 systems will be obsolete in under 6 months-- it's a new CPU socket, too.

http://www6.tomshardware.com/cpu/01q1/010208/roadmap-04.html

"It is pretty well known to most of you, that the current Pentium 4 processor will soon be replaced by a more advanced version. You will also be aware of the fact that this new version won't be compatible with current Pentium 4 platforms, making current Pentium 4 systems anything but future proof.

The upcoming Pentium 4 is found in Intel's roadmaps under the code name 'Northwood' and is supposed to start replacing the 'old' Pentium 4 in Q3/2001. Besides other performance enhancements it will come with 512 kB second-level cache and therefore twice the L2-cache of today's Pentium 4. Northwood will be produced in 0.13 micron process and it will have a new package for a new socket called mPGA478, for it will have 478 pins, quite a few more than the 423 pins found in the Pentium 4 of today.

Please always keep 'Northwood' in mind when considering the purchase of a Pentium 4 system today. This system will be old news without an upgrade path once 'Northwood' starts replacing 'Willamette' in the second half of this year. "


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Desslock on Sunday, August 19, 2001 - 06:38 pm:

>Pentium 4 is a big, fat waste of time

Unless you want the best system for games.

You also have to be willing to pay for it by being required to pay more for RDRAM and by recognizing that there's better stuff ahead (when isn't there?)

Don't get me wrong - AMDs are a better solution for many people - definitely less expensive (although Intel has never sold its leading chips so cheaply - the big hit is in the difference in RAM price) and probably more upgradeable (although that's almost never a factor for high-end purchasers). Most people will decide the premium isn't worth it, and they're undoubtedly right, for most people. It's clear that you could pay quite a bit less for a comparable AMD system, but if you absolutely want the best system for gaming, it's a p4/RDRAM/Geforce 3 system.

Stefan


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Sean Tudor on Sunday, August 19, 2001 - 08:35 pm:

Isn't it true that the Pentium 4 throttles its speed when it detects an overheat condition with no way to stop this ?

I remember reading this somewhere.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason McCullough on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 12:11 am:

Of course, there's also the little "Intel writes the spec, not AMD" detail. I'm sure they'll manage to invalidate all the AMD hardware that's been sold sometime soon.

It's kind of like buying Dr-Dos: technically better, but it's not going to matter.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 12:37 am:

"but if you absolutely want the best system for gaming, it's a p4/RDRAM/Geforce 3 system."

In response, I'm just going to quote Steve Gibson here. "I'm a scientist who will not find your mystic beliefs to be compelling. I respect your right to your own opinions, no matter how blatantly they fly in the face of logic and reality. That is, after all, the nature of faith. Happy computing. I suggest prayer."

In other words, this (among others):

http://www4.tomshardware.com/cpu/01q2/010423/p4-04.html

Sure, I suppose if you use that spiffy new GeForce 3 at 640x480-- and you myopically consider only a few games-- you might eke out about 10% more FPS. But hey, it's your money. Do with it what you want. Just don't go spouting off about how the P4 is the "best" gaming platform, because that's laughable.

Personally, If you MUST have a P4, I'd wait about 6 months for the new P4s with 512k on-die L2 and the new socket format. They should be considerably faster, probably will support cheaper DDR memory, and will have a decent upgrade path for the next 2 years. The current P4s are a lot like the old Pentium Pro.. not a great choice if you want any kind of upgrade path whatsoever.

But again, it's your cash.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Desslock on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 01:18 am:

>Just don't go spouting off about how the P4 is the "best" gaming platform

Unless it's the truth, which it is. I have little interest in continuing a debate on hardware - We've likely read the same reviews at the major hardware sites. The comparisons are a bit of a joke, really, because the hardware sites have been using 266 FSB AMDs (and DDR RAM), when 266 FSB motherboards haven't even been available (and initial designs were recalled for stability reasons), as well as routinely throwing in overclocking results. And on SE2 supported games, the p4 kills AMD chips, and most graphical-instensive games will support SE2.

Again, the AMD is a much better deal, especially because of RDRAM pricing. But if you want a faster, and more stable, system, and don't really care about the price, its a p4/RDRAM solution.

>I'd wait about 6 months for the new P4s with 512k on-die L2...not a great choice if you want any kind of upgrade path whatsoever

Sure. And if you want a fast graphic card, wait 6 months for Nvidia's next generation of cards, or see if ATI's new cards live up to their promise -- there's always something better around the corner, which is why it's never the wisest decision to buy the top of the line, since you're paying a premium that'll be irrelevant in 6 months.

Upgradeability is irrelevant for high end buyers - Cripes, each new generation of chips has mandated a new motherboard, RAM type, and occasionally case. Sure you can frequently reuse your existing RAM/motherboard (especially) or HD controler, but it'll rarely be as good as the new products available, and if you want to maximize performance again to have the fastest system available (an expensive goal), you'll generally have to replace everything. You can, and probably should, get by with more conservative upgrades, but if all you're concerned about is performance, nothing is upgradeable.

Stefan


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 01:38 am:

"there's always something better around the corner, which is why it's never the wisest decision to buy the top of the line, since you're paying a premium that'll be irrelevant in 6 months."

Tell that to my BX motherboard I purchased in 1998. It supported anywhere from a 233mhz P2 to a 1ghz P3, with PC133 memory. Hell, it's still in use, running a P3-800 with 512mb PC133 memory. If Intel wasn't so goddamn worried about making P4 look like the underperformer that it is, I could easily put a 1.2ghz Tualatin on there.

Despite your protests to the contrary, there ARE good and bad times to buy hardware. There ARE dead-end hardware platforms that should be avoided. And the P4 is guilty on both counts. It's a bad time (Northwood is close), and the current platform is a road to nowhere.

Historically speaking, the current P4 is almost an exact analog fo the original Pentium Pros. All P4 owners sport a system with memory provided by a vendor that will be out of business in the next 12 months, on a socket that will be outmoded in 6 months. If that doesn't bother you, then you have far too much money and far too much free time. I'm not sure how relevant your opinion should be to anyone in that case.

"And on SE2 supported games, the p4 kills AMD chips, and most graphical-instensive games will support SE2."

Hey, the Athlon Palomino supports SSE2. Imagine that. Just wait until the 1.5 athlon is released-- it's a palomino. The current "Athlon MP" is also a palomino.

"which is why it's never the wisest decision to buy the top of the line, since you're paying a premium that'll be irrelevant in 6 months."

But when you buy a P4 system, that's exactly what you're doing-- paying a premium for an iffy performance gap that you'll regret six months from now. Athlon is much cheaper and faster at almost everything.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Supertanker on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 01:44 am:

HardOCP did a comparison of the 1.7 P4 and the 1.3 T-bird, and then also overclocked them to 2.1 and 1.5. Here is the link.

The interesting part to me is that generally the AMD wins the older & desktop tests while the P4 wins the newer gaming tests, but both of them are far faster than needed. The lowest framerate they show is in DroneZ at 1024x768, with bump mapping enabled (!) on a GeForce2 Ultra at "only" 87 fps. My monitor only goes to 85Hz refresh rate! The Q3 benchmarks are ridiculous - the lowest one there is 194 fps! Hell, a recent article on Anandtech about the new Detonator 4 drivers shows them pushing 100 fps of Q3 through a GeForce3 with max detail at 1600x1200.

Just to stir the pot a little more, Kyle Bennett says at the end of that comparison, "But unless you are doing something with it that the P4 is specifically suited to, I don't see laying down your hard earned green for one if you want to build or upgrade the box yourself." However, when they recently upgraded all of the HardOCP servers, they only used Intel boxes. When called on that, he said, "I want to build a solid proven system and dont really want to be an AMD test monkey with our cash that this is taking. Also, we will have 14 1GHz+ processors in the cabinet and I prefer it to not be a toaster oven.....Let me know when you get your server setup done with AMD cpus and tell us all about it. Tried and true beats newer, faster, and not working anyday..." Here is the thread. Maybe it is more telling that they didn't use P4s, either.

Buy what you want, either setup will kick ass.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Tim Elhajj on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 01:46 am:

Stefan, I'm surprised. This is the first I've ever seen anyone argue that the P4 was a wise move for the reasons you list.

The consensus for the past year or so seems to be that Anthlon out performs Intel, even with benchmarking disparate clock speeds in *Intel's* favor.

I don't understnad where you get DDR RAM and overclocking as culprits to skewer comparisions. Most benchmarks I've seen show little real world improvement with DDR RAM. As for overclocking, most often I'm reading comparisions of Anthlons running at a *lower* rated speed than the Intel chips, but still coming out ahead, with the exception of RAM throughput. Hard to beat RDRAM there.

Do you have any benchmarks at all that support your opinion?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Rob Funk (Xaroc) on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 08:30 am:

What you have to look at is that the 1.5 Ghz Athlon is holding up against a 1.7 Ghz P4. That is sad. Extrapolating the results if you did a comparison of a 1.7 Ghz Athlon vs. a 1.7 Ghz P4 the Athlon would win pretty much every test but maybe one (The Dronez! Win2k demo). The P4 is only a compelling solution if you are building a server IMO. Clock for clock and dollar for dollar the Athlon beats the P4 hands down.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Rob_Merritt on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 08:52 am:

There is something that bothers me. Looking at scores on 1024x768x32 from different sources, pretty much everything from 700 mhz on up score about the same (assuming you have a beefy enough video card). If this is true, then why get a 1.7 over anythingh else? The speed doesn't seem to be put to good use.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Supertanker on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 10:25 am:

"The speed doesn't seem to be put to good use."

There is always a bottleneck, and it sure isn't CPUs right now, it looks like it is the video card in the advanced tests. I wish a GeForce3 was the slowest component in my system! "Yeah, I need to do some more upgrades, 'cause the framerate is almost down to the monitor refresh rate."

It is getting to be like cars. People will argue until they are blue in the face that their Audi will beat a BMW around the track, or vice versa, but that is just theory. In reality, their speed and handling will be indistinguishable in traffic.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By David E. Hunt (Davidcpa) on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 11:59 am:


Quote:

It is getting to be like cars. People will argue until they are blue in the face that their Audi will beat a BMW around the track, or vice versa, but that is just theory. In reality, their speed and handling will be indistinguishable in traffic.




I'm with Supertanker on this point. Whether you choose P4 or Athlon, you will be getting mucho processing horsepower. If you look at the current top selling games, very few of them (Max Payne) can justify the speed.

Unless Jeff is using this machine to review games, he doesn't need the fastest machine around. I would go with price (P4/RDRAM vs Athlon/DDR) and product life (Intel proc pin changes / AMD Palamino compatibility) as the primary purchase points.

-DavidCPA
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Desslock on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 12:56 pm:

>Hell, it's still in use, running a P3-800 with 512mb PC133 memory.

...which isn't exactly leading edge, as I indicated. I completely agree that it's worthwhile to plan your purchases so that you can get longer use out of your components - if, like most reasonable gamers, you're concerned about spending as little money as possible to have an effective gaming machine. But if performance is all you're concerned about, upgradeability is irrelevant, because there'll always be gains available by substituting components.

>Historically speaking, the current P4 is almost an exact analog fo the original Pentium Pros.

Um, an exact analogy except the Pentium Pros were initially sold for $1100 per CPU and didn't support MMX while high-end pentiums did, while even the most expensive P4 costs less than $500 and contain features that enhance gaming.

An existing p4 system runs current games as well, and runs new games better, than existing AMD systems. That's the bottom line, while Pentium Pros were never good gaming solutions. Tweaks were created solely for the purpose of improving needless bottlenecks in graphics processing.

>Stefan, I'm surprised. This is the first I've ever seen anyone argue that the P4 was a wise move for the reasons you list

Gah. I'm not trying to encourage anyone to buy a P4. AMDs are a much better deal, and plenty fast for anyone's needs. I've recommended many AMD systems to friends - I haven't recommended any p4 system. Hell, I bought AMD stock.

But if you don't care about the significant price premium, a current p4 system is, and will continue to be for some time, a better gaming machine than current AMD systems. In addition, while RDRAM is ridiculously expensive, and occasionally justly maligned, it's a great performer in p4 systems - significantly faster than 133 SDRAM and nominally faster, and considerably more stable than, DDR RAM.

>Do you have any benchmarks at all that support your opinion

Check out any of the CPU reviews at anandtech.com{http://www.anandtech.com/cpu/showdoc.html?i=1460&p=12,http://www.anandtech.com/cpu/showdoc.html?i=1460&p=12} or tomshardware.com, or check out the link Supertanker posted above. The results are always the same: P4 wins on SE2 supported games like Quake 3, while AMD (using "never available" 266 FSB motherboards and DDR combos) do slightly better in other games, like Unreal tournament. But generally the P4 wins, and that's only going to get more prominent with new games -- here's a good example: http://www4.tomshardware.com/cpu/01q2/010423/p4-06.html. The p4 kills the AMD on a game supporting all the new bells & whistles like Dronze (or Giants with the latest patches), while the AMD wins (on the previous page) in MDK2, a Direct X 7 game. But even that "victory" is irrelevant, since both CPUS crush any benchmarks for older games - it's new games where they're taxed that the additional capabilities of the p4 will be most valuable. As Rob said, why both getting a high-end CPU if you're just concerned about playing currently available software decently.

>Clock for clock and dollar for dollar the Athlon beats the P4 hands down

Absolutely true. But AMD chips aren't available at the same high clock speeds.

Stefan


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 01:57 pm:

"That's the bottom line, while Pentium Pros were never good gaming solutions."

Guess what CPU ran Quake faster than any other at the time? The Pentium Pro.

Stefan, if you don't know your history, you're destined to repeat it. Enjoy your P4, but please keep it to yourself.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Desslock on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 03:22 pm:

>Stefan, if you don't know your history, you're destined to repeat it.Enjoy your P4, but please keep it to yourself

I know all about the history of me. And enjoy your (admittedly) more sensible AMD, but please don't post that it's faster than a p4 unless you want to be corrected.

Stefan


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Lackey on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 03:41 pm:

OK, as the originator of this thread, here's what I've learned so far.

1. If I have a 3 year old Dell (which I do) I'll probably need a new case as well as MB, so basically I need to scrap what I have and build a new system.

2. AMD and Intel both make good chips (I've worked with both companies - my R&D groups have developed new materials for them.) This is for the downstairs machine, which will primarily be used by the kids, although I will use it for LAN sessions also and also to double check games I'm reviewing (I always test out buggy games on 3 machines to see if the bugs are machine specific.) I'll be happy with something in the 1 GHz range. Heck, my reviewing machine upstairs is only an 866 (and that was fast.) I'll probably throw a GeForce 2 of some kind in it and a Voodoo 2 (for Red Baron 3D).

3. I'm not real worried about upgrading this one any time real soon.

So - with that in mind - what's the best deal. I'm willing to listen to a couple of options. For example, what would be the best MB/AMD processor/case option, and what would be the best MB/Intel/Case option.

Thanks.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Raphael Liberatore (Sfcommando) on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 03:58 pm:


Quote:

I've got my older system downstairs for the kids - Dell P2-400 MHz. But I also use it for playing multiplayer LAN, etc. so I'd like to upgrade it to the most cost effective machine I can put together with minimal effort.



Jeff-- If you have a Dell XPS series, then install an Intel PIII 750-800MHz with 100MHz bus processor. It's simple. Other than updating the BIOS, you don't have to touch the MoBo, or anything else. Can't beat that.

This is my recommendation considering your focus is "minimal effort". I basically did this exact same thing to my Dell PII-450 a few months ago. It was easy and cheap ($135). It also grabbed me the upgraded performance I was looking for. UT jumped a whopping 40-50+ FPS! Here's an upgrade link worth checking out. Keep us posted...

Raphael
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason_cross (Jason_cross) on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 05:22 pm:

>I'd prefer to stay with Intel for maximum compatibility - that should create some howls.

I've not run into any compatibility problems with AMD systems since Athlon. There have been one or two noted, just as there have been one or two with Intel systems, usually due to someone's bad card/motherboard design. Bottom line: compatibility isn't a reason to avoid AMD.

re: Intel vs. AMD speed

you'll be able to find a lot of AMD vs. Intel comparisons online where the AMD stuff is faster. Most of them are at least a few months old, and things change. I've had a 1.8 and now a 2 GHz P4 in the office and tested them both.

Honestly and truly, it's very much split. In terms of RAW GAME PLAYING SPEED, about half the games are faster on the best Athlon, and about half are faster on the best P4.

It's also very much NOT what Jeff Lacky is asking, since he just wants the most cost effective thing he can get. =)

Jeff, go with a good AMD motherboard (check for reviews at Tom's Hardware or something), 256 MB of RAM ($50!), and a 1 Ghz Athlon or so. That's a nice cheap upgrade that'll keep that thing gaming. Video card upgrade is probably in the cards as well... go with a GeForce2 GTS ("regular" GeForce2, not Pro or Ultra or MX) for a great price/performance ratio.

Next month I'm doing an Intel vs. AMD feature. Both companies are going to send me the fastest thing they've got, and I'm going to use the exact same hard drive and CD-ROM and stuff in them and run through a bunch of benchmarks to find out who's the best in a bunch of categories.

I think it'll be fairly interesting - I suspect that nForce and Athlon 4 changes things on AMD's side, as does the higher-clocked Pentium 4s and the i850 chipset (which I've just recieved). I don't think the situation will look exactly like it did early this year.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By David E. Hunt (Davidcpa) on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 05:55 pm:


Quote:

256 MB of RAM ($50!)




We need a price check on 256MB of RAM:-)

Crucial.com just reduced their 256MB PC2100 DDR RAM (non-ECC) prices to $37.79 with free 2nd day shipping. RAM has been falling in price too fast to keep up with lately. It you need RAM now is the time to buy!

-DavidCPA
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By tim elhajj on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 07:08 pm:

AMD's are a pain in the ass to setup. Performance questions aside, I've had better luck building Intel based computers. Granted it has a lot to do with the components you pick, but I generally go for name brand parts, like motherboard, sound card, etc. and I still had mucho problems with my Anthlon.

Not sure if you catagorize this a "compatibility" problem or just a fuckin pisser, but I've built dozen or so computers in the past 4 years and never had these kind of problems. Anyone else?

I had to fuss with different combinations of PCI cards in different slot and I only had two--a sound card (SBLive! Value) and a NIC (NetGear). God forbid I should ever have to spend another week like that. If you do go with AMD, make sure to install the drivers for your motherboard immediately after you install the OS. Now I have it running fine, even have a small overclock on it, but it was very aggravating getting here. Worse, Iím hesitant to add any new components for fear of having to go through all that crap with the cards in different slots again. It was the sound card giving me all the problems. I finally got it to work by putting the sound card in slot 1, the NIC in slot 4. Didnít help that it seems to be general consensus that nothing should go in PCI slot 1, so that was always the first suggestion everyone gave me when I went to the boards and solicited help.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Land Murphy (Lando) on Tuesday, August 21, 2001 - 08:33 am:

Strange. I've put together 3 Athlon systems in the past year (2 in the past week), and other than problems with my damn Radeon video card. (I'll never touch another ATI card), my systems were good from the time I turned the power on for the first time.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Tim Elhajj on Tuesday, August 21, 2001 - 10:58 am:

"I've put together 3 Athlon systems"

What motherboard? I probably shouldn't say AMD is hard to setup, because that may not be accurate. I think most of my problems seem to stem from the VIA chipset. I'm using the Abit KT7A. But when I got my motherboard, there weren't any decent choices that didn't involve VIA.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Land Murphy (Lando) on Tuesday, August 21, 2001 - 01:33 pm:

Yep. The KT7-RAID is the one that gave me all my problems. The latest two were ...ummm...GBMs? Generic as can be, but worked like a charm. (VIA chipset there as well).


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason_cross (Jason_cross) on Tuesday, August 21, 2001 - 03:21 pm:

>AMD's are a pain in the ass to setup. etc...

Since you asked...

I've built maybe 80 machines in the last five years (most of them when I was working as a tech at a shop that built and reparied PCs before doing the Editor Thing). That number is more like 10 after the invention of the Athlon.

I've never had any problems with Athlon machines that weren't of the same scale and scope as what I've experienced with Intel stuff.

Most of the wierd problems I've seen first-hand lately have been on Intel systems (but that's just as likely because that's what people have around here). ie, Ben's weird unfixable video problem that isn't related to a video card, Bob's flaky office machine, etc.

>If you do go with AMD, make sure to install the drivers for your motherboard immediately after you install the OS.

Good advice for any computer building, really, regardless of manufacturer.

It sounds, Tim, like you had the infamous SB Live / VIA problem that plagues some people but not others. It's actually affecting more people on Intel systems with VIA chipsets, but that's probably just because there are more of those out there to be affected.

At this point in time, I can't imagine anyone concerned chiefly with "bang > buck" going with anything other than AMD.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Bub (Bub) on Tuesday, August 21, 2001 - 04:04 pm:

I think I had the SBLive/VIA problem. I solved it by only using the Creative drivers, not installing the full software. For me, the problem was bizarre/scary problems at bootup, right about when Creative's lightning bolt thingie would launch (see my use of technical terms?).

Or is this a different SB/Creative problem.
-Andrew


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Tuesday, August 21, 2001 - 05:42 pm:

"please don't post that [The Athlon is] faster than a p4 [in games] unless you want to be corrected. "

Hey Stefan, check this out:

http://www.gamepc.com/reviews/hardware_review.asp?review=pentiumiiia&page=10&mscssid=&tp=

Recent game, first person shooter. Tell me again why I should pay a $300 premium for a slower gaming system? ;)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Desslock on Tuesday, August 21, 2001 - 09:10 pm:

>Recent game..Tell me again why I should pay a $300 premium for a slower gaming system?

You shouldn't, so it's a good thing the p4 is at least faster. Serious Sam ain't exactly using the latest bells and whistles - I'm sure there's little meaningful difference with Arcanum either. You're being ridiculous -- until now, I've never heard anyone argue that the p4 didn't feature cool technology - it's just that it's overpriced compared the current benefits it offers.

Here's a good synopsis from Anandtech.com, one of the best hardware sites (and a very pro AMD site):

http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.html?i=1499&p=12
"For the most part, the Pentium 4 at 1.8GHz is able to remain competitive or offer greater performance than the Athlon 1.4. The real question happens to be at what cost.."

I'm pro-AMD, and also really interested to see how the Palomino and Northwood stack up, but it's ridiculous to state that the p4 is never faster (which is the only reason I initially responded to your post). In addition, while the premium may be difficult to justify (especially to a spouse), there's also little doubt that the fastest currently available p4s will run future games faster than currently available Athlons.

Stefan


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Wednesday, August 22, 2001 - 12:10 am:

Well, but you're also comparing a 1.8 P4 to a 1.4 Athlon, and they too close to call, in some cases. Doesn't that say a lot about the Athlon? The P4 should be faster 100% of the time, at those rates. If it's not...well, I'd say that sure swings things more in favor of AMD.

Not really trying to argue -- I only know what I've read here and a few other places. I'm an AMD guy, myself, but that's mostly because you get more bang for your buck, as you guys have said.

Well, that, and I always root for the underdog. (Unless Michael Jordan's playing...)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Anonymous on Wednesday, August 22, 2001 - 04:47 am:

That SB Live/Via problem gave me huge problems for a machine I built earlier this year. Somehow having the SB Live in *any* PCI slot completely hosed DMA transfers; it would consistently lock up when copying large files or playing a DVD movie. Eventually I just took the SB Live out.

I ended up formatting/reinstalling Windows around 20 times and trying innumerable combinations of video card, Via 4-in-1, Via beta DMA drivers, Creative drivers, etc etc. It really soured me on AMD.

Still, next time I need to build a machine I'll give them a look because of price. I've heard things are better now.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Lackey on Wednesday, August 22, 2001 - 10:15 am:

OK, thanks for all of the info. Here's the decision:

I went with simple and quick. You can plug in an Intel P3 1 Gig Slot 1 chip into my XPS 400 and it will work. $209 for a boxed original Intel set. from Googlegear. 256 RAM, and if I wait a week they will pay me to take it. (I wish RDRAM for my main machine was so cheap - but even there, 256 Meg is only $80.) I'm moving my Voodoo 5500 down to that machine, and will put a combo of a GeForce 3 plus Voodoo 3 in my main machine (which I was in the process of doing anyway.)

So, basically for about $250 I'll go from a 400 MHz P2 with a TNT2/Voodoo2 with 128 Meg RAM to a 1 Gig P3 with a Voodoo 5500 and 256 RAM.

(in my best Russian accent:) What a country...


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Desslock on Wednesday, August 22, 2001 - 01:27 pm:

>Well, but you're also comparing a 1.8 P4 to a 1.4 Athlon, and they too close to call, in some cases. Doesn't that say a lot about the Athlon?

Absolutely - clock for clock, Athlon is better at many applications, and cheaper, so it's a wiser purchase for most people. But for people who don't care about cost and just want the fastest currently available, I think you have to go with a p4/RDRAM system. As has been said several times in this thread though, if you're going to buy a high-end system, you're better off waiting right now for both the pending price cuts and to see the capabilities of the new AMD and Intel chips which are on the verge of release.

Stefan


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Raphael Liberatore (Sfcommando) on Wednesday, August 22, 2001 - 02:17 pm:


Quote:

I went with simple and quick. You can plug in an Intel P3 1 Gig Slot 1 chip into my XPS 400 and it will work. $209 for a boxed original Intel set. from Googlegear. 256 RAM, and if I wait a week they will pay me to take it. (I wish RDRAM for my main machine was so cheap - but even there, 256 Meg is only $80.) I'm moving my Voodoo 5500 down to that machine, and will put a combo of a GeForce 3 plus Voodoo 3 in my main machine (which I was in the process of doing anyway.)

So, basically for about $250 I'll go from a 400 MHz P2 with a TNT2/Voodoo2 with 128 Meg RAM to a 1 Gig P3 with a Voodoo 5500 and 256 RAM.




Good call! Nice set-up with the cards, too. However, you should go to Crucial Memory and buy a very good 256 MB stick for $35. They're currently offering free shipping too!

What a country...

Raphael
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Wednesday, August 22, 2001 - 02:26 pm:

"Serious Sam ain't exactly using the latest bells and whistles"

Erm, wrong. Serious Sam's advanced menus put Quake 3 to shame. First you said the Pentium Pro wasn't fast with games (it was the premier Quake platform at the time), now this? Stick to the RPGs, my man. It's getting embarrassing.

"Here's a good synopsis from Anandtech.com, one of the best hardware sites (and a very pro AMD site): http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.html?i=1499&p=12 "For the most part, the Pentium 4 at 1.8GHz is able to remain competitive or offer greater performance than the Athlon 1.4. The real question happens to be at what cost..""

So I should pay more for a system that "for the most part is able to remain competitive"? I'll only pay more if the system is actually FASTER. Not in the narrow 20% of benchmarks that the P4 is actually good at, but all the time.

"you're going to buy a high-end system, you're better off waiting right now for both the pending price cuts and to see the capabilities of the new AMD and Intel chips which are on the verge of release."

If you buy an AMD system today you WILL be able to plug in up to a 2.0ghz Palomino, eventually. If you buy an Intel P4 system today, you'll have to buy a new motherboard and new memory (DDR) for future upgrades.

P4 has never been a particularly intelligent choice, especially right now.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Lackey on Wednesday, August 22, 2001 - 03:02 pm:

"However, you should go to Crucial Memory and buy a very good 256 MB stick for $35. They're currently offering free shipping too!"

Unfortunately for my main machine, Crucial doesn't carry RAMBUS RDRAM sticks.

BTW - thanks for the tip - it never occcurred to me that I could stick a significantly faster CPU in the Dell XPS 400. Crap, now my kids machine downstairs is faster than my reviewing machine! (a Dell XPS B866r.)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Desslock on Wednesday, August 22, 2001 - 03:54 pm:

> It's getting embarrassing

Yep, it is, since you're either a complete blockhead or apparently have no interest in actually reading what I've written and prefer to modify it or interpret it as you see fit.

>Serious Sam's advanced menus put Quake 3 to shame

So you think that Serious Sam's engine is more indicative of the state of the art, and the future of gaming, than Quake 3's engine? Um, I disagree.

>I'll only pay more if the system is actually FASTER.

Who's asking you to pay anything? As I've stated repeatedly, I think an Athlon is a better choice for most gamers. But for those purchasers who absolutely want the fastest system to play games currently available - and don't care about the price premium - it's a p4.

Who cares about benchmarks for older games? A high-end AMD or Intel will crush any old game -- the differences aren't meaningful, while they may be for future games.

>If you buy an AMD system today you WILL be able to plug in up to a 2.0ghz Palomino, eventually. If you buy an Intel P4 system today, you'll have to buy a new motherboard and new memory (DDR) for future upgrades.

An AMD system is likely more upgradeable, as I've stated previously, given Intel's Northwood plans (although RDRAM will still be supported), but there's no guarantee that current AMD motherboards will be able to run 2.0ghz Palominos effectively. And the cost of a motherboard purchase is negligible to any person who values performance enough to buy the most expensive CPU available. CPUs have been dropping in price by 50% within 6-8 months after being released. A person who doesn't bother to wait for that reduction isn't going to care about saving $100 on a motherboard.

>P4 has never been a particularly intelligent choice

It all depends upon your priorities. You consistently iterate that AMDs are cheaper or that you'll save money because you think you'll have a more upgradeable system with an AMD. Those are important factors for most purchasers, and I've acknowledged them repeatedly (although Intel's high end systems are currently significantly cheaper than they've ever been, since the inception of the PC). But every justification you give directly or indirectly relates to price -- if that's not a relevant factor, and instead you're movtivated solely by performance, a p4 is the best currently available choice. Again, currently available p4/RDRAM systems will run currently available or future games as well as, or better than, currently available AMDs.

>Stick to the RPGs, my man.

Stick to playing with Tom Chick, brother.

Stefan


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Willow on Wednesday, August 22, 2001 - 04:32 pm:

Stefan: Your heart's in the right place but you're arguing with wumpus -- unless pigs start flying, hell freezes over, and Old Man Murray is updated, he won't yield an inch. He hasn't changed a single of his opinions ever, and he's unlikely to start now. I think your time is better spent -- oh, hell, doing almost anything. Eating crayons. Picking up dead animals off the freeway. Etc.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Anonymous on Wednesday, August 22, 2001 - 04:55 pm:

Also, you're being too polite!
You're a "mean motherfuck" Dess, we'd be much more entertained if you'd just mash him into pulp like Chick or Bub does. You know, when he sputters and then lamely wishes Parkinsons Disease on them?

"unless pigs start flying, hell freezes over, and Old Man Murray is updated, he won't yield an inch."

Willow! That's hilarious!!!!

-DormOnkey


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Dave Long on Wednesday, August 22, 2001 - 05:35 pm:


Quote:

He hasn't changed a single of his opinions ever, and he's unlikely to start now.


Why should he? Because you're right and he's wrong? Yeah, whatever...

The key to this conversation is that the fellow asking initially didn't want to spend much money and Desslock turned it into a "P4 is better than AMD when price is no object" debate.

Frankly, I have no idea why he's advocating buying a P4 even if price is no object. Comparisons show it is competitive but not better than AMD's at lower clock speeds for less money. Why then is it "better" even if price is no object? Is this because it says "Intel" on it and that elicits a few more "oooohs" and "aaaaahs" from friends?

Even the hardware editor of the magazine he has a column hosted in compared Alienware's top of the line systems and said "Go Athlon".

So in this case Dess is simply off his rocker and making a poor recommendation. Could it be that maybe he's the one that's wrong? No, guess not... the wumpus crusade must continue at all costs.

--Dave
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Anonymous on Wednesday, August 22, 2001 - 07:43 pm:

Yeah dave, keep on lighting the candle for wumpus ... and the dreamcast. You're almost as tedious as he is.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Desslock on Wednesday, August 22, 2001 - 07:45 pm:

>this conversation is that the fellow asking initially didn't want to spend much money and Desslock turned it into a "P4 is better than AMD when price is no object" debate.

That wasn't my intention -- my sole motivation was to respond to the comment that "p4s aren't as fast as Athlons", because that's a generalization that just isn't true. Quite the contrary, when the fps numbers are meaningful. P4s are cool technology - a significant jump over p3s - but p4 systems with RDRAM are overpriced relative to the comparable performance offered by high-end AMD systems.

>Comparisons show it is competitive but not better than AMD's at lower clock speeds for less money. Why then is it "better" even if price is no object?

Because comparisons show that it is, in fact, better at running most new (directx8 or SE2 supported) games. I'm pro-AMD and I'm stating it again. Even diehard pro-AMD hardware sites have stated that, as I cited in my examples

>Dess is simply off his rocker and making a poor recommendation

Heh, I may well be a loon but, for the last time, I never recommended a p4 to Jeff. I've consistently recommended an Athlon or a non-p4 solution. I must have posted that AMD is a better solution for most gamers a half dozen times.

Stefan


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Anonymous on Wednesday, August 22, 2001 - 09:53 pm:

"You can plug in an Intel P3 1 Gig Slot 1 chip into my XPS 400 and it will work"

Are you an imbecile? Dess says get a p4.
(joke, Dess...).

"Serious Sam's advanced menus put Quake 3 to shame."

You really are an imbecile.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Wednesday, August 22, 2001 - 10:40 pm:

"[you] apparently have no interest in actually reading what I've written and prefer to modify it or interpret it as you see fit."

How so? You said: "Pentium Pros were never good gaming solutions." Not true, in fact, it's quite the opposite. You also said: "if you absolutely want the best system for gaming, it's a p4/RDRAM/Geforce 3 system". Also not true. Many modern games run faster on the Athlon, and will continue to do so.

WRT complexity of the Serious Sam engine vs. the complexity of the Quake 3 engine, judge for yourself:

http://www.3dspotlight.com/tweaks/serioussam/index.shtml

Serious Sam is easily on par with the Q3 engine, and is clearly superior to the aging UT engine. Why do I bring this up? To show that new games _aren't_ necessarily going to run faster on the P4. It's pretty much a 50/50 crapshoot, as Jason Cross said earlier (and was unfortunately ignored). Once you throw in the fact that the Athlon absolutely wipes the floor with the P4 in windows _anything_.. that's just icing on the cake.

"a current p4 system is, and will continue to be for some time, a better gaming machine than current AMD systems."

http://www.aceshardware.com/Spades/read.php?article_id=15000203&alternate=true
http://www.aceshardware.com/Spades/read.php?article_id=15000202&alternate=true
http://www.aceshardware.com/Spades/read.php?article_id=15000201&alternate=true

P4 does run the OLD game Quake 3, beautifully. Newer titles-- not so much. At least according to the benchmarks I've shown. Read them and decide for yourself if Stefan's comment, above, is true.

Also, I'd like to point out that Athlon and P4 score almost identically (adjusting for speed, eg, 1.3AMD vs 1.7P4) at 3DMark2000 and 3DMark2001-- for example, here:

http://www.hardocp.com/reviews/cpus/intel/p417/index3.html

"You're almost as tedious as he is."

Not nearly as tedious as anonymous posters full of pseudo-bravado.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Desslock on Thursday, August 23, 2001 - 12:22 am:

>P4 does run the OLD game Quake 3, beautifully. Newer titles-- not so much. At least according to the benchmarks I've shown. Read them and decide for yourself if Stefan's comment, above, is true

Yeah, your stats from November, 2000 are much more convincing evidence of how well the chips play new games than the stats I cited from July, 2001. Or maybe your other one -- from the guys who admit they couldn't get the benchmark to run "stably" as opposed to the ones I cited from those "neophytes" at Anandtech and tomshardware.

That last one you suggested was great, actually -- it only cites two gaming benchmarks, and concludes that the p4 wins both of them. Cripes - the conclusion of the article you cited to "support" your case states:

"The Pentium4 can deliver you one of the fastest gaming boxes on the planet. Then again, the expense of the CPU, the board, the Rambus, the new PSU might just outweigh the performance increases"

...which is almost word for word what I've been saying. You're not even reviewing the examples you site to "support" your case. Bah. This is a waste of time. Sorry I diluted your thread, Lackey.

I will agree with you that I don't like anonymous posting, however.

Stefan


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Tim Elhajj on Thursday, August 23, 2001 - 02:33 am:

Jason said: "It sounds, Tim, like you had the infamous SB Live / VIA problem that plagues some people but not others."

Perhaps. I thought that, too, at first. But I replaced the SB Live with a Santa Cruz from Turtle Beach, and it still didn't fix the problem. Went back to the SB Live in slot 1, and it's fixed.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Sunday, August 26, 2001 - 12:36 am:

"That last one you suggested was great, actually -- it only cites two gaming benchmarks, and concludes that the p4 wins both of them. Cripes - the conclusion of the article you cited to "support" your case states:"

C'mon dess. You're being intentionally obtuse to defend your point. Let's look at the numbers.

http://www.hardocp.com/reviews/cpus/intel/p417/index3.html

Quake 3. 640x480. Do YOU play Quake 3 at 640x480 with a GeForce 3 and a Pentium 4 1.7 or Athlon 1.33? 228fps vs. 199fps is not a meaningful number. Besides, it's been proven time and time again that P4 likes Q3, and is one of the VERY few games that performs noticeably faster on the P4. But, again, only at ultra-low resolutions where the CPU is the only bottleneck.

http://www.hardocp.com/reviews/cpus/intel/p417/index4.html

Dronez. 150fps vs. 147fps @ 640x480, 98fps vs. 97fps @ 1024x768. Damn, that P4 really rocked the Athlon on this one (insert eye rolling gesture here). Granted, there is a noticeable boost for the P4 when in GeForce 2 mode.. but that, if anything, isn't a case for the P4-- it's a case for buying a GeForce3. When is a CPU not a CPU? When it's a GPU.

And as I said earlier, the two systems performed IDENTICALLY in 3DMark2001.

We can co back and forth on this all day. But let's look at our positions:

Wumpus: The Athlon is just as fast as the P4 at gaming in general, if not faster.

Desslock: The P4 is *FASTER* than the Athlon in *ALL* games *ALL* the time, particularly modern ones.

I can smell the "oh, that's not what I said" argument coming from a mile away. So let me head you off at the pass-- Desslock said above: "But for those purchasers who absolutely want THE FASTEST SYSTEM TO PLAY GAMES CURRENTLY AVAILABLE - and don't care about the price premium - it's a p4. "

All I need is a single example of a modern game to prove you wrong. And I've already shown that with Serious Sam. So that should read "the fastest system to play games currently available except Serious Sam". ;) Of course, there are dozens of games, both modern and not modern, that run faster on the Athlon. The aceshardware link had many to choose from, and I think I've dredged up more than enough to prove my point.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Sunday, August 26, 2001 - 12:41 am:

Just FYI, Dess.

http://www.rivastation.com/max_payne_e.htm

Max Payne, 800x600x16bpp, GF3. Brand new game, as we all know.

Athlon 1200c, 93.3 fps
Pentium 4 1.5, 85.1 fps

That's a hell of a result for "the fastest system to play games currently available", isn't it? If I bought this system and paid that price premium, based on your recommendation, I'd be pissed.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Desslock on Sunday, August 26, 2001 - 02:55 am:

>That's a hell of a result for "the fastest system to play games currently available.

But the numbers relate to a system that's 300 mhz slower than the fastest p4. Still interesting though. Impressive results for the Geforce 3.

>All I need is a single example of a modern game to prove you wrong

The ones from the article you quoted -- and I'm not referencing the lower resolution numbers you quoted. There's fps ratings for exactly two games in that article, and the p4 numbers are higher, at the highest resolution, for both of them.

The results in upcoming games that feature incredibly demanding, like Dronz, are interesting: http://www4.tomshardware.com/cpu/01q2/010423/p4-06.html

>Wumpus: The Athlon is just as fast as the P4 at gaming in general, if not faster.

No, your actual quote was "bear in mind that the P4, even at 1.7ghz, isn't as fast as the Athlon." I think even your own examples have shown that's not the case.

>Desslock: The P4 is *FASTER* than the Athlon in *ALL* games *ALL* the time, particularly modern ones.

As you yourself indicated, that's not what I said. Whenever the frame rates aren't through the roof (in which case they don't matter from a practical standpoint) - which is only the case in demanding new games, the p4 generally does as well or is faster.

Again, I don't know why anyone would pay the premium for a p4 system over an AMD (it's certainly not what I would recommend) unless the money was irrelevant. The AMD chips are dirt cheap.

How available are 133 fsb motherboards these days? All the favourable frame rate tests involve AMD using 133 FSB boards, yet those were very difficult to find, and many were pulled for stability reasons earlier in the year. The AMD chips naturally do much worse with 100 fsb boards.

Stefan


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By David E. Hunt (Davidcpa) on Sunday, August 26, 2001 - 11:34 am:


Quote:

How available are 133 fsb motherboards these days? All the favourable frame rate tests involve AMD using 133 FSB boards, yet those were very difficult to find, and many were pulled for stability reasons earlier in the year. The AMD chips naturally do much worse with 100 fsb boards.




Just bought and installed an Athlon 1.4/Asus A7M266 combo (133 FSB board) with no backorder delay. It may vary by vendor but when I was researching this purchase, I did not encounter any problems with the availability of Athlon 133 boards.

-DavidCPA
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Sunday, August 26, 2001 - 12:35 pm:

"There's fps ratings for exactly two games in that article, and the p4 numbers are higher, at the highest resolution, for both of them."

Again, you're being intentionally obtuse. When the framerate difference is a few percentage points at reasonable resolutions (8x6 MINIMUM) I don't call that a win. That's equal. Which was why I linked to the HardOCP article in the first place..

"The results in upcoming games that feature incredibly demanding, like Dronz, are interesting:"

And Max Payne isn't "incredibly demanding"? Whatever, man. Clearly it depends on the game. Besides, with the GF3 features enabled, Dronez runs at the same speed on both platforms.

"No, your actual quote was "bear in mind that the P4, even at 1.7ghz, isn't as fast as the Athlon." I think even your own examples have shown that's not the case."

I meant as a general rule, including both Windows (where the Athlon absolutely _creams_ the P4) and gaming (where it's half-and-half depending on the title). Most people don't buy computers exclusively to play games.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Desslock on Sunday, August 26, 2001 - 12:47 pm:

>Just bought and installed an Athlon 1.4/Asus A7M266 combo (133 FSB board) with no backorder delay. It may vary by vendor but when I was researching this purchase, I did not encounter any problems with the availability of Athlon 133 boards

Very cool. When I was trying to buy an Athlon 1.2 a few months ago (then the fastest), the delay on getting a 133 board was about 90 days, which was pretty ridiculous. To me, that meant the setup wasn't really "available", since a whole new generation would be (and was) available by then, for the same price I would have had to pay then. High-end P4s took a while to filter to street level too, although you could always get one by buying a Dell.

>Most people don't buy computers exclusively to play games

Which is one of the reasons I've said, all along, that for most people, the Athlon is easily the best choice.

Stefan


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason_cross (Jason_cross) on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 02:18 am:

>Serious Sam's advanced menus put Quake 3 to shame.

Um, how many hot upcoming games are based on the "aging" Q3 engine, and how many are based on the Serious Sam engine? How many people today are playing popular Q3 mods, vs. Serious Sam mods?

And I'm willing to bet that the current generation P4s will show the same performance lead over the current Athlons in those games (RTCW, SoF2, Medal of Honor) as generic Quake does. It's simply better-optimized for the microarchitecture.

I'm still very curious to see what a Athlon 4 (or whatever they call desktop Palomino) in an nForce mobo will do.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason McCullough on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 02:25 am:

Just for reference for this argument, I went and looked at Pricewatch.

RDRAM: $77 for a 256 meg chip.
PC2400 DDR: $69 for a 256 meg chip.
PC150: $24(!) for a 256 meg chip.

Cheapest P4 Motherboard: $112
Cheapest AMD Motherboard: $48

Athlon 1.4/266: $107
P4 1.8: $266
P4 1.7: $198
P4 1.6: $170
P4 1.5: $139

So, for the worse case here, you're arguing over $100 or so, maybe $200 if you're comparing top-of-the-line on both. The cost to build the rest of a system for either one is about $600, so:

Intel: 600 + 139/266 + 77 + 112 = 928/1055
AMD: 600 + 107 + 48 + 69 = 824

Depending on RAM choices, the numbers will slightly vary, but not much.

Myself, I'll pay the 12% to 25% premium on a new system to ensure a) that Intel isn't going to FUD my system and b) that games work. These percentages are the worst case for Intel, too, as shipping and miscellaneous costs tend to drive the two closer.

If you assume you already have everything but the power supply, motherboard, cpu, and RAM, the percentages shoot up to between 50% to 100%. This isn't how most people buy computers, but it's still there.

Myself, I don't want to download AMD patches; I don't want to deal with AMD-specific bugs; I don't want to spend a zillion hours configuring and setting up my AMD system (I haven't seen 20 page faqs for setting up an Intel box). If you really want to save the money, go for it, but I personally consider it penny-wise and pound-foolish. Intel supposedly has a big price cut coming up, too, which will invalidate this post. ;0


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By David E. Hunt (Davidcpa) on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 02:50 am:

Something to consider is that we only have one top end video card to use with the highest end Pentium 4 and Athlon systems - Geforce 3. Adding the new ATI card to the mix may complicate matters a bit.

Extremetech.com did their preview recently and the results comparing the Geforce 3 (old and new drivers) and both new ATI cards on Pentium 4 1.7 and Athlon 1.4 systems. Depending on the game/CPU/videocard combination, there was not a consistant winner. Sometimes Athlon, sometimes P4. I know the 1.7 is not the fastest P4, but many of the Athlon victories would probably not be overcome by the 1.8.

Read for yourself:

http://www.extremetech.com/article/0,3396,apn%253D2%2526s%253D1017%2526a%253D11876%2526ap%253D1,00.asp

-DavidCPA


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Supertanker on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 05:07 am:

HardOCP just put up their review of the P4-2GHz, and does compare it to a 1.4 Tbird. http://hardocp.com/reviews/cpus/intel/p42ghz/

Kyle states that most of the tests are apples-to-oranges, but his conclusions are interesting.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By David E. Hunt (Davidcpa) on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 09:33 am:

While I was posting my message above, I saw that Extremetech.com had also posted their 2ghz P4 review, but did not read it. Just read it and the P4 appears to be the king. I believe it won every gaming benchmark in this review.

Desslock appears to be right. The highest clock P4 is the fastest chip in town. 2ghz - WOW!

-DavidCPA


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Dave Long on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 09:49 am:


Quote:

I'm still very curious to see what a Athlon 4 (or whatever they call desktop Palomino) in an nForce mobo will do.


I'm with you there. Is it just me or has this motherboard that NVIDIA is releasing just slipped right under every gamer's radar? There hasn't been too much to report beyond the specifications (which are impressive to say the least). Unless it's a total dog (doubtful), I'm betting this is what will be in my next system.

It could easily put the benchmarks over even the 2GHz P4 with a much less sophisticated Athlon processor.

I'm so looking forward to this combination.

--Dave
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 10:09 am:

"The highest clock P4 is the fastest chip in town. 2ghz - WOW!"

Careful, because AMD is likely to introduce their 1.5ghz Palomino any day now. The Palomino is 10% (or more) faster than the thunderbird at the same clock speeds, mostly due to hardware prefetch. And this chip has SSE as well.

http://www.anandtech.com/cpu/showdoc.html?i=1524&p=11

Compare the Athlon MP 1.2 (palomino) and Athlon 1.4 (Thunderbird) scores here. Now mentally scale the 1.2 scores to 1.5, and you'll see what I mean. There will be no more Thunderbirds above 1.4, so the next chip introduction will be a palomino by definition.

The P4 2.0 ghz loses to the Athlon 1.2 ghz in Aquamark, which shows you how inconsistent the P4 really is, even in its "best" area. Visit the rest of the benchmark pages for more.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Dave Long on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 10:36 am:

I can't help but wonder why anyone is still performing benchmarks at 640x480. Who really cares? Does anyone legitimately run their resolution at that size given the game supports many different resolutions as all 3D games do?

800x600 should be the first benchmark I see. I'm never going to run 3D games lower than that and I'm probably as conservative as you can get when it comes to pushing resolution over framerates.

--Dave


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Desslock on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 11:33 am:

>I can't help but wonder why anyone is still performing benchmarks at 640x480. Who really cares? Does anyone legitimately run their resolution at that size given the game supports many different resolutions as all 3D games do

I completely agree. I can see, maybe, throwing in a couple of numbers so that people can compare them with older reviews, but cripes -- both the anandtech and the hardocp tests relied upon 640x480. But the lower resolutions do show meaningful differences between the chips -- it's just at higher resolutions the video cards, even Geforce 3's, are the bottleneck, so results get closer.

>Desslock appears to be right.

This conclusions from the latest Anandtech and Tom's Hardware articles sum up what I've been stating:

Anand: "If price isnít a concern, then itís worth noting there are some situations in which the Pentium 4 2.0GHz is noticeably more than what AMDís current flagship can offer."

Tom's Hardware: "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' http://www.tomshardware.com/cpu/01q3/010827/p4-12.html#conclusion

...and on the pricing point: "Intel processors never had a better price/performance ratio".

And that's coming from two very pro-AMD sites (which still recommend AMDs for most purchasers, as I do).

Stefan


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Desslock on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 11:42 am:

>The P4 2.0 ghz loses to the Athlon 1.2 ghz in Aquamark, which shows you how inconsistent the P4 really is, even in its "best" area

Actually, according to Tom's Hardware http://www.tomshardware.com/cpu/01q3/010827/p4-09.html
Even the 1.8 p4 beats the best Athlon 1.4, as does the 2.0, naturally. The differences are pretty inconsequential though.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 01:49 pm:

Conflicting results from Tom and Anand then-- perhaps Anand used a GF3? Regardless, I would take this "P4 is faster in games" with a GIANT grain of salt. I've already shown (scroll up for URLs) that in Max Payne and Serious Sam, the Athlon is quite a bit faster, along with Unreal Tournament (just browsing some of the new results). Most sites look at precious few benchmarks WRT gaming.

And like Dave said, benchmarking at 640x480 is artificial. In the real world, the video card is a large bottleneck at 1024x768 or above. The only reason to benchmark at 640x480 is to show differences in CPU.. but that's not how most people with such fancy computers want to play their games. Heck, even Diablo II runs at higher than 640x480 now. When Blizzard finally manages to up the resolution, you know everyone else has _years_ ago.

Anyway, expect the Athlon to get even faster once the 1.5ghz Palomino is released. Hardware prefetch seems to be a very big deal, performance-wise.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Desslock on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 02:39 pm:

>I've already shown that in Max Payne, the Athlon is quite a bit faster.

No, you haven't. You showed that at two lower resolutions, an Athlon 1.2 is faster than a p4 1.5 (and even then, the p4 beat it at the highest resolution tested). And now there's a p4 500 ghz faster.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 05:37 pm:

First, 800x600 and 1024x768 _aren't_ low resolutions. They're realistic resolutions for people who don't have a GeForce 3 and want to play Max Payne.

Second, if you want to play this game, let's benchmark everything at 1600x1200! Then it really doesn't matter what CPU you buy since 99.9% of the performance is derived from the video card bottleneck. But if you want to call that 2fps margin at 1280x1024 a victory.. I suppose that's your perogative. Yours and Bobby Brown's, really.

All I'm asking for is benchmarks at REALISTIC resolutions. I don't consider 640x480 a realistic res nowadays. I understand why it's done (to isolate the CPU and remove the vid card bottleneck), but I disagree that 640x480 results are relevant to real world gaming. I'm sure somewhere in California, Bill Roper is caressing each and every pixel of his fixed-resolution 640x480 screen-- but the rest of us moved on YEARS ago. Have you seen 640x480 on a 19" or 21" monitor? The pixels are bigger than my whole hand!

Third, if an Athlon 1.2 is faster than P4 1.5, it is EXTREMELY likely that an Athlon 1.5 would be faster than a P4 2.0.

Fourth, you're being ridiculous. Again. 500 *ghz* faster? Not to mention the other two sentences in the above post.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason McCullough on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 07:32 pm:

'Third, if an Athlon 1.2 is faster than P4 1.5, it is EXTREMELY likely that an Athlon 1.5 would be faster than a P4 2.0.'

Not really. The relative speed of a processor's components change quite a bit as the external clock speed goes up; there isn't a single performance ratio across processors. Only benchmarking will give you useful results.

This all seems a bit academic at the moment anyway, as compilers currently don't produce P4 or Athlon code. You're benchmarking the ability of the respective chips to run P3 or P2-optimized instructions, depending on how old the compiler is, even postulating on-chip instruction optimization.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Desslock on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 08:09 pm:

>First, 800x600 and 1024x768 _aren't_ low resolutions. They're realistic resolutions for people!!!!

Re-read what I wrote again. You're going off on another rant after misreading another comment. So I guess it's only apt for me to add four exclamation marks after each of your conclusions, to match your misplaced zealotry.

>if you want to call that 2fps margin at 1280x1024 a victory.. I suppose that's your perogative!!!! [and] I disagree that 640x480 results are relevant to real world gaming!!!!

So if a test is done in 1280x1024 resolution and gives a higher resolution, the test is using "too high" a resolution....but if the text results are based upon tests run at 640x480, that's "too low" a resolution. ...You're like goldilocks searching for the "just right" resolution that favours an AMD chip....and then you use that result to justify generalizaton such as your conclusion that "the P4 isn't as fast as the Athlon".

>, if an Athlon 1.2 is faster than P4 1.5, it is EXTREMELY likely that an Athlon 1.5 would be faster than a P4 2.0.!!!!

Jason addressed this point (and there is no Athlon 1.5 on the market, in any event). But I'm sure your imaginary comparison is quite conclusive, or you wouldn't have used capital letters to announce it.

>you're being ridiculous. Again. 500 *ghz* faster?!!!!

You caught a typo. Well done. Ignoring the fact that the benchmarks you quoted to support your statement actually give a better number to the p4 at the highest tested resolution, and there's now a p4 available that's half a gigahertz faster than the one used in the test results.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Greg Vederman on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 08:31 pm:

LOL! Boy, am I ever sick to death of this argument!

People need not come to blows over something this silly! Here's the deal:

P4 2GHz = fastest CPU for games; productivity performance is finally on par with fastest AMD chips; expensive

AMD 1.4GHz = just about as fast as P4 2GHz in a lot of games; terrific productivity performance; relatively inexpensive

If you've got all the money in the world, go buy a P4 2GHz -- it's the bomb. If you're a normal human being like the rest of us, a fast AMD chip probably makes the most sense.

Either way, as long as you've got a decent video card, you're going to have an *AMAZINGLY* fast computer.

Can't we all just get along?

-Vederman


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By David E. Hunt (Davidcpa) on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 09:14 pm:


Quote:

Can't we all just get along?




No.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Greg Vederman on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 10:20 pm:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Quote:
Can't we all just get along?


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Answer:
No.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Response:
*sob*

-Vederman


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 10:47 pm:

"So if a test is done in 1280x1024 resolution and gives a higher resolution, the test is using "too high" a resolution.."

Dess, dess, dess, DESS! I assume you meant 'higher result' here. But that, too, must be a typo because the result was WITHIN THE MARGIN OF ERROR FOR THE TEST. Do you actually consider a result that is LESS THAN ONE fps higher @ 1280x1024, a 'higher result'? Specifically, 57.3fps for the P4, and 56.9fps for the Athlon?

Could it be, perhaps, that the CPU is not the item being benchmarked here? Look at the scores for all the video cards on each CPU.

http://www.rivastation.com/max_payne_e.htm

"Ignoring the fact that the benchmarks you quoted to support your statement actually give a better number to the p4 at the highest tested resolution."

The mind boggles. Who's being unreasonable here? Me, or the guy who calls a 0.4 fps difference "a better number" in the face of overwhelming evidence that the CPU is virtually irrelevant at this resolution?

Super-high resolutions become a video card test, pure and simple. Doesn't matter to me if you want to do it that way-- just be warned that every CPU will perform the same, because the CPU isn't the bottleneck. Actually, scratch that. Not the same. 0.4 fps faster. Clearly. Obviously.

"..but if the text results are based upon tests run at 640x480, that's "too low" a resolution."

Heck, why stop at 640x480? Why not benchmark 512x384? or 320x200? It's not "too low", it's just flat-out unrealistic. Nobody who owns a geforce3 and a shiny new Intel or AMD system is going to suffer through gaming at 640x480. It's interesting as a synthetic test but it has little relevance to the way people actually play games. In the real world, performance is a mixture of the CPU and the video card.

"...You're like goldilocks searching for the "just right" resolution that favours an AMD chip....and then you use that result to justify generalizaton such as your conclusion that "the P4 isn't as fast as the Athlon"."

Well, I'd like to draw broad conclusions from resolutions that are representative of the way gamers actually play, not the extreme ends of the spectrum.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By David E. Hunt (Davidcpa) on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 10:50 pm:

Just kidding. I agree with your assessment that a high end Athlon or P4 teamed with a high end video card makes for a fast gaming machine.

BTW, I like the new hardware scoring method in PC Gamer. It provides a greater variety of scores than Editor's Choice/No Editor's Choice.

-DavidCPA


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 10:58 pm:

Scratch that.

http://www.rivastation.com/max_payne_e.htm

The Athlon is 0.2 fps faster than the Pentium 4 in Max Payne @ 1280x1024x32bpp. There ya go. Cold, hard proof. All 0.2fps of it.

(starts humming Queen's "We Are The Champions")


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By steve on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 11:25 pm:

"If you've got all the money in the world, go buy a P4 2GHz -- it's the bomb. If you're a normal human being like the rest of us, a fast AMD chip probably makes the most sense."

That is exactly what Desslock has been saying all along.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By BobM on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 11:30 pm:

Can we go back to arguing whether an X-wing can take a Y-wing in a one-on-one dogfight? That was actually LESS GEEKY!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Greg Vederman on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 11:49 pm:

Quote:
That is exactly what Desslock has been saying all along.

--------------------------------------------------------

Yes, I know. Clearly, the guy knows more than just RPGs. =)

-TheVede


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Greg Vederman on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 11:57 pm:

"BTW, I like the new hardware scoring method in PC Gamer. It provides a greater variety of scores than Editor's Choice/No Editor's Choice."

Thanks, David! =) The way it was before, I think a lot of readers simply glossed over any hardware reviews that didn't get an award... and that's no good at all!

-Vede


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By denny on Tuesday, August 28, 2001 - 12:42 am:

I have yet to find a game that pushes my 1GHz P3/GeForce2 Ultra system past its limits.

I've had plenty of time with the fastest 1.7GHz P4 and 1.4GHz Athlon systems on the market, thanks to a series of reviews I did for ZDnet/Computer Shopper recently. And despite all the high-end hardware -- raid drives, etc -- on the current generation of games things were little different from my system. Now, the MadOnion benchmark looked much better on those...


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Supertanker on Tuesday, August 28, 2001 - 12:49 am:

"I have yet to find a game that pushes my 1GHz P3/GeForce2 Ultra system past its limits."

I'm running a P3/733, 384MB RAM, GeForce2 Pro, and I haven't hit the wall yet either. I suppose I could go to higher resolutions, but I do run Max Payne at 1024x768x32 with all details maxed, and that ain't too shabby.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Tuesday, August 28, 2001 - 01:41 am:

Well, forgive me, but I must agree with Wumpus on this one...

I've seen too much evidence showing that the Athlon beats the P4 (though, granted, not the 2GHz chip, though the 1.5 Palomino will likely challenge it) to say that the P4 is hands-down the best gaming chip in every scenario. It seems to go 50/50 (or at least 75/25), and that's enough to prevent such statements from being accurate.

Again, I'll say that comparing the "highest-available" isn't really fair, either, considering one is at 2GHz and the other just hitting 1.5. Granted, a perspective buyer who is looking for the best wouldn't consider this, but if you trying to determine which chip is really better -- which is what this has evolved to -- you have to remember that. So a 2GHz P4 out-performs a 1.4 T-Bird. Duh. If a 1.4 T-Bird can out-perform a 1.8 P4, EVER, that's kinda sad, really...

Really, seems to me that it's a no-brainer as to which to buy, even if money were no object. But then, it's kinda hard to even pretend that money is no object...


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Greg Vederman on Tuesday, August 28, 2001 - 02:41 am:

Hey, I don't think anyone here has mentioned it, but there's also a lot to be said for stability. For all intents and purposes, home-built P4-based systems are dummy-proof; they don't seem to lock-up or crash nearly as often as the average home-built T-bird-based system. I swear, somewhere along the way, we all got fooled into thinking it's okay for our computers lock on us every now and again. Well, I'm here to tell ya that it's NOT okay.

I get tons of E-mail from readers complaining about T-bird lock-ups. That said, I think I've probably received only one or two E-mails from people having the same trouble with Intel systems in the past year.

Does this speak to the fact that T-bird systems are less stable, or does it simply suggest that most of PCG's readers have AMD chips, and as such, T-bird problems are the ones I'm most likely to hear about? YOU BE THE JUDGE! =)

Come on! Someone argue the point with me! You know you're dying to.

-Vede


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Tuesday, August 28, 2001 - 02:52 am:

I can only speak of what I know, but I've never heard the same complaints. I'll get back to you once I pick up a T-Bird for myself (which shouldn't be long, now), but I've been using AMD for years, and we've sold several T-Bird systems, and I've never heard that.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Mark Asher on Tuesday, August 28, 2001 - 03:01 am:

"Does this speak to the fact that T-bird systems are less stable, or does it simply suggest that most of PCG's readers have AMD chips, and as such, T-bird problems are the ones I'm most likely to hear about? YOU BE THE JUDGE! =)"

Interersting question. I'd love to know what the breakdown is for chips with hardcore gamers. I went with Intel until the AMDs started getting good reviews, and I've been with AMD ever since I dumped my P-233 a long time ago. I've also had more problems since going to AMD. I just don't know what the real problem is -- parts going bad, later versions of Windows, DirectX issues, etc.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Tuesday, August 28, 2001 - 03:08 am:

Not to mention motherboards. My experience has been that motherboards are more likely to be bad than processors. And they're harder to detect. If you've got a bad processor, you can usually spot it right off the bat. If you've got a bad motherboard, you might not notice any signs for 2-3 weeks, and then it could be small, trivial things. That's a lot harder to detect. And random lockups are usually motherboard-related, not CPU-related.

So, perhaps motherboards that are AMD compatible are less reliable than motherboards that are Intel compatible?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Frank Greene (Reeko) on Tuesday, August 28, 2001 - 08:51 am:

"So, perhaps motherboards that are AMD compatible are less reliable than motherboards that are Intel compatible?"

You just have to be careful about getting a good representative sample. Not always, but often times people will go with the AMD for the price/performance match. If they cut a few bucks on the processor, did they also go with a less reliable motherboard vendor?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By David E. Hunt (Davidcpa) on Tuesday, August 28, 2001 - 10:54 am:

My suspicion is that you are receiving more AMD questions because most PCs being built by users right now are using AMD equipment.

Along with the less reliable motherboard theory discussed above, I also suspect that users may be underestimating the cooling and power requirements of AMD chips if they are truly encountering chip-related problems. Athlons are hot and power hungry. I have built 2 AMD systems in the last year and I haven't had a chip related problem.

My second theory (and the primary cause of lockups) is that users building their own PCs don't focus on reliability when they are building it. Many are focused on performance alone. If you overclock, you are more susceptible to lockups. Sound card installed in the PCI slot next to the AGP slot? You are only asking for trouble. Are the 4-n-1 drivers the most recent? AGP and IDE problems may occur. Are you using a Promise hard disk controller card for ATA 66/100 support? You need the most recent driver to prevent a known lockup error. Running beta video card drivers? They aren't beta for nothing. The list can go on and on, but I think you see my point.

IMHO PCs are tough to make run well. It takes work and most people want to get the machine built quickly to play games, etc. They don't cover all their bases.

-DavidCPA

PS....Don't get me started on configuring Windows 98SE to run at its best.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Desslock on Tuesday, August 28, 2001 - 11:40 am:

>say that the P4 is hands-down the best gaming chip in every scenario

Nobody said that in this thread, to my knowledge - or even gave the p4 the 75/25 edge you suggested.

Greg's question is a good one, which is why I was surprised when Jason said earlier in this thread that either he had as many problems (or received as much mail describing problems) with Intel chips/boards as AMD chips/boards. That's doesn't seem to be representative of usenet posts.

Like Jason earlier stated, I don't think stability is a concern that should influence purchasing decisions, because AMDS are fine -- but like Greg indicated, p4 set ups are idiot proof, while people more frequently seem to run into problems configuring AMD systems. Certainly nothing insurmountable - just often a bit more effort.

Stefan


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Anonymous on Tuesday, August 28, 2001 - 11:48 am:

Alright Desslock, enough of this -- you STILL haven't posted about Arcanum on your site? You need a good swift kick in the arse! And you'll get one, too! Soon!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Dave Long on Tuesday, August 28, 2001 - 12:08 pm:


Quote:

That's doesn't seem to be representative of usenet posts.


The bellwether of all public opinion, of course. ;)

--Dave
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Mike Latinovich (Mike) on Tuesday, August 28, 2001 - 06:59 pm:

scr3w aLL j00 guys!!!!!!! my Vic-20 w1ll 0wNz0r aLL j00r un-k-rad AMtel PENTIUthlon 2.4MHZZZzzz masheens aLL ovar!! BTW what si 3D G-FARCE??????

- mike - comadar FOREVAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! -


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Tuesday, August 28, 2001 - 11:43 pm:

We usually build our computers for customers based on price, so we usually go with the cheapest motherboard from Pricewatch.com with the cheapest Athlon vendor. In three years of doing it this way (though obviously not Athlon for three years, but usually AMD), we have never encountered problems. In fact, just this past weekend, we built one like this, with no problems upfront.

Granted, these aren't "gaming machines," so we're usually using onboard sound and video (bad, bad, bad for gamers, but very good for non-game-oriented computers), so that's a consideration. But we've never had strange lock-ups or unusual amounts of trouble configuring them.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By David E. Hunt (Davidcpa) on Wednesday, August 29, 2001 - 10:23 am:


Quote:

scr3w aLL j00 guys!!!!!!! my Vic-20 w1ll 0wNz0r aLL j00r un-k-rad AMtel PENTIUthlon 2.4MHZZZzzz masheens aLL ovar!! BTW what si 3D G-FARCE??????




I know this was posted to be funny, but I haven't a clue what real messages like this mean. Maybe I don't play online enough to catch the lingo. The extent of my knowledge is restricted to Diablo 2 (tp plz = open town portal please, afk = away from keyboard, etc.). I must be getting too old to care if I can read those types of messages. Before long I'll start using the term whippersnapper:-)

-DavidCPA

P.S. If you have a link to a website that offers an online lingo dictionary, please post it.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Stuart Harms on Wednesday, August 29, 2001 - 06:33 pm:

In my experience, most lock-ups on Athlon-based systems aren't because of the processor--they're because of various hardware combinations. For example, the Soundblaster Live! series of cards coupled with VIA KT133 chipsets are notoriously unreliable without extensive patching/tweaking.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Gordon Berg on Wednesday, August 29, 2001 - 07:10 pm:

Even worse than the occasional SB Live lock ups are the problems from VIA's piss-poor USB implementation. As a result, I bought a USB/PCI card (from SIIG) for my Abit KT7 and 95% of my problems went away right there.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Sean Tudor on Wednesday, August 29, 2001 - 07:44 pm:

Yes I had the same problem with my one abortive attempt to use a VIA-based motherboard. My Microsoft Intellieye mouse would cause the system to lock as soon as I started Windows 98.

I hate to say it but the Intel chipset based solutions are far more reliable.

I am sure the VIA 4in1 drivers solve many of these problems but actually getting the pc stable long enough to install the updates is a big hassle.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Desslock on Wednesday, August 29, 2001 - 07:49 pm:

>Alright Desslock, enough of this -- you STILL haven't posted about Arcanum on your site?

O.k, o.k. I finally did. Thanks to Mark and Tom for the link on the main page (although the quote he took is a bit of context and more negative than the rest of my impressions). I posted a link back here as well.

Stefan


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Thursday, August 30, 2001 - 07:13 pm:

Because I loooove whippin' a dead hoss--

http://www.gamepc.com/reviews/hardware_review.asp?review=p42ghz&page=13&mscssid=&tp=

"In terms of overall performance, the numbers are split pretty evenly. About half the tests we ran were won by Intel, the other by AMD. In fact, AMD actually has a 5/4 lead over Intel. Not bad, for a processor that's a few months old and 600 MHz short of its competition."

That's right. The brand spankin' new 2.0ghz P4 which "will run currently available or future games as well as, or better than, currently available AMDs" is SLOWER than the Athlon 1.4 in Giants and Serious Sam. Not to mention the Max Payne results previously quoted ad nauseam.

I want to emphasize that was a DIRECT quote from Desslock. So.. Desslock. Exactly when is "slower" equal to "as well as, or better than"?

Expect things to get even MORE competitive when the new Palomino is released at 1.5ghz, with hardware prefetch.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Greg Vederman on Friday, August 31, 2001 - 03:16 am:

Dear Jeebus,

I know I don't speak to you as often as I should, but please, if you can, see to it that the good people of this forum stop bickering about which CPU is the fastest. Can't these people see that their arguments are closely tied to the fact that they already own one or the other of the two technologies? Can't they take a step back and see that both technologies are good and decent in their own special ways?

God, I know I don't speak to you often, but Superman, if you're out there...

-Vederman

PS
Oy vey, let this conversation come to an end.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Friday, August 31, 2001 - 04:09 am:


Quote:

Can't these people see that their arguments are closely tied to the fact that they already own one or the other of the two technologies?




For what it's worth, since they're not currently available for comment: Many of the people arguing for the P4 have stated that they have AMDs themselves...Not to judge anything by that statement.

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