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Intel vs. AMD - The Road Ahead - Does Megahertz Matter?

There has been much debate about which high-end processor is the best purchase in today's highly competitive market, both performance-wise and value-wise. There are two current main competitors in this market, AMD and Intel. Some prefer AMD processors because they offer excellent value for money, while others prefer Intel processors, due to their high performance and comparatively low heat output. Come join Asher "Acid" Moses as he takes a look at what we can expect from both of these Power-Houses in the future.

| Editorials in CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | Posted: Apr 21, 2002 4:00 am

Does Megahertz Matter?

 

This has been something that has plagued AMD for some time now. Clock for clock, AMD's flagship processor, the AthlonXP outperforms Intel's flagship processor, the Pentium 4, by quite a significant margin. This is because the Pentium 4's pipeline is significantly longer than the AthlonXP's pipeline, and the Pentium 4 thus has to accomplish more per clock.

 

While hardware enthusiasts may realize this, the average consumer most probably will not, and end up purchasing a processor just because it boasts a higher megahertz rating. Intel have used this as a marketing tool for quite some time now, however, with the relatively recent release of the AthlonXP processor, AMD has attempted to wipe out this confusion by introducing a PR rating system called "Quantispeed".

 

The Quantispeed rating system is an estimation of real-world performance based on benchmarks that AMD has run themselves. It is NOT a comparison to a similarly clocked Intel Pentium 4 processor. For example, their 1800+ AthlonXP does not run at 1.8GHz, but rather 1.53GHz. It is arguable whether or not this was a morally correct move for AMD to make, however, it will hopefully eliminate confusion amongst consumers, and as long as AMD does not exaggerate their ratings and thus lie to consumers, I do not see anything wrong with it.

 

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