CPU : Intel or AMD

Posted: July 5, 2008 in Hardware
Tags: , ,

This is classic question, what CPU should I use for my new/upgraded system?

Well, we don’t have much choice, do we? Either ‘blue’ or ‘green’ CPU. However, the good news is, you can’t go wrong with either of this CPU. Both CPU is stable enough to run your application. Games is optimize for both CPU. Perhaps certain application a bit bias to certain CPU manufacturer for optimization but generally, both work fine. And both will provide about the same performance too ; with the price they ask.

Historically, I was AMD and Intel user. I own couple of them. My first CPU was Intel Pentium 100, then 166 MMX (notebook), jump to Intel Pentium3 600 MHz. A year later, can resist with AMD performance with their so call slot A Athlon 700, then Athlon socket A 900, upgrade to Atlon 1333 (AXIA code which the best overclocking room at that moment), Athlon XP 1600+. Athlon 2500+ which running at 3200+ since the very first day I bought that processor till now, Intel Pentium Dual Core 1.8 GHz and Core 2 Duo 2.66 GHz.

What can I conclude, there is no such thing that AMD processor is not stable, over heated etc as many will believe. Both processor got their dark age (high temperature CPU).

AMD with its 1.4 and above GHz processor (before XP version) and Intel with their Pentium 4 3.2 GHz and above. No need to mention about Pentium 4 Extreme Edition. Worst case, as my memory still server me well, in Asian country like Malaysia for example, hot P4 need to be throtled down to avoid over heating. That is serious matter as a lot of my ‘customer’ (my friend actually), complain to me that their processor doesn’t perform well. And most of them end up to let the CPU case ‘naked’.

OK, enough for the history. So, which one should we choose? The answer is depend on your current system. If your current system / chipset (motherboard) support current generation of CPU, why bother to change the whole system because you want other CPU. Example, you use Pentium 4 processor and your motherboard use Intel 945 chipset, which by doing bios update, it could support Core 2 Duo up to 1333 MHz FSB, it is wiser to stick with Intel processor. Perhaps you could do a cheap upgrade by buying Intel Pentium Dual Core 2.0 GHz for example. Or if the budget ceiling pretty high, you can have Intel Core 2 Duo instead.

Same goes to if your current mobo support current AMD processor, why bother to change motherboard and processor.You could use the same money to buy faster CPU, right.

But, if you are going to create a new rig or doing major upgrade (let say your mobo still support antique AGP slot and DDR1 like nForce2 for example), then your option is broader. Basically you will have the very same performance with the money you gonna fork out for your new system. But personally, I will go for Intel this time.

It is clearly in any benchmark which you can googling or yahooing, Core 2 Duo (even Pentium Dual Core, which share the same architecture with C2D) has better architecture compare to Athlon 64 X2 or even Phenom architecture. Core 2 Duo 2.6 GHz is superiorly faster than Athlon 64 x2 @ 2.6 GHz (no matter what model number they put on the processor box). It seem Intel manage to turn the table which AMD enjoy for couple of years back then. Previously, Athlon 2.6 GHz is superiorly faster than Pentium 4 2.6 GHz. No doubt about that but now, Intel win if we compare GHz to GHz. However, Intel 2.6 GHz CPU is more expensive than AMD 2.6 GHz CPU. Perhaps, AMD know that they can’t fight Hz by Hz with intel latest ‘Core’ architecture, so they reduce their processor line up price, which render, same price CPU will give same performance.

The reason why I choose Intel product because of the noise and heat factor. For casual working PC which use Intel Pentium Dual Core 1.8 GHz CPU, the fan rarely running. And the CPU temperature always around 28-34 degree celcius depending on ambient temperature and load. And bear in mind, I live in Malaysia with the outside (direct sunlight) temperature could be as high as 37 degree celcius. I believe, with the same price point, CPU from AMD will never ever reach this kind of temperature and silentness.

As for reference, according TomsHardware, Intel Pentium Dual Core 1.8 GHz has same performance with AMD Athlon 64 x2 4400. And a quick check around online store, their price are about the same.

Second reason why I choose Intel over AMD is, ‘Core’ architecture provide more room for overclocking. There is a lot of benchmark result laying in the internet, the enthausiast able to overclock this 1.8 Pentium Dual Core to a staggering 3.4 GHz. As for myself, using the stock heatsink, I manage to overclock up to 2.4 GHz using 667 DDR2 RAMs. However using my P35 base mobo with DDR2 800 memory stick, I able to reach 3.0 GHz flat. So imagine this, with RM 180 motherboard (945 chipset) and RM200 processor, this system able to reach 2.4 GHz easily! This is a big bargain. In fact, that rig consistantly running at 2.4 GHz setting without any stability or problem since I build that rig.

One of my friend buy AMD 5000+ Black Edition (unlock multiplier) and overclock it to 3.0 GHz (he did complain has some overheating issue with stock heat sink when he play games), just perform as fast as my cheap Pentium Dual Core @ 2.4 GHz. We did benchmark using Vista performance index, PCMark, Sandra…you name it. So, when I show him that I can outperform him when I push my cheap CPU to 3.0 GHz, he just can’t beat that. And please note, that his CPU price is more than RM400 which is double than mine.

I don’t want to compare with Core 2 Duo 2.6 GHz here because it doesn’t make any sense anymore, since it clearly beat AMD CPU no matter what. And yes, it is not so cheap anyway. So, we already know the result. As for reference, my Core 2 Duo 2.6 GHz, I manage to squeeze it performance up to 3.4 GHz (Hardcore overclocker could achieve close to 4 GHz for the record) . After that, stability becoming an issue. But still, with the huge cache and beyond 3.0 GHz pontential, I would say, Intel win my heart at this stage.

Hopefully, AMD could do something with their CPU line up to counter attack Intel as they did before. A fierce competition between this two giant will always benefit us, the end user.

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