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# Intel? AMD? What do you think?

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Hi programmers, Yeah, I''m gonna get a new PC. But the price difference between Intel and AMD keeps troubling me. If I were to use it for normal purpose, I would go for AMD. But I just want to make sure I pay Intel for the right thing I should get. From the view point of a programmer, a game programmer, what do you think? Is there any difference in terms of ...... instruction sets, in terms of optimization, ......? I really need to make a right choice because I''m gonna use it for my game programming life. OK guys, thanks a lot for your help!!

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They each use their own special instruction sets for 3D operations I believe - AMD has 3D Now! and the Pentium has special 3d ops too - but fortunately DirectX makes use of these features automatically if needed, (or it's possible you have to specifically choose 3D Now! as the display driver - I think it is enumerated by DirectX and is an option when choosing the display driver to use... and I think if you have 3D hardware acceleration on the computer, it will ignore any 3D stuff built into the processor).

Anyhow, you usually don't get as low-level as using the cpu instructions anyhow (assembler is being used less and less nowadays). Both CPUs have the same set of compatible instruction sets for standard stuff.

Then again, I'm not really talking from experience, just from what I've heard.

I personally bought an AMD Athlon because it's a better processor, (it is more advanced than the PIII architecture, which itself is still based on the Pentium Pro), it's faster in benchmarks, and it's cheaper. There wasn't much of a debate in my opinion :-)

Clay

Edited by - Falagard on June 26, 2000 3:18:56 PM

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The FPU is also faster in the athlon, but fixed point math is slower (this is weird, for years, intel had the edge over amd in floating point ops, and amd had the faster fixed point math), this is not a big deal, though because they both preform quite well.
About instruction sets, amd has intel''s mmx instructions, but not sse.As far as I know, intel doesn''t include any 3dnow! instructions.3dnow! in the athlon has some added 20-30 new instruction over previous processors with 3dnow!, with a great number of different functions (they''re not all for accelerating the same thing).
I personally would pick athlon because in my opinion its a better product; I could care less if amd is the ''underdog'', if intel makes a better product next time I upgrade, they''re going to get my money.
If you choose athlon, be careful of which motherboard you choose, the AMD-750 motherboard chipset is complete crap, a lot (A LOT) of hardware just doesn''t work with it and if you''re using windows you can just throw whatever ammount of stability you have out the window.This is almost not true with later revisions of the chipset, but the revision number is not marked anywhere, so you have no idea what your vendor is selling you.A motherboard with the via kx133 chipset would be a better choice all around.

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From what ive heard:

Athlons are better for games (3DNow! accelerates pre-rendering garb before the graphics card does).

www.jumblesoftware.com

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I just bought a PIII-700 to replace my AMD K6-2 450. Here''s a few things:

AMD is cheaper and pretty reliable. I bought my AMD back when RAM was really expensive, along with an older MB to handle my older RAM. Probably a mistake. I loved my AMD a long time, then I bought a new video card to replace my screwed up Riva TNT. Stealth III''s do not like AMD. At least they didn''t last I checked. Yank my husband''s Voodoo2, put it in my machine, put the Stealth III in his.

About a week later the Voodoo2 fails (loses the ability to do 3D). Argh. Trip to the store (they know me by name), grab a Voodoo3. Plug and pray. Voodoo3 conflicts with my ethernet card, both want IRQ 10, so either I have 640x480 safe mode, or I have no ethernet. Time to fiddle with the BIOS. Got it semi-stable, though it occassionally would revert to the conflict state, a few reboots would usually clear it up again. This was in the winter.

Summer rolls around. AMD''s run hot by nature. Voodoos run very hot by nature. I start getting the blue screen of death pretty often. I yank the cover off my machine and stick a room-sized fan right beside it, blowing directly on the MB. This helps some, though I think the MB was starting to fail at this point. Verant can''t patch to save their lives, and my somewhat hacked together system starts crashing to desktop every 30 seconds trying to play EQ. Explorer starts crashing again, with more lovely blue screens of death. I reinstall Windows and all drivers for probably the 20th time. No change. I throw up my hands and wander down to the store, grab a P3-700 and an ASUS MB. Installation is cake, it comes up, and the few relatively minor problems are quickly resolved. No more crashing, no more problems, life is good.

Moral of the story: Do not try to run an AMD on a low-quality MB unless you are some sort of sadomasochist. I recommend ASUS. Do not try to run AMD near any other piece of hardware that runs hot. Do not expect brand new top-of-the-line hardware to be happy with your AMD, the drivers were designed for Intel, and they''ll get around to fixing the AMD problems later. AMD runs happily with, from my experience, a rather limited hardware set, especially video cards (and I didn''t go into the ethernet or sound card problems I''ve had with the thing). Intel costs more, but after the amount of hair-pulling I''ve gone through with my AMD, I''m willing to pay a little extra to have things work right the first time for once.

On a sidenote, my husband''s Celeron 300a overclocked to 450 on his Abit BH-6 in about 15 minutes, and has run beautifully with every piece of hardware we put in it ever since, for what, a year and a half now? If you think Intel is far too expensive, pick up a Celeron. He''s getting ready to swap it out for a 533 overclocked to 850.

-fel

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hell no Don''t get a celeron, yeah it can be overclocked easily but there is a higher chance it will f up (trust me I know)
Go with an athlon with the via motherboard. Get any athlon you want except teh 1ghz one which is significantly slower than P3 1ghz processor due to cache.

Athlons are some fast mother F''ers adn cost a little more than a celeron. Also since your making games athlons perform faster flatin point operations like the guy said.

AMD!!!!AMD!!!!

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The old K-6s had bad motherboards and were slower than the P*. Athlons are much better (and the new motherboards are a whole lot less buggy), faster, and cheaper. I love my Athlon, no probs with it. Although, if your processor kept on doing that I would suggest getting a *decent* fan or sticking your computer in a freezer and working from there.

My suggestion, wait for the Thunderbird, it will be an awesome, 64-bit sob. Intel has gone the way of the not-so-compatable RISC processors, so the next gen Intel processors may not be very compatable, we will see.

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

A wise man once said "A person with half a clue is more dangerous than a person with or without one."

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Athlon -> $/MHz AMD Chips support MMX instructions. The also have 3DNow instructions. The 200MHz bus a bit of an overkill, but it can't hurt The Duron processor's are like Celerons. Don't buy one. AMD chips have L1, L2, & L3 cache built in (unless you have a K6-2 or older - or a Duron!) You will not save money assembling a system yourself. You will have the freedom to chose components that don't suck. Over-clocking your CPU is like running nitro-meth in your car. Great for the first (and only) 10,000 miles. Even if you add a decent amount of additional external cooling, the cpu core gets hotter - you just have a greater thermal flow. Besides, there's no cache there for the instructions to go to... 200MHz of CPU Stall... Buying a Celeron to go with a TNT2 or GeForce(1 or 2) is like buying 87octane gas for a Ferrari Do not buy a cheap motherboard. Buy one with the fan rpm & cpu temperature sensors, Gigabyte is my current favorite (got three of those). CPU & case fans are cheap pieces of &lgtcensored>. They fail. Often. Do not buy a mother board with a Via chipset - I've had stability problems with those (thier website for is hard to access too, for bios updates, IDE busmaster drivers, etc...) Buy a of RAM. 64MB is minimal, 128MB should be good; you can buy more later. Make sure the MB supports 133MHz RAM if you spend the extra cash and get 133MHz RAM. Read it. Don't take a sale's person's advice. 128MB of 100MHz is way better than 64MHz of 133MHz RAM. Which to buy depends on the price differnce, i haven't checked recently... If you buy a GeForce (they're about$150 now!), look for a 4xAGP capibile MB (again Read it); I haven't seen the VIA 4xAGP chipset in action, and I don't intend to. If you have lots of money, buy a GeForce2.

I'm sure what the difference is between the Creative Labs, Gigabyte, and who-ever-else that makes graphic cards with the nvidia chipset - other than price. It may just be software, or additional features (like TV out). I have two Createive's...

I haven't seen a voodoo 4, 5, 6 yet, but it doesn't matter, the GeForce seems to be the better chipset... (Is 3dfx's T-Buffer supported by DirectX, or just Glide? The T-buffer seems to be a subset of T&L acceleration...) The only thing that I think the new voodoos accelerate that the nvidia chips do not is full-screen anti-aliasing (but the GeForece may do that, it's just not as important as the T&L acceleration!) GeForce's accelerate Cubic environment mapping btw - which means RT radiosity! (ray-tracing effect).

The SB Live! is the only sound card I know of that has 4channels - VvVvVery nice I might add. But you'll need to buy a decent set of 4channel (or prologic!) speakers, or it won't be worth it. I have a Diamond S90, with an aureal chip, that really, really, really blows. I wouldn't recommend an aureal... that's an old card though, so maybe they got better.

Install Windows2000 with certified drivers. Get it working well before you play with the lastest & greatest drivers.

You have no hope of installing W95, use W98SE if you can't get your hands on W2K.

Edited by - Magmai Kai Holmlor on June 26, 2000 12:39:45 AM

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well currently i wouldnt buy any intel chips right now, there old and well amd''s are newer and better the duron is alot better then the celeron and its not crap also the thunderbird is not 64 bit its still 32bit

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quote:
Original post by felisandria

Summer rolls around. AMD''s run hot by nature. Voodoos run very hot by nature. I start getting the blue screen of death pretty often. I yank the cover off my machine and stick a room-sized fan right beside it, blowing directly on the MB. This helps some, though I think the MB was starting to fail at this point. Verant can''t patch to save their lives, and my somewhat hacked together system starts crashing to desktop every 30 seconds trying to play EQ. Explorer starts crashing again, with more lovely blue screens of death. I reinstall Windows and all drivers for probably the 20th time. No change.

I had very very very similar problems with a K6-3 & an ASUS mother board (TNT2 & SB Live). I replaced the MB & all is good.

quote:

Moral of the story: Do not try to run an AMD on a low-quality MB unless you are some sort of sadomasochist. I recommend ASUS.

I wouldn''t - especially now that someone else had the same problems I did with an AMD & an ASUS... I would attribute it to Verant, but I only replaced the MB & CPU fan and it works *much* better.

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I agree with jumble.

AMD for games.
Intel for anything else.

So, if you mostly use it for games with a bit for programming, go AMD. Otherwise, Intel. In any case, Intel is having shortages... and so will AMD if they keep selling their chips that fast

Oh, and AMD''s require a lot of power. Hence their recommended power supply list.

But who knows what will happen in the chip industry...

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Well, my experiences with athlon.

I bought Athlon 500 with FIC''s MB in november. MB was faulty, and I finally got K7M (can''t remember manufacturer...) instead. Otherwise, I have SB LIVE, G400 (I simply love that dualhead capability...), cheap network card and voodoo1 installed (I really have to get rid of that voodoo...), 128MB of memory and bus clocked to 110MHz (so processor is running at 550...). And I have absolutely no problems with anything, and I haven''t even installed any extra fans or other cooling.
One thing irritates me however: That damn casing has 2 fans, processor has additional 2, and result is a lot of noise, so there is no way I can sleep with computer up and running (well, no way excluding a sixpack or two...)

As for interrups... Every one of high-irqs (>= 8) is shared between two devices, expect those that are shared by THREE devices. No problems...

If there are sharing problems, moving cards to other PCI slots may help. Really! Some stupid cards want only use IRQ that "belongs" to PCI slot, and cause conflicts... A friend had problems with a TV card and was it a network adapter having a conflict over an irq, which was solved by physically moving cards around...

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I was reading PCGamer a couple months ago an the hard stuff section had an article on this exact topic.
Basically they where inredibly close in every benchmark.
But AMD is obvisouly much cheaper, and you can get a GHZ which is cool in itself
Unfortunately they had a lot of problems getting geFORCE cards to work well on them.
That alone is why im stickin with pentium.

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I''ve got quite a bit of my hard earned money invested in AMD at the moment, the stuff they are delivering is quite simply excellent. Intel is running behind - their new motherboard offerings aren''t half as good as they should be ( i820 fiasco ).
Their older BX chipset is still a winner though, because it overclocks so well.

AMD Athlon/Duron/Thunderbird stability is much better now with the Via KX133/KT133 chipset, even if it isn''t the fastest thing under the sun. We finally have AGP4x support, though it doesn''t make much speed difference compared to AGP2x. The possibility of DDR SRAM chipsets in q3/q4 is also something to consider, Intel will take a lot longer to get those on the market.

Give me one more medicated peaceful moment..
~ (V)^|) |<é!t|-| ~
ERROR: Your beta-version of Life1.0 has expired. Please upgrade to the full version. All important functions will be disabled from now on.

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OK, I gotta clear a few more things up.

The Duron and the Thunderbird are just rereleases of the Athlon with on die L2 cache. The old athlons didn''t have on-die L2, so it had to run at half or worse speed thus causing performance hits at higher clock speeds. The Duron is aimed at lower end markets, has 64k of cache and is availible in speeds from 600 to 750 mHz (I think). They are cheaper and faster than celerons and in some cases, original athlon. The Thunderbird is the high end, it has 256k of cache (I think) and is availible is speeds from 700 to +1gHz.

"The Duron processor''s are like Celerons. Don''t buy one."

Are you on crack? All a Duron is is a classic Althon with on-die cache. They are cheaper and faster than both the celeron and the old athlons. Also, some of the mobos for the Durons will allow you to change the *MULTIPLIERS*. No more jacking around with the bus to get the speed you want. You can already get slotckets for them too.

As for which to buy, go AMD. It''s a better, cheaper product. The only thing SSE is actually used in is benchmarking utils that are used by companies to show Intel in a better light. I know of lots of games that have 3DNow! enchancements though.

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Forgot that. AMD is cheaper across the board. Unless you live outside the USA. *grumble*

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ok, from what ive read in magazines the AMD processors and Intels pentiums are speed wise almost identical and will continue to be. the only relevant differences that i see are in the compliance with instructions and the price difference.

if all else fails, read a book

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quote:
....We finally have AGP4x support, though it doesn''t make much speed difference compared to AGP2x. .....

its doesnt make right now, but it will with real hw T&L apps. vertex data that these will send over will be vastly bigger than todays games, so 2x bigger bandwidth on AGP will be quite important. textures are not that important, as nobody wants to do AGP texturing and tries to fit textures for a scene in card memory. but most of vertex data (except for static gemoetry)will have to be sent over every frame.

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I''m not entirely sure, but I''ve been under the impression that AGP4x is simply not twice as fast as AGP2x, because of other issues besides bandwidth. I could be wrong there though, I haven''t looked into it much. ( I''m stuck with an AGP-less Computer at home )

Give me one more medicated peaceful moment..
~ (V)^|) |<é!t|-| ~
ERROR: Your beta-version of Life1.0 has expired. Please upgrade to the full version. All important functions will be disabled from now on.

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I hope you''re not trying to tell me that a Celeron 300a has no cache Magamai, because 300a''s have 128kB of on-chip cache. Earlier Celerons had no cache, but they realized that was a bad idea.

My overclocked Celeron 300a is actually quite a bit cooler than my AMD K6-2 ran. Celeron 300a''s were supposed to be 450''s anyway, they just clocked them down because the heat tolerances were slightly out of spec. If you put a larger fan on the Celeron, it''s fine. Not the case with an AMD (believe me, I tried.) I wasn''t ready to buy a Peltier just because my stupid chip couldn''t handle its own heat. Upgrade sounded a lot better.

I''ve helped 3 people overclock their Celerons. This was about a year and a half ago. None of them have had any problems whatsoever. All of them managed the overclock, from an instruction sheet I gave them, in about 15 minutes, they didn''t even have to use my phone number which I gave them just in case. No heat problems, no conflict problems, nothing. One of them was a veterinarian who was terrified of cracking his case open. He''s a self-upgrading fiend now. *wry smile*

Yeah, I know about moving stuff to different slots, that was the first thing I tried, and it fixed a soundcard/ethernet card conflict, but didn''t help on the video card/ethernet card conflict. Unfortunately that motherboard had a very limited number of PCI slots.

By the way, I bought a little blower for my Voodoo3 just to make sure, it''s a great little piece of hardware. For about 12 bucks you get a little fan with a vortex on top that pretty much directly correlates to the radiating fins on the Voodoo3, and blows the heat out the back of the machine. Only drawback is that it covers a slot (doesn''t plug in, just gets in the way and the exhaust port goes out through the back.

-fel

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I bought an AMD Athlon 500 with 128 Mb of RAM about 8 months ago. I also bought a Diamond Viper and used my Soundblaster 32 from my old computer. I have not had a single problem. In canada, the Athlon is cheaper but you have to buy a more expensive motherboard and power supply, so in the end the Athlon route was about the same price as the Intel route. That said I still went with the Athlon and have yet to experience any performance problems. I installed windows 98 on it, for the better games support (as compared to NT)

I am an Oracle developer, and the tools are pigs (Designer/2000 and Developer/2000). I can run both as well as several other apps (ms office apps and even some games) all at the same time and have yet not had a noticeable slow down, so I'm not sure about the claim in a previous note that claims Athlons don't perform as well as Intel's chips in the multi-tasking arena. I am extrememly happy with my purchase and would highly recommend it to anyone else

Hitman

Edited by - Hitman on June 27, 2000 11:36:08 AM

Edited by - Hitman on June 27, 2000 11:36:37 AM

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Go check out www.tomshardware.com and compare the benchmarks. Athlons were consistently faster than Pentiums. As a matter of fact, Athlons would kick the ass of Pentium IIIs at higher clock speeds.. such as Athlon 600s versus PIII 650 & 700s

Athlon versus Pentium article:
http://www6.tomshardware.com/cpu/99q3/990823/

Another older benchmark, with 600 & 650s:
http://www6.tomshardware.com/cpu/99q3/990809/athlon-20.html

Price/Performance comparison for Pentium IIIs:
http://www6.tomshardware.com/cpu/00q2/000511/pentiumiii-14.html

I find tomshardware.com is the best place for advice on hardware - and I THINK that all the benchmarks are well done and reliable.

Clay