Ok, ok, There is a lot of hype and a lot of truth around the net about the performance of processors and which ones are the best. Unfortunately most sources have a biased one way or the other for their own personal reasons. I personally prefer to test as much as I can myself to keep the comparisons as objective and fair as possible. There is absolutely NO SPIN here!
With that said, I like both chips and give credit where credit is due. We all know it's a heated race and the lead goes back and forth. This is good for us all! Can you imagine what would happen to innovation and performance if either company ultimately won the race?
I am a technician - a hardware and software junkie, who is always looking to get the most out of the latest technologies and design every one of our systems as if I were taking it home.
The following is all based on High performance Desktops as that's what I design. When talking about processor technology comparisons the differences here can be directly related to laptops as well.
** The Brutal Truth and Bottom Line**
Right now I have three Machines sitting in front of me. All fully loaded:
AMD Athlon 3200+ Epox 8RDA3+ Corsair XMS DDR PC3200 ATI 9800 pro
Intel Pentium 4 3.2 GHZ Asus P4C800-E Deluxe Corsair XMS DDR PC3200 ATI 9800 pro
AMD Athlon 3200 64-bit Asus K8V Deluxe Corsair XMS DDR PC3200 ATI 9800 pro
As I have just built the Athlon 64 earlier today I have only had an opportunity to benchmark it with 3D mark 2001 but more will be done soon. (I know this is not a decisive test by itself but is a good start.)
-- 3D mark 2001 benchmark comparisons only --
The 64-bit Athlon is the clear winner (even with minimal time devoted to OCing it)
Athlon 64-bit 21199
Intel 3.2 GHZ 20219
AMD 3200+ 19270
AMD FX64 Coming Soon
AMD has definitely made some major improvements for its 64 bit processor. As to whether its the HyperTransport, increased CACHE, Improved execution, or a combination that has increased the performance, further testing will show.
** 32 Bit --> 64 bit processing **
Having already been through this argument with the datacenter class UNIX servers, I can give first hand experience here.
With the exception of double precision floating point calculations, there is no inherent performance increases in moving from 32 bit to 64 bit processing. In fact, many operations will run slower on a 64 bit processor. Double precision calculations are faster but no more accurate on the 64 bit chips. 32 bit processors require two separate calculations to generate these results as compared to one on the 64 bit.
The primary need to move to 64 bit technology is to increase the chips ability to access more memory and storage from 4 GBs to the theoretical 18 million TBs. However, AMD's implementation uses only 40 bit addressing not 64 bit resulting in a maximum memory limit of roughly 1 Terrabyte of RAM. "What am I going to do with ONLY 1 Terrabyte?"
Now to use any of these features your software has to be re-compiled and optimized to use them. This is coming soon. Microsoft HAS released a beta Windows 64 bit OS tuned for the AMDs which will be released to the public soon as this is just a re-optimization and not new code.
** So where does the additional performance come from **
Well, AMD took a lot of technology from the Opteron chip adding the new HyperTransport technology and additional caching among some other things. This is where most of us will see the increased performance.
** AMD vs Intel **
Intel certainly knows that the AMD 64 bit is faster and takes the spotlight away from the Pentium 4 which is why they are releasing the P4EE. I will reserve specific details about the P4EE performance until later when I can test them myself.
Pricing is always going to see-saw and you'll have to pick your own entry-point.
I think we all can agree; we want more POWER.
Scott @ The Computer Room