Shifting Sands

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If I had to describe the general tone of the responses I got, that’s the word. Contrary to perhaps some expectations, there was a general lack of stridency and acknowledgement that this was a close call that turned on personal factors.

A few years ago, when this had been pretty much an Intel-only site, we asked a similiar question, and were struck by the same tone of ambivalence. We also noted much more interest in the Athlon processors than we would have believed given the then-composition of the audience.

A few years later, we got the converse. There was much more interest in PIV than you would have expected from an audience of what has been an AMD-dominated site lately. In our hypothetical choice, the Intel/AMD split was about 50-50.

While some former AMD fans have jumped shipped, the general mood among AMD platform owners is “Hanging On For Hammer” (though some rather like the idea of dirt-cheap socket A processors eventually).

If Hammer doesn’t prove to be “good” in these people’s eyes (or Barton doesn’t prove competitive), the creek of current defections from the AMD ranks is likely to turn into a flood.

There were many, many rehashing of conventional arguments for or against a certain processor, but again, with a few exceptions, there was a good deal of ambivalence.

There were a couple (literally) wild-ass statements, but so few that it would be mean-hearted to mention them, so I won’t.

There were more than a few who took the hundred word limit very . . . er . . . liberally. There was at least one that numbered over five hundred words. I’ll be kind, and just note that if you had to deal with a real person, a hundred words might be too much.

Some thought I had asked them to recommend a specific system configuration (which I hadn’t, but I’ll take a second look at those for tips).

I didn’t find any pieces that as a whole presented a succinct, compelling argument, but did find quite a few little nuggets of wisdom encased with them. So, for your edification, here’s the ones that most tickled my fancy.

Best Advice

“I am not loyal to anyone anymore!!”–Gentner8

“He should spend his money on the best monitor he can and the comfiest chair.”—Andrew Watson

“. . . it is a much more political decision than a technical one
right now.”
—Gregory K. Meyer

“If you prefer to score big with the local geeks, go with AMD. If you are out to impress your weekend buds and get noticed by the ladies, head on over to Intel.”–Mike Graham

“Most problems that occur are caused by ignorance. Advice is free; a cracked core isn’t.”–IceTea

“Then he’s going to buy a retail system, right? I damn sure don’t want to
field his tech support calls. Good luck finding an AMD system from anybody
who sells retail. I did a quick browse around WalMart, Dell, Gateway.. and I
didn’t see any AMD systems. So I guess it’s Intel by default. That’s a
shame, because it means he’s probably going to get stuck with the crappy
256k L2 cache P4 running at a relatively low (for the P4, since they don’t
get “interesting” until you get to about 2.2 ghz) clockspeed.”
–Jeff Atwood

“Do you really want a chip they spent extra money to cripple?”–TheDS

“It’s a lot like people who buy the brand name cereals. GODDAMNIT just buy the generic brand…it tastes the same.”–Ryan Kelly

“The average computer user isn’t going to notice any real difference between an
Intel or AMD CPU except in his wallet, and as you move down towards the lower processors even
the price difference isn’t much of a factor.”
–R. Hollis

“The software he is likely to be running would not stress
any processor he could buy today.”
–Malpine Walis

I – Integrated Heat Spreader
N – Not the Cheapest
T – Trouble-Free Overclocking
E – Extra FSB Speed
L – Low Noise


A – Almost Obsolete
M – Money Saver
D – Delta Fan Racket— Channing McRae

I’ll end with this one, simply because it talks a bit about something I’m running across more than a bit: what appears to be PIV CPU throttling.

“I work for a large OEM vendor support service that only does P4’s. We regularly get P4’s with detached heatsinks or defective fans. What we do is that we don’t open the case. We run our default test 3DMark 2001 instead. If we see a score that is half of what it should be; then we know to check the heatsink. No dead mobo or cpu. Off the record , you could let the PIV do 3DMmark loops for 24hrs without the heatsink, with the only result being meagre bench scores.

“I would say the P4 acts as a cheap temperature controlled heatsink, if you put a silent HS on, should the cpu get too hot (not likely, I can let the P4 2GHz turn with the Zalman HS without the big fan even blowing, no case cooling except the PSU; 10% less score in 3DMark after 5 loops); it throttles down some. so for the regular people, less noise is better. One more reason to get a P4.”



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