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It's All About the Pentium (4) 129

Submissions about the P4 flow in like the tides, so here's a batch of them. Rooster sent us the Hot Hardware take. TBM sent us Ace's extensive comparison of the P4 and K7. Piete submitted a fairly negative review of the chip (between the RDRAM thing, the motherboard thing, and the fact that the chip just isn't much faster for normal use, that's not surprising). Slashdot Minion sent in Hard OCP and Sharky Extreme's respective reviews (including 200fps Quake).
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Its All About the Pentium (4)

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  • Well when the Pentium (4) and the anti-pentium( the AMD) mix, and are of equal proportion, they should cancel each other out. making a big black nothingness void on your motherboard. Canceling themselves out to zero. Or if the AMD is really a "negative pentium", they will combine forming nearly infinite energy, making your computer, house, neighhborhood, and city look like Hiroshima, ground zero. In short.... ITs a bad Idea
  • Exactly! Also, please make Unreal 2 (when it comes out) run at 1800x1600 at 60 FPS with high-detail textures, and make things like Mozilla compile in a reasonable amount of time (although that has more to do with memory and hard disks). There are plenty of uses for faster processors, it's just that most of developers who work with processor-hungry applications shy away from making them so complex they will run like turtles on today's machines.

    Karma Police, arrest this man, he talks in maths

  • Beating all the RISC CPUS?

    There is a good one. From what I remember and can gather they were released in nov 1995. Alphas were at 300Mhz and even 2-3 year old alphas can match a tbird 800-900 athlon running at 533 Mhz. The 300MHz alpha I am working on will cream ANY single processor PPro in existance.

    Why a dual P3 ? Dual athlon boards exist and according to a friend who will be getting one a dual-athlon ddr ide-raid boards will be out this month or next month for $189, and considering that I could have gotten 1 GHz tbirds for $295 last week at a monthly computer sale, I wonder where the advantage is in ANY intel in either price, performance, or price/performance

  • first, we have the price, this baby won't be cheap!
    second, the performance!
    third, the first m/b's won't be forward compatible, so when the next gen PIV shows up, you can't even upgrade!
    and last, we all want AMD to win this rat-race, don't we?

  • Fascinating how the real world media are sounding like Slashdot discussions. I've been scanning a number of articles, CBS MarketWatch, ZDnet, LA Times, AP, and keep reading how Intel is dueling it out with AMD. This is a serious coup for Advanced Micro Devices, as they gain a significant amount of press about their own product line and ability to contend with Chipzilla. As they saying goes, "You can't buy that kind of advertising." This has to pain Intel as it's showing their poor cousin is known and considered on equal footing. AMD folks have cause to celebrate this roll-out, too because of this.

    Kudos to the AMD team.


  • Can anyone out there actually tell the difference between 60 and 200 fps?

    Huh... 140 fps is the diference.

    Is this a catch question or something? ;-)
  • I believe the point he was making was that "super-fast [intel,amd]" is total BS. I personally use both alphas and amds. My 550 amd gets beat by a 300 MHz alpha. Are alphas cheap? sometimes. I saw 22 quad alphas go on ebay for about $20000. I got a 300MHz for $450.
  • Blue Man Group will have to get another member?
  • > It's going to be fast. Very fast. At the moment, it isn't significantly faster than the P3 or the Athlon, but remember this is the first release of an entirely new core.

    So, over the long haul, how did their past core compete with AMD?

    AMD is beating them on the ground, today. AMD will continue to evolve as well. This release gives us no reason at all to believe that Intel has made a technicological comeback.

    In order to do that, they need to quit releasing overpriced, overclocked crap and actually, well, actually make a technological comeback. Then they can brag all they want about how the big company with a huge bank account and unbounded name recognition beat the little guy after a mere year's effort. Or two years' effort. Or three...
  • do any of the new chips have nondeterministic functions?

    Ever since the coppermine revision, the P3 has had a nondeterministic random number generator, based on a thermistor. The P4 probably has one as well.
  • Please OH PLEASE tell me when you say "200FPS" in Quake you mean Frags Per Second. If yes, I am so buying one!
  • It's a pity, we realle will need a lot of CPU cycles for the new MS .NET platform...

    M$ should delay the release of .NET until P4 improves its speed a lot more, let me say, until it reaches 4.8 GHz.

  • If anyone sees a site with a review and the only benchmark I really care about, please post it.

    I want to know how fast it compiles a kernel (with everything enabled/modulized. :)

    If Bill Gates had a nickel for every time Windows crashed...
  • I don't have the time to look up cites at the moment, but I am getting a serious case of deja vu here.

    I used Commodore products until they went away, so my first experience with a PC was with the original Pentium. At the time of it's introduction (P60) it was slower and hotter than the offerings from AMD (I think their 486 was hitting 80MHz and was about to climb to 120 or so) and I think even the Intel 486 offerings at the time. Eventually (really starting as early as the P90/100) the architecture difference was put to good use and the Pentiums were faster than 486s.

    I can only vaguely remember the Pentium Pro launch, but I think it was faster than an standard Pentium from the beginning.

    Then I remember the P2 being considered a huge flop. No advantage over a Pentium. A cost reduced Pentium Pro. MMX was all hype and no software. The standard Pentiums and the P2s were about the same speed for a while, but eventually the P2 pulled away.

    I really don't remember the launch of the P3 much at all. Neither does anyone else I've talked to. WTF is the difference between a P2 and a P3 anyways?

    So now the P4 is out. It's being benched and guess what? It's slow and expensive. Just like the last several generations of chips from Intel, for the first six months anyway. Give them time, it will be faster.

    Until then, I will still use my Thunderbird based systems.
  • by jht ( 5006 ) on Monday November 20, 2000 @11:47AM (#611726) Homepage Journal
    The Pentium Pro was a dog of a chip for running the 16-bit code that was still prevalent back when it came out, and people jumped all over the chip and bashed the hell out of it. But a heck of a lot of servers were sold using 32-bit code and Pentium Pro processors, and we were very happy with the way they performed in a 32-bit world. I still have several dual Pentium Pro servers around, and they run very nicely still.

    I think it's similar to the situation with the Pentium 3 and Pentium 4. The Pentium 3 is designed to take advantage of today's memory systems and bus technology, and the Pentium 4 is designed to work best with technology that really isn't in popular use yet (and may well never get there). So right now, pund for pund, the Pentium 4 looks like a bowser. Given code that's designed and optimized for the Pentium 4/Rambus combo, I'm sure it'll look much nicer than it looks running current apps. Nobody's bothered optimizing for that sort of environment yet.

    What'll be interesting is what happens in the competition while Intel strives for Pentium 4 market acceptance. When the Pentium Pro came out, there was no competition in the high-end chip category, so Intel could afford to bide their time and wait for the marketplace to catch up. With the pressure AMD is applying in the high-end with Athlon, Intel can't afford to just sit and wait. They're going to have to be a lot more aggressive with Pentium 4 pricing, and push to get Rambus RDRAM pricing down in order to build any sort of demand.

    Remember how 2000 was supposed to be the year of 64-bit computing? Looks like the priorities have shifted in the market.

    - -Josh Turiel
  • I know nothing of P4 performance comparisons, but I'm certain this chip release will not flop. Some people, who don't put enough thought into things, start to druel when they see "1.5 gHz". Most will just assume it's vastly superior to prior models and will buy it. Many corporate IT departments consistantly buy the very latest without doing any research. If some employees need new workstations, they just order the latest thing out there from their regular vendor. Then there's the consumer who just purchases what sounds like a great new toy.

    Those who comparison shop may see the lack of benefits and not purchase it, but I'm sure plenty of others will.

  • Along the same lines, the ATX specification has been modified to accommodate the Pentium 4 and named 2.03. The purpose of the revision was to add a 12V connector to the power supply capable of delivering a dedicated power output for the processor so motherboard manufacturers will not have to route power across the board to deliver the ~52W required by the Pentium 4

    52 watts? That's not so much, I got a hotplate in my dorm room that uses all of 75 watts.
  • but the PII started out at 233MHz, not 120...
  • Quake at 200 fps? Can anyone out there actually tell the difference between 60 and 200 fps?

    Yeah, the difference is about $1200....
  • personally i'll take a k7 based on the lower price
  • Because of the price/performance of this processor, I doubt that you'll see too many beowulf clusters of these, at least in the short term.

    However, maybe somebody really IS that crazy.
  • No. Anything above movie-fps (25, if I'm not mistaken) is generally wasted, and anything above 60 is very wasted.
  • I remember when ZD Labs tested a Pentium Pro under Windows 95 OSR2 back in 1996, they fount out that on true WIN32 applications such as Office 95, Internet Explorer 3.0, and other applications designed for Windows 95 the CPU actually worked quite well.

    My computer at home runs a PPro 200 MHz and by running all WIN32 apps in Windows 98, performance is quite good and reasonably "snappy."

    I think this is the situation with the Pentium 4. Don't expect any real advantages to the P4 until operating systems catch up (e.g., Windows "Whistler" and future kernel improvements to Linux that support the instruction set of the P4).
  • AMD is srill looking better. The initial benchmarks show only a slight performance increase by using a P4 over the AMD Thunderbird and now that AMD will be releasing SMP support for the Thunderbird and Intel will not support SMP for atleast a year and a half it just makes it easier to spend the $500 less on the AMD chip and spend the savings on extra RAM or larger hard drives.
  • by Glonk ( 103787 ) on Monday November 20, 2000 @04:14PM (#611736) Homepage
    Can anyone out there actually tell the difference between 60 and 200 fps?

    I'm becoming a tad irritated with people who keep bringing up that moot point.

    First off, in complex scenes filled with gibs, smoke, and the like, framerates drop drastically.

    Second of all, when things such as FSAA are enabled, visual quality increases and framerates drop accordingly.

    Third of all, 60 fps now will mean about 15fps in new games in 2 years. I remember these exact same comments when the Voodoo 2 debuted. Are people inherently this nearsighted?

    Please, people, think ahead.

  • "Its all about the pentiums, what?" , thats how the line goes and thats what it should sayi n the topic. I was expecting better performance from them, then they gave in the becnhmarks.
  • You are right, AMD is faster given the same Ghz chips. My point was meant to be that if AMD can produce chips with the same speed rating (that is, the same Ghz), they would possibly cripple Intel. Because they would be substantially faster than Intel's chips, perhaps by as much as 50%, because they would probably be cheaper, too.

    However, AMD does not need to produce chips running at the same Ghz to pose a significant problem to Intel. They already do so with chips running with 20% fewer Mhz.

    The question is... can they? Intel is apparently betting, with the P4, that AMD will fall behind, will not be able to run their chips anywhere near as fast as Intel can.

  • has one online ... and obviously Athlon systems SMOKE P4-systems at this benchmark. Even 1.7GHz overclocked P4 is unable to outperform 1Ghz Athlon with 100Mhz FSB + SDRAM. P4 looks really bad also in FPU-benchmarks and direct CPU-benchmark. IMO - Save your dollars.
  • I sure would like to get a I can heat up my house this winter....
  • by Volta ( 43850 ) on Monday November 20, 2000 @11:51AM (#611741)
    I'm surprised to not see Tom's review of the P4 listed in this roundup. See: Intel's New Pentium 4 Processor [] at Tom's Hardware Guide.
  • I get the feeling that it may be time to short Intel's stock. It looks like they're going to have another miserable failure on their hands. Why would anyone want to buy something that is more expensive for about the same performance, but with a guaranteed retirement of all the components in 6 months?
  • by atrowe ( 209484 ) on Monday November 20, 2000 @11:54AM (#611743)
    Here's what Best Buy [] has to say about the P4.

    "Watch in awe as MP3s download more quickly and graphics flow more smoothly."

    What a load of crap! it's no wonder Joe Consumer keeps buying Intel's overpriced junk. As long as Intel's marketing Juggernaut keeps tossing around flashy words like "NetBurst Architecture" and "HyperPipeline", Intel will continue to sell chips. I fully believe that they could package shit on a stick, give it a nice marketing spin, and show some weird abstract commercials during prime time, and people would continue to buy it.

  • I can only vaguely remember the Pentium Pro launch, but I think it was faster than an standard Pentium from the beginning.

    If you were running 32-bit apps. In a mixed 32-and-16 environment (like Windows 95 and the apps available when it was released), the PPro was slower.
  • Heck no. More FPS IS good, if only because it decreases latency. But I (and most other serious gamers) can easily tell the visual difference by 60fps and 120fps just by sitting down and flicking the mouse.
  • The thing about P4 is that it uses 2 RDRAM channels, that's 2 x 1.6GB/s (a la i840). Not only does that double the bandwidth but also reduces the latency too. Too bad that each RDRAM channel can only have 2 RIMM slots (oops!). So initially you use 2 RIMMs (one in each channel), and later on you can upgrade *once* and use up the other 2. Not to mention the price of this Rambus crap is and always will be astronomical. Even if it improves the overall performace by a whopping 10%, is it worth 3x price of SDRAM? I think not!

  • This is the first *really* new core from Intel since the P2.

    Wrong. This is the first new core since Pentium Pro, which is how many years old? hmmm....

    The P2 first shipped at 120Mhz

    Wrong again. P2 first shipped at 266MHz.

    Meanwhile, I'm still hoping for my 1024-way UltraSparc 3 box...

    I'm pretty sure SGI will sell you a 1024-way box. Not UltraSparc though. MIPS.

  • WTF is the difference between a P2 and a P3 anyways?

    P3 has SSE instructions (yet another MMX-type hype). Oh yeah, and the infamous identification number.


  • since I dress like a woman... why is it that you assume I belong to the male gender?

    and inane chatter... such is the way, I suppose... beauty is in the eye of the beholder, though I'm not sure I really want you staring at me.

  • damn, good point... last thing I'd want is for someone to tie that in with global warming... I can see the lynch mob now.

  • Here you go [].
  • Yeah, I could see your point if the only processors ever made were Intel and Intel x86 compatibles. However, considering that Windhose only runs on x86 (and don't feed me the 'it could run on others, it just doesn't' bullshit line of the almighty wintroll aliance), I would be willing to bet their would be more than just a performance hit for trying to run on MIPS or ALPHA or PPC or any other processor in the world with Windows (Win 2000, 98, ME, and Whistler, I know NT 4.0 ran on others, but let's not forget that anything other than the latest and greatest is totally worthless in the opinion of Microsoft and the almighty Wintroll aliance).

    So, l33t j03 shitpacker, what other bullshit are you planning on spewing?

    You think your big time?
  • Okay, this is in regards to that negative review... These guys... *sigh* i dont know who gave them the permission to write that column but... geeez... They comment on the pentium 4's lackluster performance in business software. Since when has it become industry standard to run desktops on more than a 400 mhz machine??? Did i miss something? They say its only really good for graphics intensive programs and 3d games etc. THOSE ARE THE TARGET AUDIENCE!!!!! If i wanted to open M$ word faster, i would go use win2k on a duron 700 mhz and pump a gb of ram into it. not buy a 1.5 ghz processor!! And lord only knows how excited companies are when they hear "Intel recalled their 1.13 ghz chips, but today they release 1.5 ghz!!". Yep. i am sure all sorts of companies are jumping for joy.
  • Let's see. My MP3s still don't encode fast enough, my movies still don't render fast enough, and I want my 3D modeler to run in real time dammit! Nope, still not satiated on the power front.

    That's *not* something an average home computer user would do.

    As for Quake, most computers can't run Quake at 1600x1200 at the highest quality settings over 60fps

    And this has *nothing* to do with the CPU. At anything above 800x600 the performance is limited by the video card, so your 1.5GHz CPU will not help you at all.


  • In short: if I were buying a computer today, I'd go for an Athlon (or dual-PentiumIII). However, I bet 6 months from now, I'd probably be looking at the Pentium4.

    Hate to disappoint you, but in 6 months the current P4 will be obsolete and replaced with a completely different board and core. Just go check out Intel road map. This P4 is a dead end. On the other hand, dual AMD boards will be available in 2 months... with DDR memory too.

  • I think home sales might be okay, because Intel's made a chip that runs at high clock speeds. While a 1.5 GHz P4 may not run faster than a 1.2 GHz Athlon, the average home user will still say, "ooh! 1.5 > 1.2!".
  • Actually, the threshhold for human flicker resolution is about 72 fps. See previous slashdot coverage [] or the original article [].
  • When you strip all the electrons out of something, it doesn't turn into a glob of anything. It explodes from internal electric force. (And so does the glob of electrons you stripped from it.)
  • The potential for computer performance that our technological society is capable of seems to have been sacrificed on the altar of Windows compatibility. All this clock speed, poured into a 32-bit RISC core emulating a totally broken CISC architecture.

    All this clock rate for a measly 210 MFlops? Give us a break. HP's PA-8200 did over 700 MFlops sustained LINPACK in 1997, and at 200MHz.
  • Probably not, unless AMD do the stupid trick of splitting their instruction stages further.. All his Ghz thing is just marketing hype. To a layman.. more GHz is better.What really counts is IPC * Clock Speed. In this case, AMD wins in IPC.

  • Third of all, 60 fps now will mean about 15fps in new games in 2 years.

    No doubt. But my point was that with my chip that is aready 2+ years old (and wasn't exactly top-of-the-line then), I can play any available game at 800x600 with all textures, sound fx, etc. turned up to max, and I get frame rates that are at least movie quality. (At higher resolutions it is still playable with only a little jerkiness.) And I expect to get at least another year out of it.

    Three or four years ago, you needed to buy the newest, fastest, most expensive chip out there once a year (at least) if you wanted to play the latest games at a decent resolution with all the fx enabled. That is no longer the case. Right now, games simply aren't pushing the limits of the newest processors, so even the bleeding-edge gamers won't see it as a worthwhile investment. And certainly the casual gamer/web surfer won't benefit greatly from the P4's (not yet, anyway).

    Someday we may all need that kind of muscle, but for most of today's consumer-level uses, its overkill. And that's why I think the sales will be sluggish...It's simply more than people need at a price higher than they're willing to pay.

    Of course, this thread is practically dead by now so you'll probably never see this post anyway :)


  • The point isn't whether the Pentium IV is going to scale up to ungodly speeds.

    The point is that the Pentium IV 1.5Ghz is hardly competetive with what's on the market. Let me rephrase: you'd be an idiot to actually purchase a PIV 1.5GHz.

    Maybe the Piv will scale to faster clock speeds, but what we have right now sucks. Buying a Piv right now is like buying an early 80s BMW 320 because it's the predecessor to a really nice car. It's irrational. You're better off with the Athlon. Intel better have set aside a heafty chunk of change for advertising, because it's going to take a lot to get people to buy these.
  • by chazR ( 41002 ) on Monday November 20, 2000 @12:07PM (#611763) Homepage
    It's going to be fast. Very fast. At the moment, it isn't significantly faster than the P3 or the Athlon, but remember this is the first release of an entirely new core.

    This is the first *really* new core from Intel since the P2. The P2 first shipped at 120Mhz. This puppy is going to clock and clock. Expect to see 2Ghz by Q2 2001, 3Ghz before Q2 2002.

    I agree that this release is strictly for the lunatic fringe, but this is the core that Intel are relying on to regain them bragging rights. Don't underestimate it.

    Meanwhile, I'm still hoping for my 1024-way UltraSparc 3 box...

  • by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Monday November 20, 2000 @12:08PM (#611764)
    Am I the only person who finds all it annoying that most anti-Pentium retorts always include something positive about AMD? It's not like AMD is breaking amazing new ground. They're still keeping the x86 family alive, with all of its standard troubles (too many instructions, overly complex addressing modes, too much legacy baggage, too few registers, stack-oriented design of the floating point processor). The processors from both Intel and AMD are too expensive for what you get, and use too much power, especially when compared against other chip designs outside the x86 world. So both these companies are having a high-end pissing contest that only seems to be advancing the so-called state of the art in minor, expected ways, trading more power consumption and die space for speed increases of a few percent. Yee-haw!

    I would love for another company to walk in and set things straight. Too bad Motorola seems to have trouble figuring out where to go with the PowerPC.

    This is a bad kind of message to post, I think, considering the preponderance of crazed AMD supporters. But let's not let fanaticism for a corporation get in the way of real progress, okay?

    It preforms slower than the Giga P3 for kernel compiles.
  • 0q4 /001120/p4-23.html []

    Tom has been using this benchmark since a little before the PIII 1.13 GHz I believe. Check out his site for CPU comparisons if you really care about kernel compile times.
  • I thought that they would name it Pentium 5 i.e. Netscape 6, so that they could look like they were ahead of the G4. Well, I guess that they could call Pentium 2001: Space Oddity.
  • What I don't understand is that they released the chip knowing this. I don't see how they didn't think they were going to get bad press out of this one; even the Intel guys test their chips against others in their labs. Would it not have been more advantagous to clock the P3 one step higher until they could have released the 'real' P4? But, then again, they may be betting on the fact that bad press is better then no press at all. Hell, it's worked for Microsoft.

  • Well, the 833-MHz Alpha is just around the bend. :) *drool*
  • Sorry to nitpick but...

    FWIW, the Pentium Pro started at 60 Mhz

    Hmmm...that was the original Pentium, the Pentium Pro started at 180MHz and 200MHz. I've got one right here.

  • Probably won't work well - officially they give off less heat than an Athlon 1.2 :(

    But then again, given the performance (or lack, thereof), perhaps we should be comparing them to durons... and yes, the P4 does give off more heat :) Score one for intel.
  • the sig says nothing... the bio says it all.

  • Would it not have been more advantagous to clock the P3 one step higher until they could have released the 'real' P4?

    Well, they tried. Remember PIII at 1.13Ghz which was recalled due to a failure to compile Linux kernel? There are limits to what can be done on a P-III

  • For the most part, I agree with you, but I need to add one thing. The P4 will not flop *if* they get the price of a P4 system down into the reasonable range. That means P4/mobo/RDRAM/power supply...the whole package needs to get a lot cheaper real quick. Intel has spent millions creating the "MHz war" with the intention of winning it. The fact that the P4 has a 20 stage pipeline is not an accident. But if the best system on the market is 50% more expensive than the second best system on the market, you aren't going to have a lot of takers on the big one. Of course this is new technology. Of course it always starts expensive and gets cheaper. I am old enough to remember when CD players were over $1000 and only for the lunatic fringe. I think that it's quite possible and even probable that the P4 will be a succesful product for Intel, but they need to get the price down pronto.

  • Hell, while it's at it I it takes out all the Pain in the Ass (tm) ACs. Get a real life, get a real account, troll.
    | |
  • Actually, the original Pentium Pro started at 133 MHz (which are rare), and the more common 166 MHz.

    - A.P.

    * CmdrTaco is an idiot.

  • The Pentium Pro was the last new core from Intel. And may I remind you - the first issue of the PPro - It beat the Alpha! For like a month, until DEC moved to a new process, Intel beat the king of the RISC chips. So I don't think there is the precedence you seem to see - when Intel brings out a new core, I expect bang - not "it'll scale".


    No one noticed it, but you got bang today as well.

    The original PPro was, for about a month, and only barely, the fastest chip in the world in SPECint95. The P4/1500 is...the fastest chip in the world in SPECint2000. Its SPECint2k scores are 522/535 base/peak; the fastest previously available processor in the world is an Alpha EV67/833 which scores 511/533. Considering Intel will almost certainly release a P4/1600 before Compaq finally releases a faster clocked Alpha, this gap will almost certainly become even larger for the P4. (And then Alpha will *finally* move from a .25um to a .18um process and kick some butt.)

    Even more spectacularly, the PPro shocked the MPU world by being somewhat competitive with the fastest RISC chips in SPECfp95--about 75% the top Alpha scores. Meanwhile, the P4/1500 put up SPECfp2000 scores of...549/558 base/peak, or roughly 90% those of the fastest Alpha.

    And yet, just as when the PPro was launched, all we hear about is how the P4 is a failure because it performs poorly on legacy apps. The P6 launched to universal derision from the mainstream computer press because it wasn't any faster than an ordinary P5 at 16-bit apps (yeah, maybe eventually there might be *some* 32-bit apps, but who's going to rewrite their code just to optimize for some new-fangled processor?); it was perhaps the most successful MPU design in history, as predicted by its astonishingly good SPEC95 scores.

    The P4 is launching to universal derision from the mainstream computer press because it isn't any faster than an ordinary PIII or Athlon at x87 apps and apps which use instructions which the P4 explicitly deemphasizes in favor of faster replacements (yeah maybe eventually there might be *some* SSE2 and P4 optimized apps, but who's going to recompile or even rewrite some of their code just to optimize for some new-fangled processor?); its SPEC2000 scores are just as astonishing as the PPro's were, if not more so.

    We'll see how it plays out this time.
  • Intel is not trying to beat the competition immediately, despite appearances to the contrary. They are, instead, looking on the Pentium IV as a long-term solution.

    Well it is. But that doesn't change the fact that it doesn't perform *TODAY*. And without real sales, even Intel doesn't have enough money to cash out forever.

    Really, the question comes down to how well AMD can scale to faster clock speeds. If AMD can hit even only 3.5 gigahertz by the time Intel hits 5 gigahertz, AMD will have won.

    Now I'd really like to hear what you base that opinion on. Neither PIV, Thunderbird, Palomino or any other brand I've heard about is supposed to scale to that clock speed (Not counting PIV's integer clock, at 2x rest of processor.. 10GHz integer clock in PIV 5GHz? not any day close, on computer timescale anyway). Maybe AMD will make a hyper-hyper-pipelined one to turn the tables again, who knows *that* far ahead?

    The real point is that Intel is losing market shares in all markeds, and losing them as fast as AMD can ramp up production. Right now NO intel processor is price/performance winner. Celeron? In extremely low-price integrated mobo solutions maybe, but only because of the integration on the mobo. P3? on par with Thunderbird in performance, way lost in price/performance. PIV? Most tests prove it on par with 1.2GHz Athlon with DDR, wins a few, loses a few, but add price into the equation and Intel is at another dead loss.

    Intel may, if they can get PIV speeds up, take the really high-end marked. But right now it reminds me of 3dfx Voodoo 6000, big, power hungry, high production costs (4 chips/big die), rumored to be the fastest whenever it comes out... and we all know how that turned out.

  • It's a bug in the Win 95/8 API. You can crash windows by accessing a device that is already in use - "con" stands for "console". It also works with clock, com, lpt, nul etc.

    There are more details here [] and there are links to patches available from Microsoft's Secutiry Alert page. []

  • finally ventured away from the PentiumPro core! Yay Intel, you go. The concept of SSE2 is interesting, I'm still waiting for software using SSE other than a small handful of Photoshop filters and a 3D model of the Soalr System. I guess to be a wet blanket I'll complain about lack of innovative architecture. The P4 and Athlon haven't inspired me at all. Wow more powerful scalar operations yay Intel, you go. Why hasn't anyone building x86 chips stuck a vector unit in one yet? Is there some architectural design limit I'm missing? Whatever happened to the insta-recompile code morphing the P4 was supposed to have (I haven't read all the articles posted yet, only Sharkey's)? Since they lowered the IPC and lock you into a go-nowhere processor line with extraordinarily priced memory and hardware who exactly is the tarket for the P4?
  • I used to read a lot about how many mips can a processor handle but recently I have not been able to see this for P-III or P-IV. So does anyone know? Also does anyone know how do they come up with these numbers. I remember before the Internet and /. existed wondering about these isses?
  • In the Restaurant At The End Of The Universe, you pay for the astronomical cost of your meal by placing the smallest unit of your currency in to a bank account and, by the time the end of the universe comes, interest will have taken care of the rest.

    Along similar lines, I found myself looking at the estimates of $1000+ for a case, motherboard, P4 and 128mb of rambus piracy. It occured to me that if I put maybe $10 a month aside, with processor power doubling every 18mths-2yrs or so, I should have enough saved to happily go out and be the first on my block to buy the first 1 TerraHz PC.

    $10 a month really isn't all that much to put aside, so I won't mind being ripped off by the memory exploitation of the time, or the new motherboard I'll need, or any of the rest of it. For once, rather than buying a "good PC" that's all I can afford, I'll really have the money to buy the best 1 Thz (is that the right unit symbol?) PC my little heart can spec. I'll also have the smug, self satisfied grin of the first guy I know to have a 1Thz PC.

    Maybe I'll have enough left over to ignore the crowds and pay the inflated price of a PlayStation10 on Ebay. *grin*

  • I'll bet you a P4 server running Oracle or SQL Server 7 will be much faster than its AMD equivalent at the same clock speed.
  • 200 frames per second is NOT that big of a deal. with proper configurations, i have gotten my duron 700 to get 240's range. And this is in 640*480. I dont know if you guys noticed, but the fps value of 320 vs 640 is minimal. like 2 fps total. you would be better sitting at 640 just so you can read the text. but hey, if you are masochists, try setting it so there isnt any mip mapping!! It looks like doom graphics!! THEN set it to 320* 240 and you will be right at home.
  • Is this a new song by Weird Al? What happened to It's All About the Pentium (2) and (3)?

    (sorry =P)
  • by arcmay ( 253138 ) on Monday November 20, 2000 @12:17PM (#611786)
    Are these being marketed for home desktops? Who in their right mind is going to waste their money on a P4? Hell, I can run any app that I'd want to on my current machine, and that is 2 years old and has a 475 mHz clock! We're at the point now where most users (even high-end gamers) do not have a use for top-of-the-line machines. Quake at 200 fps? Can anyone out there actually tell the difference between 60 and 200 fps?

    Back in the dark ages (say, 4 years ago) you needed a high-end PC if you just wanted to surf the Web and print a document at the same time. But these 1 gHz+ machines have are overkill for general-purpose users. Combine that in with mediocre reviews and recent evidence that PC market growth is finally leveling off, and it can only translate to sluggish sales.

    The best part of all of this is that people who have been chugging along with older P2s will be able find moderately-clocked P3 chips cheap.

    Is there anyone out there that is planning on getting a P4 for non-corporate use? Or even corporate use, for that matter?


  • btw, getting 240 fps is a pain in the ass. i had to go find some replacement shell for windoze that was just a right click menu. then i had to sit there for four hours tweaking the config... of course, this was back in the days when i was runing an amd 333 and needed those fps. then i found the config and figured i would try it out again... boy was i wowed.
  • I agree, it'll get faster quite quickly, but noone should assume that AMD is standing still - the new Athlon core coming with Palomino will probably be able to easily keep up with any P4 improvements, especially with the higher clockrates it'll have, too.

    The thing that would help the P4 most would be getting lots and lots of SSE2 optimizations in all the compilers, and having the apps vendors USE them.

    Similarly, what would help AMD is having 3DNOW! optimizations in compilers, and having apps vendors use that - supposedly 3DNOW! is better than SSE2, but few use them at all. :(

    As for 3gHz by 2Q2002, it won't matter - by then the Hammer family from AMD will be out, also with full SSE2 support, and will probably cream any 32-bit CPU from Intel. The real competition from Intel by then will be whatever 64-bit offering they can cook up for the desktop. 2002 will be a very interesting year for processors. :^)
  • Most people and companies aren't concerned with the slot or socket that's in their systems. They buy a box, which happens to have components inside of them... The components may be retired in 6 months, but they'll still be usable for quite some time after that.

    And people will keep buying P4's from Intel, simply because Intel is the standard. Intel has capacity. And Intel's chips are standard inside of most business PC's... Athlons generally only ship in hobbyist, game, and soho machines.

    Until AMD can crank up their capacity even more and sign on gateway, IBM, and compaq to ship their chips in their mainstream business machines, Intel is sitting pretty.

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Monday November 20, 2000 @01:12PM (#611792) Homepage Journal
    Next time I buy hardware, I want to make sure that not a dime of my money goes to Rambus. That means I want no memory from any of the memory manufacturers who caved to their demands, no chipset from manufacturers who caved to their demands and of course no RAMBUS RAM. Is it even possible to set up such a system anymore?
  • to clarify that, the Initial benchmarks show only a slight performance increase using a 1.5 Ghz P4 over a 1.2 Ghz Thunderbird.
  • As I recall, the 166MHz came out after the 200 and 180 versions.
  • Let's see. My MP3s still don't encode fast enough, my movies still don't render fast enough, and I want my 3D modeler to run in real time dammit! Nope, still not satiated on the power front. As for Quake, most computers can't run Quake at 1600x1200 at the highest quality settings over 60fps. And when they can, newer games will come out.
  • You and me know that the PIV is slower than a PIII, but the average Joe Doe doesnt know this.
    /me can't wait till we finally drop all the old legacy stuff on the x86.
  • by Pope Slackman ( 13727 ) on Monday November 20, 2000 @11:25AM (#611798) Homepage Journal
    From the ZDNet UK article:
    Intel's new Pentium 4 "Willamette" processor (Willy for short) will become public news: it's really not worth buying. At a clock speed of 1.5 GHz -- Guy Kewney says it's barely faster than a Pentium 3 at 1 GHz Intel, in short, has a little Willy. Go to AnchorDesk UK for the news comment.

  • Looks like everyone seems to have come to the same conclusions:

    1) A 1.5 GHz AMD product probably would do it better.
    2) The Pentium 4 is too damn expensive
    3) It isn't going to be in YOUR hands anytime soon

    I find it funny that the one article was comparing an overclocked 750 MHz AMD (clocked up to 1.1 GHz) to a 1.5 GHz P4 and not seeing that big of difference.

    Anywho, good to see AMD is going to stay competitive and push Intel to work a little harder...can't but help you and I.
  • Check this link []. Gives a good simple explanation of what plasma is, as well as containing links to where you can find it, and what its current practical uses are.

    Specifically, plasma is a "collection of free electrons and ionized atoms." They remain in a homogeneous mixture, so the electrical charges are balanced, but the particles have *way* too much energy for the electrons to "reattach" themselves to the atoms. Check it out, this stuff is pretty interesting.
  • It's like I'm not even listening...

    Don't worry; the SPEC scores have been very poorly reported, while the P4's rather poor performance on non-optimized code has gotten all the press. You are by far not the only one to have missed the SPEC scores and assume that the P4 is a dud. Of course, in some ways this is valid, since SPEC scores are more indicative of the potential of the P4 core than of how well a P4 will perform on today's code. Still, as it turns out, the Alpha scores I was comparing the P4 against in my original post are for chips that won't be released until January; so technically, the P4 has not just the SPECint2000 crown (base and peak) but the SPECfp2000 crown as well (base only)!

    Okay, I'm not heavy into hardware, I just wanted to point out the numerous problems with the P4 - it seems that the processor itself is not one of them!

    I certainly wouldn't go out and buy a P4 today--a DDR Athlon is a much better deal for today's software. But the SPEC scores show that once we get some P4-optimized software, it's gonna kick butt. So, mediocre as a current product, great as a debut for a new core.

    Tolu, you always have something insightful to say about chip design, but you have to repeat yourself fairly often across articles - have you thought about bugging the /. crew for some permanent space to soapbox?


    Eh, I do get carried away too easily I suppose. It's always a problem when you feel like you have all this relevant information that many people reading may not know, and you don't know how much of it to repeat. (I generally tend to go for "all of it".) As for submitting an essay to /., I hadn't really thought about it, especially since I feel that there are many people out there who have a whole whole lot more knowledge on MPU design than me. Of course, as I seem to be one of the few who actually tries to enlighten the more software-minded crowd at /., I suppose it might be worth a thought...
  • by yamla ( 136560 ) <> on Monday November 20, 2000 @12:30PM (#611808)
    Yes, the Pentium IV is substantially slower, Ghz-for-Ghz, than the Athlon Thunderbird. And yes, I'm sure it is slower, clock-for-clock, than the Pentium III.

    That is not the point.

    Intel is not trying to beat the competition immediately, despite appearances to the contrary. They are, instead, looking on the Pentium IV as a long-term solution.

    Take a look at the chip. The whole thing is designed to run at faster and faster clock speeds. Now, I am not taking a stand on whether AMD will be able to out-clock Intel (though personally, I hope so) but their CPUs do not sacrifice as much to clock speed at the moment. That is, AMD prefers to produce more complex, slightly less highly-clockable CPUs.

    Of course, these chips could be clocked higher than Intel's Pentium III chips, and they were more stable as well. But now Intel has redesigned.

    Really, the question comes down to how well AMD can scale to faster clock speeds. If AMD can hit even only 3.5 gigahertz by the time Intel hits 5 gigahertz, AMD will have won. But it is quite possible that AMD will not be able to do this, at least not without a redesign. Of course, if AMD can match Intel Ghz-for-Ghz, Intel is in serious trouble.

    And that, my friends, is the point.

  • by denshi ( 173594 ) <> on Monday November 20, 2000 @12:32PM (#611809) Homepage Journal
    The Pentium Pro was the last new core from Intel. And may I remind you - the first issue of the PPro - It beat the Alpha! For like a month, until DEC moved to a new process, Intel beat the king of the RISC chips. So I don't think there is the precedence you seem to see - when Intel brings out a new core, I expect bang - not "it'll scale".

    And to reiterate - killing it more than direct comparison to the Athlon is that the associated parts are just out-and-out defunct.
    The RDRAM system is hideously expensive; when implemented (correctly) by Intel it didn't meet Rambus's projected specs; anyone who gets in bed with Rambus gets a nasty case of lawsuits.
    Entirely new boards, no compatibility, either backwards or forwards.
    Chip itself is massively more expensive, perhaps to produce as well.
    No SMP - goodbye server market. Remember how long it took to get 4-way Xeons? SMP will not be kludged in easily.
    VIA, Intel, Rambus, and others are in a really screwed up relationship ATM.

    Intel has some large problems here, more than can be overcome by one chip, even the most important chip, scaling to infinity. But hey, I hope they do - what would AMD do without competition?

  • And people will keep buying P4's from Intel, simply because Intel is the standard.

    Not quite true. Look at Intel's last quarter. They didn't meet expectations, saying that the European market was softening. Yet AMD did OK. Intel has been faltering lately, and this looks like they are going to continue to do so. And AMD is there ready to take up the slack.

  • Yeah, and everyone will need an OC-3, too - with Office and all other apps stored remotely, the link will be a major issue... heck, even the dialer for the modem will be stored remotely ;-)
  • Check out gateway's web site. They ship a lot of machines with AMD chips, especially on their budget models.
  • First of all, note that every single review has been comparing the P4 against an Athlon with the AMD760 DDR chipset -- which isn't available yet. Yes, if you compare one vendors released product to another vendors unreleased product, things won't look all that good.

    Of course, in many cases the Pentium4 still doesn't look all that good compared to even the released Athlon and PentiumIII solutions, but there is another explanation. Remember that is is an entirely new architecture -- they always look bad when they first come out. Remember the PentiumPro? On one hand, it was faster than all the RISC CPUs of the time. On the other hand, it was getting beat by the vanilla Pentium in Windows 16-bit benchmarks.

    The same thing applies, here. Take the RC5 benchmark where the Pentium4 is a lot slower than the PentiumIII. RC5 has been hand optimized for every single popular CPU architecture. Of course it looks bad on the Pentium4, because hand optimizations aren't available for it. Give it a few months for optimizations appear then see how well it runs. The same story goes for the SSE2 optimizations.

    Also noticed what happened with RAMBUS. The i850 chipset isn't all that different from the i840 (the PentiumIII's dual-RAMBUS chipset), yet the i850 has dramatically higher memory scores. Intel decided to go with RAMBUS for the Pentium4, and designed the the new CPU around RAMBUS. In particular, the CPU is designed to have multiple outstanding requests to the memory subsystem, a feature supported by RAMBUS but not by SDRAM. This means that the PentiumIII can never take advantage of RAMBUS. It is even possible that these multiple outstanding transactions will allow the Pentium4 to show LOWER latency than a PentiumIII/SDRAM solution. (Oh, and the 400MHz bus improve absolute bandwidth as well :-).

    In short: if I were buying a computer today, I'd go for an Athlon (or dual-PentiumIII). However, I bet 6 months from now, I'd probably be looking at the Pentium4.

    (PS: ...and of course, I think Intel DID make tradeoffs for meaningless MHz increases for marketing reasons.)

  • by GrandCow ( 229565 ) on Monday November 20, 2000 @11:30AM (#611825)
    I am currently in a position to be able to use the P4, right next to high end P3's and Athlons, and I've spent the day putting it through real world use (games, MP4 encoding, mp3 encoding, and any other stuff that I could think of). It's been said already, but from someone who is not just running benchmarks, but actually using it like it would be used, there is a noticable difference between the P4 and the P3/Athlon. This does not bode well for the P4, since the motherboard is stocked like it is supposed to be with dual RDRAM chips, that monstrously large heat sink, and everything else in the specs. I'll repeat it again: in real world use, the P4 seems noticably slower than both the P3 and Athlon. This isn't just with the 1.4 gHz, it's with the 1.5 also.

    Well, anyways, just thought I'd throw out my opinion, based on the real world use I would have put on the comp anyways. This just reinforces my thought that the P4 is gonna flop, and take a large chunk of Intel's marketshare with it. The only thing that's gonna save it is if Intel gets the speed up to 2gHz+ very soon, and even then I still have my doubts. My advice is that noone buy this version of the chip, since once the chip moves to the .13 micron process, the existing chips and MB's are gonna be completely worthless, since they are not gonna be forwards compatible.

    Well, anyways, feel free to disagree with me. I don't claim to be some computer genious, I'm just someone with enough knowledge to use a computer and do some basic testing.


  • Make sure to check out recent articles here [] and here []. There's also a very imformative one right here [] as well. I think it will be interesting to see how the race pans out against AMD. There have been quite a few differing reports on the performance benchmarks versus the Athlon thus far. Stay tuned!!
  • For anyone who is thinking Intel-Rambus combinations are going to kick butt in an optimized environment, please recall that Intel has already announced they are cutting out RDRAM and going to SDRAM and DDR-SDRAM for the P4. Therefore, either Intel does a 180, after badmouthing Rambus themselves, or they ditch it and whatever perceived gains there were for PC800 memory you can kiss goodbye.

    That said, the machines which will be sold by Dell, et al. will already be evolutionary dead ends.


  • I think its a quote from the "It's All About The Pentiums" song from Weird Al. Watch the video here [].
  • Let's see what Dr. Tom, a noted Rambus hater, has to say...

    "You can see that the memory speed does indeed have a major impact on all the benchmark results except of the 3D Studio Max scores. In some cases the difference between the slowest and the fastest score is more than 10%! This proves clearly that Pentium 4 lives from the high memory bandwidth that RDRAM is finally able to deliver. Keep that in mind in case someone wants to sell you PC600 RDRAM! ................What do I think of the components around Pentium 4? I have got to admit it, but with Pentium 4 Rambus is finally able to deliver for the first time. If you look at Pentium 4's design closely enough, you can see that it's engineered to live with RDRAM in perfect harmony. The memory benchmarks from above show that Pentium 4 really requires the 3,200 MB/s of data bandwidth supplied by the two Rambus channels. I doubt that it will perform as well with DDR-SDRAM, unless two channels will be used. One DDR-SDRAM channel offers 'only' 2,122 MB/s of data bandwidth, which might make quite a difference with Pentium 4."

    The technology works as advertised, maybe we can stop all the mindless bashing now.
  • by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) on Monday November 20, 2000 @11:35AM (#611837)
    Okay, so my interpretation of the problems with the P4 platform are:

    • Much more expensive than Athlon
    • Rambus DRDRAM more expensive RAM than DDR, and doesn't consistently outperform it - often performs worse than DDR!
    • Very few motherboards, which will likely be quite expensive
    • More expensive system requirements (new rev of, and higher-power power supply, higher cooling needs, etc.)
    • limited-life platform (that particular socket goes away in less than a year)
    • no dual-proc chipsets for awhile for the P4
    • VIA controlling the Intel DDR chipset market
    • and of course, lackluster performance of P4/DRDRAM vs Athlon/DDR, even with a significant clockspeed advantage over current Athlons

    Also note, performance-wise to compare to the Athlon - in 1Q2001 AMD releases the Palomino version of the Athlon, which should perform even better than the current Thunderbird Athlon, plus be at higher clock rates. At the same time, SMP systems will start coming online for the Athlon, which you can use Durons, Thunderbird Athlons, or Palomino Athlons with, so you can grow your system slowly if money is tight. Take two 900mHz Durons and start SMP slowly. Most people probably won't need to go to the Athlon at all! Sweet.

    Also note: DDR will get better - current comparisons are being done with systems using, I think CAS 2.5-3-3 memory. Faster DDR is coming soon (though, of course, that'll obviously cost more). I don't mind paying for performance, but I _do_ mind paying for uneven performance (better in some ways than old, worse in others, like Rambus DRDRAM and the Pentium 4).

    This all adds up to some pain for Intel in 2001.

  • by dmatos ( 232892 ) on Monday November 20, 2000 @11:36AM (#611838)
    As the P4 and the K7 recognized each other, each would vie for more and more system resources. This would cause a radical increase in power consumption, which is of course eventually released as heat. The intense heat from the resource battle would strip all electrons from your video card, essentially reducing it to a glob of molten plasma. Due to the strange interactions between the Intel and AMD products, both would begin feeding off of this plasma as a power source, and it would grow, eventually consuming everything it comes in contact with, including, but not limited to, your house, your pet cat, and your neighbour's swimming pool. Essentially, you will be accelerating the eventual heat death of the universe by approximately 82%.

The IQ of the group is the lowest IQ of a member of the group divided by the number of people in the group.