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Intel, OEMs Face Lawsuit For Megahertz Marketing 509

prostoalex writes "A group of PC owners filed a lawsuit against Intel, Gateway and HP, stating that companies spread misleading information about Pentium 4 processor performing faster than Pentium 3 or Athlon. The complaint alleges that 'the Pentium 4 is less powerful and slower than the Pentium III and/or the AMD Athlon.' PC World has more details in its story." I wonder if the same litigants have a suit against the USPS for ads leading one to expect prompt service from courteous, competent employees.
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Intel, OEMs Face Lawsuit For Megahertz Marketing

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  • Well, it would be interesting to see them succeed, but I don't see it happening. Exactly what damages are they claiming?
    • by IronTek ( 153138 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @12:50PM (#4092865) Homepage
      Lost Pride from their Ignorance. I think that's about all they can claim!

      I mean, the Pentium 4 is shit, I think, but at least I've done my homework and I know better than to just look at the number listed before "GHz" as the basis for buying my computer... ...had these people just taken a few minutes to actually learn something before they bought their computer, maybe they'd be a little brighter, a little wiser. ...but, hey...this way, they can steal money from Intel...and since I'm rooting for AMD, I'm all for that!
    • You can bet they'll wind up settling for the usual -- $25 rebate coupons to 'affected' Pentium 4 customers applicable to the purchase of their next Pentium-based computer, and tens of millions in cash to the lawyers, with some of the cash kicked back to the plaintiffs in whose name the suit was brought.

      Madison County, IL, where the suit was brought is a class-action mecca now for its jurors willingness to award anyone money for anything.
    • Caveat Emptor (Score:4, Insightful)

      by EvilTwinSkippy ( 112490 ) <[yoda] [at] []> on Sunday August 18, 2002 @01:37PM (#4093061) Homepage Journal
      Caveat Emptor

      In latin, Let the buyer beware. It's also a central principle in common law. Courts have recognized since the Romans that the buyer has a responsiblity to ask the right questions. The courts can only intervene where there is a blatent attempt to decieve.

      This is just like automakers marketing SUV's as safer than sedans [when hitting a wall straight on]. Sure they are safer when you hit a wall straight on. Now, rolling over, tire blowouts, and repair costs, they are not included in the benchmark. Nor is fuel economy.

      But as a bonus, you can get one of those funny propellers for the tow hitch, and 0% financing...

  • by DenialX ( 597010 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @12:45PM (#4092841)
    The Pentium 4 makes the Internet Run Faster !!!
  • In related news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by josquint ( 193951 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @12:48PM (#4092852) Homepage
    ... a class action suite against Microsoft because WindowsXP isnt any better ExPerience than any other version of Windows.

    Seriously though...
    WTF? So AMD doesn't even use Mhz rating anymore so they get away with saying 'mines's is better?'

    But guess what? the P4 DOES bench faster on some benchmarks than the p3 and Athlon, likewise, the p3 does better in a few, and Athlon does the best in still other things.

    Anyway, its not like the processor's slowing the machine down. "It's the DRIVES, stupid!" :)
    • by JPriest ( 547211 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @01:32PM (#4093039) Homepage
      What about apple [] claiming to be 90% faster than a 2.53GHz P4? At least then if hey won $74,000 it would cover the actual cost of the product.
  • When the P4 came out I had to stop and say to myself, "Self, what the hell." I understood the engineering logistics of why we had more MHz and slower actual speed, IPC, LBC, IHOP, etc. But, a side of me said Intel marketing people put on the bunny suits and hit the clean room and said hey, just give us more MHz.

    But I got over it, what is wrong with these people? I smell money grubbers.

    Quite frankly, AMD should step up to the plate with Intel on this and so should every other CPU maker incase this ever comes back on them. Esp. AMD with their current PR 1900+ lingo. Check out Ars's coverage of this story where you see what I have seen, the lacky sales clerk saying No no, 1900+ means 1.9 GHz, even though the sign says different.

    • Your comments on AMD are the only place where I could even see this type of case going. You can't sue Intel for selling a 1.4 GHz chip when in fact it runs at 1.4 GHz. It would be like suing Dodge because the V12 in a Viper can't pull the same amount of weight that the V10 in a Ram can, even though 12 is a higher number than 10 so you thought you should be able to pull more, it doesn't work that way. The other limits in the computers (RAM, HD, NB, SB, etc) and vehicles (engine literage, gear ratios, tire composition, etc) alter the performance of the selling numbers (GHz, Vxx) and have to be analyzed along with the selling numbers. This case should absolutely go nowhere in court unless you get some clueless judge up there.

      However, AMD with its PR rating system is held to a different caliber because no longer are they selling their products based upon a particular specification of their product, but they are now selling their products based on an interprational 'performance' specification that is not a hardcoded part of the product. I could see people suing AMD if they bought an AMD 1600 and found it to be slower than their former Intel 1400 MHz computer. I would still think that a case along these lines would be completely absurd (why should we ever reward people's ignorance, suits should be reserved for cases where damage was actually done, or people were mislead to the point of damage in their life) - but, I could see it happening.
  • by billbaggins ( 156118 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @12:55PM (#4092892)
    From BOFH 2k []...
    "... Specially," I look around furtively, "... when the public find out that it's actually Two Pentium IIs on top of each other."
    • ...when the public find out that it's actually Two Pentium IIs on top of each other...
      This explains how the Pentium 4 came to be. When the parents are so closely related, you get an inbred, deformed offspring with ADD and a wicked case of hypertension.
  • I'm not an Intel fan, but as far as I see it, their claims are legitimate. They say their chips run at a certain Mhz, and that may be true, despite the fact that the performance may not be as good as a slower speed Athlon.

    For example, let's get a 4cyl engine next to a 8cyl engine. You COULD redline the 4cyl at say 6000RPMS and only run the 8cyl at about 5000RPM. Most likely, the 8cyl will still perform better than the 4cyl running at 1000RPM faster. (Just an illustration, I dont know how accurate an actuall test would result)

    While I don't agree that clock speed soley determines the overall performance of a computer, Intel may be telling the truth when they say they have the FASTEST CLOCKED cpu, but other claims after that may get them in trouble. Sure, their P4 runs at 2.2 or whatever the max speed is now and if you were to gauge it, it'd be correct. I think this is just a case of consumers needing to be more educated in shopping for computers.

    This does bring up an question. If we disreguard cpu speed as a selling point and use overal performance rating, judging computers becomes more subjective. Just changing out RAM, or chipsets, or some other small item can make a significant difference in a PC's value. More reason to build your own system.
  • by ivan256 ( 17499 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @01:02PM (#4092920)
    One has to wonder wether we would have moved on to asyncronous computing by now, at least inside the core, if marketing didn't need to push the clock speed.

    We've already seen that this silly chase for faster clocks has caused certain processor makers to abandon computational efficiency in favor of getting to 3ghz as soon as possible. What other engineering breakthroughs have we missed out on because we're too obsessed with fast clocks?


    Preview should do a spell check. It can't possibly be more then 30 or so lines of code. Highlight the potential misspellings, and provide a list of suggestions below the comment. They wouldn't even have to do the hard part, since there are great scriptable spell checkers already available for free. I'm tired of cutting and pasting my posts through ispell
  • Hmmm, interesting. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stonehand ( 71085 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @01:04PM (#4092931) Homepage
    First -- what specific, bogus claims has Intel made about P4 performance? A literalist might suggest that Intel claims that P4's help game performance in alien spacecraft, but that's a little hard to falsify, as far as I know, and probably wouldn't fly (unless, say, the plaintiffs include a bona fide literally minded extra-terrestial of the Roswellus anthroabductus variety).

    Second -- it's a generally established principle ("puffery") that commercials are allowed to exaggerate to some degree. Chevy can claim that their vehicles are tough, "like a rock", which is a far less specific claim than, say, "this product is so tough that it can be driven two hundred thousand miles without maintenance" or "its windows will withstand sustained 9x19mm fire: perfect for the urban gangland outing". "Making the internet run faster" /might/ be considered puffery as it's a fairly vapid claim (does "the internet" include, say, running the Flash / Shockwave / Java applets that abound online?).

    If they /have/ been making specific, non-puffery, bogus claims however, then I wouldn't mind seeing them smacked around for it, so long as the same reasoning gets applied in other cases as well.
    • The best thing that could come of any such lawsuits is an end to puffery and ambigous claims. The US is a pansey when it comes to advertising laws. I'd love to see companies forced to market what they actually produce, rather than marketing what they *wished* they produced or what people *wished* they had produced.

      -Paul Komarek
    • OK, let's say Ford makes a standard Focus today with a 150hp engine. Over the next year, Ford discovers a way to make an inexpensive 450hp engine whose performance really isn't much better than the 150hp model (except when climbing hills in Switzerland, in which case it is a little better, but still not 3 times better), and they begin running ads for their "new 2004 model Focus, with the revolutionary new 450hp engine." That's far more specific than "like a rock" or "super powerful." After a few million people have purchased these Foci and discovered there was really no reason for them to ditch their old cars in the first place, I think Ford would be in serious legal trouble.

      Then again, as Bill Gates pointed out in the MS antitrust trial, the computer industry is so incomprehensively different from any other industry there's no point in wasting a judge's time on computer industry lawsuits.

    • If they /have/ been making specific, non-puffery, bogus claims however, then I wouldn't mind seeing them smacked around for it, so long as the same reasoning gets applied in other cases as well.

      I agree. I think the claim is more pointed at the claims about being better than their previous processors, not on Mhz. I mean, a P-4 2.2 Ghz runs at 2.2 Ghz, but it doesn't perform X percent better than a P-III.
      I read some reports when the P-4 first came out that for office applications, a P-II 400Mhz was faster than a 1.5 Ghz p-4. They cut off the Level 1 cache, and they use Level2 closely coupled cache cause it cuts costs. Despite the fact that the 8K of L-1 cache they left behind could be overflowed by one horizontal line on a screen at 1024X768.

      But basically, Intel has won both the Mhz war and the marketing war. Think of it this way - what's their target audience? Certainly not people who research before they buy a computer with a certain processor. If it tells you anything about the target demographic, the Intel Pentium Four is the P-4 and not the P-IV because they felt that not enough people would know what IV ment, and would call it the Pentium EyeVee.

      So, for their target audience, they nailed it.


    • "Making the internet run faster" /might/ be considered puffery as it's a fairly vapid claim (does "the internet" include, say, running the Flash / Shockwave / Java applets that abound online?).

      If they want to be less misleading, they should then say, "The P4 makes spam more distracting".
  • by t0qer ( 230538 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @01:07PM (#4092945) Homepage Journal

    Just recently I had a neighbor hire me to do a concept animation of a machine he was going to build. I used truespace 5.2 []. It was insanely detailed down to individual links on the bicycle
    chain drive.

    The poly count got so high that my P4 was going to take 3 days to render it. My computer could hardly handle moving around in the scene anymore. I told the neighbor I had brought the scene as far as it could go on my P4
    and I couldn't go any further without a new machine. He gave me $2500 to work with so this was what I built.

    Dual Xeon P4 2.0ghz
    1 Gig RDRAM
    Maxtor 80gig IDE drive
    DVD-R(by his request)

    The system definetly cut the rendering time down, to 24 hours,but something just didn't feel right about the new render time. I could
    have bought 2 more p4 1.4ghz and accomplished the same for less. What really got me was when my friend rendered the scene on his single athalonMP 2200.

    14 hours

    A single athalonMP 2200 was smokin my dual xeon setup! Well, this is all it took for me to write off intel forever. Intel fuck you and your shitty CPU's, you've lost my trust forever!

    Anyone that is even considering using a Intel solution as a renderstation, please don't waste the money. You can do a lot more with a lot less using AMD.

    • by eddy ( 18759 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @01:25PM (#4093003) Homepage Journal

      This is software dependant. I think it is Lightwave that is clearly faster on the P4s due to it having been specifically optimized for the P4.

      As always, benchmark on your application. Weigh price vs performance, then buy.

      • Also Athlons have great FPUs. The root poster just found an application that happens to stress it.
      • by Sivar ( 316343 ) <`moc.liamg]' `ta' `[snrubnselrahc'> on Sunday August 18, 2002 @02:16PM (#4093216)
        Applications that are "specifically optimized for the Pentium IV" generally are identical but use the SSE2 instructions. Sometimes they are compiled around some of the P4's rediculous weaknesses, such as it's incredibly slow handling of bit shift instructions. (8 clocks, IIRC on the Pentium IV. The Athlon can do up to three per clock

        Anyone can tack on vector instructions to a CPU. The problem is the underlying architecture of the P4, which isn't as easy to fix.

        The AMD Hammer series will have those same SSE2 instructions AND a superior architecture (to even the AthlonXP).

        Where will the Pentium IV be then?
      • Yeah, but truespace isn't optimized for AMD Athlon either.

        Another thing I have found - after working in the biz (working with everything from amiga's to what you guys are talking about) is that the more complex the scene the more the application relies on high speed i/o (meaning memory to cpu performance).

        We used to benchmark the amiga based on the lightwave texture scene. Back then it was a complex scene - these days computers could render that in real time - on the video card.

        I don't know - but I'd be willing to bet that when you scale the scene in polygons that the AMD cpu might close in on the P4 (in the caligari case twice as quick as the dual xeon). But if all your doing is flying logo's (again the kind of thing almost any 3d video card could do in real time these days) from the benchmarks I've seen the P4 is faster.
      • Truespace has had SSE2 and 3DNOW optimizations since 4.2. It's the cpu, simple as that.
    • Let me just say first off that I'm not a Mac zealot. I fully recognize that for certain tasks, maybe even most tasks, x86 hardware is faster than Mac hardware. F U Motorola! ;^).

      Now that I've said that, I've got a Dell 530 MT workstation at work. It's a 1.5GHz P4 Xeon with 512 MB RAM and SCSI HD/DVD drives. Pretty nice machine, no doubt. At home I have a 667MHz/512 MB RAM PowerBook G4 laptop. It has a 5400 rpm ATA HD and an ATA CD-RW drive. Clearly not in the same class as my CAD station at work.

      At work, I can rip a CD with CDex in about 16-18 minutes per disk using the SSE enabled Lame encoder. On my laptop at home, it takes less than 5 minutes to rip a CD with iTunes.

      What gives? I know my Mac's got Altivec and all but shouldn't a Xeon with all that on-chip cache, SCSI interface and a clock speed and bus over twice as fast as my Mac at least be able to keep up? After that, I too began to question just how bad Intel's chips have become in the pursuit of clock speed.
      • At work, I can rip a CD with CDex in about 16-18 minutes per disk using the SSE enabled Lame encoder. On my laptop at home, it takes less than 5 minutes to rip a CD with iTunes. What gives?

        How much of that is the physical speed of the CD-ROM drive? My PlexWriter 12/10/32A burner reads data at 10x to 32x (CAV) but reads audio at 10x across the whole CD, limiting me to an 8-minute rip.

        But still, I've never understood how people can just rip and encode to MP3 simultaneously. Without an intermediate step where the recording exists as a wav file, there's no chance to fix up pops in the audio, silence explicit language for a play-in-front-of-your-parents edit (I'd rather not pay twice for the clean and dirty versions), or remove leading or trailing silence.

      • It amazes me that you know all about the instruction sets of your CPU's, but have zero clue when it comes to some basic logic. The mac has a better CDRW drive. It can probably is a CAV drive (guess) and can read CDDA consistantly at 16-32X. Rip the CD's to wav files or something uncompressed and test the speed of that, then test the speed of comrpession. Read results, compare, evaluate.
  • It *was* unethical (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sivar ( 316343 ) <`moc.liamg]' `ta' `[snrubnselrahc'> on Sunday August 18, 2002 @01:11PM (#4092958)
    While most Slashdot readers see through computer marketing hype, the average person (you know, the other 99%) doesn't have the time or the inclination to do real research on every PC component they purchase. Is that Intel's fault? No. Is it Intel's moral responsibility to at the very least not imply that a 1.8GHz P4 isn't faster than a 1.6GHz Athlon, or a 1.4GHz P3 Tualatin? Yes.
    How many advertisements from the companies in question had lines like, "Tired of that old 1GHz PC? Get the latest 1.5GHz screamer!"

    I believe that the primary complaint was that people were being misled into thinking that, say, a 1.6GHz P4 system is 60% faster than a 1GHz Athlon or P3, which is definitely not the case unless the only application the system runs is Q3, or a few of the rather limited number that the P4 runs very well. While I don't believe any vendor really explicitly stated anything similar to "a 2.0GHz system is necessarily twice as fast as a 1.0GHz system!", the companies did imply such a conclusion by comparing clockspeeds (without coming to any conclusion except the higher clockspeed is fast, though not saying "faster") or by using ads with lines that implied the same.

    One can be misleading without blatantly lying.

    Whether the companies in question were just unethical or did something illegal is the question. I would hazard a guess that the lawsuit has no strong legal grounds.
    • >>One can be misleading without blatantly lying.

      At least they're not like hard drive manufacturers who LIE about their sizes.

      >>I would hazard a guess that the lawsuit has no strong legal grounds.

      IANAL, but it doesn't.
      • At least they're not like hard drive manufacturers who LIE about their sizes.

        I'm not a big fan of the way HDD manufacturers label their products, but there are legitimate reasons for doing it the way they do.
        For one, hard drives are not organized or built around binary trees, so it is more convenient to use the definition of "megabyte" which refers to 1,000,000 bytes rather than 2^10 bytes. Additionally, one could argue that using "megabyte" to refer to 2^10 bytes is actually the measurement that is lying because mega, giga, tera, exa, etc. are all standard prefixes that refer to powers of 1,000; not powers of 2^10. Computers simply adopted these prefixes because 2^10 happens to conveniently be fairly close to what a real "kilobyte" would be. (1000 vs 1024)
    • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdot.hackish@org> on Sunday August 18, 2002 @03:18PM (#4093534)
      What they actually said was 100% accurate -- that the new processors run at a higher clock speed. This might mislead people who don't realize that clock speed and processing speed are not identical, but I don't think that's Intel's fault. Take for example cars -- you regularly hear car manufacturers talk about a car with "260 hp" and advertise on that basis. Now anyone who knows anything about cars will understand that a car with 260 hp is not necessarily twice as fast (either in top speed or acceleration) than a car with 130 hp. But your average person who doesn't know anything about cars might be mislead into thinking that. But I don't see anyone suing car manufacturers.
    • While most Slashdot readers see through computer marketing hype, the average person (you know, the other 99%) doesn't have the time or the inclination to do real research on every PC component they purchase. Is that Intel's fault? No.

      There are many parallels in other industries. For example, makers of hobby telescopes often use "power" (magnification) to compare scopes. However, magnification is a misleading benchmark. The most important metrics are the main apature and the quality optics, but most people don't know this. (The term "precision ground" is supposed to mean something in the business, but enforcement is weak.)

      One can manufacture a $20 scope with 1000x magnification, but it would be useless because the image would be dim and blurry.

      Manufactures end up including an eyepeice with useless magnification so that they can put a big number on the box. Hopefully the kit also includes some usable eyepeices in the mix.
  • If Intel can be sued, how about Apple? I hate the way they constantly call the G3/G4 "twice as fast as PCs" of the same clockspeed. This is a blatant lie as anyone who has used a recent Mac can confirm.

    Running OS X, it takes about double the clock on the Mac side to equal the speed of Windows 2000 on a PC. (Thus, it takes a Mac at 1ghz to run OS X as fast as a 500mhz PIII runs Windows 2000). This is the exact opposite of Apple's claims.

    It really is not fair to the consumer, especially the more novice-type users who tend to buy Macs. I recently visited my family who has two Macs, and they could not believe how fast web browsing was on my wintel laptop. Keep in mind my laptop is about 2 years old!

    • Re:How about Apple? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rtm1 ( 560452 )
      How does the operating system have anything to do with how fast the processor runs? Your statements are completely devoid of meaning. At best, we can conclude from them that OS X requires more processing power in order to give the appearance of 'being as fast' as Windows 2000. This says absolutely nothing about how fast Mac hardware is, only that OS X is harder on system resources then Win2k.

      Remember, how 'fast' you can browse the web has more to do with the efficiency of your web browser and your bandwidth and very much less to do with your processor and your operating system. To say that browsers under Windows 2000 render wab pages faster than browsers under OS X is quite possibly true depending on what browser you are using. But that doesn't say shit about how fast your hardware is. I would bet you that my OS X machine 'browses the web' using lynx faster than your Win2k machine does using Netscape. Does that man that my Mac is faster then your PC? No. It means that my web browser is faster and more efficient than yours. And shall we not get into the relative differences between the way OS X and Win2k draw the screen? X is harder on system resources and takes more processing power to accomplish similar tasks (drawing windows, moving windows, etc). This says nothing about how fast the processor is, only that OS X is hard on resources.

      The next time you want to compare processor speed between platforms try and pick a good benchmark. The seti@home client is probably a good benchmark, rendering graphics or video is probably a good benchmark, integer or floating point tests are probably good benchmarks, Q3 is probably a good benchmark. Rendering web pages is probably not a good benchmark because it isn't dependent on processor speed so much as it is on rendering engine efficiency - that's why IE and Opera and Mozilla on identical systems will render identical pages in different times. Some browsers are faster than others, even on identical hardware. This says nothing about the speed of your hardware.

      • pfffft, yeah the seti@home is a GREAT benchmark. And we all know the average end user is also a heavy seti@home user. I mean who gives a shit if your email and web-browsing are dog slow as long as you can decode your little martian messages faster than the sucker next door.

    • by Have Blue ( 616 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @02:52PM (#4093400) Homepage
      ...and it takes double the clock speed on the PC to equal the speed of Photoshop on a Mac. Your point?
    • Could you justify the statement "Running OS X, it takes about double the clock on the Mac side to equal the speed of Windows 2000 on a PC"?

      Do you mean that OS X makes simple integer operations take longer to get through the PowerPC's short pipeline than it takes to get through an Intel P4's long pipeline?

      Yes Motorola do have a fair few things to do to make the PowerPC stand up to the x86 architectures that are around these days but IBM have started moving in thte right direction and word is that Motorola will do so soon.

      Also remember that Apple clarify all of their statements with details of what they are refering to, Flops, Photoshop processing, MPEG encoding etc and for the most part - in the arteas where Mac software excels or where Macs are the prevelant technology they are a good choice. For people like me - who have grown weary of the Megahertz wars - Mac OS X aon an iBook makes the perfect machine - putting the characters I'm typing up on screen just as fast as I type them :o)

      Anything more than that is overkill.
  • I'm suing Mercedes because my 5 litre V8 puts out less horsepower than some 3 litre 6's.

    Give it a break. I'm not a fan of the P4, but Intel states they run at X Mhz. They run at X Mhz. Different processors produce different performance per clock tick. What else is new?

    Shall I sue Intel because my 85 Mhz Sparcstation runs Unix better than a 300 Mhz PC?
  • Since we often use the "hood welded shut" analogy when talking about Linux, it makes sense to use it in other ways with computers. If you are buying a car, do you walk in the showroom, tell the salesman that you want the car with the highest horsepower rating and then promptly buy that car? Even if what you need is a pickup truck with four wheel drive and an extended cab?

    And even if we are just talking about pure performance do you really still only buy the car with the biggest engine and highest horsepower? Or do you also look at transmission, airflow, tires, cockpit ergonomics and skidpad ratings? Of course you do because a car buyer who wants performance educates himself about what factors create high performance.

    Sounds to me like the people bringing this lawsuit are either stupid or out for money.

    • And even if we are just talking about pure performance do you really still only buy the car with the biggest engine and highest horsepower?

      That's not really the best analogy. It's more like comparing two cars based on the maximum revs the engines can perform. I mean sure, everything else being equal a car revving at 10,000 rpm will beat one at 5,000; but that's only if things are equal.

      Anyone who implies "hey buy this car - it revs to 8,000 rpm and that makes it faster!"; should get sued if another car has more power but only revs to 5,000 rpm.

  • I wonder if the same litigants have a suit against the USPS for ads leading one to expect prompt service from courteous, competent employees.

    Why don't you start one?

  • Remember when Gateway, et al, were subject to a class action lawsuit regarding the labeling of monitor sizes? Gateway was targeted because they were selling "17-inch" monitors that only had 15-inch viewable area. In that case, while the 17-inch designation was technically correct, the courts found that the practice was deceptive.

    That could be an interesting precedent for this case.

  • We should sue just about every software company for the crappy products they put out. When was th last time you were impressed with something or had it run bug-free? My PC has benn plenty fast for years now, but when will the software catch up?

    For me it was KDE2. But I didn't pay for KDE. From my word processor to the OCR that came with my scanner, there is so much junk sortware it's depressing.

    Mozilla 1.0 came close.
  • Who can blame them? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Martigan80 ( 305400 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @01:54PM (#4093121) Journal
    Well to some degree. The Chip makers are playing the numbers game we all know it. They will try to tell the consumer that 1.6 GHz is better than 1 GHz because there is a 600 MHz advantage. Most NEW computer buyers don't even know what a Hertz is besides a rental car company! The little companies are a bit pissed because the "Big Guys" are winning the money from ignorant consumers by making them believe only the numbers matter not the applications or even the OS!
  • The facts ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Monkelectric ( 546685 ) <slashdot@mon k e l e c t r i c . com> on Sunday August 18, 2002 @01:58PM (#4093144)
    At the time the P4 came out, AMD's Athlon processors were SMOKING Intel, and that is Intel's fault, they certainly could employ enough engineers to destroy AMD. Fact is, they got lazy. Previously AMD processors hadnt been as stable as Intel and they could still sell on that point but to AMD's credit by the time the Athlon came out it was a stable platform (still had a couple minor issues). And Intel was worried.

    What Intel has been doing to make chips faster ever since the 486 has been adding more execution units. The 386 had 1 execution unit, 486 had two, PII and PIII had 4, and I *think* the P4 had 8 units? ... Anyways, this is really like putting more tires on your car. It SOUNDS like more, but you ain't goin any faster, the fact is that 4 execution units and 4 wheels is about as many as people will ever need. The problem is, that it becomes impossible to schedule instructions for 8 units, having 8 instruction units is essentially saying, your code should have 8 seperate threads [using the term threads loosely] that dont depend on eachother to avoid interlocks ... *IMPOSSIBLE*. Second of all, intel stretched their pipeline to 40+ stages, this means that the penalty for pipeline stall, branch perdiction miss, context switch, etc is *HUGE*. AMD's Athlon pipeline was a lean 7 stages.

    Why did Intel do this? They were scared because AMD beat them at their own game. Intels self esteem was damaged -- So they launched an agressive marketing campaign, and used these tactics to maniupulate the marketing metric, MHZ. Ceartinly sleazy.

    You'll notice now that Intels best P4 is faster then AMD's best part right now -- they've backed off the agressive advertising. However, they burned enough geek karma that I'll never buy intel again.

    To remedy the situation, processors ratings need to be measured in IPC*MHZ [instructions per cycle] for both integer and floating point operations. Then it would be pretty clear to consumers what was going on.
    • Re:The facts ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kma ( 2898 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @03:56PM (#4093705) Homepage Journal
      Second of all, intel stretched their pipeline to 40+ stages, this means that the penalty for pipeline stall, branch perdiction miss, context switch, etc is *HUGE*. AMD's Athlon pipeline was a lean 7 stages.

      Nicely confabulated! When making stuff up to prove a point, you might as well go for the jugular. The pipeline lengths in question are 20 [] and 10 [], not 40 and 7. Incidentally, a long pipeline has nearly nothing to do with "context switch", at least as that term is commonly used (i.e., switching from one process context to another). Any pipeline issues caused by a context switch are dwarfed a thousand times over by cache and TLB issues.

      Aside: what is with the short pipeline fetishism on the part of AMD partisans? You guys realize that they had four- and fiv-stage implementations of MIPS CPUs back in the early '80's, right? Imagine how brilliantly fast a MIPS r2000 would be in 3.0GHz! Oh, wait, you can't make an r2000 run at that clock speed. Hmm. Maybe pipeline length is just one parameter in a complicated design space, and we should look on manufacturer variations as differing technical solutions. After all, that's how we treat cache design, functional unit choices, and myriad other microarchitectural parameters.

      No, that sounds complicated. It must be an Intel conspiracy to corrupt our precious bodily fluids...

      Why did Intel do this? They were scared because AMD beat them at their own game.

      Then in a few sentences, you say:

      You'll notice now that Intels best P4 is faster then AMD's best part right now...

      Umm, so how was Intel "beaten at its own game"? A bit of history, for perspective.

      The Pentium III is the same core that was originally sold as the Pentium Pro. That core was introduced in 1995, and Intel is still squeezing performance out of it. At the beginning of the PPro's lifetime, it was an extremely ambitious design for the physical processes then available; people called it a too-hot, too-big, too-transistor-intensive monstrosity that would never be practical. Towards the middle of its life, in the years '97 to 2000 or so, the PIII was nicely matched to the physical parameters of then-current fab technology, and Intel produced modest shrinks and speed bumps seemingly at will. Those were the salad years of the PIII. Now physical technology has moved further down the road, and the PPro core is showing its age. It's leaving performance on the table that could be scooped up with transistor-intensive techniques like trace caches, more functional units, issue width, etc.

      Like almost every other design generation of every CPU, ever, the P4 has a more complicated pipeline than its predecssors. Just as in 1995, the first year showed pretty "meh" performance, with much armchair punditry claiming that it's a monstrosity. Now, about 18 months after its introduction, the P4 is scaling well. AMD, on the other hand, is struggling to wring a few more modest speed bumps out of the K7 before it limps along to the end of its design life. The AMD partisans hold out hope for the K8, generally forgetting that the K8 is a K7 with a 64-bit bag on the side.

      It saddens me to type this on my Athlon, but there's a strong likelihood that AMD's years in the sun are over. Five years hence, we might be looking back at the years 1999-2001 as a lost golden age of competition in the x86 CPU space.

      To remedy the situation, processors ratings need to be measured in IPC*MHZ [instructions per cycle] for both integer and floating point operations. Then it would be pretty clear to consumers what was going on.

      Any simple attempt at measuring performance will end up being simplistic. The big problem with your proposal can be summed up as: which instructions? NOPs? SIMD floating point? The instructions that make up Quake III, or gcc, or my LISP stock market prediction application? What about when the instruction sets of the CPUs differ, ala SSE2? Performance characterization really is difficult; anybody who claims otherwise is trying to sell you something.
  • by glh ( 14273 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @02:02PM (#4093161) Homepage Journal
    The complaint alleges that "the Pentium 4 is less powerful and slower than the Pentium III and/or the AMD Athlon."

    The article later states that benchmarks would be more reliable. However, I've seen some benchmarks saying that the Athlon is a lot slower than the P4 (at least on Tom's Hardware).. Of course, this is comparing the P4 2400 vs. the Athlon XP 2100. Article here [].

    Tom's hardware mentions that you still get more processer power for your money, but it concludes that Intel is faster (at least in this comparison).

    I doth quote:
    "In the last "AMD vs. Intel" comparison, the Athlon XP 2100+ took the leading position by a nose, but now, the Pentium 4/2400 easily overtakes its arch rival. Meanwhile, you should keep in mind that that the P4 has a 666 MHz core clock advantage over the Athlon XP. "

    So "whats up" with this article? Did the plaintiffs read this before they filed the lawsuit?? Is Tom's Hardware just another victim of the megahertz marketing machine? (Actually, the tests would seem to indicate no). By the way, I'd love to see the plantiffs win, because I get really sick of the megahertz crap that they ramrod down everyones throat. Not to mention, any computer illiterate person knows that "Intel is better" because of this.

    At any rate, I don't really think benchmarks are the answer- everyone knows you can make a benchmark say whatever you want (see for instance the Pet Shop application debate w/ Java vs. .NET)
    • Looking at Toms Hardware chart [], Rating a AMD 2400+ vs a Intel 2.4ghz, the AMD is faster in almost all benchmarks. Tom messed up when he compared a 2100+ vs a 2400. AMD's system shows that its processor is faster at its rating level than Intel ghz rating . Even Toms Benchmarks [] show this.

      Thou, I do like the number of benchmarks Tom uses, lame, quake, scisoft sandra, pcmark, sysmark, specview, (I wish he would use madonion also).. But trying not to repeat a few posts, when an application is compiled towards the cpu, it will be faster. Look at Flaskmpg, AMD compiled version showed an incredible speed up. Same with GCC 3.2 (check the changes), they said an average of 8.7 (with 2.6 or something from 2.95) so thats around a 11+ percent increase, Average! 3DNOW or SSE2 Optimzation really makes a big difference on bechmarks, programs should support both.

      Cant wait to see what happens when AMD starts its 3000+ chips, and the 64bit hammer comes out. :)

  • P4 is faster (Score:2, Insightful)

    by willpost ( 449227 )
    I have a 2.4 ghz P4 with 533 mhz rambus and 512 mb 1066 DDR ram.
    My older machine is a P3 650 mhz with 512 mb SDRAM.

    The P4 is at least 2-3 times faster when I load windows and applications.

    There are a few things to consider in addition to the processor speed.

    First, the speed of the memory bus is important. That determines how fast it can move around pages of memory. If Rambus hadn't tried to screw everyone then Intel wouldn't have had to scale back the memory bus speed in the P4s by bringing back SDRAM. As a result, using a motherboard with SDRAM slows down the P4.

    Second, the amount of memory hasn't improved much. The P4 boards have the same number of RAM slots as the P3 boards did. If you have a lot of programs open or a huge 600 mb file, then 512 mb on a P4 will feel like a Pentium Pro when it starts having to use the hard drive for swap space.

    Third, check your hard drive bus speed. Is it a 66 or 100? Mine is older than that and i'm sure I takes a performance hit.
    • configuration is a big issue regarding performance too. Do you have a billion programs running on the old box? Is the old box infested with a pile of spyware? Is the hard drive in the old box some old pokey 5400 rpm job, while your new box has a 15000 rpm scsi drive?

      when it comes to running everyday type apps, processor speed (once you go over 500 mhz or so) just isnt a factor, its everything else that counts.
  • I remember way back in the 486 days, I heard a joke that still rings true today.

    Q: What is the difference between a car sales man and a computer sales man?

    A: The car sales man knows when he is lying.

    tada da boom .... Thank you Thank you I will be here all week.

  • Did the following quote in the PC World article stick out to anyone else?

    In recent months, thanks to ever-increasing clock speeds and improvements to supporting technologies, P4-based PCs have started to outrun Athlon XP-based systems under PC WorldBench. For example, in a recent test of each company's top CPUs, a system with Intel's 2.53-GHz P4 edged past a PC with an Athlon XP 2100+ chip (running at 1.73 GHz) in PC WorldBench 4. You mean to say that Intel's 2.53 Ghz chip "edged" past AMD's 1.75 Ghz chip (that's only marketed to beat an Intel 2.1 Ghz chip) --- real impressive there guys...thanks for pointing out how quickly that gap is closing.


  • I was in the market for a new PC a couple of months ago. I was leaning towards an AMD, but couldn't find a chipset that would work (reliably) with the audio programs I would be using.

    I now am typing this on a p4 1.8, and am quite happy with the performance, and stabillity with the intel chipset. Had Via solved the PCI bus bottleneck problem they were wrestling with, I would have gone with AMD. No dice, though.

    This is much faster than my P3 800, (and light years ahead of my p1 225) so I'm fine and happy with my purchase.

  • by TheSHAD0W ( 258774 ) on Sunday August 18, 2002 @02:54PM (#4093412) Homepage
    This is going to take a long time to get through court, and there's a good question as to whether the non-scientific minds who will be perusing the case will make the right decision, but Intel is in the moral right.

    Intel didn't design the chip just so that it would have a higher clock frequency and therefore mislead people into thinking their chips were faster. They came up with a whole new processing architecture, that simultaneously created a large efficiency drop in instructions processed per clock cycle but allowed for much higher frequency operation. The end result was faster processors, but the clock frequencies didn't correspond. Not their fault.

    Further, end users should have been used to the idea that clock speed and processing speed didn't correspond; AMD's processors had been outperforming pre-P4 processors, clock cycle for clock cycle, for a while. AMD didn't start their "processor equivalent" labeling scheme 'til the P4s came on the market, though.
  • there's a form of lobbying, microsoft and others (oil companiaes) use it, it's called astro-turfing, aka artificial grass roots campaigns. they bring in a group of people they've selected, show them certian propaganda, and then supply them with a cubicle, phone, and phone number of the senator most crucial to changing/stopping somthing.

    this sounds suspiciously like AMD is astro turfing (or a variation, involving filing lawsuit rather than calling your local congressman) some bad PR for intel to me...
  • The headline was "A group of PC owners filed a lawsui..."

    It should be "A pair of lawyers engaged in extortion...: Of course, that is so common that it doesn't need a headline.

    No, this isn't meant to be a troll. Most people don't realize that "a class action suit filed on behalf of X million..." usually results in tiny rewards for those million (or no reward) while it results in vast sums for the lawyers who file the suit. Furthermore, because of the absurd state of US tort law - especially in some tort friendly states - Texas and Louisiana.

    Note that the complaint claims that the total aware will be no more than $75,000. Of course, this does not include lawyers fees! My guess is that the lawyers put this in so that a court will find it easier to give them a win, or so that the companies will settle.

    Once that is done, the real fun will begin. Having already either lost one of these cases, or settled one, the companies will then be attacked in Texas or Louisiana or another state where the tort lawyers routine win obscene settlements. They will cite the previous attack, and pocket zillions of bucks in the resulting easy win.

    What will PC owners get? Probably discount certificates allowing them to buy a new processor from the defendant at a lower cost. This is how a typical american class action consumer lawsuit works!

    Note that none of this has anything to do with the merits of the case. Personally, I think the case has no merit. The companies didn't lie(although AMD *does* act in a more deceptive matter - did you know that an AMD Athlon 1700+ does NOT have a clock speed near 1700 Mhz?). The consumers weren't deceived, unless they fooled themselves!
  • A brit friend of mine was sending a package back home (from the southeast US to New Castle, England) and I overheard the teller at the USPS state that overnight service would take three days. What is that if not false advertising?
  • As a USPS employee, I have this to say about your unwarranted and unfair comment about "courteous, competent employees": fuck you!

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern