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Pentium 4 still not a match for Athlon



Pentium 4 still not a match for Athlon

In response to the April 22 article, "New Pentium 4 portends PC price fracas":

It really should be noted that, even at 1.7+ GHz, the Pentium 4 is faring very badly against its Athlon counterparts with lower clock speeds. All bench tests show the 1.3GHz Athlon's roundly beating the much higher-clocked Pentium 4's. This price cut is a lowbrow tactic by a big company with a great deal of resources to beat a smaller company in marketing when it can't beat them on technical and engineering grounds.

This "clock-speed war" can only hurt consumers. An Athlon with a lower clock rate and lower energy usage roundly beats its 1.7GHz competitor, yet your general non-tech-savvy consumer can only buy systems based on clock rates. Clock rates mean nothing. Most serious, high-end workstation chips (IBM, Sun, HP) are in the 500MHz to 800MHz range and are orders of magnitude above their Intel and AMD counterparts.

This "clock-speed war" that Intel is trying to initiate will keep the chip manufacturers from working on what really matters: power and energy usage. Clock speed is not really relevant, especially since it's only one core in the P4 that's running at this high clock speed (fixed-point unit), not the whole chip.

I think a tech journal like CNET would be doing the public a favor by explaining the difference between clock speed and performance. It should be noted that a person who "upgrades" from their 500MHz P3 to a 1.7GHz P4 will actually see a marked performance drop in their desktop applications. There is no gain here for the consumer--only for Intel.

John Bleichert
Endicott, N.Y.