AMD edges ahead of Intel

For mainstream applications, ZDNet's latest figures indicate that AMD's fastest processors outpace those of rival Intel
Written by Matt Loney, Contributor
AMD's top end desktop processors are faster than Intel's for most applications, according to benchmarks from ZDNet's labs.

In a test of Intel's Pentium 4 560 running at 3.6GHz and the 3.4GHz Pentium 4 550, which both feature the new Prescott core and 1MB of on-board Level 2 cache, both failed to outperform the alternative offerings from AMD: the Athlon 64 3800+ running at 2.4GHz and the 2.2GHz 3500+.

ZDNet found that the Athlon 64 has an advantage with office and Internet applications, and with 3D games, said senior editor Kai Schmerer, who conducted the tests in ZDNet Germany's labs. But, he added, AMD did not come top in all tests. "The Pentium 4 scored with optimised software -- particularly 3D and video rendering," he wrote. "The multitasking tests also show an advantage for Intel's Pentium 4."

In the business and content creation Winstone benchmarks, which measure typical application-based tasks like a converting video files or delivering a PowerPoint presentation, the AMD chips were 10 to 16 percent faster than the Intel chips. However, cautioned Schmerer, with multitasking switched on, which take advantage of Intel's HyperThreading technology, the Intel chips take up the lead by 9 percent.

Read the full review here.

Overall though, the results tended to favour AMD for mainstream applications; a potential blow to Intel considering that the AMD parts are cheaper and cooler, consuming 91Watts at idle for the 3800+ chip, rising to 172Watts under a full load, compared to 155Watts at idle for the Pentium 4 560, and 258Watts under a full load. The lower power consumption of the AMD parts is caused by their lower clock frequency, as well as AMD's use of Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) technology.

AMD's 64-bit chips also support the NX (No Execute) feature, which safeguards them from certain virus attacks. (Intel has announced that the Pentium 4 is to support the NX feature later this year.)

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