AMD fights the 'megahertz myth'

Chipmaker working on new PC rating method...

Chipmaker working on new PC rating method...

Chipmaker AMD is continuing its fight against the most common way of rating computer performance - a method that relies on what AMD calls the "megahertz myth." Last summer, the California company launched its True Performance Initiative, urging consumers to question the notion that a PC with a faster chip will always outperform one with a slower processor. Now AMD says it has joined with other members of the PC industry to develop a new measurement, one that would take various factors into consideration to more accurately reflect the overall performance of a computer. "We've been working with industry leaders today to propose a solution ... to come up with a better way for end users to evaluate what they're really getting," said Patrick Moorhead, vice president of consumer advocacy for AMD. Users often compare processor clock speeds and prices on various new PCs. But the lowest cost PC with the highest clock speed processor might not always offer the best overall performance, AMD maintains. The company has argued that a less expensive machine with one of its own 1.8GHz Athlon XP 2200+ processors can perform as well or better than a PC using archrival Intel's 2.26GHz Pentium 4 chip. But some PC industry players might ask why another performance measure is needed when a host of PC evaluations and performance information is available. Currently, PC makers can cite a number of measurements, including benchmarks - tests that score performance based on how quickly the computer handles a certain task - processor clock speeds; and even the performance of various components, such as memory or graphics cards. But AMD says any one of these measurements tells only part of the story and that trying to juggle all of them only muddies the waters. "Light bulbs have better information about them at the point of sale than PCs," Moorhead said. "There's a lack of good, independent system-oriented benchmarks," said Dean McCarron, with Mercury Research. McCarron said that as long as it involved the largest PC makers, a new independent body might be able to create a credible test. AMD hopes to release the new PC performance measurement by early next year. John G Spooner writes for News.com