The next Athlon vs. the next Pentium

— 12:14 AM on March 19, 2001

JC has put together an epic comparison between the Pentium 4 1.7GHz and the 1.33GHz Athlon. Here's the setup:

In a matter of days, Advanced Micro Devices is expected to release The Next Athlon. A month later, Intel Corp. will follow up in an attempt to reclaim the title of speed champ, announcing The Next Pentium (4, to be precise). The Athlon, AMD's implicitly parallel µarchtitecure, will run at a 1.33GHz frequency (also 1.30GHz, and there's more details coming on that). Intel's more explicitly parallel (and generally more scalar) µarchitecture is, according to reviewers and hardware experts, geared towards achieving higher clock frequencies -- such as 1.70GHz in this case -- at the expense of lower average ipc (less per-clock performance) in general.
He's got benchmark scores for both processors, including scores for the P4 at 2GHz.

That's two freaking gigahertz, folks.

JC's tests are worth seeing because he's using a benchmark mix you may not be used to seeing at many hardware web sites. His tests are heavy on scientific computing, including Wilkens' excellent ScienceMark, but he's also included games, plus "glorified macro benchmarks," and "crap (synthetic) benchmarks." If you want a peek into the not-too-distant future of x86 processors, there's no better place to start.

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