Around a month ago AMD released their Athlon XP 3200+ based on the Barton core. While only outpacing the 3000+ by a meager 34MHz, the new processor carried a much higher model number courtesy of AMD's move to a 400MHz FSB. The review community unanimously agreed that the processor was not deserving of its 3200+ rating, but none were as infuriated by AMD's model number than the folks at Intel.

Ever since the introduction of AMD's model numbering system, Intel has been pulling their hair out - trying to get the rest of the market to see things as they do. In the early days of the Athlon XP, the model numbers were quite conservative as you may recall. Although AMD always insisted that the model numbers were used to compare the Athlon XP to the old Thunderbird core, no one really bought that - the model numbers were architected to draw parallels between the Athlon XPs and higher clocked Pentium 4s. Back in the early days, the Pentium 4 wasn't nearly as competitive as it is today and AMD's model numbers seemed to be a bargain - an Athlon XP 1800+ would outperform a 2.0GHz Pentium 4 most of the time - thus questioning AMD's ratings seemed silly.

Fast forward to today and the picture has changed considerably; Intel's Northwood core has been quite successful and is now paired with features such as an 800MHz FSB and Hyper Threading. The end result is that while AMD was once very conservative with their model numbers, these days they seem much more liberal. So what's the big deal? The benchmarks speak for themselves and everyone will easily find out if a 3200+ can compete with a 3.2GHz Pentium 4 soon enough, so why all the fuss?

Although folks in this community tend to glaze over marketing silliness, the millions that we cater to are only a percentage of the total number of computer users out there. What Intel fears the most is that your average Joe is walking into a computer store and now sees a cheaper, "equal performing" Athlon XP 3200+ next to a Pentium 4 3.2 and makes the obvious choice. Thus Intel's crusade against AMD's model numbers has continued on, to some avail - after countless attempts, reviewers are starting to evaluate the Athlon XP not only on its relative performance to the Pentium 4 but also on the merits of AMD's model numbers.

We chastised AMD when they first introduced the marketing plan for the Athlon XP, but since then have remained relatively quiet on the topic. As far as we're concerned, you all are smart enough to determine what to purchase and what to recommend to the less inclined. If you spend your time reading through, understanding and learning from our reviews then you can come to your own conclusions just fine. Yes, AMD needs to update their benchmarking suite, Yes the Pentium 4 has continued to dominate in performance and as you will see by the end of this review, Yes the 3.2GHz Pentium 4 is noticeably faster than the Athlon XP 3200+.

With that out of the way, let's talk tech, shall we?

FSB Scaling - The Athlon XP
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  • Anonymous User - Sunday, July 20, 2003 - link

    There looks to be something fishy about this review anyway. The P4 1.6A is probably ahead of the 1600+ in most benchmarks. When those chips were new, the 1600+ looked very clearly faster. I'm not sure whether SSE2 has really made all that difference - the relative performances must have changed by about 10-20%. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, July 18, 2003 - link

    So P4 for multimedia and Athlon XP for general office, right? Since 95% of the systems I recommend or build rarely see streaming video or 3D, then AMD is the better value for me. I think Anand is undervaluing the Business Winstone 2002 results in the overall conclusion. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, July 16, 2003 - link

    I agree with #4. When it comes down to price VS performance AMD stomps on Pentium. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Monday, July 14, 2003 - link

    This is the typical review that one might see from the Wall Street based analysts that know virtually nothing about Processor technology, and prefer to keep their heads stuck in the sand. The XP3200 was extremely competitive with the original (read NOT 800 FSB) Pentiums, which is all that AMD had to compare it with at the time of intro.

    It is interesting that Intel always seems to have the newest design "waiting in reserve" for when AMD presents its newest design. What would happen if AMD never introduced another new processor? Would that mean that the newest offering from Intel would never arrive on the marketplace? You can bet on it. Instead of using Intel-oriented benchmarks and downplaying the extraordinary lengths that AMD has gone to over the last 3-4 years, you should be realistic and point to the advantages that the mere presence of AMD has created for consumers.

    For the money, the AMD line is still the best value, and can equal the performance of the Pentium line is virtually all the everyday uses for a PC.

    Please try to keep some shred of perspective in the future. Thanks.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, July 11, 2003 - link

    you're an asshole, god damn. chill, the guy was being calm about it. you're the people in teh intarweb i avoid. thx. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, July 10, 2003 - link

    From 1 Anonymous User to another, you are an idiot. PS2 as the best gaming platform? X-Box has better hardware in all respects, so as consoles go it is technically better. PS2 still has more games..and relating to sports that is where the console usually shines over the PC. But neither can do what a PC with proper hardware can do, in any aspect. So yes, the PC is the ultimate gaming platform, hence why both the PS2 and X-box are more like pc's than old consoles.

    Also this review had a benchmark on general use, including office, etc...and AMD won nicely, so if you read the whole article your complaint was solved before you made it. But most of us do play games, which is why most benchmarks are game related, non gamers usually don't go for top end, cause they don't need it. Hopefully you will post a better message next time or at least be more informed on the facts before dribbling false info.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Sunday, July 06, 2003 - link

    What about Office application performance? I read that the Athlon still blows away the P4 in most everything but games. Most of us spend our PC time doing other things besides gaming. If we wanted the best gaming platform, we'd buy Playtstation 2's. Reply

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