The Contenders

Since this is a budget roundup, price is a very important factor in decision making. To get an idea of how current pricing is shaping up, here are the prices of these processors at the time of publishing, sorted from the most expensive to the least (pulled from our DealTime engine).

 Processor  Price
Intel Pentium 4 1.8A $120
AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (2083MHz) $88
AMD Athlon XP (Barton) 2500+ (1833MHz) $86
Intel Celeron 2.6GHz $85
AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (2000MHz) $68
Intel Celeron 2.4GHz $68
Intel Celeron 2.2GHz $67
Intel Celeron 2.0GHz $65
AMD Athlon XP 2200+ (1800MHz) $63
AMD Athlon XP 1700+ (1466MHz) $56
AMD Duron 1.6GHz $41

The prices fall where we would expect. Intel processors are priced near AMD CPUs with similar model numbers. That makes a price–to-performance comparison fairly simple, as the only factor we really need to consider is performance.

The Athlon XP processor has been in the spotlight for quite some time. Over the years, what used to be high end processors are given new life as budget products. The technology behind the Athlon XP and Pentium 4 1.8A are very well documented, so we'll spend some time speaking about the other players in this review.

Intel Celeron

The main difference between a Pentium 4 processor and a Celeron is cache (high speed memory on the processor core) size. The Celeron takes a cut in L2 cache from 512KB down to 128KB. The L1 cache in the Celeron remains unchanged from that of its big brother. Cutting down the L2 cache's size will increase cache misses (number of times when the information that the processor needs is not located in the cache), which will slow down the processor while it has to wait for its data.

The Celeron processors are also limited to a 400MHz system bus, which, in turn, limits RAM speeds on the system to 133MHz (DDR266) when used on 865 or 875 based motherboards. Aside from these, the only other difference between Celeron and Pentium 4 is that none of the Celerons offer HyperThreading.

Celeron processors are available in many speed grades between 1.7GHz and 2.8GHz. For this comparison, the fastest Celeron under our $100 price point runs at 2.6GHz.

AMD Duron

Like the Celeron, the Duron is basically a stripped down version of a mainstream processor. In this case, we drop to a 64KB L2 cache. The L1 cache on the Duron remains at 128KB, giving the AMD budget line a larger overall cache than the Celeron. The Duron also operates on a 133MHz FSB, and there isn't a limit on RAM speed as there is with the Celeron line when used on any Socket-A platform.

The Duron processor is currently only available in three speed grades: 1.4GHz, 1.6GHz and 1.8GHz. For this review, we tested with the 1.6GHz model.

Index Test Setup
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • vinicastro - Tuesday, December 9, 2003 - link

    I dont' belive in this results. Simply because in others tests the results are very diferent. Note in Quake3 test that the Celeron 2,4 is better than the Celeron 2.6.

    The Celeron 2.6 have 2x cache and 1GHz clock plus the Duron 1.6.

    In others sites tests the Celeron 2.0 is a litte bit slower than an XP 1600. With overclock performs better than XP 1600.

    Also note the huge AMD advertises in the tests pages. Something smell very bad here.
  • arejerjejjerjre - Tuesday, December 9, 2003 - link

    Lol justly!

    It quite obvious that celeron's can do much better even with more lower end parts than that wich was used in the review!

    Compatibility issues with Intel? Never heard of them! Didn't know even that such term existed! :)
    You'd have to fuck it up yourself for it not work!

    And justly I seen too many Amd system's they hardly work at all! All of my friends possess some sort of amd rig and theres allways something not working or not working correctly!
    I think that Nforce chipset's suck! Via works much better! And That's why my mini pc Shuttle has a via chipset inside and duron 700 ;) works quite well most of the time! Shuttles heatpipe cooler is GREAT!
    Thats right I got one Amd based computer! :)
  • Doop - Monday, December 8, 2003 - link

    Intel isn't the perfect when it comes to compatibility. I have crippling problems with the Pentium 4 denormalizing bug that forces a system lock up when I use some audio software. I simply cannot use that software anymore because the work arounds are too time consuming for efficent work flow.

    I seriously regret buying a Pentium 4.

    As for the Celeron...people should be warned that they suck bad. It's funny that people critisize the article because it doesn't compare apples to oranges.

    What I saw was the Duron kicking the Celerons arse. No need to read more into it than that.
  • Quixfire - Monday, December 8, 2003 - link

    Looks like the Athlon XP 2200+ will be my next processor.
  • MoronBasher - Monday, December 8, 2003 - link

    arejerjejjerjre, go to the corner with AMDjihad, and maybe both of you could join the special olympics. Hell, you're both overly qualified.
  • justly - Sunday, December 7, 2003 - link

    It should be blatantly obvious that arejerjejjerjre demonstrates such extreme Intel bias that his comments can only be classified as witless. His presence is only beneficial as a source of humor for the rest of us. His unrelenting and repetitive posts filled with inaccuracy only prove that he is unwilling to accept anything other than his own biased opinion that Intel is superior in all aspects of processor performance even when we have seen this proven wrong time and time again. I do believe Intel has some good products but not to the point that I am blind to the truth, because so does AMD. I think it is obvious to most people that AMD has the best price to performance ratio in all areas except where Intel can compete with a 800MHz FSB and hyperthreading or specific apps (such as encoding) and that is even becomming less apparent when compared to the Athlon 64.
    If I had any problem with this article it would be that Anandtech didnt test using chipsets that are more commonly used with these processors. Since this article is meant to show processor performance not system performance I see no problem not because it showed AMD in a good light but because Anandtech gave BOTH platforms the benifit of a better performing chipset than they probably would get in real life.
  • arejerjejjerjre - Sunday, December 7, 2003 - link

    You are quite wrong about how much the celeron has to offer at least in games I have tested it with low end parts: celeron 2ghz,abit bd7-II,some 333mhz 256mt 32e memory so if that isnt a cheap computer nothing is! (Graphic cards much worse than yours ti4200 :( ) and my celeron performed quite well! Not as well as my 1.8A P4!
    With Celeron 2ghz I got 170 fps in quake 3 and with 1.8A I got 225 fps and with better graphics than that what was used in anandtechs review!

    And the problem with comparing P4 EE with fx51 is that p4 ee is old tech and still quite the best! Amd had to use complete new structure :socket,chipset and other things to get comparable results! When Prescott arrives we will see again that Intel rulez! This same rutine has repeated it self for some time now and never has intel been defeated when they have launched their brand new processor or chipset!
  • Wesley Fink - Sunday, December 7, 2003 - link

    #68&69 - Pentium 4 3.2GHz does indeed beat Barton 3200+, and we have stated that in our own tests. Barton 3200+ performs more on the level of a 2.8 to 3.0 Pentium 4 800FSB and the older performance rating is not very accurate compared to 800FSB Pentium 4 chips.

    However, Athlon64 3200+ is at least the equal of the P4 3.2 and in most cases it is actually faster. As we have stated in our reviews, AMD revised their Performance Rating with the A64 and it is actually a bit conservative. The top enthusiast Athlon64 FX51, which does not carry a Performance Rating, clearly outperforms everything we have tested - including the P4EE.

    This article is about the Bargain CPU's, where Duron/AthlonXP/Barton, the older technology AMD chips, clearly outperform the similarly priced Intel Celeron chips. This is simpler than it first appears and is a result of the differences in architecture. Pentium 4 requires huge bandwidth for best performance, and the Celeron can't deliver that bandwidth. AMD chips don't require the same bandwidth for top performance and do well with what the bargain chips can deliver.
  • arejerjejjerjre - Sunday, December 7, 2003 - link

    And I didnt mean any small site articles!!
  • arejerjejjerjre - Sunday, December 7, 2003 - link

    Theres this one thing I'am curious about!!
    I've seen many articles wich clearly say intel wins amd es p4c 3200 vs barton 3200+ and after a period similar articles appear and they seem to indicate a performance loss in intel based system! Results are clearly being altered!

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now