Purchasing the best CPU for the money

I have always been a hard-core AMD fan, but the reason was not loyalty.  The reasons were because first, it was the fastest speed for the lowest price.  Second, Intel, back in the day, shipped their chips in a cartridge form.  Similar to the Nintendo DS games, but bigger.  Therefore, when it came to using a custom heatsink and/or a fan, it was not possible on an Intel.

Currently, it seems that Intel is producing CPU’s that are faster than AMD and also cheaper.  Furthermore, it seems that comparing CPU’s from different manufacturers and generations solely on GHz (CPU speed) is no longer accurate.  For example, one of Intel i5’s which runs at 2.66GHz is faster than one of AMD Phenom II fastest processor that runs at 3.4GHz when running various applications.  Therefore, doing price/performance comparisons are no longer that simple.

Although, could it also be that software developers are using Intel compilers?  For those wondering what is a compiler and what it has anything to do with the speed, let me illustrate.

Starting a car

  1. Get key
  2. Put key in keyhole
  3. Turn key til engine starts
  4. Program finished

Now if the above steps was a program, it will have to be compiled to be understandable by the computer.  That is what a compiler does.  Compiles human readable  instructions into machine understandable code.  Based on the allegations put up against Intel, Intel purposely developed a compiler that made the program run slower on competing processors.  For example,

Starting a car (Intel version)

  1. Get key
  2. If processor is an Intel then go to step 4
  3. If processor is not Intel then go to step 7
  4. Put key in keyhole
  5. Turn key til engine starts
  6. Program finished
  7. Make the processor run a bunch of stuff that is unrelated and then go to step 4.

Unfortunately, there is no way to prove that Intel added this into their compiler.  Furthermore, AMD also has a compiler specifically designed for AMD processors.  Therefore, conspiracy theories are abundant.  Intel being accused of making programs run slower on competing processors can be read at http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN047439720100804

Furthermore, Intel ditched the cartridge format for the easy to replace heatsink format.  Something that I like to see in the CPU’s that I buy.

Therefore, I am no longer an AMD lover.  I am a price conscious consumer looking for the best CPU with the ability to change the heatsink for my dollar.

Why AMD and Intel’s CPU’s measured in MHz or in GHz cannot be used for comparisons can be read at http://www.geek.com/articles/chips/why-amd-mhz-dont-equal-intel-mhz-20051215/.  Therefore, it should come as no surprise why one processor is sometimes faster at doing specific tasks while another processor is faster doing other tasks.  It is all in the way the processor was designed.

Some of AMD and Intel CPU’s compared can be read at http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/intel-core-i5,2410-10.html

CPU recommendations for the budget conscious consumer as of July 2010 can be seen at http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-core-i5-athlon-ii,2675.html

A chart comparing Intel’s I3, I5 and I7 desktop CPU’s can be seen at DesktopIntelCPUI3-5-7 and Inte’s I3,I5 and I7 Notebook CPU’s can be seen at NotebookIntelCPUI3-5-7.  This chart is taken from Intel and placed in order for easy comparison.

Intel’s Pentium processors can be seen by visiting Intel at http://www.intel.com/consumer/products/processors/pentium-specs.htm and Intel’s Atom processors can be seen by visiting Intel at http://www.intel.com/products/processor/atom/specifications.htm

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