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Computer Processors

  1. Jun 23, 2003 #1
    Can anyone explain briefly (or in detail if you'd like) the difference between the Pentium 4, Pentium M, and Athlon processors? Which is best? Most reliable? Fastest?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 23, 2003 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Since all of them come at different speeds, "fastest" applies only to the fastest of the fastest. That would be the P4 3.0ghz. The Athlon 3200+ is a VERY close second. AMD uses "performance ratings" for their Athlon line, so the 3200 isn't the actual clockspeed, but an estimate of its performance when compared to the P4. The Pentium M is a moble version of the Pentium.

    AMD has a largely undeserved bad reputation for stability. But I have had no problems with my two Athlon machines. They are cheaper than the equivalent P4, so I highly recommend them.
  4. Jun 23, 2003 #3
    I think that Pentium's tend to have been floating point (decimal-point numbers) performance, which is usually good for heavily CPU-dependent games and other 3D applications, but I think that AMDs tend to make up for that with integer performance or in some other area. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
  5. Jun 24, 2003 #4
    What do you mean by mobile? They both come in a box!
    What do you mean by stability? Do you mean the system crashes less often?
    I'm a little confused. Back in the day, I used to compare computers by their "speeds" but now it seems that strictly speaking a 1.67 GHz Athlon processor is not necessarily slower than a 2.0GHz Celeron processor. And a lot of Macs are rated at 1.0GHz and are selling at the same price. Why is this true?
    What is a system bus? What is a cache?
    I'm currently browsing for a computer, and I'm trying to do some research before I buy. If you have any good resources to read, I'd would appreciate them. Thanks.
  6. Jun 24, 2003 #5
    mobile means it's made for mobile applications (laptops especially, but also whatever can be carryed and uses a battery). For this type of circuits power-saving is very important so the digital circuits are made with this thing in mind.
    To save power you can turn off the clock when the processor isn't working or you can turn off the clock for the processor's blocks that are not used (FPU if you're not doing something mathematical, or the address unit for RAM if you're using cache, etc....).
    Also there are special types of design for power save.....

    that depends on processor architecture... and that's a really big subject.

    system bus is the bus between the processor and the RAM.
    cache is a very fast memory (the fastest..) used to store all the data/instructions the processor needs now. when the processor needs some data to operate on it first searches it in cache (usually there are 2 levels of cache) and if it's not there, searches it on RAM and then on HDD. cache is used to minimize the time the processor searches for data/instructions that are used repeatedly

    you can take a look at this
  7. Jun 24, 2003 #6
    The mobile markings just mean it is designed to use less power and run cooler. Better for laptops and such.

    As russ said, you shouldn't have to worry about stability either way. What he meant was the fact that many people think that AMD will cause your system to crash. That may have been true with much older AMD tech, but not their stuff today. So you shouldn't have to worry about that.

    Computer speeds are still a good comparison. Some differences you should be aware of are:

    Celeron: Intel's budget chip. Less processor cache means slower performance for games and graphics programs. Fine for general office work.

    Duron: AMD's budget chip. A better offerring than Intel's budget chip, IMO.

    Pentium: Top of the line intel chip. Good for everything, fastest chip currently (3.06 clock speed).

    Athalon: You can judge their speed generally off of their model numbers. Whereas they may only have a 1.6 clock speed, go with the fact that model is Athalon 2000. The model number indicates what speed pentium chip it matches.

    Apple: Uses the PowerPC. RISC based processor, so you gain speed there. Not sure how much tho, I'm a bit uneducated on exactly why. I use a powerbook myself, and I love it.

    System bus = throughput from proc to ram. Faster is better.

    Cache = memory that a device can store info in temporarily to make it avaliable to the device faster. IE, a proc uses cache to store info it hasn't gotten around to working with yet. More is better here.

    Hope that helps!

    EDIT: What guy said
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