CPU Price Shootout: Intel P4 640 vs AMD A64 3500+

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Impression

While both Intel and AMD have their faithful supporters, most will agree that AMD rules the gaming world while Intel rules the multi tasking world. Yet, with each new release, people are always curious as to improvements a given processor might show.

While Nate covered all of the important information regarding the 6XX series processors in his earlier article, I chose to approach this from a different point of view. I took two closely priced systems based on different platforms, using the same video card, case, cooling, PSU, and HDD, to give an example of what they did compared over a range of benches. The AMD 3500+ retails for $270, while the Intel 640 runs about $280. I chose a high end board for both, the DFI SLI-DR is currently pricing about $240, while I purchased the ABIT AA8XE for $249 (Yes Fry’s is expensive). So hopefully this will give those of you trying to decide which system to purchase a good indication of what to expect with both systems. 

The Intel systems will use the following components:

  • ABIT AA8EX Fatal1ty socket 925 motherboard
  • 1GB Kingston Hyper X DDR2 533 memory @ 4-4-4-12 timings
  • Sapphire X850 XT video card
  • Hitachi 80GB SATA HDD
  • Antec NeoPower 480 PSU 

The AMD system will use the following components:

  • DFI NF4 SLI motherboard
  • 1GB Corsair XMS 4400C25PT memory @ 2-2-2-7 timings
  • Sapphire X850 XT video card
  • Hitachi 80GB SATA HDD
  • Antec NeoPower 480 PSU 

All tests were conducted under identical conditions with a fresh installation of WinXP Professional (32 bit) build 2600 with SP2.

Now that you have met the competitors, lets take a look at what we’re going to ask of them. First, we’ll focus on performance with a variety of 32 bit benchmarks. (After lengthy discussion, we decided against using 64bit WinXP until it is offically released later this month, there is also a lack of quality 64 bit benchmarks available, so we’ll focus on what we do have). Lastly, i want you to understand this is more of an “opinion” article rather than a ‘scientific” article, my point is that  there are features that are going to affect the overall performance and outcome of these systems and the benchmmarks used. for instance, you will see that no memory testing was done, this is for a couple of reasons. first, Intel’s newest chipset, the 925XE uses DDR2 while AMD’s integrated memory controller prohibits it from using DDR2. I also did not use a wide variety of gaming benchmarks, this is because i wanted to focus on the processors and their performance, not the overall systems, so I stuck with graphics applications that displayed the CPU’s performance. now that we’ve touched on a few little issues, lets move on to some testing.   

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