Posted By Van Smith

Date: April 5, 2002

-----Original Message-----
From: bryan
Sent: Thursday, April 04, 2002 11:40 AM
To: contact@vanshardware.com
Subject: Lies, Damn Lies and Benchmarks

Hey Van, what do you have against Intel. Did they piss in your cheerios? I find it hard to believe that in every other review the P4 opens a can of whoop ass on the Athlon on 3D video performance, but on your tests falls short??? So is every other reviewer lieing or are you?

Also, your "BandwidthBurn", an unpublished,unscrutinizable workload produces questionable results. Every other test of memory throughput shows the P4 (with Rambus RAM) is able to read and write to system memory twice as fast as the Athlon. Primarily due to the fact that the P4 has a quad pumped front side bus compared with the Athlon's double data rate.

I'm beginning to understand why Tom's Hardware yanked your ass. You've obviously lost your objectivity in pursuit of some personal crusade.

And by the way, get original already. Van's Hardware??? It's obvious which web site you want to be.

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Van responds.


The Pentium 4 has only two performance characteristics that give it advantages over the Athlon XP: bandwidth and SSE2. In virtually every other computational aspect, such as FPU and integer arithmetic, latency, etc., the Athlon XP is superior to the Pentium 4.

On the vast majority of applications, the Athlon XP will outperform much higher clocked Pentium 4s. In fact, the fastest Athlon XP is often much faster than even the fastest P4.

If you doubt my claims, I urge you to test this for yourself on applications that you frequently use. I do not endorse BAPCo's/Mad Onion's or ZD's benchmarks because the specific aspects being tested are completely obfuscated.

BandwidthBurn is an Open Source test that I developed in Delphi. I have discussed the workings of this program several times. On this test, the P4 outperforms the Athlon at roughly the same levels as other common, proprietary bandwidth tests.

Video encoding benchmarks that show significant performance advantages for the Pentium 4 are due to bandwidth and SSE2.

The bandwidth advantages of the Pentium 4 can be taken away at any time by AMD with a simple increase in FSB -- the Athlon is generally more bandwidth efficient than the Pentium 4 on an FSB clock for clock basis. Frustratingly AMD has chosen not to increase FSB at the moment in order to maximize current infrastructure -- increasing FSB would lower yields and dilute profits on mainstream products that would not leverage advanced FSB speeds. AMD can afford to deploy this conservative strategy because despite the bandwidth handicap, the Athlon XP still beats the P4 on most applications.

The second advantage of the P4, SSE2, will be neutralized with the Hammer.

Intel is in trouble and is trying to counter with marketing what it cannot counter with technology.