Saturday, March 21, 2009

Intel Vs. AMD

Recently I had an argument with my friend about Intel Vs. AMD. Who has the best processor?

I remember the time when the AMD was pushing its processors very hard in India. They had some numbers like 1600 and 2000 etc to claim their processors are as powerful as intel 1.6GHz or 2.0GHz. Though I don't remember the details, I do remember working on one of them. The experience was worse compared to working on a 800MHz celeron in our labs. Whatever it may be, the argument is that they were only trying to make the people understand that the processors are not to be judged by clock frequency alone. But, I feel, AMD eventually confused some poor customers who were not that tech savy and AMD made money out of it.

My friend was of the opinion that AMD has processors that are comparable to intels. The following site contains some data which says otherwise.

Let me just look at two ends of the spectrum. I will take the high end first. Intel's Core i7 is sitting there unchallenged. AMD is yet to produce a comparable chip. But they are a bit costly and work with DDR3 only (I recently checked DDR3 price in market. It was about Rs. 2700 (~$54) for 2GB). But, its simply the best.

Now come to the lowest end of the spectrum. I am just looking at Core 2 Duo 8400 and Athlon X2 6400+. Just look at the amount of L2 Cache. You can also see the cinebench graph there. Again Intel processor simple out performs the counterpart from AMD. Now the price. Intel is about $75 more than AMD. Is this a real difference?

The answer to the above question is a simple 'No'. Why? Assume that you use the computer for 3 hours a day (I use it for hours together and I don't know what is the average home usage. But, I am assuming it will be close to ~3 hours/day on a normal shared home computer.) The power consumed by AMD processor is 60W more than the Intel processor. Result? 60 * 3 * 30 = 5400 Wh. In my state, excess power usage causes electricity board to levy you a charge of Rs. 7 per unit (1 unit = 1kWh). This is about Rs. 450 ($9) per year loss. Eventually, if a home user sticks to his computer for 3 years, he will spent extra $30 on this processor through the power bill. In an office, the computers run from 8-9 in the morning till 6 in the evening. And, thanks to our enlighted employees, some of them run 24 hours. If you assume only 9 hour usage per day, you will lose ~$90 in three years.

So, my humble conclusion is to stick to Intel for the time being :)

No comments: