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Archiver > TMG > 2004-10 > 1099078821

From: "Henry Cranford" <>
Subject: Re: [TMG] Tmg on celeron/Athlon
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 2004 13:40:26 -0600
References: <000001c4b950$407bbd70$6901a8c0@dave> <016b01c4bdea$141c6a60$fc509a8e@ronvh6b4b85voe>

The following article, part one of two, is from the Kim Komando Tip of
the day. Her web site is at: . I will send part two
on Monday when I get it. Her web site, weekly newsletter, daily tips, and
radio program help a lot of people. Best of all, they are free.

"Q. I am confused about how to compare the clock speeds of various
processors. There are Pentium 4s with clock speeds between 2.0 and
3.6 gigahertz. Intel has a Centrino mobile chip at approximately 1.5
GHz. AMD Athlon chips use a different rating system. And then there is
Apple, which just came out with the iMac featuring a G-5 chip. That is
supposed to be 1.5 to 1.8 GHz. Could you shed some light on this issue
and eliminate my confusion?

A. You're in a very non-exclusive club! Legions of people are confused
by chip speeds. I'm going to break it down first for desktops. There's
a ton of information here, so I'll split it over two days. We'll do
laptops on Monday.

Let's start at the very beginning.

Intel has two classes of chips for desktop computers--the Pentium 4 and
the Celeron. Pentium 4 is the premium brand; Celeron, the economy name.

Pentium 4s, as you said, run up to 3.6 GHz. That means the chip can
cycle 3.6 billion times per second. The 3.6 GHz version performs less
work per cycle than some other, slower chips.

Its Level 2, or L2, memory cache ranges from 256 kilobytes to 1
megabyte. This memory contains common commands that the chip can call
upon. If the command the chip needs is in L2 cache, it speeds up the
computing process. If it is not, then the chip must go to system memory
(RAM). That slows things. So more L2 cache is better. See, it's all
pretty easy stuff.

Celeron processors are geared-down Pentiums. Celerons have 128 or 256
kilobytes of L2 cache--less than most Pentium 4s. Their clock speeds
are also slower. Maximum Celeron speed is 2.8 GHz. That's still plenty
fast. The reduced L2 cache is a bigger deal.

All Intel consumer chips are 32-bit. That means they can handle 32 bits
of data at a time. That's OK, because consumer software today is 32-
bit. Intel's Itanium, a business chip, is 64-bit. That is an advantage
with some business programs, but is unsuited to consumer applications.

Advanced Micro Devices also makes consumer chips. Its topline chips are
called Athlons. AMD has been producing 64-bit chips for consumer
computers for about a year. They also run today's 32-bit programs.
That's a good thing, because, as I said, there aren't any mainstream
64-bit consumer programs available for it.

These chips have a lower clock speed. My computer has a cutting-edge
AMD 64-bit 3800+. (That's a mouthful!) It runs at 2.4 GHz. Although its
clock speed is relatively slow, the chip is actually very fast. AMD
(and Apple, which I'll get to in a minute) focuses on improving the
number of instructions a chip can handle per cycle, rather than pure
clock speed. That is why slower chips often defeat chips with higher
clock speeds in tests.

AMD's nomenclature carries such numbers as 3000+. You can use them as
a comparison with Pentium 4s. A 3000+ has roughly the same capabilities
as a Pentium 4 3.0 GHz. The 64-bit Athlon has either 512 KB or 1 MB of
L2 cache. The Athlon XP, a 32-bit chip, has 512 KB of L2 cache.

AMD also makes an economy chip, the Sempron. It competes with the
Celeron. It has 256 KB of L2 cache, and is a 32-bit chip.

Hope you don't have a headache! We still have to look at Apple's G5
chips. These guys are made by IBM.

Both Power Macs and iMacs use the G5 chip. Some run at speeds well
under 2 GHz. But as with AMD, Apple focuses its efforts on the number
of instructions that can be completed per cycle.

If you're interested in the iMac, test it in the store for speed. The
iMac's big brothers, the Power Macs, all have dual processors. They're
likely to be plenty fast. The cheapest is $2000 without a monitor, so
they're plenty expensive, too.

All G5 chips have 512 KB of L2 cache.

So, what's the bottom line? I thought we'd never get here! For a good
combination of speed and power, I'd look at Windows machines with Intel
Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon chips. Buy three or four steps down from the
fastest chip. That means a 2.8 or 3.0 GHz Pentium chip, or a 2800+ or
3000+ AMD Athlon. The AMD 64-bit chips are fine, but there's currently
no software that can take advantage of their advanced technology.

Apple's Power Macs are very powerful, but they're also costly. If you
want to pay the money, you won't go wrong. The iMacs also are probably
OK, but I'd check them in the store first. Again, the 64-bit technology
is wasted on today's programs.

The Celeron and Sempron chips also are acceptable. They may be
noticeably slower than the Pentium 4 and Athlon chips, though.

Jeez, this was a long answer. We'll go over laptops on Monday.
Don't forget that you can listen to me this weekend on hundreds
of radio stations. Find my three-hour show near you here: "

----- Original Message -----
From: "RonB" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, October 29, 2004 1:04 PM
Subject: Re: [TMG] Tmg on celeron/Athlon

> There was a brief mention a while ago on this thread that an Athlon-based
> laptop would be comparable to a Pentium 4 (or Pentium-M?), and much better
> than a Celeron for running TMG.
> I'm looking for a laptop as a second computer and just wondered if anyone
> could elaborate on this point, from personal experience with TMG or
> otherwise. For example, I saw a recent ad for an AMD Athlon XP-M 2200+ ,
> 512 MB, 12" display notebook, and wondered how this would compare to, say,
> a Centrino (which seems to be more expensive for similar configurations).
> And does anyone have any experience with battery life of Athlon vs
> Centrino?
> My TMG project currently contains about 4500 people, plus exhibits etc.
> I'd also want to use software like Paint Shop Pro on the laptop (with a
> bunch of genealogy-related images), and other miscellaneous programs
> (maybe even a version of FTM for helping/working with relatives who may
> not have seen the TMG "light" <g>).
> Thanks for any comments.
> Ron B
> ==== TMG Mailing List ====
> Send all messages and replies to <>.

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