Pentium 4 Versus Dual Pentium 3 Page

Why I Did This:

A year ago, I was interested in getting the highest performance computer that I possibly could. I was hunting around on the internet for websites about performance, and about Adobe Photoshop, since my wife was going to be using this program in her graphical art and design major in college. At the time, Macs were running Dual G4 processor configurations. After some research, I bought a Tyan Dual Pentium 3 Motherboard: the S2507T, or Tiger 230T. I put two Pentium !!! Tualatin-S's in it (1.13GHz each, 512k L2 cache each), and 1.5GB of PC133 ECC RAM, and an ATI Radeon 9000 Pro AGP 128MB card by Sapphire. I thought I was set. The Pentium 4's had came out, and the gaming world was excited. Those I worked with were talking a lot of smack about performance ratings and gaming (but all in good fun). So, recently, when I thought my personal computer was dying, I decided to buy my wife a Pentium 4 machine and then "take back" the Dual Pentium 3 machine as my own. Hers is 2.4GHz (800MHz Front Side Bus) Pentium 4 with Hyperthreading, DDR400 512MB RAM, etc. I decided to once and for all put together the benchmark scores for CPU-related benchmarks and show the results. I am using Sisoft Sandra 2004. I already know that in other benchmarks, such as hard drive access and RAM speed, the Dual Pentium !!! will lose. So here are the results. I used Paint to take the raw BMP screenshots per machine, then run them through The GIMP and convert them to thumbs and PNG full-size images.

CPU Arithmetic Benchmark:

CPUArithmetic
            Benchmark 1 CPU Arithmetic
            Benchmark2

The Pentium 4 gets 7231 MIPS and 2998/5288 MFLOPS, while the Dual Pentium 3 gets 7095 MIPS and 3092 MFLOPS. This is where the the Pentium 4's new FPU (floating point unit) earns high marks. Granted, I'm quoting the second score, i.e. with HT (HyperThreading). I've heard some people claim that CPU-intense games run better with HT off, but this would end up in letting the Dual Pentium 3 make a higher score. But for any matter, I am very impressed with the FPU and HT on the new Pentium 4's. Still, for what it's worth, the Dual Pentium 3 scales well. It would give a Pentium 4 in non-HT-mode a run for its money.

CPU Multimedia Benchmark:

CPU Arithmetic
            Benchmark2CPU Arithmetic
            Benchmark 1

Here's where things get interesting. The Pentium 4 scores Integer 18387 it/sec and Floating-Point 26379 it/sec, while the Dual Pentium 3 scores Integer 20130 it/sec and Floating-Point 23747 it/sec. At first this seemed the reverse of the above scores, until I realized what I was looking at. So the Dual Pentium 3 wins only on multimedia integer benchmarks.

Configurations:

Dual Pentium 3:
Pentium 4:

Here the cost comparison is also misleading. Granted, original configuration and purchase, the Dual Pentium 3 is more expensive, which means that for cost, the Pentium 4 would have been a better buy. However, with time, the Dual Pentium 3 hardware is more expensive, being more rare, and the Tyan board I originally bought is sold out (could not find it on PriceWatch). The Pentium 4, on the other hand, is cheaper, since the Intel board and processor aren't cutting-edge. Gamers want the fastest stuff possible usually, so they'd usually be willing to pay the extra money to get the fastest Pentium 4 on the market, and the nicest Asus dual-channel RAM motherboard, etc etc. Granted, if this were used, I would be willing to bet that it would be cheaper (not easier) to get a used Tyan Dual Pentium 3 machine in EBay, versus an Intel Pentium 4 machine, provided that I'm looking for exactly what I have right now, and that the cost difference would be lower. Still, in price, the Dual Pentium 3 isn't looking good at all.<.span>

Upgradeability:

The Dual Pentium 3 board, being older, does not have onboard USB 2.0 (came with USB 1.2) or any Firewire. It has no Serial ATA. Its AGP slot is only 4x speed. I could find 1.4GHz processors for it, and there are benchmark scores for an "average" dual 1.4GHz machine on the above screenshots. I have more PCI slots for adding RAID, SCSI, and/or SATA cards. I have no more slots for RAM, but I'm maxed at 1.5GB. The Pentium 4 has onboard SATA, firewire, and USB 2.0 in abundance. I can go with a 3.0GHz processor eventually if I want, and I have the ability to upgrade the RAM to 4GB of DDR400, which is way more than I'd ever need. The Pentium 4 is much more upgradeable.

Cooling and Noise:

THere's a more interesting point. The Dual Pentium 3 has Tualatin P3's with the retail (huge) heatsinks and fans. I cannot overclock. However, Tualatins are made on .13 micron, just like a Pentium 4, and have more surface area. They have always run super-cool, and I have heard some people claim before that a Tualatin can almost be ran without a heatsink/fan. That would not be wise, but still ... the Dual Pentium 3 setup is easier to cool. The chipsets don't get hot at all. The case, an Antec MidTower with two 120mm case fans, is quiet. All in all, the Dual Pentium 3 can get away with much less cooling and still be rock-solid, all the while making virtually no noise with retail cpu cooling and quiet case fans. The Pentium 4, however, is another story. Maybe it's my use of Thermaltake items on a non-overclocked machine (this motherboard also cannot be overclocked as far as I know). However, normal sound is around 27dB, which is noticeably higher than the Dual Pentium 3. Pentium 4 processors, and using 400MHz RAM, generate much more heat. The ThermalTake case fans hover around 2700-3000 rpm, which is 27dB according to the specs on them. The ThermalTake Spark 7+ Xaser CPU cooler was super-loud when plugged directly into the motherboard (6300rpm!). I lowered it using the speed controllers to 5000rpm, so now the case fans are louder, but not by very much. All the thermaltake fans in this setup run power from the Molex IDE power connectors, due to the motherboard's fan headers not supplying enough power to run them as they should, which causes more work than normal, but the case fans for the Dual Pentium 3 are the same way. I used to think the Dual Pentium 3 was loud until I hooked up my wife's machine!

Conclusion:

TWhile nothing is perfect, the Dual Pentium 3 does at least win one point, which is cpu multimedia penchmark in integers. I love this thing for ripping mp3's and such, as it is fast. The Dual Pentium 3 is quieter, and has few heat worries. The Dual Pentium 3 was meant to be a server, though, not a gaming console. But the Pentium 4 clearly wins nearly all the battles in performance. Also, if I were to benchmark RAM or disk access, I know it would win in these areas also. Gaming on it is absolutely a blast. The only drawback is the price spent on cooling (because I am paranoid and want the best cooling for such a hot machine) and the noise it makes. I could fix the noise issue, if I wanted to, but the cooling price still remains. Liquid cooling would be even more expensive. For those who want performance without cooling worries or loud machines, I honestly would recommend a Dual Athlon solution from Tyan, with liquid cooling. This would be a way to get both performance and quietness, and Dual Athlon 2100+ still blow away the single-processor market for benchmarks, much less a Dual Xeon, Dual Opteron, or Quad Xeon/Opteron. But with this comes money. For the "normal" gamers (i.e. those not related to Bill Gates), a Pentium 4 is still the best choice.

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