Articles & Editorials: Rogue Leader’s Hardware Guide #8

After a nearly 10 month hiatus, my Hardware Guide returns in all its splendid glory. For this incarnation, I’ve decide to post it on the forums (as well as here) for you to provide your feedback and ask your questions. And don’t forget to cast your vote for who you think rules the processor world.

Processors

The Processor war was taken to the next level last week with the launch of both the P4 Extreme and the Athlon 64. The Athlon 64 FX is the flagship model, and shows the close tie between AMD and Nvidia – Athlon FX and Geforce FX. Coincidence? I think not. The big draw of the Athlon 64 is the fact that it is compatible with both 32- and 64-bit applications. Software applications are already in the works that will take advantage of those extra address leads, including 64-bit versions of WinXP, Redhat Linux, and even some games. To take real advantage of the power, though, you need to be running the system in Dual-Channel DDR400.

The P4 Extreme is still running on 32-bit, but it is still a competitor thanks to the large 2MB L3 cache. The processor is really just a Xeon processor with a few modifications to make it desktop-oriented, and it performs well in all the usual categories.

So, which processor is better? Well, since the P4EE is not available yet, the Athlon FX is the undisputed king. However, the line is really split for the performance crown between the two. Many games perform slightly better on the Althon FX, aside from Q3 which has always favoured Intel processors for some reason. The P4EE seems to favour desktop applications like Video and Audio encoding. So the choice is really up to price, and the P4EE is about $50US more than the Athlon.

For actual numbers, be sure to visit http://www17.tomshardware.com/cpu/20030923/index.html for all the charts and graphs to make your day.

Video Cards

The release of the Radeon 9800 XT earlier this week adds fuel to the flame as ATI continues to trounce Nvidia in the graphics market. The GeforceFX just can’t keep up, especially in DirectX 9 games, and ATI is relentless in its assault on the king. So, without a doubt, the Radeon is the way to go.

Conclusion

That’s it for this incarnation! Hopefully hardware news will pick up over the next little while, so I can do more of them. If you want to know more about anything I’ve talked about here, or if you want me to talk about anything else in particular, post ’em in this thread on the forums.

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