Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

How does it matter?

I am an accountant by profession.  When I was talking to a developer (a friend's friend) about buying a PC, he adviced me not to buy a PC with AMD processor.  With what little I know of software, I don't know how it matters to a person who uses Word, Excel, Outlook and a Windows based Accounting software.  Is there something in there?  Even for a developer, how does processor type matter? (unless you are writing OS or Compilers?)


Monday, October 13, 2003

AMD and Intel both make excellent CPUs.

But, make sure that you get a high quality PC, from a reputable company. Don't go for the cheapest you can find - make sure you get a high quality one.

A PC made with low quality components (low quality memory, bad motherboard, low quality AGP video board) will crash often.

It doesn't matter if it's processor is AMD or Intel - it will crash because the memory will fail, or other factors such as this.

AMD processors are a little less expensive than equivalent Intel ones.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Also, processor type doesn't matter for the types of people you mentioned.

Just make sure you get one which is fast enough - so you won't have to upgrade next year, or something like that.

Monday, October 13, 2003

I totally agree to Allen's opinion. But i would like to know what the reason is, your friend's friend, comes to this conclusion ?

Michael Bruckmeier
Monday, October 13, 2003

It's all about the chipset.  The chipset is a set of companion chips that contain the memory controller, PCI bus, USB, etc.

Intel CPU's are usually paired with an Intel chipset.

AMD CPU's are usually pair with a Via or NVidia chipset.

Each chipset has its own quirks and bugs.  Via chipsets were notorious a few years ago for a nasty bug with Creative sound cards.

Case and point, I had a problem with my Matrox Parhelia graphics card in a Via chipset mother board.  I tried it in two motherboards with Intel chipsets, worked fine.  Asked Matrox support about it, their response "we don't support non-intel chipsets".

This isn't to say that Intel chipsets don't have their own bugs.  But when an Intel chipset has a bug, driver developers are likely to work around it.  When a Via chipset has a bug, the vendor is likely to say "oh, we don't support it".

The CPU itself isn't the issue.  x86 is x86.

Myron A. Semack
Monday, October 13, 2003

Infact, I rather prefer AMD processors.

Since I got my rather expensive P4 and discovered how poor the cache was, I have been regretting it.

i like i
Monday, October 13, 2003

Chipsets for AMD are manufactured by nVidia, VIA and other companies.

They are generally based on designs made by AMD.

The NVidia nForce 2 chipset is the performance leader right now for AMD Athlon XP processors.

Because nVidia is the chipset maker, they are, of course, extremely compatible with nVidia video boards.

Monday, October 13, 2003

There have been problems with AMD's overheating. They recommend a larger power supply than Intel, and you need to be careful about the processor fan - now you can buy retail versions in a  box as you can for Intel chips.

I guess from your post that you come from a non-English speaking country, not the UK or US. I would check out how popular AMD's are where you are - and what the ambient temperature is normally!

If you buy a named brand, such as HP/Compaq, IBM or Dell, then it doesn't matter what the chip is; the same goes for the second and third tier brands, but if you are buying something that has just been put together in the back of the local shop, then you might have problems. You should be Ok with a named motherboard, but there are false motherboards around, so be a little wary.

Stephen Jones
Monday, October 13, 2003

In my country temperatures, in the summer, are ~40 degrees Celsius! And I don't have any air conditioning.

I run an AMD Athlon XP 3000+ with nVidia nForce 2 motherboard, and 1 GB of Corsair memory.

I work for 10 hours a day on this computer, on all working days, and it NEVER crashes.

Of course, I use a good quality Speeze cooler. A good cooler is not expensive. I paid about 6 US$ for mine.

If you want the ultimate in cooling and low noise, I recommend Zalman coolers, especially those entirely made of copper.

They are expensive (in the range of 30 - 40 US$), but they are certainly worth the money.

However, I think these are overkill for an Athlon XP system. It certainly doesn't need such a cooler.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Bewildered, that's really strange question an accountant to ask.

Are you sure you're an accountant? :-)

The wording of your question and the actual place it has been asked make me think of you more like of another developer ;-).

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home