The Cost Factor
So what's the cost involved here? Well, one look and you can guess that the P4 setups were tailored to beat the Athlon XP's value dollar to dollar. The table below will give you an idea of the basic costs involved. Note that we only compared the value of motherboards, memory and processor as all other parts used in this re-match remains the same. Also do note that the prices reflected in this article is an average pricing obtained from several stores. They are not absolute but they should give you a rough guide as to how much the components cost.
Average Component Pricing Compared
|Intel Pentium 4 2.53GHz / i850E / PC1066
|Intel Pentium 4 2.40GHz / i850E / PC1066
|Intel Pentium 4 2.2AGHz / i845E / DDR266
|Intel Pentium 4 1.8AGHz / i845E / DDR266
|AMD Athlon XP 2200+ / KT333 / DDR333
|AMD Athlon XP 2000+ / KT333 / DDR333
|AMD Athlon XP 1800+ / KT333 / DDR333
Looking at the table above, I have to caution that they are meant to be a rough guide and not to be used as a definitive comparison between these different platforms. Now, let's run through these prices and let me tell you how I got them.
For processors, we managed to get hold of both Intel and AMD public pricing information in 1,000-unit quantity. So, do note that the price reflected in the table should be a little lower than what you can find in retail stores. The pricing in brackets were converted from the USD pricing based on today's exchange rate which is S$1.759 per US$1. The price of the 1.8A Pentium 4 was taken from Singapore's retail store as the 1.8A is not included in their processor pricing list.
For motherboards, we selected boards with the least integrated peripherals from the retail stores and the price reflected in the table above is an average of three average motherboards (we did not use bundle pricing as the discrepancy between different shops can vary by as much as S$50 to S$100). However, there are not many i850E boards available, so we picked only the ASUS P4T533-C and Iwill P4R533-N prices and reflected the average cost here. In fact, the ASUS P4T533-C's cost is a little high due to its on-board peripherals, but we picked it anyway since that's what you'll find in the market today.
For memory, we managed to contact Convergent Systems and they quoted the retail pricing of their Kingston 256MB Value RAM. Please note that the pricing is accurate as of 14th August 2002 only and will change on a daily basis. However, the prices shown in the table above should more or less give us an idea of how much each memory technology will cost the user.
The prices in the table above tells us that the 2.40GHz and 2.53GHz Pentium 4 processors are the priciest among all processors available today. However, that will soon change as rumors of Intel slashing prices will happen yet again in the weeks to come. However, if you are configuring a 2.2GHz (400MHz FSB) system, you can actually get one that is similarly priced or slightly cheaper than the Athlon XP 2200+ which is based on the KT333 chipset. On the other hand, the price of a Pentium 4 1.8A and Athlon XP 2000+ is again more or less in the same range. So, what does this mean? The battle is really between the Pentium 4 2.2A vs. Athlon XP 2200+. Also, it would be interesting to see the performance between the Pentium 4 1.8A and the Athlon XP 2000+ too. However, we did not have a Pentium 4 1.8A on hand, so we overclocked the 1.6A by changing the FSB to 112MHz. Thus, in the following results, do take the results with (another) pinch of salt but we can safely say that they are fairly accurate.
So, with all that said and done, let's check out their performance in the next few pages.