I'm sure many of us, especially those who are debating whether to purchase an AMD or an Intel Processor computer, will have at some point, referenced an article that compares such brands. But are you aware about some comparison strategies? There is no guaranteed method to compare such products, it's like comparing apples and oranges. In fact, it's worst, it's like comparing two apples, which is impossible, because no two apples are created equally. I'm serious, next time try to find two apples that are identical down to the atoms in its core. The same lies in each processor unit.
Ignoring these issues, I will concentrate on the primary concerns when deciding which processor to go for and pitfalls when reading reviews.
Many reviews often provide experiment results based on overclocked results. Beware of these as they are not truly accurate, since overclocking is heavily based on electrical currents; in other words, voltage. Many overclocking techniques simply suggest to increase voltage and Front Side Bus (FSB) to increase performance. Changing a voltage by 0.1 has a huge magnification on electrical consumption.
Other reviews will conduct experiements by pitting different processors on different types of systems. I have seen reviews that compares one (obviously strong) processor that is installed on a high performance motherboard while the other (weaker) processor is installed with subpar components. Of course, the article recommends the faster of the two along with proven numbers to back up the recommendation. Obivously, the faster processor will seem to be the fastest, since it uses the faster components. Watch out for these over exaggerated results.
AMD and Intel has a long history at competiting in the consumer's market. They each have had their ups and downs, alternating every so often. I remember when AMD dominated the market with the Athlon64 series. Now, Intel's got the foothole with their i-Cores systems.
It's perfectly fine to grab the i-Cores over the Phenom 2s (ignoring prices) because I'll admit, Intel's i-Cores are fast. But are they that much faster to warrant an upgrade from your previous 486? Yes and no, honestly, if you are upgrading from a 486, I'll say any upgrade's a gold. But if you are deciding to upgrade from a previous generation such as Core Duo, you might want to reconsider.
There's always the marketing scheme that the next generation is so many more percentage faster than the old. It's true, technology does increase over the years, if not months or even days. But that doesn't necessarily mean we gain 20% increase in speed over the same processor types from one generation to the next.
Yes, I agree that there is a marginal gain, but consider what these processor companies have done. Each new generation has included specific codes that enable them to run faster. Consider it a trick, it's like writing an exam, and then you rewrite it again, and over the years again and again. Each time you write an exam, you know which modules to study, even if the exams differ. Eventually, you will be very familiar with the professor's style of exams and be extremely good at preparing for it and thus earn a higher mark.
We will use Intel as an example to this analogy. Intel being the student, and software companies being the professor. These software companies do not change drastically over time, but they often complain how slow processors are, like how your professor complains when you say their exams are too hard. You may be given a rewrite exam to improve your marks, questions may have changed, but the style hasn't. You are now better prepared for the rewrite. This is the case with Intel, specific codes are embedded in new chips. I'm not lying, the best example is SSE technology. It went from stages 1 to now 4 and sooner or later 5 and etc. Each new stage incorporates new functionalities.
While we cannot get rid of our curiousity to research for the best processor, when you read review sites, don't take them as a gain of salt. Instead, consider why the system was faster, it may lead to a more informed decision.
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