Never buying AMD again, and here’s why…

UPDATE: So, I went to purchase another i7 and realized that the price I listed was a super good deal. The place I purchased it for $250 now has it listed as $280 and other sites have it for over $300. So, I decided to build a new system starting with a processor price tag of $125 to match the AMD. At the same time, my brother just built a new system for his son and when I benchmarked his Pentium, it scored higher than my new AMD and it was a $60 CPU! :/ So I added those specs to the list as well.

So, I just built a new AMD based system because their processors were just so much cheaper.  It wasn’t till I finished that I realized that my new AMD FX-4350 4.2GHz processor was a complete piece of crap.

 

 

Comparison Added for reference
AMD Parts Intel i7 Parts Intel Pentium Parts Intel i3 Parts
Case iMicro CA-I102USB 350W = $40 iMicro CA-I102USB 350W = $40 iMicro CA-I102USB 350W = $40 iMicro CA-I102USB 350W = $40
Processors AMD FX-4350 Quad-Core Processor 4.2GHz = $125 Intel i7-4790K Quad-Core Processor 4.0Ghz = $250 Intel Pentium G3258 Dual-Core Processor 3.2Ghz = $60 Intel Core i3-4150 Haswell Processor 3.5GHz = $105
Motherboard GIGABYTE GA-970A-DS3P = $74 Asus H81M-K = $56 Asus B85M-G R2.0 = $40  MSI H81M-P33 = $45
RAM CORSAIR CMZ8GX3M2A1866C9B 2x4GB RAM = $95 Super Talent DDR3-1333 4GB x 2 RAM = $70 Crucial DDR3 CL9 2x4GB RAM = $80  Super Talent DDR3-1333 4GB x 2 RAM = $70
Hard Drive Super Talent TeraNova 240GB 2.5 inch SATA3 = $106 Super Talent TeraNova 240GB 2.5 inch SATA3 = $106 Super Talent TeraNova 240GB 2.5 inch SATA3 = $106 Super Talent TeraNova 240GB 2.5 inch SATA3 = $106
Total Cost $440 $522 $ 326  $366

 

So, that’s almost a $100 difference and in either case, I was shooting for a $500 machine..  But, let’s take a look at what that $100 difference is making.

First, let’s compare the processor cache difference:

 

 

AMD Intel i7
Size Speed Size Speed
L1 Cache 16K 75348 MB/s 64K 222225 MB/s
L2 Cache 2048K 37674 MB/s 256K 61997 MB/s
L3 Cache 8192K 10143 MB/s 8192K 46788 MB/s
Memory 8156M 7931 MB/s 8065M 19304 MB/s
Pic (click for larger image)

 

Intel Pentium Intel i3
Size Speed Size Speed
L1 Cache 32K 213338MB/s 64K 195337MB/s
L2 Cache 256K 52460MB/s 256K 54048MB/s
L3 Cache 3072K 39507MB/s 3072K 41275MB/s
Memory 8098M 9786MB/s 8136M 19382MB/s
Pic (click for larger image)
No idea why Memtest detected it as an i7

 

Now, I’m not going to talk about how AMD distributes the amount of L2 and L3 cache it has for each core or how Intel does it. But, I learned a long time ago that step one of building a new computer is to run a memtest before installing the OS. Of course, I learned it the hard way after troubleshooting the crap out of a computer that was having random crashes. Turns out the second stick of RAM was bad and the system would only crash after it would hit that bad stick (before dual and triple channel motherboards).

So, to get a better understanding of how on-board processor cache works, think of it like a 3 tier water fountain sitting in a pond (where the pond is the RAM) connected to a lake (where the lake is the hard drive). As the processor does it’s job, it needs to access memory. If it’s able to do the processing without going to far down the fountain, the faster it will be. In this example, the AMD has a tiny 16K bowl at the top, where the Intel has a bowl 4 times bigger. Besides the fact that the Intel L1 cache is WAY faster, it gives the Intel the ability to process 4 times as much data before it spills over to the L2 cache, which would be the next bowl down on the water fountain. In this example, the AMD has a “huge” 2048K bowl where the Intel only has a small 256K bowl. Though, the AMD bowl, although bigger, is half the speed. And then, after L2 is full, it spills into L3.. which is the same size for each processor, but again, the Intel’s L3 cache is 4 times faster than the AMD. I mean, if you look, the AMD’s L3 cache is barely faster than pushing the data out to the RAM. Once the RAM is full, the computer starts paging, which pretty much cripples the machine. Paging is when it starts swapping data out of the RAM and writing it to the hard drive, which is the slowest of everything.

Let’s take a look at silverbench results. (click image for full size)

 

 

AMD = P5479 using 4 threads because it’s a quad core processor that doesn’t support multi-threading. Intel i7 = P19959 using 8 threads because it’s a quad core processor with multi-threading.
Intel Pentium = 6424 using 2 threads because it’s a dual core processor without multi-threading. Intel i3 = P8648 using 4 threads because it’s a dual core processor with multi-threading.

 

Wow.. what a HUGE difference!

What I’ve learned from this, is that I’m better off buying an Intel processor that cost more and buying cheaper supporting hardware (motherboard and RAM) than to buy a cheaper AMD. In both cases, I was shooting for a $500 budget, which was what drove the reason to purchase what I did. There are cheaper AMD and Intel motherboards, but they are by brands I don’t know or trust. In both cases, these were the cheapest “quality” branded motherboards available for each processor as well as RAM.

 

Final Thought with update:  So, looking at the Silverbench results for the $60 Pentium that is only dual core, non-multithreading, the AMD (which cost over twice the price and has two more cores) benchmarked worse.  Yup, this is the final straw, I will never buy AMD again.  The way they build their processors, if a $60 dual-core Pentium 3.2Ghz can out perform a $125 quad-core AMD FX-4350 4.2Ghz processor, AMD is clearly selling garbage.  This is a perfect example of how AMD is marking their processors in a way to attempt to fool customers.  This is clearly an example of apples vs oranges when Ghz comes into play as AMD processors are clearly inferior to Intel processors.