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Bigeye #21: Some Pentium 4 machine

Created on June 13, 2020
Indexed on September 11, 2022 at 01:22 PM

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Well, it runs fast... but at what cost? Something went horribly wrong along the way in CPU development. Rather than taking their time adding further refinements to the efficient Pentium III design, Intel put marketing big and simple numbers above all else.

What this meant is that Pentium 4 CPUs were all about a high CPU clock for a marketing game. This proved to be a disaster that would drag out for far too long, as a Pentium 4 can't match a Pentium III clock for clock, all while emitting so much waste heat it's not even funny.

This was the trash era of computing that I basically had to live through. Combined with the hottest bloatware OS on the market at that time, everything about new computers felt like they could've been much better, but they weren't. The previous era was comparably superior.

Come 2007, I became convinced that I needed a new Mac to liberate myself. The troubles I had with computers overheating and shutting off randomly in combination with the underpowered systems Vista was installed to made Apple's "Get a Mac" campaign very compelling for me.

It wouldn't be until 2009 that I would take another look at the conventional PC, starting with trying Linux and FreeBSD on a Pentium 4 system I previously used as a daily driver. They ran quite well on it, and when I built a Core 2 Quad system by the end of that year, my mind was blown away.

I missed out on so much with PCs; if I had just asked for my own machine to be updated with new, powerful hardware in 2007, my perspective on PCs most likely would've flipped from total pessimism to newfound enthusiasm. Even to this day, I've yet to try Windows Vista full time.

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Comments

Kugee (real) - September 20, 2022 at 02:33 AM

Intel's own video from 2002 or so showed off a 2GHz Pentium 4 compared against a 1GHz Pentium III in an attempt to show how much faster the former was. But that 1GHz advantage largely obfuscated the fact that when you ran most programs on both a Pentium III and Pentium 4 with the same clock speed, the Pentium III often won. It's a comical example of Intel's stubbornness with consumers. When the Pentium M was introduced as a laptop CPU, it was based on the Pentium III, and its efficiency advantages prompted some manufacturers to design desktop motherboards for it.

It seems Intel has always been far too reliant on its brand dominance even when they were losing miserably to AMD performance-wise. Ever since Ryzen came around, Intel's been nothing short of a joke for a long time, and while they are starting to come back around, Alder Lake was underwhelming in the high end range. Hopefully Raptor Lake will fare much better.

Lightgreen - September 19, 2022 at 11:45 PM

Before watching hardcore windows xp (revision) or bigeye, i didn't even know that pentium 4 (especially netburst) was more inferior than pentium 3.
Taking a good look at the history of "clock war" between AMD and Intel, it shows how desperate Intel was back then.

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