[music-dsp] OT: Processors

Jon Watte hplus at mindcontrol.org
Mon Aug 20 02:22:24 EDT 2001

>   I'm shopping around for a new computer and I am pondering the old
> issue of wheter to go AMD or Intel. I have seen you guys discussing
> the different architectures back and forth, and the question of course
> then becomes: which one should I choose?

For existing programs, especially using x87, I find AMD to go faster. For
hard-core kernels I write myself and where I can guarantee alignment (not
true on VST, unfortunately) I tend to prefer Intel, as their SIMD is wider,
and their cache control instructions are richer.

>   And another related question; is the PC800 Rambus / RDRAM really
> that much faster or are there any hidden catches somewhere?

RDRAM has higher latencies than DDR, and thus a single-byte cache miss will
cost you more, though streaming large amounts of data costs less
(theorethically, if you write your code right).

To people saying that the Pentium IV is unfairly treated because it requires
re-compiles with newer and buggier compilers, I ask them who pays for all
the software upgrades -- if they're even available. Intel bet that changing
the optimization rules and having developers recompile could gain them a
performance edge; AMD bet that putting as much raw power as they could into
the current optimization rules would gain them an advantage over Intel. For
now, I think AMD has the upper hand.

As far as OSes go, Win2k really is leaps and bounds ahead of Win98 or WinME.
There might be a few vendors who still haven't grasped on to ASIO or WDM,
but mostly, it works fine these days. And as XP is replacing WinME in a few
months, vendors who want to survive have no choice but to adapt. Say what
you want about Microsoft ramming upgrades down your throat, but in this
case, it's a good thing.

If I were buying a machine to run precompiled code today (like the apps you
mention), it'd probably be an AMD with DDR. And a GeForce2Ultra (the GF3 is
usually no faster except for the few games that use the shader technology).
Running Win2k (OK, so I run Linux on my web server, but not on my desktop).


				/ h+

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