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Intel PR berating AMD PR rating

MHz the only way punters know what they're getting

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Recently, we noted the different benchmarks recorded by two P4s both running at the same clock speed, but with different cores. Intel's decision to distinguish the two CPUs with the use of an 'A' muddied its message, in the consumer space, that clock speed is everything, we argued. Add a letter to the clock rating and you're fuzzing into part numbers, we said.

Buried in the enormous postbag which ensued was this interesting link to a BBC Click head-to-head between Pat Moorhead, AMD's consumer advocacy veep, and David Mitchell, Intel's marketing chief in the UK, in which the latter works up the position on the AMD's attempt to build an alternative to Megahertz measurement.

It boils down to this: there are so many things that affect a PC's performance that clock speed is the only thing that is really accurate.

Here is Mitchell's argument in full:

"I think megahertz and gigahertz are really the only way of accurately assessing what you're buying, because it's a clear measure in terms of processor performance and it clearly states to the consumer what they're getting for their money. I don't think the chip architectures are that different. I think whatever you do with your processor the clock speed is still one of the defining measurements of chip performance, and once you put the chip into a PC, there are so many other factors that can affect the performance of the system, that coming back to gigahertz as being the key measurement is key. If you look at where we're going over the next year, we're going to be announcing faster chip speeds. We think that the core of the Pentium four processor as it is today, could scale up to ten gigahertz over the next five to ten years."

AMD will not be able to match Intel on raw clock speed for the forseeable future. But at present its high-end desktop CPUs are outperforming faster clocking Intel CPUs, according to reviewers in Hardware Land. Surely it makes sense for PC manufacturers and retailers (and not just AMD) to "stress all the other factors that can affect the performance of the system"?

With this in mind, AMD last week stuffed its "global consumer advisory board" with eight great and goods from outside the US.

The idea, as we have previously discussed, is to make it easier to convey the benefits of technology more effectively to Harry Homeowner and family, so that they'll buy more computers.

We suspect that AMD already knows how to distill technology complexity into simple buying messages, and we pity the poor AMD execs who'll have to attend upon and worse still listen to the great and goods, waffling on at their advisory board meetings.

But support from "outsiders" will come in handy for AMD's calls to find something more meaningful (i.e. in its opinion) than clock speed for punters to latch onto as a measure of performance. ®

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