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Can software requiring a Pentium processor be expected to not run on an AMD, or is the compatibility simply not as problematic as I supposed? If I make sure my next computer is Pentium, I can start playing The Sims again (I'm currently stuck with a Celeron), but I'm noticing that AMD computers are cheaper.
Well we might as well get one thing straight. IN laymans terms here
AMD(any athlon) > Celeron
Basically Amd has the same instruction set as Intel. But its cheaper and usually has more bang for buck. You can ignore those labels saying pentium required or runs best on <graphics card>. Its just marketing.
For the most part the answer is yes AMD and Intel CPUs are the same and can run any x86 based application. I say "for the most part" because there are some opcodes used for certain optimizations that are different between the two CPUs. Each one of the CPUs provide the same basic functionality, only different opcodes (machine instructions) to perform them. If a developer coded an application that used one set of specific opcodes and not the other set, then that application would only run on one of the CPUs. However, any developer worth anything writes code that tests which CPU type the application is running on and calls the correct optimization code for that CPU type.
From an end-user perspective you should never know that CPU specific code is running.
From my experience, AMD handles the floating point calculations much more efficiently than a Pentium. Like say when i was doing my animation specialist course all the systems were based on AMD and the difference was quite obvious compared to my P4 home system. The biggest advantage i noticed was while rendering scenes in Max and Maya. Pentium on the other hand is more suitable for a multimedia system like gaming(i suppose). But i would surely go for an AMD in the future. As for the price, quality comes with its own price tag, be it an AMD or a Pentium but AMD surely dominates the general segments of computing.
Conroe (nex-gen Intel) will pwn. After reading some information on AMDs upcoming plans for 2007 & 2008 I'm starting to think that Intel may take over as the top performer for desktop machines and AMD may fall back to SMP server systems where they shine due to their memory handling.
The Conroe core is looking to be a big step forward, benchmarks all over the place are showing the improvements and by dropping the number of pipelines and moving to a 65nm die they've drastically changed from the old CPU. Nobody has said anything at all similar about the K8L (next-gen AMD), it'll be moving to a 65nm process as all major companies are and they'll be releasing quad-core CPUs but Intel should be releasing quad-core Xeons sometime soon where as the AMD versions won't ship until mid- to late-2007. The AM3 which is expected 2008 will be nice, it's supposed to have SSE4 and a DDR3 memory controller and with a new Level 3 shared cache between cores... well it'll be interesting to see how the two competitors slug it out over the next fews years but either way end-users such as us should be expecting some big upgrades.
Even though I lack the expertise to fully understand Intel-AMD differences, I appreciate AMD for being a solid alternative to Intel, and if Intel is going to (more fully) overtake AMD soon, as you say, too bad. Oh, well, we don't have as much reason to hate Intel as we have to hate Microsoft, do we?
Until now AMD was better than Intel but now with the new Conroe Intel is back to the lead, if you would like to buy new comp and want to save money wait for the price fall of the AMD AM2 that should come very soon if money isn't problem get yourself Core 2 Duo would be the choice think on E6600 it looks like great choice, even that if you're going on Intel's Core 2 Duo wait few more week for new cheapest and Motherboards to support it.
d of pointless at this point too becuase intel is going to be kicking out a quad core proc soon...
right, but it's supposed to be lesser to AMDs 4x4 solution, because of FSB and Cache bottlenecks. Something about the way the socket 775 works, it won't be able to support the full potential of 4 cores in one socket.
However, the Core 2 Duo's have beaten AMD in every benchmark that anandtech threw at them. I didn't read any other reviews, but that's impressive.
SMASHED is relative. I'll agree that Anandtech's fancy graphs makes things look dramatic, but the scale is actually quite small. So a conroe might save you a couple of minutes on encoding a massive mp3 or video, that doesn't mean a FX-62 isn't fast. I don't put as much stock in synthetic tests as Anandtech and co. do either; I like real world results. Conroes are faster, certainly, but chances are good that you wouldn't notice the difference between one and a high-end AMD in a blind test.