Friday, July 16, 2010
Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 03:30 PM
"Does it make more sense to purchase a cheap Atom-based computer or to recycle and/or continue to use an existing Pentium 4 machine? Both run at decent clock speeds and come with 512 KB of L2 cache. Both can be considered above average if you have modest performance expectations. And both have a comparable transistor count: 55 million for the Pentium 4 (based on the Northwood design) and 47 millions for the Atom 230."
I am sure that one can pick hairs about the differences between the two different CPUs and that the benchmarks Tom's Hardware has made do not mean much. I personally think they do. First, I'm surprised at how far we have come in that Intel has come out with a CPU that uses a fraction of the power of a Pentium 4, admittedly an easy task, but still give comparable performance at a low cost. Second, I do think it has shown how much computing has stagnated over the past 8 years. With the wide adoption of netbooks and to a lesser extent, nettops, they perform no better than 8 year old computers. It does say that we are probably entering an era of diminishing returns for computing, since netbooks seem to be just enough for a lot of people, but it also means that we have this lower barrier that will stick with us for years to come, possibly limiting what we can do with computers in the future. Of course, even then, I will not admit that I have one or two Pentium 4 computers still running. Anyone still using their old computers? Any problems in using them in the "modern" world?