That age old question...


May 21, 2004
Intel or AMD?

Here's the situation: I've got a 3-year-old Dell Dimension 8100 (P4 1.7GHz and it uses RDRAM) and I'd dearly love to get rid of it. I actually haven't had any problems with it, but somehow I feel the time has come to move on. Plus I want to try building my own system for a change.

I am not an avid gamer. I definitely do NOT want to overclock. But my job requires that I do a great deal of work in Photoshop, and since upgrading from 7.0 to CS, it runs a LOT slower. So my primary concern is with image editing, but I also want ALL applications to load as fast as reasonably possible.

Now, given that I'm not that worried about gaming performance, I guess Intel sounds like the obvious choice... but I'm wondering about the 64-bit-ness of the Athlon 64. I have this imaginary scenario running through my head of a 64-bit version of Windows and 64-bit support for Photoshop (and who knows what else) being released later this year, making the Athlon 64 completely blow the Pentium 4 out of the water.

Right now I'm contemplating the P4 3.2C or the Athlon 64 3200+. Given my requirements and concerns, which do you think would be the better choice?

Also... regarding hard drives, I've been planning on the 74GB WD Raptor. Would that be overkill, or would such a speedy hard drive indeed help with load times?

Thanks for any advice.


Feb 6, 2004
P4 and A64 are pretty much neck and neck in (32 bit) Photoshop. Some filters or tools may prefer one or the other cpu, but overall, differences are within a few percent. So I'd say give 64 bit the benefit of the doubt, even if I have not yet heard of Adobe working on a AMD64 port (though I assume they will, if for no other reason as porting to native G5). You'll get cool and quiet, better gaming performance and NX for free as well.

As for fast loading of apps, you guessed right, harddisk is a main factor here (assuming you have enough RAM). Personally I find the raptors too expensive for their limited size, but if that doesnt bother you, its about the fastest harddisk money can buy. I think you would be happy with a RAID 0 using regular (cheaper and bigger) 7200 drives though. You could probably buy 2 80GB 8MB disks for the price of a single Raptor and end up with roughly the same speed and twice the capacity. Of course, if money is no problem, a pair of raptors in RAID would be even better..

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =