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eVGA e-GeForce2 Ultra Review

CPU Comparison - Intel P3 vs. Gen-X Tech AXIA Athlon


By: Jonathan Martini - May 14, 2001

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It's a well know fact that AMD is currently kicking Intel's butt in the CPU price wars. With higher performance level clock for clock and with the price of a 1.33 GHz Athlon lower than Intel's 1GHz P3, it is no wonder AMD has been cleaning up.

AMD's overclocker friendly appeal by bridging the L1 bridges has led to system safe overclocking thanks to elevation of the CPU multiplier. The arrival of the VIA KT133a motherboard chipset has not only lifted the front side bus speed to 133MHz compared with the previous 100MHz setting, but has also allowed a more stable overclocking via fsb speeds, letting performance starved freaks to squeeze every last ounce of juice from their systems.

Some recent shipments of Thunderbirds have appeared with the AXIA stepping. Word spread quickly about the high overclocking numbers that the 1GHz chips were reaching. Most could hit 1.4 GHz with ease and a number of them were able to reach 1.5 GHz. Now the problem is how to find these CPUs. You'd literally have to check each CPU's marking, which could not only become a very tedious and time-consuming effort to find a new CPU, but odds are the retailer would quickly get frustrated with you.

Shopping Around

It was after some careful consideration and searching that I happened upon Gen-X Tech. They had an abundant supply of these eagerly sought after CPU's and were selling them in a variety of flavors. They have untested AXIA CPU's that may save you some coin, but may not hit the clockspeeds you crave. You could get one that hits 1.3GHz or a magical 1.6GHz, but you are on your own. For a bit more cash, they have tested CPU's that reach 1.4 and 1.5 GHz, as well as a limited number that clock in at just over 1.6 GHz.

These chips need a 133MHz motherboard chipset to reach their respectable speeds. Since I had just spent a short fortune on SDRAM a while back, I chose to go ahead and pick up a KT133a based motherboard. Neil from Envy News quickly recommended his new ASUS A7V133 board, instead of the Abit KT7A I was looking at. After some very deep and emotional.. err i mean technical conversations with him, I noticed that he changed motherboards every two or three months to have the latest and greatest boards. So if the A7V133 was in his system now, then it's the one to get.  ;)

I was pleased to see that Gen-X Tech was selling a combo that included all the parts necessary for me to switch from my 719MHz P3 system to a 1.5 GHz Athlon in no time. I also had a choice between the Global Win WBK or the Alpha PAL6035. I went Alpha.

Waiting is the hardest part

Like most other online buyers, I just couldn't hack the three days it took to get the combo from Gen-X Tech. It's nice to know that they already had a bunch of combos tested and ready to go.

Their testing involves 72 hours of rigorous runs of Quake 3, Unreal and Winbench. They begin by testing the CPU with 12 hours of Prime95 Torture Test to stress the CPU for any signs of weaknesses. This session is then followed by 4 hour loops containing 20 minutes of WinBench, 160 minutes of the CPU intensive Unreal Tournament demos, followed by a hour of Quake3 to finish it up.

Let's admire the beauty of such a powerful beast.

Next Page: The Gear

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Last Updated on May 14, 2001

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