The report's senior analyst, Peter Glaskowsky, said hands-on tests showed that typical AMD systems performed between 5.3% and 12% faster than those based on the P4, despite the Athlon having a 20% deficit in raw clock speed. The tests were "relevant to practical usage" and all system components other than motherboards were identical between systems.
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Glaskowsky said that while the 1.2GHz Athlon is "generally faster" than the 1.5GHz P4, "this is not a very strong statement". He predicted significant performance improvements in the P4.
Glaskowsky noted that the two companies are adopting markedly different corporate strategies, with Intel placing a growing emphasis on PC multimedia performance rather than code performance, and AMD continuing to make slight improvements on its architecture year by year.
He said this may result in a split in the market, with AMD taking a growing share of mainstream consumer market and Intel tightening its grip on sales to high-end professional users and gamers.
Glaskowsky warned Intel that it has to price the P4 according to the value it delivers to its customers and said it would have to continue selling the Pentium III.