Which is cooler, Athlon 64 or Pentium 4?

  ade.h 22:30 04 Nov 2005

This is probably a really basic question, but I'm having trouble finding technical specs for these CPUs that actually make sense in real terms.

My cousin has asked me to advise him on component choice and build him a reasonably quiet PC with decent performance. I figured that one of the lower-end P4s, say 3ghz, or a similar Athlon 64 would suit him. Dual-core is too expensive right now.

If comparing like with like, which of these will run cooler? The Pentium apparently has a Thermal Design Power of 84 watts, but what effect that has and how the Athlon compares, I don't know.

Any thoughts?

  Skills 22:38 04 Nov 2005

For me the question of which processor to use shouldnt be decided on the heat but rather what sort of thing will he be using the PC for as you can overcome heat and keep the cooling quiet with a good heatsink and fan.

So if hes going for gaming then it seems AMD is the road to go, if he will be wanting to do some video editing and number crunching stuff then P4.

  ade.h 22:49 04 Nov 2005

Thanks. He's an all-rounder really. Runs a business and does some video and photo work. Peace and quiet is very important to him because he uses the PC for long periods during the day.

As an example, I still use an Athlon XP 1700, simply because I can cool it with a total of two large fans in the entire setup. His current spec is quite similar (I built that for him too) and he doesn't want to hear a big increase in noise.

  Skills 23:14 04 Nov 2005

If he does some video work then a P4 will probably suit him better or so I believe.

I have an older P4 at 2.6 and its temps are about 40c idle and no more than 52c under load its using the stock cooler so not really quiet but you can get better coolers as I said.

You can also get some really quiet PSU's as well.

If you want ultra quiet thou then using a pentium M laptop chip is amazing. Ive just got a laptop using one and the fans only kick in after its been on for an hour and then for hardly anytime. Although that wouldnt be a cheap way to go and I only mention it out of interest. You can get desktop mobos for that chip thou. Hers an article I just found on google click here

  Skills 23:20 04 Nov 2005

And heres a toms hardware guide article on PM's on the desktop jut incase you'd like to know more click here

  ade.h 23:24 04 Nov 2005

Yeah, I'm quite keen on Pentium Ms, as well. I don't think it would be appropriate here, though, as the motherboard specs that I've seen don't have some of the features that my cousin requires.

Does anyone use an Athlon 64? Are they likely to be cooler than 50ºc, which sounds a lot to me. I'm used to a CPU that runs at about 35º.

  VoG II 23:29 04 Nov 2005

I don't think that the application matters since the processor will still be active whether it is processing video or running a game. It is still doing calculations.

My understanding is that Athlons run hotter than Pentiums. But they are designed to do this. Therefore I do not think that you would require more cooling than for a Pentium.

  westwit 23:36 04 Nov 2005

I have an AMD Athlon 64 3500+ which has always run at 49ºC without a problem.

  ade.h 00:27 05 Nov 2005

Thanks all, I think we'll probably go with Intel.

  tarkus 09:39 05 Nov 2005

you will find that the amd cpu's run a bit cooler than the p4 cpu's (LGA775 socket versions) with the newer p4's you should get rid of the stock cooler thats supplied and go for something like a zalman or similar lots of people are having issues with heat on p4 systems, you should also make sure that you have at least 2 x case fans to ensure airflow through the case.

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