Intel P4 or AMD system for image editing and RAW-conversion?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Antti Heiskanen, Jul 25, 2003.

  1. I'm about to purchase a new computer. Everyting else is clear but I
    still have hard time deciding wether I should choose a system based on
    a Intel P4 CPU (P4 2.4 or 2.6GHz), or similar AMD-based system (AMD
    Athlon XP 2600+ or 2800+).

    I do mostly image editing with Photoshop 7 and RAW-conversion with
    Capture One DSLR Pro. Both should be able to make some use of P4's
    Hyper Threading (operating system sees one processor as two, so
    programs that can utilise multitasking should run a bit faster).
    However, from what I have read I think that not all photoshop
    functions can benefit from HT (e.g. "gaussian blur" runs ~20% faster
    than without HT, but "image resize" does not run any faster).

    I don't know how well multitasking applications can utilise AMD's
    CPUs. Anyway, there should be some technical differences in how P4 and
    AMD Athlon crunch numbers, and there surely is lot of number crunching
    to be made when I want to convert 1Gt of RAW-files. If one CPU does
    the job faster than another, I'd like to choose that one :)

    Any advice?

    Antti Heiskanen, Jul 25, 2003
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  2. Antti Heiskanen

    Biker Dave Guest

    From personal experience, I would say that the choice of processor is less
    important than the choice of Motherboard and Memory. If the motherboard and
    memory are causing the bottleneck, then it really doesn't matter if a P4 is
    faster than a AMD or not.
    Biker Dave, Jul 25, 2003
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  3. Antti Heiskanen

    Luke Guest

    Image processing can use a lot of processing power so if you are doing batch
    jobs it may be worth getting a fast processor.

    Intel and AMD processors are each fastest at different things. You can't
    generalise very well because it has a lot to do with how an individual
    application is written and compiled.

    What is undeniable is that AMD offer more processing power for your money.
    (good motherboards tend to come cheaper for AMD too). So if cost is of
    concern to you buy an AMD system.

    (if you want the fastest single processor system available at the moment
    Intel is probably what you want, but you could get a dual processor AMD
    system for the same price.)

    Luke, Jul 25, 2003
  4. Antti Heiskanen

    Lucas Tam Guest

    (Antti Heiskanen) wrote in

    Intel chips are faster these days, but only slightly. So in reality, AMD
    vs. Intel is a non-issue.

    The amount of RAM and Hard Drive speed probably matter more - especially in
    regards to the general workflow.

    You may want to look at the new P4's with Hyperthreading or a Dual
    Processor AMD board. Dual processors should help with RAW conversion if the
    application is optimized for mutli-processors.
    Lucas Tam, Jul 25, 2003
  5. Antti Heiskanen

    Andy Guest

    Why ? What is a problem with Mac ?
    Andy, Jul 25, 2003
  6. Reading the line very literally, it's quite true that OSX doesn't run
    well on an amd or intel system.

    (I'd avoid the XP part though)
    Jason O'Rourke, Jul 25, 2003
  7. I will be doing batch jobs so I'd like to have as much processing
    power as possible - but with reasonable cost. AMD or P4 CPUs at 3.2GHz
    are not really an option, as currently CPUs with ~2.4GHz seem to offer
    the best bang for a buck. AMD will introduce Athlon64 (?) in September
    and Intel will follow with a P5 in Q4/2003, so it might be wise move
    to have 2.4GHz now and upgrade to 3.2GHz when the price falls as
    competition shifts to new CPUs.
    That I know, but I have not found any benchmarks where current AMD and
    P4 CPUs are compared when running Photoshop 7 and Capture One DSLR.
    E.g. RAW-conversion is really CPU intensive task, but I have no idea
    which CPU, AMD or Intel P4, is the fastest in that task.
    I have no intention to start AMD vs. Intel war here, but after seeing
    some benchmarks on I can not be that sure
    about AMD offering the best value. I know that it used to be so, but
    I'm not convenced it is still so with the current models. And as I
    said, I really do not have any idea, which one is the fastest CPU for
    batch processing RAW-files and image editing on PS7.
    Dual-CPU motherboards are, at least here, usually 2.5 to 5 times more
    expensive than single-CPU MBs (e.g. both Asus P4P800 Deluxe and Asus
    A7N8X Deluxe sell for ~125 eur/usd, whereas Asus A7M266-D sells for
    343 eur). Additionally, all the new bells and whistles usually appear
    first on the single-cpu MBs (there are probably many thousand
    single-cpu MBs sold for each one multi-cpu MB, so that is really no
    wonder). Additionally Athlon MP CPUs are quite expensive: Athlon XP
    2600+ sells for 105 eur, Athlon MP 2600+ for 233 eur. I think I'll
    probably be better off if I stay with single-CPU system and invest the
    money saved in RAM and perhaps HD space or a IDE RAID 0 drive array.

    Antti Heiskanen, Jul 25, 2003
  8. Antti Heiskanen

    Luke Guest

    Don't we have better things to discuss on this forum.

    Let people use whatever useless operating system they want to. None of them
    are anything like as good as a well designed system could be. So we are all
    inferior whatever system we choose.

    Luke, Jul 25, 2003
  9. Antti Heiskanen

    Jimmy Guest

    Nothing other than a Mac OS doesn't work in a Intel or AMD based system that Antti, the original
    poster specified. Had the selection not already been narrowed to a PC system, then a Mac should
    certainly should have some serious consideration.
    Jimmy, Jul 25, 2003
  10. Antti Heiskanen

    JK Guest

    Try looking at other websites.

    The Athlon XP2600+ 333 at around $100 is a particularly good value.
    JK, Jul 26, 2003
  11. Steve,
    I currently use Windows 2000 system with 800MHz AMD Duron and 640Mb
    SDram, and large images in Photoshop present no particular problems,
    but batch processing Canon 10D RAW-files in C1 DSLR Pro is
    painstakinly slow process. The relatively slow CPU (by todays
    standards) is clearly the bottleneck in my system. As I also need
    desperately more hard disk space, USB2 and Firewire connectivity, and
    a DVD-burner, I'm going to upgrade the whole system.

    Antti Heiskanen, Jul 26, 2003
  12. Antti Heiskanen

    Biker Dave Guest

    I've recently upgraded from an AMD Athlon based system to a 2.6GHz P4
    running on an Abit IS7-E Motherboard with 1Gb of Ram and so far I've been
    pleased with the performance.
    Biker Dave, Jul 26, 2003
  13. Antti Heiskanen

    JK Guest

    I usually just ignore Tom's Hardware. If you have other websites with
    benchmarks, I would be interested to look at them.
    Hyperththreading in many instances provides little or no performance
    improvement. At times it might even decrease performance.,aid,107492,00.asp

    Do you really think the performance with the 800 fsb is so much better than
    the 533 fsb for most applications? Sure a few games might have a meaningful improvement, but
    for many other applications the difference might be rather

    The 2.4 C is around $170, which is around the price of an XP2800+
    333 Barton. As for overclocking, I don't recommend it. Many who
    want to overclock choose an XP2500+ 333. Many have had great
    success overclocking this processor. It is also very inexpensive,
    at around $88. The XP2500+ is normally a very low power consumer,
    which is probably part of the reason that it overclocks so well?

    Notice the 53.7 watts typical power vs. 66.2 watts thermal design power
    for the P4 2.4 C.

    Don't use the review of a $669 Intel processor to help you decide
    which $80-$200 processor to buy. It doesn't make sense. Always
    compare comparably priced pricessors. THe XP2500+ 333 is only
    $88. What Intel processor can I buy for $88? A Celeron 2.3 ghz?
    A Pentium 4 1.5 ghz? Instead of buying a $669 P4 3.2 ghz,
    one could buy two Athlon MP2600+ processors and have enough
    money left over for the extra expense of a nice dual processor
    motherboard. Why don't they compare the P4 3.2 ghz to a dual
    MP2600+ setup?

    Not quite. One could buy an XP2500+ 333 and overclock it if they
    are into overclocking. That is a good low cost option. Another
    option might be to buy An XP2800+ 333 or splurge on an XP3000+ 400,
    JK, Jul 26, 2003
  14. Would Anandtech do?
    They have an up to date review, unlike most of the links you provided.
    On what grounds? I don't know but I would assume that Tom's hardware
    and Anandtech (which are both widely known PC tech sites) have at
    least as good, probably better, reviews as PC World.
    MBs might be inexpensive, but then I might also have to upgrade my
    RAM, maybe also power supply etc. In that case it would cost me much
    more than just the price of the MB and CPU. Photography is my hobby,
    building PCs is not. Therefore it is easier for me to sell my old PC
    and buy a new one (and then I get also new bigger/faster hard drive
    and all the other new bells and whistles too).

    Antti Heiskanen, Jul 27, 2003
  15. After reading CPU Database
    ( it seems that P4 2.4C OCs well
    even with standard boxed cooler, when compared to AMD XP Barton core
    CPUs. As I'm planning to have my CPU with Zalman CNPS7000-CU cooler
    which is noticeably more effective and really silent, I should have no
    problems in overclocking it.

    It seems that every single time somebody asks wether to choose AMD or
    Intel CPU, the conversation soon becomes a war between two camps (even
    in a photo NG!). I have now seen enough benchmarks on different review
    sites and the decision is final: I'll opt for a P4 2.4C, which seems
    to suit my type of work better. Your mileage may of course vary.

    Antti Heiskanen, Jul 27, 2003
  16. Antti Heiskanen

    JK Guest

    We are talking about processors in the $80-$200 range. Why the link to
    a review of a P4 3.2 ghz? That is not useful at all for our discussion.

    Where are the Photoshop benchmarks?
    Since you are using an 800mhz Duron, it seems like you are not into
    upgrading often.
    JK, Jul 28, 2003
  17. Did you read the review at all? In every single benchmark there are
    many Intel and AMD CPUs ranging from 1600MHz to 3.2GHz. The Content
    Creation Winstone 2003 (page 5 in review) is most relevat to me, as it
    has many of the applications I often use included (also Photoshop
    7.0.1). Based on that benchmark Intel P4 with FSB800 is clearly the
    CPU to choose.
    I upgrade only when I have a good reason to upgrade :) Staying on the
    bleeding edge of technology is expensive, small CPU upgrades every so
    often have very small effect on productivity, and reading technology
    reviews all the time to stay knowledbeable would take absolutely too
    much of my time - I rather spend it photographing. 800MHz with enough
    RAM and relatively fast hard disks is not that bad setup for
    adjusting, editing and touching up pictures, even larger ones with
    several layers. Only in CPU intensive tasks (such as batch-processing
    and raw-conversion) it is too slow for my taste.

    Antti Heiskanen, Jul 28, 2003
  18. Antti Heiskanen

    rander3127 Guest

    Do what the sheep do. Keep supporting Intel. So they can be the only
    PC processor maker and start charging $1200 or so for each new speed
    of CPU, like they used to.
    rander3127, Jul 29, 2003
  19. Antti Heiskanen

    JK Guest

    How is that benchmark constructed?

    "Adobe® Photoshop® 7.0
    Adobe® Premiere® 6.0
    Macromedia® Director 8.5.1
    Macromedia® Dreamweaver 4
    Microsoft® Windows MediaTM Encoder
    Netscape® 6.2.3
    NewTek's LightWave® 7.5
    Sonic Foundry® Sound Forge® 6.0 "

    Do you have any benchmarks just for Photoshop?
    JK, Jul 29, 2003
  20. Antti Heiskanen

    jvp Guest

    Antti -

    Earlier in this thread, you mentioned both PShop and CapOne being able to
    take advantage of the P4's Hyperthreading. Here again, you mention CapOne.
    Keep in mind, CapOne *can not* take advantage of multiple processors
    (Hyperthreading acts like a 2nd processor.) While it's a very capable RAW
    convertor (I use it myself) its SMP support is non-existant. PShop, on the
    other hand, is quite capable of supporting 2 or more processors.

    I use CapOne Pro on my 2.4GHz P4 at home. It's an absolute pig and takes
    *FOREVER* to convert even one RAW photo. The wait is entirely CPU, too.
    So, if you're going to use CapOne, get the fastest number cruncher you can
    afford. Even after you do, it'll make your new Uber-machine seem like a
    33MHz 386. :)

    jvp, Aug 5, 2003
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