21. February 2005 · Comments Off on Intel Solid, AMD Quirky · Categories: Technology

Sander Sassen writes in Hardware Analysis about something I’ve suspected for a long time:

There’s a reason for opting for an Intel chipset, and that’s the simple fact that it is a rare occurrence to see issues with Intel processors on Intel chipset motherboards. Basically you plug it all in, install the operating system and Intel drivers and it is up and running. With chipsets manufactured by these 3rd part chipset manufacturers it is often relying on drivers written by an overworked, underpaid, Taiwanese software engineer that have not undergone stringent quality testing whatsoever. Obviously this is a scenario that often leads to issues with 3rd part chipsets and that’s what we all want to prevent right? Classic example is VIA, which used to offer drivers for their chipsets that broke more features than they fixed. Fortunately they cleaned up their act over the past few years, but you get what I’m hinting at, although VIA was a particularly bad example.

With AMD it is another story, as of late they’ve basically only manufactured processors and left it up to 3rd party chipsets manufacturers to come up with a chipset to run it on. NVIDIA is a prime example of how a company can go from good to bad overnight. Their Nforce family of chipsets can best be described as a mixed bag, there’s excellent chipsets, such as the Nforce3-250, but also particularly bad ones such as the first Nforce2. And now that PCIe is here, and all chipset manufacturers launched their chipsets supporting it, we see the same problems all over again. For example; Nforce 4 looks good on paper, the NVIDIA reference motherboard works like a charm, but all Nforce 4 SLI motherboards currently out have issues.

So am I a nitpicking Intel fanboy that bares a grudge towards AMD? No, I don’t have a preference per se, and we obviously get as many AMD processors and motherboards in the lab as we get Intel’s. The problem is that with new chipset releases such as with PCIe Intel is always spot on, no issues, it just runs out of the box. Whereas with AMD there’s always issues plaguing these new chipsets which make the system unstable, cause for features to not work and a plethora of other problems, NVIDIA’s Nforce 4 SLI chipset being a prime example. These issues take many months and multiple BIOS/drivers revisions to get fixed, after which the next chipset is usually around the corner, so the whole thing starts over again.

Comments closed.