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Tech Myths B.U.S.T.E.D. Rev. 1.3
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AMD Processors Are Hotter Than Intel Processors!

Chips change, perceptions should follow suit too. With revisions coming up every 6 months and new process technology coming along every 18 months, most perceptions rightly should not last very long because they are easily rendered outdated.

In fact, by the time the Joe Public becomes aware of it and embraces it as the "truth", it's usually outdated and incorrect. When it comes to processors, what might have been true a minute ago, may not be true now. Processor technology advances very quickly, and so do the design decisions behind each processor.

It may be possible for me to pin down the origin of this theory. Back when Intel and AMD were locked in a mortal race for the magical 1 GHz mark, AMD launched a chip called the “Thunderbird”. Unfortunately, in their haste to hit the 1 GHz mark, they made a chip which broke all previous heat records.

This left Intel, with no credible challenge at that time, no choice but to attack the Thunderbird's TDP (Thermal Design Power) using their awesome PR and Marketing team. Till this day, people still have the impression that AMD processors are always hotter than Intel processors.

Nothing could be further from the truth though. In fact, before the debut of Intel's Core architecture, their Pentium 4 line had twice the thermal output of a comparable AMD Athlon 64 processor. We didn't give those chips (based on the Prescott core) the PressHOT moniker for no reason!

The moral of the story is simple. Thermal specifications change all the time. One day, Intel may have the hotter chips, but the next day, AMD may have that dubious honour. So, how do we, consumers, find out just which processor is actually hotter or cooler?

Simple enough. Intel and AMD list key specifications of each processor in their websites, as well as datasheets (downloadable from their websites). All we have to do is look for the TDP (Thermal Design Power) metric. The higher the TDP, the more heat the processor produces.

That makes it super simple for anyone, even laymen, to figure out just how much heat a processor actually produces. All you have to do is search for the TDP specification for the processors you are interested in.

This misconception about processor heat production has unfortunately limited the choice for many users. After all, who wants to buy a "hot" processor? My advice? Just search online or visit the chipmaker's website to ascertain any processor's TDP.

If you want to make a choice based on how hot a processor is, base it on the processor's TDP. Don't limit your choice of processor merely because of an outdated perception.

If you want to quickly check out and compare the TDPs of desktop processors, you can do so at our Desktop CPU Comparison Guide.


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