Intel's 64-bit narrows the gap with Athlon 64
...however, the Athlon 64 FX is still the best and comes out on top. Even the Athlon 64 3800+ beat out all 64-bit Intel Pentium 4 (3.6GHz 660 and (3.73GHz) EE, but not by a whole lot. Most noticeable gains are the Athlon FX processors, of course. Intel PCs are a bit slower and pricier than comparable AMD ones, but the performance gap is slim so all you Intel fans won't be too dissapointed.
Despite all that power, we won't get any kind of significant boost until XP Pro X64 comes out. Even when the operating system ships, ONLY applications optimized and recompiled to take advantage of the new capabilities will deliver any performance increase.
64-bit benefits us in the following ways: It has the ability to handle larger amounts of data and at higher resolution, not speed. That means a 64-bit PC will be able to juggle far larger databases and spreadsheets, a lot on-board memory (up to 1 terabyte for AMD and 64GB with Intel), and higher resolution in games, audio, and video, but it will not give huge performance boosts.
Dual-cores is another story. While AMD plans to use it's existing motherboard for new dual-core processors (BIOS tweak, that's it), Intel users will have to upgrade their motherboard completely. In my opinion, I see Intel launching the dual-cores first at a consumer level because AMD thinks that high speed single core ships will still remain the top performers at least until the end of the year. We'll see...
And folks, get this...It's not CPU related but hard drive. You guys heard about the new drive technology in which the poles are arranged perpendicular right? (bring back the funny animated clip I saw somewhere in the Social Lounge). It allows for more bits to be packed onto a disk and reduces provlems from magnetic interfernece resulting in drive capactiy of 1 Terabyte. Well, this technology which plans to go into affect by 2006-2007 will be obsolete by 2010 (Moore's Law?). By 2010, our hard drives will run thermal assisted magentic recording in which lasers are used to heat ultra tiny particles so they can be manipulated to store data!!!! How's that for science?
*Fact: Microsoft Window's Blue Screen of Death vs Computerforums.org's White Screen of Death. Which is worse?