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AMD vs. Pentium
A couple of years ago when Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) introduced it’s K5 microprocessor, the phrase “too little, too late'; was plastered across their name countless times. At that time, if anyone were to name an underdog to the Intel dominated microprocessor market, Cyrix with their dirt-cheap 5x86 processor would have been the favorite.
Intel had been the only processor that could handle day-to-day functions at reasonable speeds. Such simple tasks as word processing and calculations, then later gaming and educational work, the processors were unable to perform. The Pentium processor was introduced in 1994; no company could compete with Intel at this point. It took until 1997, for AMD to even be noticed, and then later in 1997 the AMD k6 series was introduced.
When AMD’s k6 was introduced to compete with the Pentium!! Processor, it fell short in all areas, except one-price. It was the cheapest micro-processing chip (chip) on the market. The downside to this chip is that it did not follow the same format as Intel chips. It needed a different motherboard, a socket-7 motherboard. This hurt AMD’s chances at the beginning, but in early 1998 they unveiled their mighty K6-2 processor. The K6-2 Processor was “bigger, better, and cheaper.'; The processor ran on a 100mhz bus, while Intel’s chips still ran on a 66mhz bus, this made AMD’s chip faster. It also was nearly 16% cheaper than any Intel based Pentium!! computer.
The gaming community accepted the k6-2 with cautious, but open, arms. With their new SIMD-Enhanced (Single Instruction Multiple Data) 3Dnow! the graphics this processor were able to produce were amazing, for the time, due to the use of floating point intensive programs. With the new processor and their own design they were not only keeping up with the giant Intel, but they were innovating.
Intel answered back with its “SSE';, which was to be included in its Pentium!!! processors. This new enhancement was to push graphics acceleration twice as fast as AMD’s 3Dnow! could. When Intel prematurely released the Pentium!!! processor it fell short. Many people got chances to take the new P3 for a run, and they were barely faster than the similarly clocked AMD K6-2’s. Not only that, but they sold for over four times the price. When news of this reached the dealers and public, K6-2s sales had sky rocketed to 43.9 percent of the market, while Intel’s dropped to 40.
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Since then, both AMD and Intel have released their working, high end processor. The Intel Pentium!!! processor comes with 32k of L1 cache, and 512kb of half speed level 2 cache. It runs on a 100mhz bus system and it still runs on the old fashioned SSE graphics accelerator and a slightly advanced floating point unit. With the new Athlon processor by AMD, it seems “double'; is the word, because they at least doubled all of the P3 statistics. It has 128k of L1 cache, it is Alpha EV6 (an IBM based machine) compatible, and it runs on a 200mhz front side bus. It does still use the 3Dnow! graphics, but it has made compatibility for other graphic accelerators, including AGP graphics. If that is not enough, they decided to up the floating-point unit speed with the aid of the extra cache and bus speed.
AMD has also stuck its foot in some of Intel’s market. Including Gateway and Compaq computer corporations. Is this the Second Coming? Some describe it as “the black star cometh,'; all I know is that AMD looks to do to Intel as Microsoft did to IBM 10 years ago. Wipe the floor with them and there products.
A joint product between AMD, Compaq, and Kryotech led to the creation of the 1ghz machine. This gave AMD the role of having the world’s fastest processor. Kryotech’s patented cooling system kept the AMD Athlon processor cool enough to allow it to run at speeds of 1ghz (1000mhz) and even slightly more.
It seems right now that AMD is producing the best chip for the best price. This has also brought many computer prices down to the point were most families can afford home computers. A loaded AMD Athlon 600mhz computer sold for $1429. While the same computer with an Intel Pentium!!! sold for $1849. The same computer and it is four hundred dollars more for one reason, the name Intel. To show this case even further a P3 650mhz system cost the same as an Athlon 800mhz system.
Intel has slowly been lowering their prices, but they still cannot go as low as AMD’s prices. For these reason’ AMD is the leading chip-maker and furthermore their prices are why almost everyone can own a home computer.