Much ado about CPUs....

I started being an AMD fan since about seven years ago. Until that time all of the computers that I have owned or built (except for a rather ancient Apple II Plus) were Intel based. Then again, during those times almost all PCs were Intel-based. I remember owning an XT (8088) clone, an AT (286) clone, a DX4 (486) based computer, followed by a PC with a Pentium and later on with a Pentium MMX.

It was in 1999 when I first built a system based on an AMD processor. The chip that I used was a 350 MHz K6-2 which plugged into a Super Socket 7 motherboard. It was not the fastest processor on the market at the time, since the first slot based Pentium IIIs and Athlons were already being introduced, but it was by far the most powerful chip in its price range.

Even then I was a dyed-in-the-wool PC gamer, and my setup reflected that. Aside from the aforementioned K6-2 processor, my PC was equipped with 128 MB of PC100 SDRAM, a 32MB NVIDIA TNT2 AGP video card, an 8 GB hard disk drive, and a Labway Xwave QS3000A PCI sound card with A3D, running Windows 2000. This was during a time when your average PC had a Pentium MMX or lower processor, 64 MB of memory, an S3 ViRGE or Trio3D PCI video card, a 6 or 4 GB hard disk, an ISA-based Sound Blaster compatible sound card, and Windows 98.

About two years later, I pulled out the 350 MHz K6-2 and replaced it with a 400 MHz K6-III, so it could keep up for a while with the high-end CPUs of that era, which included the socketed Pentium III and Athlon, which were both locked in a race to break the the 1 GHz mark. Pentium IIs were now at the lower-middle range of the market, with Celerons taking up the lower end, facing off with K6-2s.

Two years after that, I went on to build a PC with an Athlon XP processor. After three more years, and I would be using a PC with an Athlon 64 processor.

Why have I preferred AMD over Intel during the past seven years or so? AMD processors have always had a better price/performance ratio compared to CPUs made by Intel. During the last few years, Intel has even lost the performance crown to AMD, with the Athlon 64 and FX series lording it over the Prescott Pentium 4, and the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition. That will probably change in the next few weeks or months, with Intel scheduled to release a new line of processors based on its much awaited Core 2 technology. But for now, AMD's K8 architecture is still at the top of the roost.

(To be continued...)

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