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Date: 19 Jan 2000
Remote Name: 126.96.36.199
if it were me, I'd be looking at an Athlon, but I'm waiting for the 2nd generation of Athlon motherboards with the VIA KDX133 chipset. The first motherboard I will probably look at in that category is the Epox EP-K7VA (http://www.epox.com/events/comdex99/las_vegas/ep-k7va.htm). I cannot, however, endorse that board because I haven't seen one yet. As far as P3 motherboards are concerned I lean towards Abit, but I haven't tested any of Abits boards (or any Pentium II/III motherboards) since the BH6. Here is a draft of some words on buying the latest and greatest in an article I'm writing on the MII processor. It will probably change significantly as I work it over some more:
...As a prelude, and to take a look at an alternative product in the "entry level" processor market, we review VIA's challenge to the AMD K6-2 processor, the 300 Mhz Cyrix M II. 300 Mhz? Mega Herz, Smiga Herz... Performance is not always directly measured by the CPU clock speed. As we will see, this processor is faster than 400 Mhz K6-2.
300 Mhz M II; 400 Mhz K6-2? Why am I writing about 300 and 400 Mhz processors? 700 and 800 Mhz CPU's are the rage. To answer that question, let me digress a little right here... 700 and 800 Mhz processors aren't for everyone or even most people, if they are smart. They cost far too much and most us can get along just fine without them. And, believe it or not, there are actually people who use computers for things besides games. In my experience, computers with 500, 600, 650 Mhz and higher processors appear a little bit faster (have a little more "snap") to the average user than those with a 400 Mhz CPU, not a whole lot faster as one might infer from the CPU clock frequencies. They certainly, by far, don't produce the same impression of speed increase that a 400 Mhz processor has when compared to 100-300 Mhz processors (with equal computing power). There is not a linear relationship between the CPU clock speed and perceived speed of a computer. It starts to flatten around 300 Mhz and noticeably flattens after 400 Mhz. The CPU is spending a lot of time waiting for something to happen. There is not much gain per dollar spent... 700 and 800 Mhz processors are part of the Mhz, GigaByte, "superpipelined, nine-issue superscalar," etc. "numbers" game being played by manufacture's of computer products to entice uninformed people into buying products with capabilities they don't need or don't make a real, perceived difference in use. Today, most people do not need 27 GByte, ATA/66 hard disk drives, 19-inch monitors (sit closer), graphics boards with AGP 4X bus and more than four MBytes (yes, 4 MBytes) of video memory, 133 Mhz memory, SOHO network switches instead of Hubs, 58X CD-ROMs, 5-speaker sound systems, software that automatically makes hyperlinks out of anything that looks like it might be one, etc. And, more so lately, the realities of most of these highfalutin numbers/terms do not measure-up the buyer's expectations of benefit. In this numbers game more is not noticeably better, just more alluring and expensive, a technological sales ploy. Also, computer technology has advanced for many years at a rate that makes most anything computer bought today obsolete within three years (at the five year point you will wish you had sold it when it was three years old). No matter how much you spend, you cannot buy a computer (or processor) which won't be obsolete/out of production in three years. So, lets change the term "entry level," which is a misnomer used in marketing to make us spend more for more than we need, to "smart level." K6-2's, Celerons, and M II's are "smart level" purchases. They do the job within a reasonable price. Smart and reasonably frugal people can patiently wait for today's worthwhile latest and greatest to fall to reasonable prices. In the computer field, the wait usually isn't very long.
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