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AMD Cuttin' Deals, Releases 800 Mhz Athlon 220

MatriXOracle writes "AMD seems to be on fire lately. According to this C|Net article, HP will be including K6-2's in new portable models, and is considering the Athlon for desktop use. Meanwhile, Gateway is blaming its disappointing earnings on supply (or lack thereof) of Intel chips, and will start selling systems with AMD chips very soon. Finally, an 800MHz Athlon is being released today. "
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AMD Cuttin' Deals, Release 800 Mhz Athlon

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    First thing i want to say : What the limiting factor is depends very much on your application ....

    About the (PCI-)Bus: Its not too slow (except you are talking about big fileservers that do nothing else than fetching large chunks of data from their RAID-subsystems and push it out over the network .. but a server-class-bus would be just too expensive for home users). The only thing that can sarurate a PCI-Bus in a desktop-computer is the graphics card (that is why AGP was created) ... but even those do not hit the limit too often ...
    e.g. a PCI Voodoo3 does not so bad compared to their AGP brethren (with double the bandwidth) and the difference between AGP2x and AGP4x is somewhere near 1% ... if BUS bandwidth were the problem we would see tremendous differences...

    About the memory: Yes i agree .. memory is really slow compared to the CPU ... but OTOH its just more cost/performance efficient to make use of the spatial locality found in practically ALL programs by integrating fast caches on/near the CPU so a faster memory subsystem would really be nice but an about equal-performing system with slower RAM but more caches for less $$$ is preferable ...
    This argument also puts down completely your 4th paragraph ... your solution is only appropriate (sp?) when the cost of really fast RAM comes down considerably (just look up some Rambus prices to know what i mean .. and Rambus is ONLY good at bandwidth but has high latency) ... maybe you are thinking of integrated DRAM

    Next Topic: Speed of devices: Again its a "higher cost or higher performance" - design decision .. why integrate a seperate CPU on every device that sits idly most of the time (how often a day do you print, access HDs etc?) when the main CPU has some spare cycles left ... its sometimes better to spend the money on MHz on the main-processor that can do other things when not currently controlling peripherals than spending the money on more intelligent peripherals (yes this is more-or-less the old SCSI vs IDE debate .. agreed SCSI has the more intelligent devices .. but IDE wins in the price/performance area BIG TIME).
    On the other hand we have "intelligent" devices where there is a need for it ... because of the 3D-craze the back-end part of the 3D-rendering pipeline was completely "outsourced" to a specialized chip on the graphics card ... when HD-performance is the bottleneck you still can buy SCSI or RAID-controller or whatever ... Sound is processed by DSPs on soundcards and not by the main processor (except you have those Audio-Modem-Riser-cards (AMR) .. death on them)

    Final word: you probably want a computer that has
    64-bit PCI busses + 256 MB Rambus memory (you wanted faster memory no?) + RAID or network attached storage + a LAN attached printer
    You can have those .. noone stops you from buying that 10000$-puppy that will run Quake3 (not that i am assuming you want to play it) slower than my K6-2 400
  • FWIW--I believe that Gateway uses fairly commonly available motherboards (used to be Intel for the socket sevens, probably the same now for the slot 1's). Also, IIRC one of those MS/Intel/Compaq PC specs (eg PC97) set up a port color-coding standard, so many of the mobo manufacturers are now adhering to them. A cool thing indeed, says I.
  • What you're saying is bogus. OK, I do agree with your first point that most (office and internet) apps aren't CPU-bound. However, you never mentioned price. How much do you want to pay for a computer? Is it worth spending an extra $200 for a 10% speed increase in some component that translates into a 2% speed increase in your application? Most consumers say no.
    My opinions may have changed, but not the fact that I am right.
  • I might be looking at purhchasing an Athlon system or two, but before I do so I'd like to find some benchmarks of them running common Linux/Unix tasks, not benchmarks from a gamer's standpoint. Does anyone know of a site has Athlon kernel compile times/raytracing times/etc, or can anyone provide benchmarks based upon their own personal experiences?

    I'm somewhat predisposed to buying an Athlon over a P3, but it'd be nice to have some more evidence to support this decision.
  • I've got a Cyrix 150MHz CPU (not even MMX), 64Mb of RAM and 2x 10,000 RPM SCSI disks.

    If I ever find I'm hitting my system really hard (I'm not)

    1: First thing I'll upgrade is the disks, not the CPU; I'll go for fibre channel disks if I can find them.

    2: Second, I'll upgrade the RAM , not the CPU so I have plenty of cache and no swapping.

    3: Then the bus architecture (new motherboard will probable force a CPU upgrade).

    4: Next my video card.

    5: Last of all, I'll upgrade the CPU.

  • That's the same point the authors of "The Gorilla Game" by Moore, Johnson, and Kippola make. This is where companies that make high tech products with high switching costs and proprietary architecture naturally become the "gorilla" and no other company can best them until a "discontinuous invention" comes along and takes market share. They call AMD a chimp who will never reach gorilla status.

    But, maybe things are changing. Is the switching costs from Intel to AMD that great anymore? I mean, most software runs on both systems without modification, right? I think Intel is in for some trouble in the long run.
  • it was lifted right from Computer Shopper.

    Why is 128MB of ram really needed? I can run X, quake2, and be compiling all at once and my system is still perfectly usable even with 64MB of ram. As far as hard drives, I'm getting by just fine with my (IDE)5 gig drive...what am I going to do with the (albeit faster) 20 and 30 gig drives available today? If I had dsl or cable, I might use the space to mirror ftp sites, but I don't have the high speed luxury. Oh, and my viper 330, with it's staggering 4MB of ram, plays quake satisfactorily. Anyway, I seem to have forgotten my original point, so I'm going to take this opportunity to shut up now...

  • I wouldn't say a lifetime, but the market is so big that even with Fab 30 AMD can only supply somwhere between 30 and 40% of the PC market. So, it will be quite a while before AMD "beats" Intel, requiring adding 1 or 2 more Fabs. the important thing is that they remain a viable and profitable competitor with the 20-30% marketshare capability as a threat to Intel.

  • Futhermore they are using Firewire instead of USB.

    Firewire is not an alternative to USB. Firewire is for high-speed devices like hard drives and video cameras. USB is for low-speed devices like keyboards, mouses, and joysticks.

    There are USB hard drives, but they exist only because (1) they could, and (2) old iMacs don't have any external busses more appropriate for hard disks (this is very reminiscent of the hard drives that connected to the first macs thru the serial port or thru the floppy port. "Yep, i'm a 20M floppy! Really!"). USB sucks for hard drives, because it's so slow.

  • Sure, an Athlon system will cost more than a Celeron - but what about a K6 based system? Then you're looking at similar performance and a lower price (mainly because of the cheaper mobos).

  • "Alpha isn't faster for integer performance"

    AlphaServer ES40 Model 6/667 --- 413 (base CINT2000)
    Dell Precision Wkst 420 --- 336 (base CINT2000)

    Thats a PIII 733mhz vs a 667mhz 21264A Integer based performance. The alpha is roughly double on FPU. And uh I hate to tell you but 3rd party VAR alpha systems aren't so much anymore. You can get a pretty decent box for 3.5-4k. Please check your facts before posting again.

    Openstep/NeXTSTEP/Solaris/FreeBSD/Linux/ultrix/OSF /...
  • Again you post a statement that isn't based in reality... "And even a single P3-700 is most likely faster..." I just showed you the most modern INT test results where a 733 PIII was slower than a 667 Alpha. It isn't that hard to comprehend.

    And where can you get a decent dual P3-700 for 4k? Because I want to buy from whoever that is.

    Openstep/NeXTSTEP/Solaris/FreeBSD/Linux/ultrix/OSF /...
  • The -biggest- bottleneck is the bus. PCI and (E)ISA are all way too slow. I believe there's an extended version of VME, which is a seriously nice bus system. A PC with a VME bus would get a serious performance boost.

    That may be the bottleneck for particular applications, but it sure isn't a problem for a typical workstation user (workstation as in development system, not high-end graphics stuff where the bus is very important).

    A third bottleneck is in the speed of devices. These are ALL controlled by the main processor, even today. =COMMODORE= were doing better than that, in the 70's!

    You can buy intelligent network storage devices today. Putting memory and processors (I assume that you mean those to be user-programmable, because harddisks already contain memory and processors) in harddisks would just increase the complexity and price of the system. Modern OSes and chipsets can copy from one device to another pretty well (DMA transfers etc.), spending most of the time in code that has a good reason to be executed (file system overhead - you *do* want a choice, don't you?). As for printers, you can also buy some with ethernet interface. Just consider the network the modern replacement for the serial connections of the C64 ...

    IMHO, the biggest problem today by far is the software - it's so amazingly bad in quality that anyone who has used computers 10-15 years ago must be getting nervous fits daily while watching the crashing, freezing, buggy, inconsistant and badly designed applications and OSes waste his/her time. I don't care whether a CPU runs at 800 MHz or 333 MHz, as long as the OS and applications I'm using run fine on it, and that is measured by the time I am forced to wait unproductively, and not using benchmarks (which explains why software is such a big problem).

    I sure would like to blame the demise of software quality on one single reason, like the prevalence of the C language or the fact that Microsoft managed to train people to accept bad quality because compatibility with the rest of the monopolized market was more important, but it isn't that simple. It's obvious though that people don't hesitate to release crappy software as much as they used to, so ... kudos to everyone who still pays attention to quality!

  • 20 years ago a computer user would have to be pretty smart. Now, any old moron uses a computer, so the software is mostly designed for morons

    I can't agree with this - software designed for morons would normally be easy to use and tolerant towards users' mistakes ("idiot-proof"), but it is exactly the opposite of that, i.e. extremely sensitive to wrong input, misinterpretation of options and so on. Then again, if you argue that programmers are so incompetent that they fail to make software safe for idiots, you've got a point...

    The idea that programmers have just stopped paying attention to quality because other issues have become more important (showing-off features rather than making sure that there are no ugly surprises for the user after a few minutes of use), appeals much more to me, though.

  • Oh yes, the Commordore 1541 Drive... The most intelligent, SLOWEST floppy drive available for any 8 bit personal computer. I'm sure you needed to copy ALL DAY because the thing was so damn slow.

    (Please note that I'm not saying that it's "intelligence" was responsible for its horrific performance, just that having a 6502 (or 6510 or whatever) in the drive didn't keep the thing from being blown away by the Apple Disk ][ as well as nearly every other form of non-cassette tape storage.)
  • Guess that's why I have an ASUS K7M and an Athlon 650 on the way.
  • I have half a suspicion that all these people making all these remarks about faster not being better are secretly peaved that AMD is beating the pants off of Intel. :-)

    An Athlon is about 10% faster than a Pentium III of equivalent speed, and they will both benefit from motherboard and bus technology improvements. I'm very pleased about this. Competition is good.

    As far as desktop apps are concerned, this isn't a big deal, especially for Linux. But for games, or heavy development like compiling large source trees, it's very nice. Even with all the speed bottlenecks in a system, a faster CPU does make a difference.

  • I'll back you up. My 'new' P2-450/Ultra2SCSI/MatroxG400 doesn't feel 4 times faster than my old P133/WideSCSI2/Mystique220. Except for bootup time, normal GUI apps seem about the same speed (maybe Netscape launches twice as fast, but it's still perceptable at a point when the genius designers of Netscape 4.x said it wouldn't be.) The only real differences is Quake or processor heavy jobs.
  • Don't forget both the PIII and K7 are desktop chips, and the market for the top processor speed desktop is pretty thin and consists of people that are willing to pay somewhat of a premium to get what they percieve as the best possible. Considering the meager performance difference between 733 and 800 Mhz, many people are shelling out big bucks for what is essentially a status symbol. (Most corporations intentionally buy 6 mo old chips, like 600Mhz, or steer clear entirely and buy Celerons)

    Since this high end market isn't going anywhere, and you can only charge so much for a desktop chip, AMD might as well keep the revenue coming in by just staying 1-2 steps ahead of Intel.

    Now, if AMD had a 1Ghz big cache server CPU, they would best served by getting it to market as fast as possible and stomping on the Xeon with undeniable numbers.
  • Well, sorry about that misinformation - blame The Register.

    I didn't look at Compaq's homepage, because I don't like their desktops PC's, but they are a major player anyway.

    Besides, just the fact that they are supporting Firewire, is a good sign IHMO.
  • I can't see why it shouldn't be used for keybords and the likes too?

    Just because it is fast, it should also be possible to use it for slower devices.

    It would IMHO be nice to have one *very fast* bus for all your devices, so you all you devices can be connected in the same way. It would be much more convinient.

    Of course the fast devices should not be slowed down by the slower devices...

    Isn't that what USB 2.0 is supposed to do?

  • Seems to be a lot of discussion going on about intel vs AMD.

    It'll be quite interesting to see what Transmeta has in store for us. Of course Transmeta will only affect the mobile CPU market, at least for starters.

    Ps. Have you guys noticed the similarity of the debian/transmeta/intel inside logos?
  • I don't consider myself a power user... but the appeal of two cpus helping my cause is too tempting. With prices of lower end Athlons at an attainable level, I can see myself very happy with a dual athlon system. As jabber stated, motherboards are what's holding athlon's momentum from booming... but again I really wish there was a dual board out sooner rather than later (Tyan?? Asus?? are you guys listening?).
  • What are you talking about?!?! Of course they do!! Every single game disk has the WinCE-based OS on it. That's why the load times are a bit long whenever you pop a disc into it ... it's booting the OS from the CD!

    Think about it. Doind it this way reduces the need for firmware updates, as they can just ship a newer version of the OS with the game.

    Heh, and the original poster of the Dreamcast angle thinks they're not installing drivers with each game?!? Yeah right, try the whole OS instead.
  • Anyone who tells you different is living in denial.
  • I think that the main reason that Gateway created a garbage K6-2 system was the fact that it in the eyes of GW's marketing department, they had found a great alternative to a low cost system. That is utter crap. I work for GW so I was as pissed off as the next guy. The worst part is that I'd say 90 percent of GW's sales force had no idea just how bad the Select systems really were. (Select = AMD systems from GW). I did my best to let every customer know what they were getting themselves into. Then again can you name one mainstream company that has use an K6-2 system to its fullest potenial. I sure as hell can't. It had gotten so bad, that right before the Select systems died, you were not able to make any configuration changes to the system besides adding RAM or changing the hard drive size. None of the other components would function well with the system. We have been told that we are going to be stocking the Athlons for the past month. I don't know when and if it will actually happen. Who knows/ All that I do know is that the Athlon is in too high of a price point to sell cheaply. At least I'm hoping that the don't sell it cheaply. I guess that we will find out soon enough.

  • I've been a programmer for a long time, from the machine code days to the present. It isn't stupidity, it's economics.

    I could write everything in tight x86 assembly code, but it would be a waste of time and money. For most programs, the total cost is minimized by writing the program in a high level language like Visual Basic or Delphi. The customer wants a user friendly program with a GUI. CPU cycles and RAM are cheap. Programming labor is expensive. We are expected to write more complex programs with tighter schedules and smaller budgets.

    The technology is also a problem. How do I keep up with the latest stuff from Redmond? I don't have the time to learn all of the fine details of the Win32 API, OLE, COM, ODBC and all the other buzzwords. The rate of new technology increases every year.

  • >>It really is getting to be a bit rediculus IMHO.

    Rediculous only in the fact that they're looking to convince Joe User that he needs 800MHz to use email, surf the web, and balance a checkbook.

    Gamers obviously benefit, but also consider folks like myself.

    One of my hobbies happens to be 3D graphics and quite frankly, I'm tired of waiting 6-12 hours for a single high quality image to render on my old workhorse (and let's not talk about animations.) Every MHz jump means worlds to me as it relates directly with FP performance and thus render time.

    So it's not just the Quake lovers that'll benefit, but anyone creating art, anyone into signal processing (I'm sure they're out there), anyone into simulations, anyone doing architectural design, etc.

    Granted, we're probably in the minority, but there are those of us out there that use our home PCs for compute intensive tasks and we don't want to spend $20k for a computer that can deliver performance.

    My 3.14159 cents,
  • I am sooo looking forward to putting mine together (K7-600). I'm just waiting on some memory chips I have on order and then the thing gets put together , the OS installed, and my old machine (PII-266) gets switched to its new roll as a commited Linux development machine).

    BTW. Check out
    sometimes they have decent prices on items, sometimes the bid goes higher then you can pick it up for locally, do your research first, their Recommended price is usually too high.
  • I really agonized over one myself.
    I've got a K7-600 and plan to put Win98 SE on it
    (for the record Linux will outnumber it by 2:1 in my house, once my old win95 machine becomes my new Linux development box).

    I like Asus and wanted to buy the K7M (it seems to be a decent board according to all the reviews I've seen). Then I took a step back and realized that one of the main reasons I was buying an AMD chip was because they
    1) make a better chip and
    2) to support them.
    Asus isn't even listing their A-slot board on their US website (or hadn't been last time I checked).
    I decided on that basis to go with the FIC board (FIC SD-11) since it lagged only slightly compaired to the Asus board in some reviews I saw.

    I haven't had a chance to put the system together yet (I'm still waiting to pick up the case and some memory) so I can't tell you how its working, but I've heard good things from other people.
    Additionally, I have heard that if you pick up an Athlon Mobo you should check about Bios updates when you set the thing up as apparently most of them had a few quirks they needed to work out (another reason I decided to go with a Mobo manufacturer who wasn't hiding the specs. page away somewhere).

    BTW. Since we've always refered to Windows/Intel machine as 'Wintel' machines does that make a Windows/AMD machine a 'WAMD' machine? :)
  • Just set your sites on how much your willing to pay and judge accordingly.

    Figure out what you would be willing to pay and then wait about 3-6 months. Chances are the processor you want will be within your price range. Traditionally I've always advocated buying about 2-3 revisions below the current 'top' (I picked up a K7-600 2 weeks ago). This usually gives you a decent bang for your buck, and with the money you save you can usually upgrade to that really nice high-end (now) 800 in a year or two, for a much more reasonable price :)

    Of course by that time the high end processors will be 3ghz but thats a different issue :)

  • seems that Intel has successfully sold you to RDRAM. Forget it. It has higher latency than SDRAM.

    And DDR SDRAM gives more bandwidth than single channel RDRAM anyways. Without increasing latency (instead decreasing it at 133 MHZ).

    And you dont want dual channel RDRAM with an 840 mobo (except if you always want to buy TWO RDRAMs for upgrades...).

    Sure, DDR isnt available. But considering the price RDRAM isnt really available, too.

    And besides that: PC100 SDRAM usually isnt the performance bottleneck. The point is that you dont NEED anything above a P200 except for 3D games...
  • Alpha isnt faster for integer performance. And this is what counts, even for Q3.
    Simply accept it: The fastest Alpha is usually slower than the fastest x86 for most applications (and much more expensive too). Also GCC most likely still delivers pretty slow Alpha binaries.

    PCI is adequate for anything except video. We have AGP for this.
    Or does your HD deliver more than 100MB/s, and you desperately need gigabit ethernet, too? At the same time?

    Memory: Ever wondered why the transition from PC100 to PC133 doesnt give any significant performance advantage? Any why Celery with PC66 is pretty fast regardless?

    Commodore? The C64 CPU controlled its devices much more directly than PCs today. No DMA, no nothing. 100% cpu usage for anything IO. Be it disk, tape, or printer port.

    Disk drives loaded with basic OS and printer drivers? Hu?
  • >The inability of Alpha NT to run Intel NT binaries, and the non-existence of Alpha Win98, probably has much more to do with Intel's continuing dominance than anything else.

    Alpha is not really faster except for scientific simulations and similar.
    And its unreasonably expensive.
  • AMD cannot compete against Intel with budget CPUs only. They tried and lost. Since Intel financed their low end line with their high end monopoly.

    The high end is where the profit is.

    And a budget Athlon is underway anyways.
  • All benchmarks I saw for celeron/PC66 showed a performance similar to P3/PC100.

    P200MMX: sure, it doesnt have on-chip L2 cache like the celery.
  • faster than PC100? Probably not. Since RDRAM is a lot slower latency-wise.

    And: shortly after DDR is out it will probably be a lot less expensive than RDRAM...
  • ram size: yes, the more the better. Up to 128-256MB, depending on the application.

    faster hard drive: 22MB/sec and 9ms seek time are enough for me. EIDE. DMA. CPU usage is low. You may need to fiddle with hdparm however...

    graphics card: To be honest: For 3D you better run Windows 98. For anything else a low end 8MB card is really fast enough.
  • Hm... I remember they had a parallel cable. Pretty fast.

    Anyway, the 1541 was intelligent, too, but any data transfer still sucked up 100% CPU. On the other hand, these were no multitasking machines.

    And, admitted: the PC disk controller is extremely dumb, you cannot connect more than two drives, it doesnt know about disk zones (and therefore wastes capacity), and you cannot calculate mandelbrots with it...

    daisy chaining: sure.

    disk drives with own OS: interesting idea. But with some decent SCSI raid controller you basically have that. Of course at a decent price.
    But disk drives with an integrated filesystem and some high speed protocol would be nice...

    disk drives with printer drivers: OK, that makes some sense. But far too much hassle with the chaotic PC architecture.
  • spec: Sure. Now check the 95 versions to get exactly the opposite picture. And now figure where your preferred application is in between...

    FPU: Yes, great for running weather simulations. Completely useless for running GCC. Or SQL dbs. Or most other apps.

    For 4K you get a dual P3-700. And even a single P3-700 is most likely faster than a single $4k Alpha...

  • hm... ok, if you tested it yourself, you have more first hand facts than I have. Still, going back to the original point, PC100 memory doesnt seem to be a significant bottleneck. Right now.

    CPUMark, FPUMark: Yes, more or less useless.

    PMMX: These are not bad, I run an SQL db on one of them...
    And for the firewall: I use a 486 doorstopper...
  • A single P3-700 is most likely faster than any Alpha you can get for 4k.
    The $1000-question is:
    How much Alpha MHZ can you get for $4k (as a complete system)?

    costs for a Dual P3-700:

    p3-700: $800, x 2 = $1600
    128mb: $300
    board: $300
    scsi hd+controller: $700
    other stuff: $600
  • Re: SCSI subsystem...

    Anyone out there working on a SCSI floppy disk? IE, something that doesn't totally hork windows when you try to read from it? For that matter, does the same thing happen with SCSI CD-ROMs? I know windows gets the interrupt that a new CD-ROM has been inserted, and it completely paralyzed until it figures out (based on autoinsertion) whether or not to run anything.

    I've always thought floppy drives and CD-ROM drives could be done much much better in terms of how they interact with the PC.
  • by Vryl ( 31994 )
    word on the street is that it would run faster than intel systems. Apparently it was very good in its later incarnations. Sort of dynamic re-compilation or something.

    Of course, the alphas ran at much higher clockspeeds, but it was quite efficient . . .

  • Umm, They've had 800Mhz parts sitting in warehouses since NOVEMBER.
    where have you been?
    And yes, they've been waiting for Intel to make a move. What do you think Intel did when they totally controlled the market? They waited for a competitor to release something comparable to their current high-end stuff (or make an announcment of somethign comparable, or better), and then they would release, in volume, the next highest grade. One step ahead, or at par, all the way.

    And, IMHO, AMD could drop 1Ghz on us right now, but they aren't because they're making a killing competing with Intel the way Intel competed with them for a decade.
  • AMD just opened a huge new state-of-the-art fab in Dresden, Germany, so I don't think they're going to be having any supply problems in the near future. In fact the Dresden fab is so big that there was talk a little while ago about Motorola also using it to make G4's. Don't know what came of that though....
  • I agree with you. The mhz-race is only amusing.
    I know all these people buying the latest processors, upgrading every 3 months. They now have a whatever500mhz system, with 512 mb. So what? :-) It is not the speed of the systems that matters, it is what you do with it. I still have on my network a sun 3/80 20mhz, 12mb ram workstation, doing neat stuff. As a matter of fact, I think the mhz race is setting us back. What happens when cpu speed gets faster and ram gets cheaper? people write very horrible code, which uses 10x more ram that it should, and runs 20x slower than it should. It is very very sad, but we are actually walking back instead of forward with these. Has anyone ever seen a 3D engine running at full speed on a 386? I have, I am not talking wireframe, I am talking about shaded, and textured. If the cpu race was very slow, and we still were stuck on P100. Are you telling me, we will be behind? no way, we will be ahead, cuz when people realize that no faster cpu is coming soon, they start thinking of clever ways to do things, new better and improved algorithms are designed. Good programming pratice and what not is adopted. Ah well, tis sad,tis sad.

  • nope..we had a bunch of the oem boards a while back with no problems. compaq generally sells shitty hardware see and buy gateway (which sells amd for a long time now)...or buy oem boards. did you check the memory ? it could be a memory problem..the cpu is generally the last component to fail and the memory the first.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I bought my Athlon OEM so I don't know what's supposed to come with it but I dropped an e-mail to AMD asking if they had anything equivalent to the "Intel inside" stickers and they sent me two Athlon case badges (all the way from the States to the UK) by return of post. The e-mail to say they were coming was pretty damn prompt too. Compare that to some companies that will sit on your e-mail for weeks.

    A small thing to be sure but it's given me a warm glow about AMD


  • Have they really had these since November? I wouldn't be surprized if you're right but if you have evidence I'd be interested in seeing it. Even some good juicy rumours would be cool.

    You're certainly right about them holding back product to keep profits up. I'm sure they could release some 1Ghz parts now, but the yields wouldn't be great and it would kill the market for lower speed chips (where the yield is decent).

    Some have said they should release their fastest stuff right away to grab market share, but that would be costly. Intel (or Microsoft) can to that - and it's not a bad strategy - but when you've been losing money for so long you need to worry about short term profit or your investors will lose confidence.

    It seems to me they're playing it just about right. If the demand for Athlons suddenly took off they probably wouldn't be able to supply them. This way the supply is probably in line with the demand, Intel is looking like a poor cousin, and everybody is happy.

  • Intel announces their faster CPUs during the holidays and AMD announces _availability_ of their 800 MHz CPU in the first week back from holidays.

    Is it just me, or does it seem like they had these things sitting in the warehouse waiting for an Intel announcement. I bet if Intel had announced 850 MHz AMD would have matched that too.

  • Because MOST users don't really need SCSI. MOST users prefer the extra CPU speed to the minor improvment SCSI is. MOST users won't notice the difference between SCSI and IDE.
    Of course, to be fair most users would probably stop noticing a difference past the P233MMX/32MB/IDE mark as well. If all you're doing is Office, email and web browsing, the user or the network will be the bottleneck...
  • The reason today's software sucks is quite simple.

    Programmers are becoming more stupid:
    Today a lot of software is written in VisualBasic. 10 years ago - C was dominant. 20 years ago assembly was dominant. When you lower the barriers to entry, you get more stupid participants.

    Users are becoming more stupid:
    20 years ago a computer user would have to be pretty smart. Now, any old moron uses a computer, so the software is mostly designed for morons
    (not necessary, but true).

    People are becoming more stupid:
    This is more complicated, and only applies to 1st world. It's caused by automation making it possible for people to think less, along with the physical addictiveness of mindless ritual (iso9000 etc) leading to reduced cognitive capacity (or morons, to use the correct scientific term).

  • FYI, the Commodore 64 was not the only machine they ever made.

    For intelligent devices (such as disk drives with their own OS & drivers), see: Commodore PET, IEEE 488, Commodore 4040 and 8080 drive units, instructions for daisy-chaining two Commodore drive units, sending the drives commands, and unplugging the main computer. The disk drives would continue to operate, sending files to the printer, or copying from one drive to the next, without difficulty.

    There would be absolutely NOTHING to stop a manufacturer putting a 80486, 8 megs of RAM, and some ROMs loaded with the Linux kernel, a HD driver and some basic filesystem drivers onto a disk drive. It wouldn't cost significantly more than is already spent on disk controllers, would accelerate performance enormously, and not take resources away from the main CPU.

    The advantage? Devices which are intelligent can do their work LOCALLY. You don't need to ferry signals half-way across the motherboard to do simple calculations, and ferry the results all the way back, for each block read or written to. That is STUPID and SLOW!

    Why have disk drives with printer drivers? Easy. Where are all your files for printing? In memory? Nope! On disk. If they go through any kind of spooler, they will be on the disk drive. But, if they're on the disk drive already, why drag them all the way into memory to process? Why not just process them locally, where they are, and keep the main processor out of it? Saves time, moving all that data around, and if your disk drive is intelligent, there's precicely no overhead in doing it this way. (If anything, it reduces overhead, as you've cut out transport time, and you can move the spooler to the disk drive too, reducing your main CPU load still further.)

  • Here's a link that has a good list of Athlon motherboards that have been announced, preannounced, or are available.
    Slot A []
  • the more convinced I am that Intel has taken aim at it's foot and is loading a 10 gauge. AMD is in good position to take a big lead. Intel has wonderful parts no one can have, and AMD has good parts you can actually buy. Granted AMD has a problem with the cache speed and all, but at least you can buy em and sell them.
  • Me too. I've got an Athlon 500 at home, which, with the TNT2 Ultra I've got, feels so incredibly fast at every game I've tried...

    And I'm buying two more. Doing my part to support them.

    I don't understand why people would be buyin Intel chips - okay, Athlon motherboards are a bit more expensive and as far as I can tell, none of them support AGP 4X, but AGP 4X hasn't proved to be a big win anyway (and not many Intel boards support it). And after you pay for the Intel chip, the cheaper board doesn't win you anything.

    I've got an Asus K7M [], btw, which is a great board. Overclocking options right in the bios - woohoo!

    (Oh, and check out this article [], which basically says that you can add about 5% to all the benchmarks you've seen if you buy a newer motherboard or are lucky enough to have the newer version of the chipset that supports Super Bypass).
  • I've heard rumor that there might be some dual Athlon boards Q1 2000, but here we is and I still haven't heard anything new. *sigh*

    Perhaps my understanding of the problem isn't complete. The Athlon will support MP, and the EV6 will support MP... There's just no chipset for it yet, correct? I wonder why AMD isn't cracking on that. Seems like the Athlon would be a great Intel-killer if they got some MP motherboards out there.

    A host is a host from coast to coast...

  • I ordered one for my boss last July, via web entry and it was a nightmare - after weeks of hearing nothing got on the phone and was passed from one dept to another, eventually back to sq. 1 - the old 'runaround'. A month later we got the unit, a solo laptop, and just yesterday I dropped it off at the 'Country Store' for servicing the display and a shift key that thinks it's a tab. "When she gets it on the service bench...." I think they're the usual big company more interested in a media image of being P.C. than selling quality PC's. Quoth the admin, Nevermore.

  • The biggest bottleneck is in three parts:

    1. RAM size. People today should be running at bare minimum 64 MB, with 128 MB of RAM preferred. Even Linux users who run graphical environments like KDE or Gnome will benefit from 128 MB of RAM.

    2. Get a MUCH faster hard drive. While SCSI is the preferable solution, it's still quite expensive to implement, mostly due to the higher cost of SCSI host adapter and UW/UW2-SCSI hard drives. If your operating system can take advantage of the PIIX4E Intel chipset implmentation, you can do bus-mastering on ATA-33/66 IDE hard drives, which lifts a big load off the CPU; in that case, a good 7200 RPM hard drive is a must.

    3. Get a faster graphics card. If the new graphics card has drivers supported by the operating system, then you will get faster redraws everywhere (even beyond the 3-D graphics acceleration so much touted nowadays).
  • I couldn't agree more. The last computer I bought (a couple of years ago at this point) uses an AMD chip, and I have no complaints. AMD has established itself as a "real" competitor to Intel, which has to be good from the consumers point of view. (At least, if you buy into the whole free market idea. *grin*)

    Anyone have some benchmark numbers yet? I'd be interested in seeing how fast this baby can fly. Maybe I'll think about picking up a new machine soon.
  • This way he got something delivered to him in a few days ready to go with a warranty and customer support. He has had 0 problems with the thing for the last 3 months.

    Two months ago I and a co-worker received two PC's from Gateway. They arrived slickly packages, booted up fine and performed like champs. Until I fdisked and attempted to install first Windows NT and then Linux. No luck with either - after many tries I determined the 20 gig harddisks must be broken in some way. Over the course of 3 calls to gateway support, each time being forced to wait about 40 minutes on hold to a machine, I was told by a Gateway techie that I'd have to go download a driver to boot NT, and that, for Linux, well, sorry. When I suggested that I had never had much luck with harddisks that require a driver located on the hardisk to boot, I was advised to go onto the motherboard and start yanking cables. Gateway's techie blamed the problem on the ultra-66 control, but it turned out to be nothing of the kind.

    After hours of frustrated hardware juggling (the Gateway cables are cut exactly to length which sounds like a good idea and looks pretty but is actually stupid because you can't move anything to a new location without getting new cables) the computer still wouldn't take an install of anything. All we had for the effort were the usual skinned knuckles. Suspecting that the Gateway techie had a big problem in the cluefullness department, I went for a surf and learned that drives over 8 gig in size break the bad old bios way of addressing disk sectors, and that a bios extension was required. Gateway shipped those machines without the bios extension which had been commonly available for months. Not only that, but there wasn't even an update to fix the problem on their web page. Those machines only ever worked because they'd be juryrigged with a mysterious Win98-only hack to get around the fact that Gateway was shipping them with an obsolete bios.

    The machines went back. We were out the cost of the shipping, the time, the skinned knuckles and the high blood pressure. I specced out a similar machine and ordered it from a local, medium-sized box builder and had no problems with it at all.
  • And as for "intellegent" devices... SCSI... it's here... it's been here forever... it's just most people are too much into cost and not into quality. Yep they cost more, but they're generally faster (because they represent the high-end of disk drives) and better constructed (again, better margins means they can spend more on parts to build them).

    SCSI drives cost way more than IDE drives. Do you really think it costs that much more to make them? It doesn't.

    The drive manufacturers like having IDE around. They could produce SCSI drives at nearly the same price but they don't want to. It's better for them to sell IDE to the masses and have expensive SCSI disks around so they can get more money out of the businesses who need servers.

    Put simply, it's not a matter of how much the drives cost, it's how much people are willing to pay.

    I know this sounds like a big conspiracy (and it is) but it's really not uncommon... For example, Intel selling the Celeron cheaper than the P-II even though they cost the same to produce, or going farther back the 486SX vs. 486DX. Businesses like to have a low-end line where they can make money in volume and a high-end line where they can gouge the people who can afford to be gouged.

  • But the fact remains. SCSI is superior to IDE, for those willing to pay a premium for that performance. It produces almost zero drain on the CPU and the drives are generally much higher quality than that of IDE. That's all I'm saying... for me, i boot from IDE disks, but store all my data on UW-SCSI disks... The performance is more than worth the premium for me.
  • I'd say that disks are the biggest bottleneck today, just because memory is still too expensive to be able to fit all your apps and data in RAM. Not that you need to, but everytime the disk light lights up, that's what's eating up your time...

    And as for "intellegent" devices... SCSI... it's here... it's been here forever... it's just most people are too much into cost and not into quality. Yep they cost more, but they're generally faster (because they represent the high-end of disk drives) and better constructed (again, better margins means they can spend more on parts to build them). And with me, copying files from one disk to the other has yet to cause my CPU usage to rise more than 4%...
  • Now we just need the motherboard vendors to jump on the bandwagon. We're off to a decent start [] but more choices, and easier availability of systems and parts is needed.
  • RDRAM will NOT make your PC go much faster - sad but true! Maybe it will go a little bit faster but definately not more than you will feel from going from a 200Mhz - 550Mhz!

    AGP is not a significant bottleneck as long as your video card has enough onboard RAM, and todays cards has 32MB and the next generation will have 64MB! It's quite enough, and futhermore, more and more games (which are the ones that use all this memory) will use texture compression, which will make the demand even smaller.

    RDRAM has a huge bandwith, *but* it's latency "stinks" - it is worse than all the other kinds of memory, and often it is better to have memory with a lower latency than a higher bandwith.
    It's sad but the producents of memory hasn't been able to make memory with lower latency - the latency has been going down with a very slow rate :-(

    The main thing to faster speed is to have enough RAM - there is a major difference between having to swap to the harddisk and having enough RAM and therefore not use a swapfile!

    You're right about the harddisks - they have to be faster - much faster, they are the bottleneck right now.
  • Yeah, Western Digital is another one where you hear horror stories and glowing praise from different people.

    I had great luck. I had a 5 gig go out. I went to their automated RMA page and downloaded their diagnostic software and ran it on the drive. It came back with a defect code that I then entered on the RMA page and they e-mailed an RMA the same day.

    I shipped off the drive the next day, within 3 days I checked on the board to see if they had received it, they showed no records of the RMA number. Looking through the support posts, I saw complaints that drives had been sent in weeks ago with no word. Uh oh. I posted a message with my RMA asking what was going on. In an hour a tech posted that their RMA database was offline but he had tracked it by hand and a replacement was due to ship out the next day.

    Two days after a brand-new 6 gig was dropped off by Airborne. Sheesh was I happy. Makes you wonder what goes on when you get really good service and then you see others that are in customer service hell with the same company.

  • Like I said, amazing to me how one customer interacts with a company and has a really bad experience, then the next has an easy time. Flawed systems.

    I stick with IBM deskstar drives now, pretty much.
  • I hear both sides of this all the time...

    I've been buying computers from South Dakota since I got a 386/33 back in '90.

    Until I started building my own systems a couple years ago, I bought almost all my machines from Gateway and never had any trouble with the boxes themselves (GW2K's customer service, that's another story).

    When my Dad went to buy a new machine to replace his old one late last year, I first tried to talk him into letting me build one for him. When he brought me an ad with the P-III/500 on sale at the Gateway Country Store and asked how much it would cost to build a similar machine, I took a step back and went with hime to the store to check it out.

    They put together a very nice package for mid to entry-level machines. I could have made something pretty close, but that would have taken much more of my time than I had to space at the time and wouldn't have saved him that much time.

    This way he got something delivered to him in a few days ready to go with a warranty and customer support. He has had 0 problems with the thing for the last 3 months.

    I can recommend Gateway to anyone looking for a decent beginner to intermediate PC.

  • You may be surprised to find out that most 500MHz and 550MHz Athlons are actually 600MHz or 650MHz chips clocked down to meet demand at the "low end". There are reasonably cheap devices (GFDs -- GoldFinger Devices) which allow you to modify the multiplier and voltage of the Athlon, so you could take it upon yourself to simply run your part at a higher clock.

    I mean, granted, you should be careful and test it thoroughly, but it is notable that I know many people who've attempted this sort of "overclocking", and none of those whom I've met (who have tried it) have yet failed to run a Athlon-500 at 700MHz, and a substantial fraction of these people run theirs at 750MHz or higher.

    Just a suggestion. If you're not too timid and you're willing to take every precaution, then you could avoid spending five hundred or so dollars on an upgrade.


    PS: Since I don't post here often, I should put up a disclaimer or something: Overclock at your own risk -- burnouts happen about one out of every hundred thousand attempts for careful overclockers, so please don't kill or blame me if bad things happen as a result of an overclocking attempt (eg, I take no responsibility).

  • Since I've stopped playing games other than nibbles, tetris and such gems, the mhz-race is something I watch and giggle somewhat at.

    Try compiling some serious C++ code ... I'm running on a Celeron running at 540Mhz and sometimes it feels pretty slow ... for me (I spend most my time coding/re-compiling), CPU speed is definitely the limiting factor ...

  • Um, where did I say I was talking about the PCI bus?! I was talking about the FSB (which should be pretty obvious, unless your CPU is on the PCI bus.

    My comment was in reply to the following:
    >Memory: Ever wondered why the transition from PC100 to PC133 doesnt give any significant performanceadvantage? Any why Celery with PC66 is pretty fast regardless?

    which I thought was pretty obvious... oh well - at least your .sig is appropriate...
  • Hmm.... well, my dad's Cow (486DX-33) is still running just fine (only had a memory upgrade since he got it about what... 7 years ago...

    My faithful P-100 Cow is running for a friend of mine now... I lost a hard drive once... after a big power surge. I also know of a few friends who got cows back in 1995 when I got mine - they were really nice boxes then - standard parts, easily upgradable, nice cases. Nothing to worry about.

    Another friend has 2 cows, a P-200 and a P-II 450. He had one of the quantum drives die on him in the 200 (after some really weird stuff), but the machine was otherwise sturdy.

    If I didn't build my own, I'd probably get another one...

    From what I've heard lately though, people are nowhere near as satisfied as I was... sad. Though I personally would never go within 10 feet of a Micron, and used to like the Dell boxes, but lately, they have dissapointed me greatly...

    I just want a dual GHz Athlon (133 DDR FSB, of course). Is that too much to ask 8^)
  • Hmm... my celeron is greatly improved by the bus jump (comparing it at equal clock speeds)...

    And my P-MMX 200 is *much* faster at 2.5 * 100 (250MHz) than at 4 * 66 (266MHz)... of course, this CPU is a very limiting factor in and of itself, but the 66->100 jump is pretty significant. The 100 -> 133 is less noticable.

    Similar to the argument about 7200 vs. 10k rpm drives.

    "Bah!" - Dogbert
  • >The inability of Alpha NT to run Intel NT binaries

    Well, there's always FX!32 (or whatever). Though it is software emu, so it is painfully slow... it does work, tho...
  • Thanks for the reminder - there was some way to permanently alter the binary to be Alpha-based, and yeah - that did run pretty quick after the initial conversion - but if you are running iNT software on your alpha NT box off of a network share, it tends to not work quite as quickly.

    Let's see - 1997 - Intel 200-233ish... Alpha - 533... mmmmmmm... clock speed.
  • >All benchmarks I saw for celeron/PC66 showed a performance similar to P3/PC100.

    Yeah - I've seen some of those, too... I just choose not to believe everything (or anything). All I can tell you is that I tested the C-466/66 against the C-300(@450/100) and the 450 won out everytime by a few percent... didn't blow it away, that's for sure, but it made a difference.

    Most of the gaming benchmarks I've seen for the C vs. P-II/!!! have put the Celeron ~= with the P2/3 at the same clockspeed/FSB. Those with the same clockspeed, but the 66MHz FSB on the Celeron show a definite degradation of performance (or lack of enhanced performance, whatever).

    Tests like CPUMark, FPUMark and a lot of the "normal everyday" benches aren't as reliant on the higher bus freq as something like Q3/UT, where you are spitting so much data out to the AGP slot...

    True that on the PMMX comment... it makes a great router/firewall for the cable modem, though 8^D
  • Yeah - every company has people on the plus and minus sides...
    when that drive died - I called them (3pm sunday afternoon right after Thanksgiving 1996). They said the new one would get to me in 5-7 days (I was not thrilled). Turns out, I had it by 10 am the next morning, and the drive was a 2G to replace my 1G (just as cheap by that point).
    I was also treated with a lot of respect when I called, and other times I've called back (as recently as last year when I fried the speakers that shipped with it), I've had only good experiences - less than 8 minutes on hold, people who understand that (since I do sysadmin work) I do do know something (but I'm always willing to try what they ask, too), and when I tell them what I've done they don't say "well, I need you to do that now, anyway".

    I also know someone who wouldn't touch them with a ten foot pole, but he owns the only functioning Micron PC I've ever seen (1 of 7 ain't bad, is it?).

  • why the announcement that Gateway would start selling systems with AMD processors? I ordered a computer from them in April 1999, specifying a Celeron 400. They called me, asking if a K6-2 400 would be OK instead. I said "Sure."

    How was I to know the Micro-Star MS-5185 motherboard that the system was built on was flaky as hell? (Micro-Star doesn't even acknowledge that model's existence on their site, BTW.) Confronting Gateway about the problem resulted in them saying, "It's due to that 'Linux' thing you're running." I ended up replacing nearly half the system components. The original processor is still cranking along, though.

    Gateway will probably do well selling systems with AMD processors. They just need to make sure the other components of their systems aren't wretched crap.

  • But AMD doesn't already have market share and mind share the way Intel does. Wouldn't it help their cause more to release a slamdunk over Intel that Intel couldn't match, just to steal some market share? By inching, it gives the impression that AMD and Intel are about equal, and, all things being equal, won't most buy Intel?
  • Um, that's your frontside bus, not your PCI bus. These are not the same. Your PCI cards do NOT run at 100 MHz.
  • Also, does this mean we'll see a Kryo CoolAthlon announcement for 1.066 GHz? (upward multiplier is 133%)...drool drool....

    Yup, and you can read about it here [] on Tom's Hardware.

  • Instead of bumping your RAM speed up to 800 MhZ, why not make your RAM bus 4x larger and capable of moving 256 bits in one cycle?
  • The K6-2 533 costs exactly the same as the 533 Celeron.
  • Gateway's never really been marketing to our demographic. We like to build our own (Which we can generally do for about 1/2 to 2/3'rds the price for comparable machines.)
  • On technical merits, the Athlon is well ahead of anything Intel has, and Intel played its last ace with Coppermine, which still doesn't stand up to AMD's chips at the same clock speed. And while Windows is proof that users don't give a damn about technical merits, they DO care about speed and will always buy the fastest thing on the market because they gotta have the biggest speed dick on the block.

    AMD has a great chance to stomp Intel into the ground when Merced flops -- and it WILL flop. If AMD has the foresight to have their own 64 bit chip in the wings when Merced is released, they could take the market leadership away from Intel more at least through the end of the decade.

  • is AGP 4x, PC133 RAM, more than 3 RAM slots, and SMP on K7 MBs. VIA has a chipset they claim is already out to deal with the first three. Of course official Red Hat support would be nice also as opposed to the "it's a to recent technology to be properly tested" on there website.

    Of course, given the $100 difference between a K7@700MHz and a K7@750MHz I have fears of what the 800 price will be it, or it's availability (try to find a P3 800 without being a corporate customer to Dell, etc. and you will see what I mean)

    Also, does this mean we'll see a Kryo CoolAthlon announcement for 1.066 GHz? (upward multiplier is 133%)...drool drool....
  • Were you using Win 95? There is a Win 95 patch that fixes problems with 350+ Mghtz AMD processors. In fact, the memory errors you say you had sound like exactly one of the symptoms.
  • The processor has not been the limiting factor for some considerable time. If it had been, we'd all be using Dec Alphas by now.
    Well, there is no single limiting factor. I agree that you could improve overall performance much more drastically by speeding up the bus and main memory, and by farming out tasks to intelligent peripherals, but faster CPUs do result in noticeable performance improvements. The inability of Alpha NT to run Intel NT binaries, and the non-existence of Alpha Win98, probably has much more to do with Intel's continuing dominance than anything else.
    If you're copying files from one drive to another, there is NO reason, WHATSOEVER, for the main processor to be involved at all.
    Actually, at least one peripheral -- the video card -- has become pretty intelligent. Back before, oh, 1994? it was normal for Windows video drivers to directly manage every bit of every pixel in the graphical display. Then came now-standard "Windows accelerator cards" which basically do what you're asking for (within the video domain).

    So why did this happen for video cards, but not for disk drives? Probably because most users (who aren't running high-traffic Web sites at home) aren't complaining about the disk performance. They were complaining about video performance. Also, I'm not sure that NT or Win98 are really flexible enough to accept a plug-in replacement for the standard filesystem drivers, in which case there isn't much motivation for anyone to create such a product. (I'm assuming that a "filesystem accelerator card" would basically be a disk controller with a filesystem driver built in or loaded at boot time, which would then accept high-level filesystem requests from the OS's filesystem driver and take care of all the underlying details, just as is done with video accelerator cards.)

  • RDRAM performance only gives you a small improvement over systems with PC133 RAM [], according to the latest Windows general [] and game specific [] benchmark tests at Tom's Hardware. In the windows general test, the point spread between the i820/PC133 RAM and the i840/RDRAM is something like 25 points, with the lowest scoring 321 on the BAPco SYSMark98, and the highest at 343. In the game test, the i840 scores 122 in Q3 Arena (640x480x16), while the i820 scores 111.6. Hardly a mind boggling improvement.

    You are not going to notice that difference in a game. But you are going to feel it quite long, hard and wide in your pocket book. A whole lotta spankin' for nothin'. You can get an Athlon 750 for less, and the performance in real time is either superior, or not far enough back behind the Coppermine to justify the cost of the Coppermine/RDRAM combo.

    Likewise RDRAM + the Athlon won't mean anything, either. Athlon's support of AGP4x will mean a lot, however.

  • Kryotech [] is selling the Super G [], a 1000mhz Athlon running at a temperature of -40C.

    However, your problem is not the chip speed, but the surrounding bus speed and RAM speed. The chip runs at 1000mhz, but the Front Side Bus is only 200mhz and the RAM runs at 100mhz. YUCK! Talk about your kinks in the hose!

    The things you'll want to address before you improve your cpu speed are:
    1) RAM speed. You'll theoretically wanna blast open that blockage in the pipeline with 800mhz RDRAM, although it has been shown that this does not deliver anywhere near the astronomical improvement that it is meant to deliver.
    2) Cache speed. It runs at half the speed of the cpu - or, almost half. This needs to be rectified ASAP.
    3) AGP support. This is very important in games. I predict AGP4x will really unleash the speed demon in every computer.

    Is it any wonder that with all these bandwidth limitations, the Super Bypass only yields a 2-5% increase [] in performance over a non Super Bypass board?
  • d=1891&targeturl=

    heres news about a dual chipset being created to support both alpha and athlon.
  • I just upgraded to an Athlon 500 from an old P200MMX. Did I notice that much speed difference? Only in graphic intensive 3d games. And that's because the video card is 10 times better. It doesn't matter how fast the CPU is, there's just too many bottlenecks right now to slow it down. Now, if the Athlon MB came with support for RDRAM (and the cost of RDRAM goes down significantly) and onboard SCSI, along with an AGP 4X, then it might go faster.

  • I think a lot of Slashdotters tend to forget that there are people outside of Slashdot who buy computers. Your average home user, for example, has never heard of AMD, but ask them about Intel, and they'll tell you about funky television ads.

    Ask them what the Intel Pentium Bug is all about, or the F0 0F bug, and they won't have any idea what you're talking about.

    Average consumers, and even business consumers, are influenced by advertising, and not by technical performance. I know it's an American tradition (and even more a Linux tradition) to root for the underdog, but remember that Microsoft still has ~85% market share as far as operating systems go. That's due to the same people who would buy and Intel processor because they saw them on TV.
  • Compaq is going with AMD too - both on their desktops and on their laptops!

    Futhermore they are using Firewire instead of USB.
    This could be a serious boost for Firewire!

    The story is here:
  • I know this is slightly off topic. I was thinking about doing an "Ask Slashdot" but felt it would be wasteful. I'd like to use an Athlon on my next box and want it to run Linux/Win9x. I've heard there are some problems with some mainboards. Does anyone know for certain which work the best under Linux? I haven't seen anything on the distro sites other than "some mainboards have caused problems with Linux."

  • by Tower ( 37395 ) on Thursday January 06, 2000 @08:25AM (#1398070)
    >We need intelligent devices! Badly! Floppy drives and hard disks with their own memory and processors.

    Get a good SCSI subsystem - good cards have nice processors on them, and can have several to many megs of cache. Costs more, but so does everything in your comment...

    64 bit or 66MHz PCI (both, preferably) would be a welcome addition, and are not as cost prohibitive as many other solutions. 64-bit 33MHz devices can coexist with 32-bit devices, and still maintain the speed advantage... PCI-X makes this even better - remember PCI was designed as a cost-efficient performance bus. Mostly cheap, sorta fast, reliable. What are you using that presently ships with EISA? Yikes...

    Not that your sound card, modem, or even 10BaseT network really taxes PCI all that much... and those should all have processors, bus-mastering, and DMA (damn win-modems!).

    If you want a pretty extreme example of what you are mentioning, go look at an AS/400 - separate processors for all of the I/O functions, high speed internal busses between subsytems... and expensive... do you want to spend $1-2k for a decent system, or $80k... it's up to you...
  • by SYS2066 ( 37710 ) on Thursday January 06, 2000 @07:43AM (#1398071) Homepage
    800 mhz...

    Since I've stopped playing games other than nibbles, tetris and such gems, the mhz-race is something I watch and giggle somewhat at.

    What you really need for ordinary desktop apps is MEMORY (goes for Linux too, only slightly less than in Windows), not more mhz. And even so - Mhz is not everything for a processor, a well designed processor with slightly less Mhz can be faster than a poorly designed Mhz-rich processor.

    // Simon, remembers his 1-Mhz 8-bit computer...
  • by jd ( 1658 ) <> on Thursday January 06, 2000 @07:51AM (#1398072) Homepage Journal
    The processor has not been the limiting factor for some considerable time. If it had been, we'd all be using Dec Alphas by now.

    The -biggest- bottleneck is the bus. PCI and (E)ISA are all way too slow. I believe there's an extended version of VME, which is a seriously nice bus system. A PC with a VME bus would get a serious performance boost.

    The next biggest bottleneck is memory. It's WAAAY too slow, partly (I suspect) due to the large distances between the chips. Large distances mean a lot of time wasted synchronising and/or waiting. That's time better spent on other tasks. Fewer physically larger chips would solve this problem, by reducing the average distances travelled considerably.

    Another factor in the slowness is that chip manufacturers prefer to churn out low-cost, low-speed memory in bulk, which forces people to then buy lots more much faster memory for cache. If main memory ran at a decent speed, we wouldn't have that problem in the first place.

    A third bottleneck is in the speed of devices. These are ALL controlled by the main processor, even today. =COMMODORE= were doing better than that, in the 70's! We need intelligent devices! Badly! Floppy drives and hard disks with their own memory and processors. Not just a few scraps of cache, but enough to do useful work. If you're copying files from one drive to another, there is NO reason, WHATSOEVER, for the main processor to be involved at all.

    The same is true of printing. If you had your disk drives loaded with a basic OS and some print drivers, you wouldn't end up swapping files everywhere on the system just to get them to the printer. Computers should be designed to be efficient, rather than like a Donald Duck cartoon. Cartoons are great, but they aren't really the best place for inspiration for computer design.

Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit some people. -- F.M. Hubbard