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Globe covers Possible Pentium III Flop 99

DrPsycho writes "Canada's national newspaper The Globe and Mail has in its Report on Business section today an article on everyone's favorite overhyped chip, the PIII. Talks plainly about the competition Intel faces from AMD and Cyrix, as well as the problems they're having with PR and a general lack of consumer confidence. " Maybe its just me, but wasn't the 486, Pentium, PPro and P2 each predicted to be a flop? The P3 is definitely looking grim though. No major performance game. Many times more expensive. Hmm
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Globe covers Possible Pentium III Flop

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  • As far as sales go, anyway..

    - A.P.

    "One World, One Web, One Program" - Microsoft Promotional Ad

  • "that's why Intel used it to build one of the most powerful computers on earth... the ASCII-RED system."

    Yeah, and it took 9100 of the little fuckers to best machines by SGI that used about 1/10th as many processors. Real powerful stuff.

    - A.P.

    "One World, One Web, One Program" - Microsoft Promotional Ad

  • The point the person attempted to make was that PPro processors were terribly powerful. When compared to other, same-era processors, they weren't, you fucking dullard.

    - A.P.

    "One World, One Web, One Program" - Microsoft Promotional Ad

  • by J4 ( 449 )
    "to drive sales of coming products that need more "horsepower" to operate efficiently"

  • I think that even the first generation Celerons will do better than the PIII's will. The only way the PIII's will catch on is if Intel dries up the PII supplies AND AMD makes a SERIOUS mistake in their K-7 efforts (which I hope they don't).

    Only 28% of slashdot readers use Linux or *nix, while 54% of them use Windows. How ironic.

  • Of course system vendors will still put PIII
    systems high on their price sheets and push
    them whenever possible. Home users may not
    but PIII's but you can bet businesses will
    -- it is unheard of not to by the latest/greatest
    hardware in a corporate environment.
  • "Intel is positioning the Pentium III as the "Internet chip," the first microprocessor designed to take advantage of the Internet's potential to deliver full-motion video and other advanced multimedia applications."

    Huh? Wouldn't bigger pipes do a better job? So now clueless newbies will have the internet in their new 'puters. It says so right on the chip. wowzza!
  • The price issue will probably go away soon. Intel just wants to grab all they can from the rabid early adopters. When that initial sales spike starts coming down, so will the price. I do suspect that will happen faster than they anticipate, however.

    The PIII probably says more about troubles ahead for Intel. The less than exciting improvements in the PIII vs. PII shows that the chip family is probably nearing the end of it's life. There's just not much more to squeeze out of that archetecture.

    AMD could present some big problems for Intel. The K7 looks like a win. Meanwhile, Transmeta may or may not be developing the Intel killer right now. Time will tell.

  • At least with each previous generation there was a generational level increase in power.

    The P3 doesn't thrill me one bit, and I won't recommend or buy 'em. The P2s are good enough and cheap enough - 450's or even Celerons.

  • by mholve ( 1101 )
    Ever hear of a Sun/SGI workstation? :)
  • Sorry, the statements "I do real work at home"
    and "both ran win95" do not belong together.

    As for your benchmarks... Win95 is a 16 bit OS,
    PPros run slowly on it. NT or Linux run much faster on PPro than Cyrix shite. Try it.
  • Looking on pricewatch, a PIII 450 can be found for
    cheaper than 550$, whereas the lowest prices for
    the PII 450 are around 500$. The price difference isn't really as significant as the article makes it out to be. Of course, this is all kind of silly considering a Celeron 400 can easily be had for 150$ (and a K6-2 400 can be had for the same price).
    Kevin Doherty
  • Each generation of CPU Intel has come out with has been just a whee bit better and first, and then suddenly it became a whole lot better.

    Going from the 386DX33 to 486DX25 was no big deal. Going from a 486DX2/66 to a P-60 was no big deal, in fact the P60 overheated so much people generally didn't recommend it. By the time the P75/P90 came out we had 486DX4/100 which was only slightly slower.

    It wasn't until the P200 came out that things really sped up. And then the first PII was a 233 Mhz, which was quite a bit faster, but still not as awe inspiring as the PII-450.

    The Celeron 233 and 300 at first were called flops, then the 300A and 333A came out and suddenly their fantastic CPUs for a low price?

    So the PIII-500 isn't much faster... Intel's anticipating 800 Mhz available later this year.

    It'll sell. Maybe not the first version, but later revisions will become the standard, as always.

    But first we need to find the CPU bug and fix it. Don't know what the bug is, but the chip has got to have one in there somewhere, which of course will generate all sorts of media hype! :)

    Actually the big thing right now is frankly that the system bus, memory, harddrives and other I/O cannot keep up with the CPU.

    You have to remember these benchmarks like WinBench 99 are measuring complete system performance. And frankly to be honest, most people don't need a PII-450 much less a PIII-800. However there are some applications out there which do heavy compuational analysis, and for them a PIII may very well be quite a big thing.
  • FYI, the company i work for does some dsp stuff, so we got a couple katmai (PIII) chips from intel to write for. Our algorithms run about 130% faster on the PIII than on the PII.
  • The comercials for this chip seem to point at it being better for web-based multimedia...
    Eh? wasnt microsoft going to push some web based multimedia technology, called 'Chrome' - and then dropped it due to lack of interest? the p3`s only saving grace will come Later this year when the 820 mb chipset arrives and pushes the bus speed upto 133mhz and allows for r-dimms... until then, its a piece of junk.. a p2 'overdrive' for all intents and purposes... or maybe closer to a 166mhz pentium MMX, as compared to a straight 166mhz pentium. It is Dumb, in other words, for intel to be releasing and hyping this chip without the supporting technologies to increase a systems performance... they're releasing the p3 early, apparently because of amd, but without the 820 chipset al they are doing is embarasing themselves...
  • Well you almost said it all except:

    It was like this when Pentium came, it was like this when PII came, why would it be any different now? In a few months Intel will provide faster PIII's and then all the powermad will buy them.

    What I never could understand is how the last 10% is worth doubling the price for so many..


  • Assuming 100% accuracy of whatever frequency measurement equipment you used. Just because the computer itself says it's running at a particular speed doesn't necessarily make it so. All it has to work with are local oscillators and real-time clock chips. My cheap digital watch keeps time better than any PC I've ever worked with. Come to think of it, the 8088's did better than anything since.
  • My system: Celeron 463a, TNT-agp, 128meg PC100, abit bx6.
    System built for friend: K6-2 350@400, TNT-agp, 64meg PC100, Asus P5A.

    Both systems using nvidia detonator drivers & DX6.1 running win98 ( basically for games only).

    Viper racing ( d3d game) internal benchmark @ 1024x768 on my celeron 463a(4.5x103) 50.3fps, K6-2 400 (4x100) 57fps. I don't play quake, so no nuumbers there. Unreal d3d is also a little faster on the K6-2 despite the slower clock rate.
  • Well, Pentiums are interesting chips (on the ix86 market), but the reason why you have to try hard to find a Pentium box to buy is that Intel stopped production.

    So, if you only want Intel x86 chips (yes, some do), and Intel'd stop producing PII/Cel, what would you buy? yupp. A company with a "good name"'s way to sell their latest chips: Just stop selling the older ones.

    And yes, this will all change while AMD/whatever's reputation raises. But, for example, I haven't seen even a single AMD tv spot here in Germany. Intel does. And geeks are a minority in PC buyers.

  • The PPRO lived as long as it did because of it's scalability; not because of the performance of a single chip config. I don't see it as a failure. I see it as a real "workhorse" chip that held it's own long after faster single processors were available due to it's scalability in SMP configurations. Xeon changes that. Until Xeon, the fastest SMP machines were PPRO.

  • Folks,

    I remember when the Pentium II first came out--the speeds were only 233 and 266 MHz available commonly, with the 300 MHz part at over $1,000 per CPU! =:-O

    Nowadays, you can get a Celeron 400 MHz CPU that runs rings around those early PII's for about $135.

    Remember, the Pentium III CPU will arrive with the speeds of 450, 500 and 500 MHz--and that's using the .25 micron process. Once it reaches the .18 micron process, expect speeds to go to 600, 700 or even 800 MHz--and it could happen by the end of 1999. And those 800 MHz PIII machines will be running Rambus DRAM, not your current PC100 SDRAM. Any operating system that can take advantage of that speed will really be hopping along. (^_^)

    It'll be _very_ interesting to see what the AltiVec-enhanced G3's will be running at by the end of 1999--800 MHz? MacOS will be REALLY flying along at those speeds.
  • However, the massive bandwidth requirements of the Pentium III when it goes past 600 MHz and the speed of "Slot A" on the K7 _will_ require a lot faster RAM than today's PC100 SDRAM DIMM's. :-/

    Hopefully, Rambus will have stamped out its problems by the middle of this year, so those really fast machines will have the RAM necessary to run them in the first place.
  • Lets all upgrade to the newest 95% hype products: Windows 98 and Pentium III's! My computer will "work better" and be oh so much more expensive and special - right.
  • Also, there are no current use for 3D in home or biz apps. Maybe games but the K6-2 and a 3D graphics card should beat the expensive PIII.

    Check out Tom's Hardware Page for benchmarks. The geometry stage of the pipeline is still handled by the CPU, which means that floating-point is important, which means that the K6-2 loses. The best solution for gaming seems to be an overclocked Celeron (though Intel isn't going to like that any more than it likes the K6-2).

    In theory, KNI should be very useful for 3D games. However, It will rapidly become a non-issue as geometry acceleration moves to consumer graphics cards this summer.

    And I was under the impression that 3D gaming was one of the primary drivers of the consumer computing market nowadays. You don't need a PII-450 to run spreadsheets.

  • The PIII probably says more about troubles ahead for Intel. The less than exciting improvements in the PIII vs. PII shows that the chip family is probably nearing the end of it's life. There's just not much more to squeeze out of that archetecture.

    Intel has almost certainly known this for a while, but couldn't switch to a new architecture without losing their market share. Now, however, they've found a solution that works in their grand tradition of throwing silicon at problems.

    The Merced chip has been in development for a while. It has very significant problems, but it is designed to be a completely new architecture with a somewhat more sane design. Intel has decided to avoid breaking compatibility with older chips by giving it all of the old x86 operating modes, in which the chip cripples itself to act like it has the x86 register set, and emulates the x86 instruction set (not a big step, as most x86 compatible machines break x86 instructions down into RISCian micro-instructions already for easier scheduling). The cost for doing this is extra silicon (higher price and lower initial chip yields), but that's never stopped Intel before.

    A cleanly designed x86 clone will still do a much better job of running x86 code, and a cleanly designed RISC processor without x86 support cruft will still do a better job of running software in general, but Intel should be able to pull off this switch pretty effectively.

    New code will run more quickly than it could on an x86 machine, and old code will still run, so IMO people will probably spring for the Merced.

  • By Intels own admission, the Merceds x86 performance will not match a dedicated implementation.

    the Merced will most likely be more extensible than the x86, will perform better than_the_x86_,

    Sorry, I should have included the caveat:

    A Merced chip running software written for the Merced will perform a task more effectively than an x86 running software written for the x86. A Merced running software written for the x86 will run more slowly than an x86 running software for the x86, as stated in my other message. The point is that RISCian programs can be written for the Merced, while old programs can still run.

  • Have you ever actually played the same game on both and overclocked Celeron and on a K6-2.

    In the future, try reading my message before replying.

    Tom of Tom's Hardware Page _did_ carefully benchmark several games on Celerons, K6-2s, and PIIs. The K6-2 loses by a fair margin. Go to for the actual figures.

  • 5-10%? That's nonesense. I don't know where you get your numbers, but an FP-intensive app that was optimized for KNI will get TONS more of a performance boost.

    Current apps however will only have a marginal improvement, because they were not written specifically for KNI.
  • Isn't it getting a little silly to increase clock speeds by 50mhz? I mean we've got 300, 350, 400, 450, 500, 550... The percentage increase gets less and less each time. I hope they soon start jumping by 100. 600, 700, 800... That is enough of a difference to charge a premium for the higher end!
  • by Rahga ( 13479 )
    Maybe it's just me, but the Pentium Pro _was_ a flop. :)
  • First off, I do not recall any Intel CPU after the 80386 being expected to do anything other than sell like hotcakes. But that's not my point.

    According to my analyses, all chips in the Pentium family have performance that scales almost perfectly with clock speed. The "great Intel performance lie" is my name for any claim that a new Pentium has substantially better performance than an older one on the basis of architectural advances.

    The PIII is not even the first Pentium to have lower performance per clock rate than its predecessor (if in fact it does). Readers may remember reports that the Pentium Pro ran 16-bit code slower than a Pentium, and all code slower than a Pentium MMX (clock rates being equal).

    I maintain that this is the reason Intel generally doesn't make versions their older chips in the same clock rates as the new ones.

  • you couldn't be more correct. i've been saying this for years. i'm all for it, though, since it keeps costs down for the rest of us. ;)
  • This will change with the release of G4/AltiVec.

    AFAIK, AltiVec includes knew instructions that software will have to call specifically in order to take advantage of them. However, AltiVec also includes a whole new register that will be optimized for specific applications.

    The evolution of the PowerPC has another thing going for it though... with the AIM alliance Apple will be optimizing MacOS (MacOS 8.x/9.x and MacOS X) from the ground up to take advantage of AltiVec.

    Microsoft can't do this doesn't do this... and I'm not sure whether the Linux/Unix community has access to the Intel specs in order to do something similar.
  • Right, (dugh, for me :) ) of course. It makes sense that Intel would release those specs so that developers would use them.

    I disagree on the optimization of MacOS though. At WWDCC 98 and at MacWorld SF this January, Apple made it clear that it would make changes to the internal workings (networking, display rendering, 3D etc.) of the MacOS (from an API and low-level standpoint) so that they (a) take advantage of the new instructions available and (b) take full advantage of the full 128bit AltiVec register and it's interaction with the FP and Integer registers.

    I'm sure they'll be alot more clear on what this all means at WWDC 99 in May. Which should be within 6-10 months of the release of AltiVec based PowerMacs.
  • Just as a note...

    As of MacOS 8.5 networking with TCP/IP (don't know 'bout AppleTalk) it can nearly saturate a 100Mbs connection in a mixed LAN.

    I've tested it in our class LAN vs. MacOS 8.1, Windows 98, Windows NT, and FreeBSD.

    One a 100Mbs connection (transferring a 40MB file) it is faster than MacOS 8.1, and Windows 98 (by *alot*)

    It is about as fast as NT (sometimes slower, sometimes faster)

    FreeBSD still beats it easily.
  • >If that not enough there is the Tracking number issue. How many people want to go naked on the Internet ?

    The irony of this kind of cracked me up. Go to any search engine, type 'naked', and hit the button. The only useful metaphor I could draw from that is "look how many stupid people there are!"

    "I feel like a quote out of context."
  • The have Celeron for the low end. The PII's days are numbered. We might see a PII 500 (though I doubt it), but after than the clock bumps will all go into the PIII
  • Intel sells lower priced chips too. The Celeron's will go into the low end, these will go into the higher end and in time I bet this core finds its way into the eleron.
  • Whatever.

    The PPro was kept alive far to long, primarily to protect various investments in the PPro server platform. Clock speeds stayed constant after the first few months and the costs of going over 2 processors were quite high. Increacing cache sizes did little to help.

    The PII made a reasonable tradeoff. 1/2 speed cache + 2x the size let them ramp clock speeds at lower cost. The fact that Intel crippled the chip by limiting it to 2 way wasn't that big a deal for a lot of people since 4 Way PPro MBs carried a huge premium anyway.

    Going further. The PPro was slower than offering by sun, MIPS, IBM & DEC when it was released, definitely at the end of the pack. Intel used to to build the ASCI red because a) they still wanted to be in the super computer business and b) they didn't have a faster chip to use. (The customer selected ASCI-RED despite that fact that it used a slower chip because the PPros low cost meant they could use more of them, which helped provide a competitive memory bandwidth)

    As for your last point. At this late date the PPro makes a poor basis for an SMP system. Sure, you can go to 4-way, but it won't be any faster than the fastest 2-way PII (or PIII) for most code and it isn't likely to be any cheaper.
  • By Intels own admission, the Merceds x86 performance will not match a dedicated implementation.
  • Well, you could just get a Celeron instead, and spend the extra money on a VooDoo2. Or Two of them, hee hee. Of course it won't be faster, but the offset gained by the second VooDoo2 should be more than enough, for games. Or if you already have the 3d accelerator of your choice, get a 17" monitor. Or a 19" monitor. Gee, this is almost hedonistic.

    When I see PIII I want to see Pill; Abortion PIII. Suicide PIII. PIIIbug. Hee hee, I'm giddy

  • And get paid to come up with stuff like "it's the difference between a Chevy and a Ferrari". Jeez...
  • all that I have to say is this AMD K7!!!!
    PIII K7

    100MHZ bus 200MHZ bus

    64KB L1 128KB L1

    512KB L2 up to 8MB
    (Sorry not going (yes that say MB
    passed 512) not KB)

    Need I really go on
    Intel is going to be in some serious
    and I can't fucking wait!!!

    I mean even try to overclock a Pentuim II or III for that matter. HA
  • I work in sales for a company that stocks there computers with intel chips. So I will have the opportunity to go to and Intel train even next week. I will get to listen to hours of Intel telling the group how there product will do everything that you ever wanted it to and more for that matter. Now why might would I be going even though I am definantly not an Intel Fan. For on reason and one reason only. Most of the people that attend will be getting a PIII 500 on and an Intel board. And you know what I will do with this "Prize" if I win it. I will sell it to the first stupid asshole who wants to brag to his friends about being one of the first to have the PIII. And believe me people would pay quite the pretty penny for that. So I will sell it and continue on with my 400 K6 2 with two voodoo2 and a 32MB AGP card!!!
  • Any one check out motorola's AltiVec Technolahy???

    Must I say more?
  • Exactly!! Because most of the games out now don't take advantage of the super hardware... and who wants to go out and pay a crapload of money for the latest and greatest.. ( Ive done this before )
    and go.. wow!! this runs fast on my machine... when games come out that support my machine... Ill be cool.. but by the time the games do come out... you spent WAY TO MUCH MONEY on your system.. where IF YOU WOULD HAVE WAITED... you could have PAID A LOT LESS>>> hehe
  • if you have a good video card.. TNT 16 or 32 megs... I think the k62 would kill the celeron.. in fact.. when I played games with my friends who had PII with all the bells and whistles.. game play was about the same... maybe a little faster load time.. but thats about it.. cmon... unless you are going to edit video... who neeeds that much power?? unless its cheap.. and then ill jump all over it...

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle