Sustaining Moore's Law - 10 Years of the CPU


Timeline: 2001

2001

This was the year when Intel's Pentium 4 stared to make some inroads into the Athlon's performance superiority. However, when the year started, it was not exactly the case and our first major high-end processor shootout confirmed this. Even though the Pentium 4 was not included due to it being relatively new and hardly any faster than the Pentium III. In any case, our consensus then was that "the value and performance offered by the Athlon processor is simply unbeatable. With amazing performance, affordable price and a scalable architecture, you can't deny that the AMD Athlon is fast becoming the processor of choice for power users all over the world. The AMD Athlon is clearly the winner in this category."

Mirroring the high-end result was our subsequent low-end processor shootout, which found the AMD Duron predictably clinching the award against Intel's Celeron. As succinctly expressed by us, "the Duron is a 'Natural Born Winner' and it just beats the living daylights out of an Intel Celeron."

While the K7 micro-architecture certainly deserved its time in the spotlight, its undisputed superiority would be coming to an end in the next couple of months. A new Pentium III core, the Tualatin was also released, as the chip giant sought to improve on its power efficiency. It was found to have "performance matching the Athlon, the Tualatin could very well give users a good alternative to using AMD's power hungry Athlon processor." However, it was not widely available locally. Meanwhile, Intel was ramping up the clock speed and production of its Pentium 4 and though not yet dominant, it would soon be a more interesting and competitive environment.