Event Coverage

HardwareZone's 10th Anniversary: The 1998 - 1999 Era

The CPU Evolution - 1998

Technology and Hardware Highlight from 1998 to 1999

What's a look at the retro HardwareZone without delving into some of the cool hardware highlights and technology progression back then? So here's our stash of notable highlights during the 1998 to 1999 period. Have fun!

The CPU Evolution - 1998

Intel's budget processor offering, Celeron was launched in April 1998 and it would grow into a distinct brand representing the most affordable (read: low-end) of Intel's desktop processors despite undergoing various micro-architectural changes over the past ten years. The first Celerons were stripped down Pentium II processors in disguise with less cache memory and this approach of downgrading a mainstream desktop CPU of certain features and cache came to define the brand. Intel intended the Celeron to compete against lower end products from other companies like AMD and Cyrix at that time and though the original failed to live up to its expectations (those without L2 cache), some of the subsequent versions have provided excellent value, especially when overclocked. The most popular of the lot was the beloved Celeron 300A, which easily clocked to 450MHz and faster with hardly any effort.

 While not the most high profile of Intel's products, the Celeron enjoyed quite a few moments of glory, especially in the hands of overclocking enthusiasts who pushed these inexpensive chips to higher clocks to compensate for its disabled features and lesser cache. (Image shown is a Celeron 300A in a SEPP package, courtesy of Wikipedia)

AMD's excellent Athlon processors released the following year prompted the company to develop a low-end brand of its own known as the Duron in order to preserve the premium Athlon brand name. Following a similar principle as the Celeron, the Duron would also become a recognizable rival to its Intel counterpart and just like the Celeron, there were as many hits as misses in its history, depending on which micro-architecture it was based on.

A HardwareZone article in 2000 by Dr Jimmy Tang gave a clear advantage to the Duron then, a 750MHz version that received a glowing five-star review at the expense of its competition, a Celeron at 900MHz. A prescient quote from the article, "this teaches us one thing, never judge a processor by the MHz as a Duron at a lower speed rating could actually outperform a Celeron at high speed ratings."

A couple of years later, AMD was to counter Intel's NetBurst processors and their high clock speeds with a major marketing campaign that carried a similar message of not judging processor performance solely on clock speeds.

Join HWZ's Telegram channel here and catch all the latest tech news!
Our articles may contain affiliate links. If you buy through these links, we may earn a small commission.