Published Works,  Technology Column

Tech 49

Tech
May 29, 1998

Is it just me, or are the new computer models superseding the old ones so quickly that it seems to be a blur? Recently I mentioned to the guys at my favorite computer store that I would be building a new PC to replace the three-year-old dinosaur in my home office. Once, the day I brought the cute little DX66 computer home, it WAS fast. Compared to the computers at work it was like a lightning bolt. I’m not entirely sure it was my imagination, but it seems like it has been gradually slowing down every day since. Way back when I asked, (six weeks ago) the speed processor everybody was talking about was the 200.

A couple of weeks ago, continuing my quest, I picked up the current PC magazine with the price and model comparisons in it. Right on the cover it announced a full review of the new 350 chip and a sneak preview of the just-out 400.  As I write this, the hot technology news flash of the day is the debut of the gas cooled 450 chip. What the heck is going on? “They do just keep going up don’t they!” Lee Morrison and his son run LCC, a Virginia Beach company that builds computers.

I asked Lee if you could really tell the difference between a 200 and a 300. “Sure you’d notice it. I haven’t seen a 450 yet but the Pentium II 400 from Intel can really fly! But you’d also notice a big flatness in your wallet.” Lee said. He pulled out a price sheet that told the story. The Intel 400 is almost a thousand dollars. Rodney Morrison came out of the back and had me look at the new AMD K-6 300. Honestly, to me it’s just a square part with a weird name – but Rodney says “It’s absolutely smokin’!” I believe him. It’s less than $200. “If you want to quote me,” Rodney says, “Tell folks to get a good 100 MHz bus board and a chip like that AMD. Then next year when the 450’s and the 500’s come out you can upgrade to a faster chip for a lot less.”  I’m not exactly sure what all the numbers mean either – but Rodney makes a lot of sense.

By the way the “100 MHz bus board” has nothing to do with Tidewater Rapid Transit. It’s the modern line of mother boards – the heart of your computer and where these chips like the AMD call home. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next week.