Intel Pentium II - The Best, But Expensive
The Pentium II is now available in speeds up to 400 MHz. This is the warrant for Intel's lead in the PC business. No competitor is coming even near it and for the next future there won't anyone that will come close. The next company that is going to surpass the performance of a Pentium II 400 will be Intel itself with the Slot 2 CPUs and its huge L2 cache that will run at CPU clock. Intel has dropped the prices of the Pentium II CPUs running at 66 MHz front side bus so that even though the competitors are closing up to the low range Pentium II CPUs, it will still be attractive buying them.
The Pentium II offers the best overall performance, it's the fastest CPU in office, rendering as well as multimedia applications, but it is also the most expensive one.
Intel Celeron - The New Gaming CPU Of Choice, Overclocker's Dream
Most of the press doesn't like the Celeron, but this seems to me mainly due to the old fashionedness of the journalists who write about CPUs. As a matter of fact I really do like this CPU and I am absolutely sure that it has a good position in the market place. Celeron's lack of a L2 cache is the reason why it doesn't score high in office applications. However it pretty much performs as well as a Pentium MMX 233. The powerful FPU of the Deschutes core is responsible for a gaming performance which is far ahead of any Socket 7 CPU, including even overclocked Pentium MMX CPUs. This makes it a very cheap CPU for excellent game playing. Now since this CPU is targeted for the home market we shouldn't emphasize on the office application performance. How fast do you want to run your spread sheet or Winword? Does it make a difference how fast the CPU is waiting for the next user input? I dare doubting that. Everthing in the PC business is revolving around 3D nowadays, e.g. the next Intel CPU core 'Katmai' will mainly enhance 3D gaming. So what is wrong with a CPU that doesn't score astronomical Winstones, but scores excellent Quake II scores?
The biggest beauty of Celeron however is how wonderful you can overclock it. My Celeron runs up to 400/100 MHz flawlessly!!! Is that surprising? No! The most touchy thing of a Pentium II is not the core but the L2 cache. Celeron doesn't have any, which makes it overclockable up to 50% of its official clock rate. Even if Intel should disable higher multipliers, Celeron will still run 400/100, because it's the same multiplier as used for 266. My Celeron runs with multipliers of up to x5. So if you want the most fps per buck, go and get a Celeron. Buy a cheap BX board that offers you 100 MHz front side bus if you're really crazy, or get a really cheap EX board with sound and vga onboard, add a Voodoo2 card and you've got a cheap and powerful Quake II station.
The Celeron offers by far the best gaming performance for the money whilst also offering a satisfying office application performance. If you're into overclocking you will love this CPU.
Intel Pentium mmX - Oldie But Not Goldie At All Anymore
The days of the Pentium MMX are counted. Intel wants to abandon Socket 7 now since Celeron is out. The Pentium MMX offers the best gaming performance in Socket 7 whilst performing worst in office applications. You may really want to consider buying a Celeron instead of a Pentium MMX if gaming is important to you. Buy a K6 or a 6x86MX if office application performance is your main concern. These two CPUs offer a considerably higher business apps performance at a lower price.
AMD K6 - 300/66 MHz Will Get It Back Into Business
AMD's K6 is offers the best price/overall application performance ratio in Socket 7 and its new models at 266/66 and 300/66 MHz reach the office application performance of the lower Pentium II whilst still offering decent 3D gaming performance. It's a good CPU for the money, but certainly not the best thing to get if 3D gaming is important to you.
AMD K6 3D (not Released Yet) - The New Star Of 3D Gaming ... ?
The K6 3D is supposed to close the gap to Intel's Pentium II in the business application as well as 3D gaming performance area. Its 100 MHz front side bus enables business application performance that's almost as high as of a Pentium II at the same clock speed. The special 3D unit with AMD's own new SIMD instructions enables very high 3D gaming performance as long as the game takes advantage of the K6 3D features and the DirectX6 or AMD OpenGL driver is aiding the game. In this case the 3D gaming performance of the K6 3D can even surpass a Pentium II at the same and higher clock speed.
The K6 3D will be a very interesting CPU and will be responsible for extending the life of Socket 7. It is supposed to satisfy with high office as well as high 3D gaming performance.
IBM/Cyrix 6x86MX - The Cheapest Soltion For Office Applications, Don't Play 3D Games Wit It Though!
The 6x86MX is still an excellent office application performer but offering a pretty sad 3D gaming experience. Even with a Voodoo2 card wouldn't any 6x86MX CPU come even close to 25 fps in Quake II's massive1 benchmark, which means it's a complete no-no for death matchers like me.
The 6x86 offers the best office application performance for the buck, but avoid it if you want to play 3D games.
Cyrix M II - Is A New Name For An Old Product Going To Improve Sales ?
Cyrix only recently announced the 'M II 300' CPU. This CPU is nothing else than the 6x86MX at 233/66 with a new name. Hence the same things are true as said above about the 6x86MX. Good Winstone, bad 3D gaming performance, mediocre FPU performance.