We just recently put the finishing touches on our Desktop CPU Comparison for September 1999, but when you're dealing with that many different CPUs (25), it is difficult to isolate a handful that are what you are looking for. Luckily, we have the common clock speed factor that we can use as the basis for our comparison, giving us the background we need to ask the question, "Which 500MHz CPU is right for you?"

We took those 25 CPUs we compared and picked out the three 500MHz processors that are powerful enough to drive a high end gaming rig or a strong workstation yet aren't bleeding edge so they won't set you back that cold thousand for a single chip. What this comparison at 500MHz isn't designed to do is give you an idea of which CPU you can best use for your business applications or which one makes for the best web surfing machine. If you're in either of those categories then you are thinking way too high on the performance ladder and you should focus your attention on something a bit less powerful such as a slower Celeron or a K6-2. Why?

You shouldn't really care whether you can open a Word document in 5 seconds or 6 seconds. At the same time you do care about what happens when your Excel spreadsheets and Access database files start growing incredibly in size and you are running many applications alongside one another. And you happen to do more with your computer than just surf the web and type up documents.

So, what this comparison is designed to do is see how, at 500MHz, the three different processors compare in terms of performance in all categories (office, content creation, gaming, high end, and overall), in addition to price, industry support, overclockability, and future upgrade path.

So how do they stack up? Let's first have a quick specification comparison:

  Intel Celeron Intel Pentium III AMD Athlon
Transistors 19 million 9.5 million 22 million
Core Voltage 2.0v 2.0v 1.6v
MB Interface Slot-1/Socket-370 Slot-1 Slot-A
L1 Cache 16KB Data
16KB Instruction Set
16KB Data
16KB Instruction Set
64KB Data
64KB Instruction Set
L2 Cache 128KB 512KB 512KB
L2 Cache Speed CPU Clock Speed 1/2 CPU Clock Speed 1/2 CPU Clock Speed
Available Clock Speeds 300MHz - 500MHz 450MHz - 600MHz 500MHz - 650MHz
Test Setup

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