As we close the book on another chapter of our history we approach the year 2001 with a great deal of uncertainty.  If you remember, going into 1999 the world and the technology market in general was a much different place.  We were on the rising side of what would turn to be an incredible financial roller coaster and at the same time we were witness to the decline of competition in the market. 

The previous year had ended on a few interesting notes.  For one thing, in 1999, there was virtually no competition in the desktop PC chipset market.  Intel controlled the vast majority of the CPU market and in doing so they also controlled the majority of the chipset market as well.  We had been used to having VIA and ALi alternatives present in the Super7 motherboard market that it came as quite a shock when the only Slot-1 motherboards you could find were based on Intel chipsets. 

However if anything, 1999 was a year, which illustrated that necessity, was truly the mother of invention.  The 440BX chipset met the needs of virtually all Pentium II/III owners leaving no room for VIA to gain much market share with their delayed Apollo Pro Plus chipset. 

This same philosophy allowed AMD to finish off the year in a much better position than they started in.  The applications of the time deemed that there was no need for a new memory technology and a chipset that would force that upon the market was definitely working contrary to the necessity theme of 1999.  This allowed AMD to step forward with their Athlon and begin to gain quite a bit of ground. 

A non-Intel CPU that was actually competitive opened the way for a non-Intel chipset to step forth and provide that CPU with a home.  Not only that but with Intel's flagship chipset, the i820, being characterized as an instant failure because of its reliance on a memory technology that wasn't needed (RDRAM) at the time, the opportunity for a non-Intel chipset to gain some ground in the Pentium II/III arena. 

The calm and structured start of 1999 paved way to a volcanic eruption at the end of the year and kicked off what became commonly known as Y2K, the year 2000. 

Fast-forwarding to the present day, as we enter into the first days of 2001 it is important to take a look at where we've come from.  Y2K was packed with major product announcements, huge releases and mergers/lawsuits galore.  In order to kick off the New Year, we're taking a very in-depth look at the past 12 months. 

So buckle up as we take you through a guided tour of the ups and downs we witnessed during Y2K and analyze what these events potentially mean for this New Year. 

This first article will concentrate on the CPU, chipset and motherboard markets throughout the past year.  A similar article analyzing the graphics chip and card industry as well will follow it.

The Battle for Slot-A Motherboards
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