Giga Hurts

August 21, 2002

This an old, sarcastic news post from when I was in college. I apologise.

Neither AMD, Intel, or Motorola have come out with ripple chips yet, despite evidence of their popularity. SUNNYVALE, CA, USA - Advanced Micro Devices, or AMD, launched it’s fastest ever processors today, the “Athlon XP 2400” and “Athlon XP 2600.” While branded at 2400 and 2600, their clocks run at 2.0 and 2.1 gigahertz. Apple’s G4 processors are now available up to Dual 1.25 gigahertz as of last week. Of course gigahertz doesn’t mean all that much when comparing one type of processor to another. Intel is preparing its 2.8 gigahertz Pentium 4 for release in a few days. New Pentium 4 releases are always amusing for the tech community, as it gives people a chance to laugh at Intel’s new supposed “fastest chip on the market.”

Intel’s argument is simple: We’re the biggest maker of processors for PCs, so people should buy them… and gigahertz are good. Some have remarked that this is similar to Microsoft’s argument of, We’re the biggest maker of software for PCs, so people should buy it… and monopolies are good. While gigahertz aren’t bad, they’re also not helpful on their own. We consulted two analysts from IAC to comment on the situation. The first analyst provided us with an analogy. ”Someone running really fast through a complicated maze is technically faster, but might take forever to get it done. Someone jogging a simple maze might well get there quicker. Someone walking a straight line might get there even quicker. Who cares how fast you travel inside the maze? We only care when you’re done. Pentiums are runners, Athlons are joggers, and G4s are walkers.” The second analyst added, “When you punch yourself in the face, it hurts. When you fall out of a moving vehicle, it gigahurts.” No wonder he’s the second analyst.

One proposed solution to this confusion that’s leading to poor souls buying Intel chips would be to label chips in hertz, not gigahertz. “That way, people wouldn’t feel as bad about having a 2133000000hz chip as opposed to a 2800000000hz one,” said the second analyst. The first analyst pointed out that AMD and Apple are pushing to have a standard way for measuring actual performance and not just frequency. Another reason people buy Pentium 4s is the idea that size is an advantage. “I’ve always wanted a processor the size of a Boeing 747. Now I’m on my way,” commented one shopper. “If it’s a bigger chip,” said another excited computer buyer, “they can fit more gigahertzes into it! Yeah!” The large size and power consumption also makes Pentium 4s great for doorstops and foot warmers. “The P4’s superior heft makes it an ideal paperweight for my sometimes windy outdoor office,” remarked the first analyst, “also providing heat in the winter months.” The second analyst was busy at the time, attempting to eat the chip.

The author of this article has owned 4 computers, and none of them has had a Pentium in them. He does admit, however, to the Pentium 4’s superior paper weighting abilities.

© Allen Pike. See also Twitter and Steamclock.