The Worst Curse Word in Intel: MTH

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MTH: More Trouble Here

More problems with MTH devices here:

This time, it’s Timna, Intel’s successor to Celeron. Not yet.

Timna is an attempt to make a processor for really cheap PCs that integrated a memory controller and graphics onto the CPU chip.

What kind of memory controller? RDRAM, of course. Intel thought they were building a bigger, better Sony Playstation.

Mistake number one

Well, cheap RDRAM systems are an oxymoron, so instead of delaying and rebuilding the chip to use SDRAM, they built an MTH for the RDRAM

Mistake number two

Let’s play: Who Wants To Be A Stupid Millionaire?

It’s not like Intel doesn’t have a good value chip available; it’s called the Celeron.

Unfortunately, AMD will now have the Duron, which will be a better choice for your typical OEM unoverclocked system than the current Celeron. Part of that reason is that the Duron
runs at 100Mhz, while the Celly is still at 66Mhz.

We know there’s no problem running a Celeron at 100Mhz, does Intel? Or are they still so traumatized by the last Celeron generation that they’ll keep the Celeron as crippled as possible? Even though AMD has a much better competitor this time around? Or is AMD still not something to be taken seriously?

Erosion

Let’s pretend you aren’t a computing fiend. Let’s pretend you pay no real attention to this outside of what the TV set tells you.

For years, you never heard anything bad about Intel. All you heard was that ding-dong reminding you that Intel ruled.

Over the last year, what have you heard about Intel? Bad news. Intel has this problem, Intel has that problem, Intel has another delay, Intel can’t make enough, Intel gets beaten to 1Ghz, Intel has a product recall.

If you’re in the media, you certainly thought Intel ruled, probably still do. But the more stories you hear, the more you start wondering “Maybe they
aren’t so great.” Since “big company goes to hell” is always a popular story, you start paying closer attention and scrutiny. Maybe you stop swallowing the press releases whole.

No one story leaves that great an impression, but eventually, if there is a series of bad stories, they do. Just like that ding dong took a while to drill itself into people’s heads.

One of these days, people hear that ding dong and instead of thinking “Intel rules” they think, “Oh, it’s those ding dongs again.”

Every once in a while, you hear about somebody else in the picture. Maybe at this point you do, maybe you don’t remember the name “AMD,” but you know
there’s somebody else out there, and you’re not hearing bad stories about them, not even the ones that are out there. You decide to buy a computer, maybe you look into them. Some more after every bad Intel story.

The media hates a static situation, that’s not news. Corporate David vs. Goliath is always news, and to make it more newsworthy, David gets built up, slowly at first (we’re at that stage now), more quickly when it looks safe and the Empire cannot Strike Back.

So much of the Intel mystique is based on the image of invulnerability. When Goliath doesn’t look so invulnerable anymore, lots of things come out of the woodwork.

I’m not trying to say Intel is doomed to fall, or AMD is destined to rule, but image, even image that has been built up and burnished over the years, is still a fairly fragile thing. It might take a few more years to erode away, but it can happen. Start looking like a loser, and you might find how fickle your customers are.

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