Pentium III vs AMD-K6/Athlon

I just got a new computer this weekend and, while I have been aware of the P3 craze, still cannot understand the price discrepancies between computers with the intel and AMD processors. I opted for one with the AMD-K6 processor since I don’t plan on playing any processor intensive games and am very pleased with its speed so far. Can anyone tell me what the REAL differences are?

“I would far rather be ignorant than wise in the foreboding of evil.”

-Æschylus. 525-456 B. C.

Well, from what I understand, the main difference between these chips is cache. Pentium chips have cache, which helps transfer the speed into usage more efficiently. The other chips do not have cache in them, or less amounts.

Mind you, I am pulling this from memory I had with my computer science-major brother who gave me the skinny when I was shopping. I might have lost something in the translation…

Yer pal,

I’ll assume for the moment that your PC has a K6-III. The folks at AMD[/url"] like to compare it to the Pentium III. Intel, as befits their leadership position in the industry, disdains such comparisons (kind of like the 50-point-favorite incumbent doesn’t like to debate the challenger in politics). But you can find [url=]benchmark test results on its chips.

Livin’ on Tums, Vitamin E and Rogaine

Dammit. Wish I knew what I was doing wrong on that. Here



I’m too lazy to get the article, but PC Gamer tested them both and the Athlon came up on top in EVERY test.


We are the children of the Eighties. We are not the first “lost generation” nor today’s lost generation; in fact, we think we know just where we stand - or are discovering it as we speak.

What does it matter? In 6 months it be obsolete.

Anyway, the K chips tend to be hotter.

It all depends on what specific model nbr chip usually & the board has to support all the new features. really, a fast chip in a slow board doesn’t amount to much.

Thermally ? That is what I had read, a least WRT overclocking. Not nitpicking, just wanted to make sure that everyone got the correct idea when reading ‘hotter’ :slight_smile:

If you want some very qualified information on the differences and find out what some real computer junkies like you can head to and look on the discussion board.

Thanks guys. I guess Handy hit the nail on the head when he said:


“I would far rather be ignorant than wise in the foreboding of evil.”

-Æschylus. 525-456 B. C.

In a nutshell, the pentium IIs and IIIs have specialized processor functions for games and multimedia. In the P2, it was called MMX; P3 has something else. This has been Intel’s marketing angle since the P2.

When my girlfriend’s brother bought a Gateway a few months ago, the guy on the phone actually knew something about it, and said that, aside from those enhancements, there’s no real difference in the chip itself between a P2/3, a celeron, and an AMD. Unless you’re building a hotrod game/multimedia system, go with the celeron or the AMD. The K6 has beat the P3 in every test I’ve seen of raw processing power (as in ‘floating point operations per second’, not ‘polygons rendered’).

I bought an AMD as well. I don’t play games on my PC so I opted to save big bucks with AMD.

It’s not that games will suck on a Celeron or an AMD. All you’re lacking is that last 2-5% of performance, which you probably won’t notice anyway: any application that comes that close to the top end of your chip’s ability will be limited by other factors in the computer.

As long as the chip is properly rated it should be about the same. Make sure its not just performance rated.

Also, I was waiting for the new boards to come out that support ATA/66 & they are here.
Get something like that & you got some major speed improvement over the old ata 33.

Thanks guys, this is good news. I did go with the K6 and I checked: It is a K6-2, 500Mhz. Also, I don’t plan on playing too many games so I guess I guessed right! :wink:

“I would far rather be ignorant than wise in the foreboding of evil.”

-Æschylus. 525-456 B. C.

Computer Gaming World also tested both of the processors and the AMD was judged better.

Think it was on this board that I read something about an ID serial number in the Pentium III. I didn’t like that even tho they claim it is for our protection. Seemed just another invasion of privacy to me.


The K6-2/500 is a great chip for most applications. If, like most people, you want to surf the Net a bit, write some papers, balance your checkbook, maybe a couple of games, get a CD-ROM encyclopedia for the kids’ schoolwork, and so on, there is absolutely no reason to spend top dollar for the Pentium III. Most people, however, could use more RAM (memory). You can make a huge difference in the speed of your computer (I’m assuming you’re running Windows 95 or 98) by going from 32 to 64 Megabytes. Few people really need 128MB, but it can help if you run a lot of applications at the same time, or if you keep a lot of windows open.

It always amazes me how otherwise intelligent people who are usually completely honest about what they know or don’t know can spew out the most random junk about computers. I try to comfort myself with the thought that most of these people who don’t know what they are talking about are doing just fine with the system they got.

But if you want the real skinny, do yourself a favor and check out hardware central (mentioned above) or (my personal favorite. I don’t like tomshardware, because his benchmarks usually look suspiciously different from all the other sites.

Here’s a quick answer to the actual question asked:
The price difference is mostly due to that “Intel inside” sticker on the front of your case. In general terms K7(Athlon) kicks the pants off of Pentium3. Celeron when running at a comparable clockrate (500mhz vs 500mhz) does just about as well as a Pentium3. K6-2 and K6-3 do about as well as comparable clockrate Celeron/P3, and better for those applications which are optimized for them. All these chips have cache, in varying amounts and configurations. P3, K7/Athlon, and K6-2/K6-3 have special instruction sets (mmx2 for p3, 3dnow for AMD stuff).
And the most important fact of all: If you are an average user (email, websurfing, occasional Office document), they will all have more power to spare than you will use.

Thank you, Nerd, for clarifying something I have been meaning to bring up. You guys keep spouting off about the K6-2… That is comparable to the PII. The Athlon is the K7, which is comparable to the PIII. The Celeron (based on the PII) is actually just as good for gaming, but slower in business apps, like word processing and spreadsheets. The reason is the onboard cache. Cache doesn’t matter as much in gaming as it does in other applications, so the deletion of some of it doesn’t matter as much.

We are the children of the Eighties. We are not the first “lost generation” nor today’s lost generation; in fact, we think we know just where we stand - or are discovering it as we speak.