From the release of the Pentium II in 1997 through the release of the Pentium III 600 back in 1999 Intel seemed to have everything under control. Their processors were always released on time, and upon their announcement they were immediately available for purchase both in OEM systems as well as boxed processors by end users. Motherboard manufacturers had no problem supporting Intel's processors with motherboards since they could always depend on Intel to release CPUs that would sell and increase demand for the motherboards that would be required to run them.
On the flip side of the coin, AMD was dominating little more than the low end processor market. While their K6-2 and K6-III CPUs managed to find their way into quite a few systems, and in spite of AMD's introduction of their 3DNow! instructions that helped to address their problem of poor FPU performance they simply could not compete with Intel's power in terms of obtaining a large portion of the market share. Part of the reason behind this was that the chipset support behind AMD's K6-2/K6-III platform was supplied almost exclusively by VIA and ALi, both of which had a decent amount of problems of their own (i.e. AGP compatibility), at least upon their introduction.
Unfortunately for Intel, things began to change in September of 1999. The date was 9/27/99 and it was intended to be the launch date of the successor to the BX chipset that had been alive for close to 1.5 years, the i820. The i820 was intended to be launched alongside the new Pentium III B processors that day, the P3 B processors being nothing more than 133MHz FSB versions of the regular Pentium III based on the Katmai core (512KB 1/2 speed L2 cache). The Pentium III B made its way out the door, but the i820 was no where to be seen.
To borrow a few lines from our review of the i820 chipset that launched that day:
"It’s the chipset we’ve all been told to wait for, and it’s finally here, the elusive "Camino" chipset has finally been released as the i820 on this day, the 27th of September in 1999.
Actually, no, it hasn’t. Due to a bug just recently discovered in the chipset, the i820 has been, as you’ve probably already heard, delayed until further notice. "
At that point, Intel had already given up the desktop performance throne to AMD and the fact that their next-generation chipset platform was not ready didn't help the situation at all.
A month later Intel released the Pentium III E and EB chips based on the Coppermine core (256KB full speed L2 cache), and it helped to boost performance for the Pentium III platform in comparison to the Athlon.
Over two months ago Intel's Pentium III finally hit the magic 1GHz mark (1000MHz), and for the past few weeks Intel has been announcing CPUs that fall in the 800MHz – 1GHz range in order to fill the gaps that existed in their CPU line. Today we have the final Pentium III slower than 1GHz that will be announced/released by Intel, the Pentium III 933.
We're just going to give you a quick tour of the specs of the Pentium III 933 since it isn't any different from its predecessors other than its clock speed and respective clock multiplier before getting into the benchmark comparison.