Who wouldn't remember October last year, when Intel released its successor of the Pentium III with the 'Katmai' core. The introduction of the new Pentium III with the 'Coppermine' core was essential for Intel, because this new processor was Intel's only weapon against AMD's new Athlon processor, the clear performance leader at that time. Athlon had been so much faster and even cheaper than 'Katmai', that Intel had been starting to lose face. 'Coppermine' a processor core based on 'Katmai's' core, but improved with full speed and on-die 2nd level cache that was connected to the computing units with a data path 4 times as wide as Katmai's, turned out to be significantly faster than its predecessor at the same clock speed and it could at least catch up with Athlon, although not quite overtake it. From that point of view everything should have been fine for Intel. However, a wrong decision from the past had caught up with mighty Chipzilla. Rambus started to wreck havoc with Intel's future platform plans.
Has the Force Left Intel?
One of the new features of 'Coppermine' was its support for 133 MHz front side bus speed. Higher FSB's are always welcome and so everybody should have been happy with it, if, yes, if there had been an Intel platform to support it. The Force hadn't really been with Intel last year, which is something that I appreciate, since the dark side of the Force had hit me in April 1999 as well. I had been badly betrayed by the greed of some so-called 'friends', but Intel had been betrayed by its own greed, which makes the story a bit more enjoyable. Quite a while back Intel had decided that Rambus is the memory of the future. The reason behind this decision was not necessarily the superiority of the Rambus-design, but the fact that Intel could buy a significant amount of shares of the sweet little company back then, planning to finally rule the memory market, once it had taught the world that there was only one way in the IT-business and that was Intel's way.