Ignore Hype -- Wait before Buying Mmx

By Barry Cooper 1997 Orlando Sentinel | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), January 29, 1997 | Go to article overview

Ignore Hype -- Wait before Buying Mmx


Barry Cooper 1997 Orlando Sentinel, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


It never ends, does it? You fork over a couple of thousand dollars for a new personal computer, and you feel good about it. It's fast and powerful and works like a charm.

Then a few months later you hear about new technology that makes newer PCs even faster, more powerful, and with better sound and video - all for about the same price you paid for yours.

All of a sudden your PC doesn't seem so hot. Should you rush out and trade in your machine? Of course not. One rule of thumb in computing: Don't fall for the hype. Manufacturers are always looking for gimmicks to lure you back into stores, and they're currently dangling a carrot called MMX. Wait a while - perhaps a year - before taking this bait. Computer-chip maker Intel has found a way to beef up the performance of Pentium computers with technology it is calling MMX. With an MMX Pentium computer you're supposed to see smoother video and richer graphics, some appearing in 3-D. Even the stereo sound coming from your speakers is supposed to be more lifelike. There is just one catch: You'll experience none of that until software manufacturers begin writing programs that take advantage of MMX. That could take months, and it likely will be Christmas before we see a wide variety of MMX programs on store shelves. That means you're buying little more than promises if you purchase an MMX Pentium computer now. Eventually, the promises will be fulfilled, but they haven't been yet. What you'll get now with MMX is a machine about 15 percent faster than comparable non-MMX machines. Programs will load faster. The computer will respond more quickly to your commands. But in computers, a 15 percent increase in speed is like a blink of the eye - not a very significant difference. Real advancements won't be realized until software applications are developed for MMX. Then users will realize the great enhancements in sound and video that MMX is touting. You have to love how the manufacturers keep looking for ways to improve home computing. But few people can afford to buy a new computer every time the technology changes. You shouldn't get excited about MMX unless you're currently shopping for a new PC. The technology isn't radically different from that found in computers manufactured in the last two years. …

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