Chips Ahoy!

Navigating The Waters

Interestingly, AMD's primary markets are small and medium-sized businesses, while Cyrix is honing in on the SOHO market. These may prove to be smart moves, say experts, since these products are extremely well-suited for entrepreneurial environments.

For cost-conscious entrepreneurs, alternative processors typically offer a better price for a given level of performance. What's more, most perform best when using business productivity applications such as word processors, spreadsheets and e-mail, Slater says.

The key to evaluating whether alternative processors are for you and your business is to understand how their performance will hold up to your requirements. For instance, Slater says most alternative processors currently perform weakly in the area of 3-D graphics and multimedia. So if you're working with image processing and high-end graphics (or like to play 3-D games in your spare time), you'll need to carefully analyze the processor's performance results when they run these kinds of applications. "Look at the benchmark ratings typical for the applications you care most about," Slater advises.

Also, you must be comfortable with purchasing a processor that isn't a "name brand." Slater predicts that as the market continues to focus on price and value, consumers will become less and less brand-conscious.

Ultimately, the growing number of Intel competitors means more choices for everyone. In the long run, having expanded options should prove advantageous for PC buyers, especially those looking to get more bang for their buck. In fact, experts believe this competition will drive PC prices even lower.

Contact Sources

AMD, 5204 E. Ben White Blvd., Mailstop 593, Austin, TX 78741, (512) 602-6882

MicroDesign Resources, http://www.mdronline.com

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This article was originally published in the April 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Chips Ahoy!.

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