in Misc

How A Top Performance Computer Looked In The Year 2000

Computers were still young in in 2000. The generations of computers existing in 2,000 were primarily of the Pentium 3, K6-23D, and Athlon line, by AMD and Intel respectively. Cyrix processors were still being manufactured in 2,000, but they were not very competitive performing less work per clock cycle. Cyrix died out completely soon after. These processors ranged in processing power between 500 MHZ and 1 GHZ. The 1 GHZ processors were considered to be high end, and the most expensive high end processors were the Xeons manufactured by Intel on the PIII specifications.

The Xeon processors were manufactured for server and database uses, and not for the typical PC. 3D acceleration was still fairly new itself in 2,000 and there were three major competitors in the market. These competitors for the 3d market included ATI, Nvidia, and 3DFX.

In 2,000 the high end video cards were all Nvidia, ATI was still well behind, and shortly after 2,000 Nvidia purchased 3dFX. (The company who manufactured the Voodoo line of video cards.) The Voodoo line of video cards excelled in graphics, but failed to comply with typical programming specifications such as Open GL. These shortcomings caused many people to avoid them. The top performing graphics cards in 2,000 were the Nvidia TNT2, the Geforce 256, and the Geforce 2.

The leading sound cards of 2,000 were all of the Creative labs line. Sound blaster held the title of best sound card at the time. The Internet age being only 10 years old at the time and had not excelled to the point of high speed being available to everyone. During this time US robotics dominated much of the 56k. modem market. ISA expansion busses were slowly being rendered completely obsolete and replaced by the faster PCI bus, and video soon began moving towards the AGP bus.

Memory chips or RAM manufactured in 2,000 were of the SD types with the maximum memory bus speeds being 100 mhz, and 66 mhz being the standard. A typical computer manufactured in 2,000 by the leading competitors at the time Gateway, Compaq, HP, or Dell would include a Pentium 3 probably around 500 to 800 MHZ, use onboard graphics, built in audio, and SD type memory. This was obviously towards the low end spectrum of computing in 2,000 and would run a person as much as $2,000. (The irony is beautiful isn’t it?)

A high end well performing computer system in 2,000 would include a 1 GHZ P3 or AMD Athlon (First generation), 256 or 512 Megs of 100 MHZ SD-ram, a 40 to 80 gig hard drive, a Geforce 2, and a sound blaster live or compatible sound card. Surprisingly the year 2,000 was just the beginning of the gamer’s line of the computer chassis. Gamers cases and mods were still in an infantile stage at this point with most boxes being very bland.

Despite these low (to current standards) specifications a PC at the time was able to out-perform the consoles of this generation. PSX emulation was becoming more well-known and NES and SNES were already established. Even with the enhanced power of the PC many people opted for a console system due to its ease of configuration and the lack of a solid collection of games for PC. Prior to 2,000 most D.O.S. games such as Doom featured a 2D sprite based modeling system bearing more similarities to a console then what we, today, would call a computer.
The high end components of 2,000 in list format were,
Nvidia Geforce 256,
Nvidia Geforce 2,

Creative Labs Sound blaster live,

Pentium 3,

SD Ram,

Win Modem line, (Generic software 56k. processed by the computer)
Us Robotics line, (True hardware modem)


Alexandru is the co-owner of TopDesignMag. “If it looks easy, it's hard. If it looks hard, it's impossible. If it looks impossible, it's due tomorrow. At 8 A.M.”