The 90s were one of the most interesting in the hardware world, especially with regard to the processors of our PCs, since we not only saw the first superscalar processors with the Intel Pentium, but also things like execution outside of order and addition of SIMD units. And that is why we wanted to take a look at how CPU prices were in 1999, the penultimate year of that decade.
As a concrete review of those years, we can say that in 1999 Intel launched the Pentium III for the first time, which was based on the architecture of its predecessor to add the SSE unit, the first SIMD unit for x86 floating point. As for AMD, in that year they launched two processors, on the one hand the K6-III during the first half, but the biggest event for the company chaired by Lisa Su today was the launch of its K7 or Athlon architecture, with which took a giant leap in performance surpassing Intel for the first time in its history and being the first CPU architecture to support DDR memory.
How much did it cost to buy a CPU in 1999?
The image you see above corresponds to a price list of various PC components from a German store in 1999. Before we start to analyze the data, we must say that the Teutons achieved the value of the euro, which was already equivalent to two German marks. Therefore, we have to divide the prices shown in the image in half to obtain the equivalent in the common European currency.
So, if you wanted to have an Intel Pentium III at 600 MHz you had to fork out 1450 German marks or € 725 Regarding the current change, of course we must not forget that due to the effects of the so-called inflation in the face of the cost of living, a price in 1999 does not have the same real value as in 2021 and that is that if now you look at many things from ago years and you do the price conversion, you can see how the price of the hardware in many cases has become cheaper.
And how much have prices changed? Well, if the inflation level were the same in 1999 as the one we have today, then that Pentium III at 600 MHz would cost us more or less an additional 50% and we would be talking about a CPU that would be worth us in the store 1088 euros approximately, so if we compare it with a Core i9-11900K, the latter is “cheap.”
It can be said that despite the increase in manufacturing costs, the price of PC processors has been more or less maintained and therefore other components, especially graphics cards, have become more expensive over time.