Take two nearly identical Intel chips, both with 32KB of L1 cache, both running at nearly identical clock speeds, and see how well they perform against each other. Here are the specs of the tests I conducted, I tried to make them as equal as possible:

Intel Pentium MMX Intel Pentium II
Chip - Standard Clock Speed/Bus Speed Intel Pentium MMX - 233/66 Intel Pentium II MMX - 266/66
Chip - Overclocked Speed/Bus Speed Intel Pentium MMX - 290/83 Intel Pentium II MMX - 300/66
Motherboard Shuttle HOT-569 Megatrends FX83-A
Voltage Setting 3.30v Vio & Vcore N/A
RAM 2 x 32MB Megatrends SDRAM DIMMs 2 x 32MB Micron 50ns EDO SIMMs
HDD Western Digital Caviar (1.6GB) Western Digital Caviar (1.6GB)
Video Matrox Millennium (2MB WRAM) Matrox Millennium (2MB WRAM)
System Cooling Enlight 7230 ATX Tower
1.5" Heatsink/Fan Combo
Enlight 7230 ATX Tower
OEM Heatsink

Windows 95 Performance Pentium MMX vs Pentium II
Business Winstone 97

Test Intel Pentium MMX Intel Pentium II
Business Winstone 97 57.6 66.5
High End Winstone 97 Failed 34.4
CPUMark16 569 612
CPUMark 32 564 820

The Pentium MMX at 290.5, although clocked at a speed about 3% greater than the Pentium MMX 300, provided excellent competition. Its Business Winstone score of 57.6, although 8.9 points lower than the Pentium II at 300, is extremely good for a processor lacking any onchip (or in this case, "on card" cache). The difference between the CPUMark scores is very small, except whe ndealing with 32bit scores, the Pentium II's strongpoint. Who would've guessed that a < $300 chip could perform almost as well as a > $700 chip...both made by the same company! The only problem I see here is getting the Pentium MMX stable at 290.5MHz, when testing it, the system crashed a few times however I believe most of the crashes were caused by inefficient cooling (I didn't use any thermal compound). I picked the Shuttle HOT-569 to conduct the tests on because of its excellent performance and stability with the Pentium MMX at 290.5 as well as its SDRAM support. I chose the Megatrends FX83-A for all of the Pentium II tests since it is the fastest performing Pentium II motherboard I have tested so far, and it continues to prove its excellence in the Quake tests below...although you do get to see some interesting results...

WinQuake Performance Pentium MMX vs Pentium II
Business Winstone 97

Resolution Intel Pentium MMX Intel Pentium II
320 x 200 61.9 fps 57.3 fps
512 x 384 25.9 fps 35.8 fps
640 x 400 25.9 fps 31.7 fps
640 x 480 22.4 fps 31.7 fps

Why would a processor, almost twice the price of its supposedly lower performing counterpart, be outshown by it? Yep, the results say it all, at the 320 x 200 resolution under Quake the Pentium MMX at 290.5MHz is FASTER than the Pentium II! Although that trend doesn't continue to the higher resolutions, if you feel that 320 x 200 is the only resolution you want to play at there is no point in choosing the Pentium II over the Pentium MMX. I should note that I didn't use any third party performance enhancing utilities (i.e. FastVid) so I could get a raw comparison of both identically configured systems. The Pentium II rules the 512 x 384 and higher resolutions under WinQuake (or Regular Quake for that matter) however the Pentium MMX is still the fastest GLQuake performer out there (the Pentium II doesn't work too well with the voodoofx chipset).

Real World FPU Tests Pentium MMX vs Pentium II
Truespace3 Render Times

Chip Render Time (lower is better)
Intel Pentium II - 233 13:82s
Intel Pentium II - 266 11:51s
Intel Pentium II - 300 10:30s
Intel Pentium MMX 233 14:11s
Intel Pentium MMX 262.5 12:14s
Intel Pentium MMX 290.5 10:83s
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  • bankerdude - Thursday, February 9, 2012 - link

    "if you feel that 320 x 200 is the only resolution you want to play at there is no point in choosing the Pentium II over the Pentium MMX."

    320 x 200 is DEFINITELY the only resolution I want to play at!!!! Love these old articles- really puts today's technology in perspective. 320 x 200 on a PHONE is considered old news today!
  • mons2b - Saturday, October 15, 2016 - link

    And in 2016 I am reading it. Lol. I agree, I like it when they keep the old articles live. Pentium II is quite a cool CPU. Comes in a cartridge a little like the games you used to get on the old consoles. :). Probably wont see a CPU like that again.
  • ssnjimb - Thursday, December 31, 2020 - link

    Im reading this in 2020 hehehhe :-)
  • NewBro - Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - link

    How far we have come along in close to 20 years.....
  • Saabovich - Sunday, January 22, 2017 - link

    Why are so many of us reading this article in late 2016/2017?? haha
  • Hixbot - Monday, July 16, 2018 - link

    I came for purchasing advice, naturally.
  • Random Stranger - Monday, November 19, 2018 - link

    I'm planning on buying a Pentium MMX, so curious. Though my Pentium 2 clocks az 350MHz so there is no contest.
  • Rui Az - Wednesday, March 4, 2020 - link

    I just bought a Pentium III :)) I am from the time of the 8086, my first intel PC. Nostalgia
  • stefanuccio - Wednesday, June 10, 2020 - link

    I remember at the times my friend used to play quake on a pentium 133, and it ran smoothly.
    Now i find out that even pentium 2 @300mhz could handle it

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