There is a common lament in this industry that almost the moment you purchase a PC it will be surpassed by something better. Realistically though, nothing moves quite that quickly.
Let's say you bought a PC before Christmas; you know that it would take a while before the latest software starts to struggle on your machine.
But in January Intel released the Pentium Processor with MMX Technology, and broke one of the rules that was both a help and a hindrance to its phenomenal success - compatibility.
The release of the MMX processors is set to push a whole pile of specially coded multimedia-rich software into the marketplace (some are already available). While Intel promises the new software will run on average 60 per cent faster on an MMX chip, this also means it will run slower on any other processor (including a non-MMX 200MHz Pentium). That's if it will even run at all (and I have been assured some titles won't).
For anyone wanting the latest in 3-D games, it's upgrade time again.
While the MMX chip will open up a whole new range of multimedia titles, it is also testimony to Intel's marketing genius. Towards the end of last year there was talk that Moore's Law (that processor speed doubles every 18 months) may need to be downgraded, as the slow acceptance of the Pentium Pro in anything other than the server market became apparent. Most applications simply don't need the level of power it provides.
But Intel has found a new application set - multimedia - and designed a new chip around it. Instantly there is a whole new reason to upgrade that 100MHz processor.
And one of the most successful brand awareness campaigns ever - "Intel Inside" - is set for a rebirth. In order for the MMX processor to work its magic it requires specially written software, and shoppers need to be able to identify it as such. Thus, on MMX software a revamped Intel Inside logo will appear.
And have you ever noticed how no-one at Intel says what MMX stands for? Multi Media eXtensions? Millionaire Marketing eXecutives?
Well, actually, it stands for nothing. Having learnt that numbers like 386 and 486 cannot be trade-marked, Intel has decided not to take the risk with a set of initials either, and is claiming trademark on the name "MMX". Other chip designers such as Cyrix and AMD, which are able to design MMX-compatible chips, are cut out of the branding loop.
Intel has been predicted to become the world's most profitable company in 12 months - it is not difficult to see why.