Pentium chips: Pentium — Intel — WikiChip

Pentium — Intel — WikiChip

Intel Pentium
Past and current logos

Developer Intel
Manufacturer Intel
Type microprocessors
Introduction September, 1992 (announced)
May, 1993 (launch)
Architecture 32-bit superscalar implementation of IA-32 with SIMD
Word size 32 bit

4 octets
8 nibbles

Process 800 nm

0.8 μm
8.0e-4 mm

, 600 nm

0.6 μm
6.0e-4 mm

, 350 nm

0.35 μm
3.5e-4 mm

, 250 nm

0.25 μm
2.5e-4 mm

, 180 nm

0.18 μm
1.8e-4 mm

, 130 nm

0.13 μm
1.3e-4 mm

, 90 nm

0.09 μm
9. 0e-5 mm

, 65 nm

0.065 μm
6.5e-5 mm

, 45 nm

0.045 μm
4.5e-5 mm

, 32 nm

0.032 μm
3.2e-5 mm

, 22 nm

0.022 μm
2.2e-5 mm

, 14 nm

0.014 μm
1.4e-5 mm

Technology CMOS
Clock 60 MHz-3.73 GHz
Socket Socket 4, Socket 5, Socket 7, Socket 8, Socket 479, Socket 478, Socket 370, Socket M, Socket P, Socket T, Slot 1, MMC-1, MMC-2, Mini-Cartridge, PPGA-B615

Pentium is an extended family of x86 microprocessors developed by Intel since 1992. Pentium served as Intel mid-to-high end line of processors until the introduction of the Core family in 2006. Current Pentium processors are considered entry-level processors or second-tier, below the higher-end Core line, but above the low-end Celeron family. Pentium is Intel’s longest serving family of processors.


Following Intel’s previous microprocessor series (86, 286, 386, and 486), this family was set to become the 586. In an attempt to weed out the competition who were selling Intel-compatible clones, Intel filed to trademark the 586. Unfortunately, the generic numbering of the series caused its registration to be denied. In pursue after a fitting brand name they could trademark, Lexicon Branding suggested they consider a name ending in «-ium«. The -ium suffix connoted something scientific in nature (e.g. an element on the periodic table). Their research also indicated pent- connoted strength and power (e.g. Pentagon). pent- is also similar to penta- meaning 5, denoting 5th generation x86. The «Pentium» trademark was filed on July 2, 1992.

Pentium served as Intel’s mid-to-high end family of processors well into the 2000s. When the Core family was introduced in 2006, Pentium was bumped down to entry level processors and consequently also bumped down Celeron to low-end processors. Pentium is still presently a line of entry-level processors. In 2014 Intel released the Pentium 20th Anniversary Edition commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Pentium family.


Below is the timeline based on introductory date. Frequency represents the maximum frequency offered.

1992 Pentium P5 Socket 4
Socket 5
Socket 7
800 nm
600 nm
350 nm
200 MHz
Pentium Overdrive Socket 2
Socket 3
Socket 4
Socket 5
Socket 7
600 nm
Pentium Pro P6 Socket 8 600 nm
350 nm
200 MHz
1996 Pentium MMX P5 Socket 7 350 nm 233 MHz
1997 Pentium OverDrive MMX Socket 5
Socket 7
200 MHz
Pentium II P6 Slot 1
350 nm
250 nm
450 MHz
1998 Pentium II Xeon Slot 2 250 nm
Pentium II Overdrive Socket 8 333 MHz
1999 Mobile Pentium II MMC-1
350 nm
250 nm
400 MHz
Pentium III Slot 1
Socket 370
Socket 479
250 nm
130 nm
1400 MHz
Pentium III Xeon Slot 2 1000 MHz
Mobile Pentium III BGA
Socket 495
180 nm
2000 Pentium 4 Netburst Socket 423 180 nm
65 nm
3800 MHz
2001 Pentium III-M P6 BGA
Socket 479
130 nm 1330 MHz
2003 Pentium 4 Extreme Edition Netburst Socket 478
LGA 775
130 nm
90 nm
3730 MHz
Pentium M P6 Socket 479 2260 MHz
2005 Pentium D Netburst LGA 775 90 nm
65 nm
3730 MHz
Pentium Extreme Edition
2006 Pentium Dual-Core Core LGA 775
Socket M
Socket P
65 nm
45 nm
2600 MHz
2009 Pentium LGA 775 45 nm 2600 MHz

Facts about «Pentium — Intel»

RDF feed

designer Intel +
first announced September 1992 +
first launched May 1993 +
full page name intel/pentium +
instance of microprocessor extended family +
instruction set architecture IA-32 +
main designer Intel +
manufacturer Intel +
name Intel Pentium +
process 800 nm (0. 8 μm, 8.0e-4 mm) +, 600 nm (0.6 μm, 6.0e-4 mm) +, 350 nm (0.35 μm, 3.5e-4 mm) +, 250 nm (0.25 μm, 2.5e-4 mm) +, 180 nm (0.18 μm, 1.8e-4 mm) +, 130 nm (0.13 μm, 1.3e-4 mm) +, 90 nm (0.09 μm, 9.0e-5 mm) +, 65 nm (0.065 μm, 6.5e-5 mm) +, 45 nm (0.045 μm, 4.5e-5 mm) +, 32 nm (0.032 μm, 3.2e-5 mm) +, 22 nm (0.022 μm, 2.2e-5 mm) + and 14 nm (0.014 μm, 1.4e-5 mm) +
socket Socket 4 +, Socket 5 +, Socket 7 +, Socket 8 +, Socket 479 +, Socket 478 +, Socket 370 +, Socket M +, Socket P +, Socket T +, Slot 1 +, MMC-1 +, MMC-2 +, Mini-Cartridge + and PPGA-B615 +
technology CMOS +
word size 32 bit (4 octets, 8 nibbles) +

The Pentium: An Architectural History of the World’s Most Famous Desktop Processor (Part I)

Features —

John «Hannibal» Stokes kicks off a series on the growth and development of the …

Jul 12, 2004 4:10 am UTC


I’ll never forget when Intel first announced that the name for the successor to the 486 would be «Pentium.» I and most of my fellow computer nerds thought the name was silly and not suitably geeky. Everyone knew that computer components were supposed to have names with numbers in them; after all, Star Wars droids, Star Trek ships, software versions, Compuserve e-mail addresses, and every other kind of computer-related thing you could think of had a moniker consisting of some mix of numbers and letters. So what’s with a name that vaguely suggests the concept of «fiveness,» but would be more appropriate for an element or a compound?

To this day, I still have no idea who or what was responsible for the name «Pentium,» but I suppose it no longer matters. A question that’s still worth asking, though, is why the Pentium name has stuck around as the brand name for Intel’s main processor product line through no less than four major architectural changes. In a nutshell, the answer is that the Pentium brand name, having somehow made the transition from the original Pentium architecture to the radically different Pentium Pro (or P6) architecture, became synonymous with the most successful desktop microprocessor architecture of all time ? in fact, in its heyday «Pentium» became virtually synonymous with «PC.»

This series of articles takes a look at the consumer desktop processors that have borne the Pentium name, beginning with the original Pentium up through today’s Pentium 4 (Prescott) and Pentium M divisions. The overview is general enough that for the most part it should be accessible to the nonspecialist, and it should give you a sense of the major differences between each generation of Pentiums. In keeping with the Ars tag line, the article does not attempt to tell you everything about every iteration of the Pentium; instead, it covers only what you need to know.

The original Pentium

Pentium Vitals Summary Table

Introduction date: March 22, 1993
Process: 0. 8 micron
Transistor Count: 3.1 million
Clock speed at introduction: 60 and 66 MHz
Cache sizes: L1: 8K instruction, 8K data
Features: MMX added in 1997

The original Pentium is an extremely modest design by today’s standards, and when it was introduced in 1993 it wasn’t exactly a blockbuster by the standards of its RISC contemporaries, either. While its superscalar design (Intel’s first) certainly improved on the performance of its predecessor, the 486, the main thing that the Pentium had going for it was x86 compatibility. In fact, Intel’s decision to make enormous sacrifices of performance, power consumption, and cost for the sake of maintaining the Pentium’s backwards compatibility with legacy x86 code was probably the most strategically-important decision that the company has ever made.


The choice to continue along the x86 path inflicted some serious short- and medium-term pain on Intel, and a certain amount of long-term pain on the industry as a whole (how much pain depends on who you talk to), but as we’ll see the negative impact of this critical move has gradually lessened over time.

The Pentium’s two-issue superscalar architecture was fairly straightforward. It had two five-stage integer pipelines, which Intel designated U and V, and one six-stage floating-point pipeline. The chip’s front-end could do dynamic branch prediction, but as we’ll learn in a moment most of its front-end resources were spent on maintaining backwards compatibility with the x86 architecture.

Figure 1: Pentium architecture

The Pentium’s U and V integer pipes were not fully symmetric. U, as the default pipe, was slightly more capable and contained a shifter, which V lacked. The two pipelines weren’t fully independent, either; there was a set of restrictions, which I won’t waste anyone’s time outlining, that placed limits on which combinations of integer instructions could be issued in parallel. All told, though, the Pentium’s two integer pipes provided solid enough integer performance to be competitive, especially for integer-intensive office apps.

Floating-point, however, simply went from awful on the 486 to just mediocre with the Pentium ? an improvement, to be sure, but not enough to make it even remotely competitive with comparable RISC chips on the market at that time. First off, you could only issue both a floating-point and an integer operation simultaneously under extremely restrictive circumstances. This wasn’t too bad, because floating-point and integer code are rarely mixed. The killer, though, was the unfortunate design of the x87 stack-based floating-point architecture.

I’ve covered in detail the problems related to x87 before, so I won’t repeat that here. Modern x86 architectures have workarounds, like rename registers and a «free» FXCH instruction, for alleviating ? but not eliminating ? the performance disadvantages of x87’s register-starved (only eight architectural registers) and stack-based architecture. The Pentium, however, had none of these, so it suffered mightily compared to its RISC competitors. In the days before rise of PC gaming, though, when most Pentium purchasers just wanted to run DOS spreadsheet and word-processing applications, this didn’t really matter too much. It simply kept the Pentium out of the scientific/workstation market, and relegated it to the growing home and business markets.

Pentium birthday. The famous processor is 29 years old / Sudo Null IT News On this day, a solemn presentation took place, at which Intel presented to the public a new generation of processors called Pentium — chips that radically changed the familiar landscape of computer technology in the first half of the «nineties».

Microprocessor engineer and venture capitalist Vinod Dham, known only as the «Father of the Pentium», began working on the architecture of the next generation x86-compatible processors, which received the working name P5, back in 1989 year. The first prototypes appeared in 1991, after which a long process of testing a new microcircuit, eliminating shortcomings, optimizing its topology and preparing for mass production began. Initially, it was assumed that these chips would be called 80586 or i586 by analogy with the previous generation Intel processors — 386 and 486, but here the manufacturer encountered an unexpected problem. The fact is that competing companies quickly launched the production of cheaper analogues of Intel processors, which were successfully sold under similar names, such as, for example, Am486 from AMD or 486SLC/486DLC from Cyrix Corporation. To protect its products from such «piracy», Intel tried to patent the name «586», but it quickly became clear that the trademark under US law could not consist of numbers alone. That is why it was decided to name the fifth generation processors Intel Pentium — from the Greek word «pente», «five».

The official presentation of the Intel Pentium took place on March 22, 1993 — this day is considered to be the birthday of the Pentiums. Serial production of Pentium processors with a core clock speed of 60 MHz had already been established at the Intel factory in Oregon by that time. Of course, the new chip significantly surpassed the 486-series processors that reigned on the market at that time both in terms of performance and speed, thanks to which it quickly gained popularity.

The new processor was based on 800 nm technology and included 3.1 million transistors per chip. Due to the presence in its architecture of two pipelines — the main and auxiliary — Intel Pentium could execute two commands in one cycle, which significantly increased its performance. In fact, the Pentium became the first x86 processor with a multi-pipeline architecture. Thanks to the use of a 64-bit data bus, it could exchange twice as much information with memory in one cycle as compared to previous generation processors at a similar clock speed. The Intel Pentium used a 16 KB L1 cache, but at the same time it was split into 2 segments of 8 KB each for separate storage of data and instructions, which again gave a performance gain compared to 80486. The Pentium also had other important differences from its predecessors, for example , a branch prediction (branch prediction) mechanism that made it possible to use the idle time of pipelines to preload and execute instructions that should be executed after a conditional branch instruction. The Pentium’s prediction accuracy was quite high, which made it possible to further optimize the computing resources of the processor. In addition, the «Pentium» supported the system management mode (System Management Mode, SMM), which opened up the possibility of reducing its power consumption.

The first Pentium 60 model based on the P5 core was produced in a 273-pin Socket 4 package. At the same time, serial production of Intel Pentium for notebooks began, which rapidly gained popularity due to high performance, especially in games. In the same 1993, Intel launched the production of a modification with a frequency of 66 MHz, but this processor heated up much more than the first model and already required the installation of a fan (Intel Pentium 60 perfectly managed with a conventional passive cooling radiator). In addition, the percentage of defects in the manufacture of these chips was too high, which is why they were quickly removed from production, replacing them with a new version of the processor, released on the basis of 600-nanometer technology with an updated P54C core. This version was capable of operating at a frequency of 75 MHz.

It was this processor that became one of the most massive and popular in this family. In addition, it quickly became clear that Pentium processors are capable of operating in forced modes, which is why numerous instructions and methods for their “overclocking” appeared, which were successfully used, first of all, by gamers.

In 1994, Pentium processors based on the P54C core with frequencies of 90 and 100 MHz were born, and in the latter it was possible to reduce the supply voltage to 3.3 V, and the power consumption to 10.1 W. These processors were installed in a different socket — Socket 5, and their main distinguishing feature was that the clock frequency of the processor core exceeded the frequency of the system bus.

In 1995, Intel launched the little-known Pentium OverDrive series processors. They had all the features and capabilities of the first generation Pentium processors on the P5 core, but were intended for installation in Socket 2 and Socket 3, which made it possible to upgrade computers with i486 processors without replacing the motherboard. This processor worked with a voltage of 5 V, two modifications were released with frequencies of 63 and 83 MHz. However, Pentium OverDrive did not gain popularity due to the combination of high cost and low performance: in most cases, users were more profitable to invest in replacing the processor + motherboard kit, getting a computer with a higher clock speed and faster performance, which, moreover, could be upgraded in the future, a simple replacement of the processor.

Soon a modification of the Pentium core was developed under the name P54CS — these processors were produced using a 350-nanometer process technology, which made it possible to further reduce the size of the crystal. In 1995 and 1996, chips with a frequency of 120, 133, 150 and 166 MHz were born in this family.

The next milestone in Pentium history was the introduction of MMX technology and the new P55C core. Developed at the Israeli research center in Haifa, the MMX instruction set significantly improved processor performance in multimedia applications and games, and the increase could reach 60% if the new instructions were fully supported by the program itself. The first-level cache of the new Pentium MMX family was increased to 32 KB (16 for data and instructions), and the chip itself, produced using 280-nanometer technology, included 4.5 million transistors.

In January 1997, an extremely popular hit called the Intel Pentium 166 MMX was born, which broke almost all records in terms of the number of copies sold, a little later the Pentium 200 MMX joined it. The last serial processor in this family was the Intel Pentium 233 MMX, which went on sale on June 2, 1997. This chip ended the long history of Pentium processors, which began 29 years ago.

Surprisingly, some computers and laptops with Pentium processors work fine to this day, which indicates their high reliability. Of course, the Pentium II, III and IV that followed them were much more advanced, but the first generation of Intel Pentium was a real breakthrough that forever changed the world of high technology.

Intel offers a way to increase the speed of the PC to the level of the Pentium | Computerworld Russia

In mid-September, Intel joined many others in the move to Windows 95 by adding the Pentium OverDrive chip to its line of advanced processors.
A chip with a clock frequency of 83 MHz is a modification of the top-level processor.

In mid-September, Intel joined many others in the move to Windows 95, expanding its family of advanced processors with the Pentium OverDrive chip.

The 83 MHz chip is a top-level processor modification. Intel says it will provide users of 486-based systems with a way to increase performance to rival the performance of 60MHz and 75MHz Pentium-based systems.

However, despite the processor’s $299 price tag and the 50 percent performance boost Intel says the chip should provide, analysts say it’s unlikely that the vast majority of users will line up for it.

This is due to the fact that only a small part of users are limited to updating only the central processors of their machines. For any noticeable performance improvement, especially for newer applications, users of older systems will also need to improve other features such as memory, graphics, video memory, and hard drive capacity.

High prices

All this, unfortunately, significantly increases the total cost of modernization. For example, installing 4 MB of additional RAM and adding the appropriate chip would raise the price by nearly $500 per computer, not including the service charge for doing the actual upgrade work.

In addition, given the constantly decreasing prices of computers, it is understandable that for many users it may be easier to buy a new computer than to upgrade an existing one. This opinion is expressed, for example, by Tony Massimini, an analyst at Semico Research.

«It’s like putting a new engine in an old car — you don’t improve its performance unless you replace everything else,» he said.

According to Intel itself, users of some legacy systems with low hard drive and RAM capacities seem to be better off just getting new computers.

However, some users have reported that there are benefits to using the new OverDrive processor.

According to an Intel spokesperson, this chip has increased the life cycle of systems, and users have experienced an impressive increase in performance compared to modern computers based on the 486th processor with 8 MB of RAM.