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The Pentium II Overdrive




Good News for Pentium Pro Owners!

Intel has finally released it's long-promised Pentium II OverDrive processor for Pentium Pro systems: "Delivering on its commitment to offer Pentium Pro processor-based system owners an upgrade path to MMX technology, Intel Corporation today introduced the Pentium II OverDrive processor for Pentium Pro processor-based systems."

The Pentium II OverDrive processor is manufactured using Intel’s 0.25 micron process like all current Pentium II's, and has the same processor core as the Pentium II and Pentium II Xeon processors. The Pentium II OverDrive processor shares many similar technologies with the Pentium II processor, including Dual Independent Bus architecture, Dynamic Execution, Intel MMX technology, 32-KB L1 cache, and a closely coupled 512-KB L2 cache. But what really sets the Pentium II OverDrive apart from the Pentium II is the fact that on the PPro OverDrive, the L2 cache runs at the full speed of the processor, whereas on the Pentium II, the L2 cache only runs at half the speed of the processor. What this means is that a Pentium Pro OverDrive 333MHz will actually outperform a Pentium II 333MHz! Definitely worth the upgrade for Pentium Pro owners in my opinion.

On the downside however, the Pentium II OverDrive, because of it's full speed L2 cache, will be very hard to overclock to higher clock speeds. On the other hand, it may be possible to drop it into a BX/VIA Apollo Pro-based motherboard, using a Socket 8 - Slot 1 riser card, and then run it at 100x3... very interesting concept, but we'll have to wait a while to see if that will actually be possible.


Update:

Intel has confirmed that the Pentium II OverDrive processor will be clock-locked at a 5x multiplier. This means that overclocking the PII OverDrive will be pretty much impossible, as the next step up would be 375MHz (5x75).


According to Intel, the 333-MHz Pentium II OverDrive processor test results provided 200-MHz Pentium Pro processor-based PCs with an overall performance increase for standard business applications of 47 percent under Windows 95 and 39 percent under Windows NT 4.0. In tests on media-rich applications developed around Intel’s MMX technology, the 333-MHz Pentium II OverDrive processor provided an overall performance increase of 80 percent. Intel's test results show that upgrading a 150-MHz Pentium Pro processor to the 300-MHz Pentium II OverDrive processor produces even larger performance improvements on these benchmarks.

The Pentium II OverDrive processor for upgradeable Pentium Pro processor-based systems has a manufacturer’s suggested list price of $599. The same Pentium II OverDrive processor can upgrade 150- and 180-MHz Pentium Pro systems to 300 MHz, and 166- and 200-MHz systems to 333 MHz. And finally, it will be available in the second half of August - but it was definitely worth the wait!


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