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This Article was last modified in December, 1997.

The Intel Pentium Processor was the first true fifth generation CPU. It is currently available in clock speeds of 60, 66, 75, 90, 100, 120, 133, 150, 166, and 200 mhz. The original Pentium 60, and 66's operated on the same speed as the bus (60, or 66mhz), while all of the newer CPU's required a clock multiplier for the bus speed to keep up with the core speed. For example, the Pentium 75 runs at 50x1.5, and the Pentium 100 runs at 66x1.5. Due to the fact that the bus speed of the Pentium 75 had to be kept at 50mhz, it never became very popular. Also, according to Intel, the Pentium 100 can be run at 50x2, or 66x1.5; why someone would run it at 50x2 is a wonder to me - the performance of the system overall would go down drastically.

The Pentium processor family is produced using advanced semiconductor manufacturing process technology and has features that are less than a micron (one-millionth of a meter) in size. The Pentium processor 75MHz, 90MHz, 100MHz, and 120MHz are implemented in 3.3V, 0.6 micron technology, and the Pentium processor 120MHz, 133MHz, 150MHz, 166MHz, and 200MHz are implemented in 3.3V, 0.35 micron technology.


at (MHz)
Index 2.0
External Bus
with a Pentium
200 142 66 1/3 Yes 296 pins
166 127 66 2/5 Yes 296 pins
150 114 60 2/5 Yes 296 pins
133 111 66 1/2 Yes 296 pins
120 100 60 1/2 Yes 296 pins
100 90 66 or 50 2/3 or 1/2 Yes 296 pins
90 81 60 2/3 Yes 296 pins
75 67 50 2/3 Yes 296 pins

Key Features

• Superscalar Architecture • Functional Redundancy Checking
• Dynamic Branch Prediction • Execution Tracing
• Pipelined Floating-Point Unit • Performance Monitoring
• Improved Instruction Execution Time • IEEE 1149.1 Boundary Scan
• Separate 8K Code and 8K Data caches • System Management Mode
• Writeback MESI Protocol in Data Cache • Virtual Mode Extensions
• 64-Bit Data Bus • Dual Processing Support
• Bus Cycle Pipelining • SL Power Management Features
• Address Parity • Fractional Bus Operation
• Internal Parity Checking • On-Chip Local API

CPU-Central Scoring

Overclockability 90%
3D Performance 80%
Overall Performance 65%
Upgradability 80%
Compatibility 90%
Price 70%

Overclockability: Due to the fact that Intel has such high quality standards (which results in their high prices) the overclockability of their CPU's is very high. However, some of the CPU's are locked internally to certain clock multipliers, and bus speeds, and therefore make them hard or impossible to overclock.

3D Performance: Also included in the high prices of Intel CPU's is their strong FPU performance, which excels in games such as Quake (however, some would argue that the only reason 3D games perform better in Intel CPU's is due to the fact that most games are designed specifically for Intel CPU's.

Overall Performance: Compared with the new generation of CPU's, such as the Pentium II, the K6, and the 6x86MX, the performance of the classic Pentium is beginning to lag behind.

Upgradability: Intel's OverDrive CPU's make it easy to upgrade any of its' Socket7 CPU's, however, the people with Pentium 60's and 66's, and any other Pentium's that use the Socket 5 are basically out of luck. However, newer CPU's require split voltages to operate, and the motherboards that these Pentiums operate on probably don't support split voltages, so basically, the only option open for owners of these chips is a Pentium OverDrive Processor.

Compatibility: Since almost all PC games and applications are fine tuned for Pentium CPU's, owners of these chips should have almost no incompatibility problems whatsoever. However, the new generation of MMX enhanced software may not perform quite as well, or may not work, on non-MMX CPU's, such as the Pentium classic.

Price: Since Pentium MMX CPU's continue to drop in price, vendors of Pentium Classic CPU's have had to significantly drop the prices of the Pentium CPU's in order to get people to consider them. However, I recommend you just pay the extra couple of dollars and get the Pentium MMX.


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