Articles Message Board Members Hardware Reviews Search Links



Pentium II

This Article was last modified in April, 1998.

On April 15, 1998, Intel released their new 350 and 400 MHz Pentium II processors. These new processors are manufactured using the same 0.25 micron manufacturing process as the new Deschutes processors, and consume much less power than the 0.35 micron Pentium II processors. However, the biggest advancement of these new Pentium II processors is their ability to run at faster bus speeds - namely the 100MHz bus speed. The Pentium II 350MHz and 400MHz run at a bus speed of 100MHz, and a multiplier of 3.5 and 4 respectively. In order to use these new Pentium II processors at the higher bus speeds, you will also need a new Pentium II motherboard based on Intel's new BX chipset. The main difference between the LX and BX chipsets is the BX's ability to use the 100MHz bus speed, as well as the async. PCI bus. What this means is that on a BX motherboard, while the main bus speed is 100MHz, the PCI bus will only run at 33MHz, making sure that all of your current peripherals work reliably.


This February, Intel released their new Pentium II processors - codenamed "Deschutes". Initially, the new Pentium II chip will be targeted at desktop and server computers, and have beenintroduced at a clock speed of 333MHz.

The deschutes is manufactured using a .25 micron process, and therefore consumes much less power, and runs much cooler than its predecessors. This fact will allow the deschutes to be the first ever Pentium II processor available for notebooks - which will replace the aging Pentium MMX processors that are currently used in laptops.

Mobile Pentium II processors will start to appear in mobile computers for the first time before the end of the first half of the year. The mobile version of Deschutes will come out in 233-MHz, 266-MHz and 300-MHz speeds, with faster versions of the chip to follow.

Intel also plans to eventually crank up Pentium II speeds to 400 MHz and later a projected 450 MHz.

Also, the new "smaller" manufacturing process will reduce the cost per chip. Once the deschutes is released, Intel will being to implement their long talked about price cuts across all of its processors.

The Deschutes will also be available for two slots, Slot 1 and Slot 2. The Slot 1 Deschutes will be targeted for home and desktop users, and will keep it's current limit of 512MB RAM. The Slot 1 Deschutes, like the current Pentium II's will not be able to support more than dual CPU systems.

The Slot 2 Deschutes, will be used in high-end servers, which will replace the ever-aging Pentium Pro. The Slot 2 Deschuted will have more L2 cache, which will also run at the CPU speed, and will be initially shipped with a 100MHz bus speed, like the K6 3D. The Slot 2 Deschuted will also be able to support more than 512MB of RAM, which is common in many high-end servers. The Slot 2 Deschutes will be shipped a while after the Slot 1 Deschutes - sometime in the second half of 1998, and will be shipped initially of clock speeds of 350 MHz, and eventually move up to 400 and 450 MHz.

The Slot 1 Deschutes is expected to debut at around $700. The release date is slated for January 26.

The Intel Pentium II

The Pentium II is Intel's next-generation Pentium processor. The Pentium II processor is currently available in speeds of 233, 266, 300, 333, and the new 350 and 400 MHz.

1st Generation Pentium II's - Klamath

- 66MHz Bus
- 0.35 micron

Available in clock speeds of:


2nd Generation Pentium II's - Deschutes

- 66MHz Bus
- 0.25 micron

Available in clock speeds of:

3rd Generation Pentium II's

- 100MHz bus
- 0.25 micron

Available in clock speeds of:


A Whole New Look
You'll notice that the Pentium II processor's got a new look - a news S.E.C. cartridge that uses the same  D.I.B. architecture as the Pentium Pro processor. The S.E.C cartridge connects to the motherboard via a Slot-1 connector, rather than the Socket-7 connector.


Dual Independent Bus architecture: Like the Pentium Pro processor, the Pentium II processor also uses the D.I.B. architecture. This technology combines both a dedicated, L2 cache bus plus an advance system bus that enables multiple simultaneous transactions.

Intel MMX™ technology: Intel's media enhancement technology enables the Pentium II processor to deliver higher performance for media, communications and 3D applications.

Dynamic Execution: The Pentium II processor uses this combination of processing techniques, first used in the Pentium Pro processor, to speed up software performance.

Single Edge Contact (S.E.C.) Cartridge: Intel's new packaging design for this and future processors, the S.E.C. cartridge, contains the Pentium II CPU.

What is S.E.C. Cartridge Packaging?
The Single Edge Contact (S.E.C.) cartridge is Intel’s new packaging design that enables higher performance to be delivered to mainstream systems.

Using this technology, the core and L2 cache are fully enclosed in a plastic and metal cartridge. These sub-components are surface mounted directly to a substrate inside the cartridge to enable high-frequency operation. The S.E.C. cartridge technology allows the use of widely available, high-performance industry BSRAMs for the dedicated L2 cache. Also, this cartridge technology allows the Pentium II processor to use the same high performance Dual Independent Bus architecture used in the Pentium Pro processor.

The Pentium II processor connects to a motherboard via a single edge connector instead of the multiple pins used in existing PGA packages. Future versions of the Pentium II processor will also be compatible with the slot 1 connector.

Intel is moving to the S.E.C. cartridge design as the solution for high-performance processors for the next decade. The first S.E.C. cartridge is designed for single and dual processing desktops, workstations and servers. Later, Intel is planning to optimize S.E.C. cartridge designs for higher performance workstations and servers and will supposedly design similar, highly integrated solutions for mobile computing systems.

Fact Sheets

Clock speed (MHz) 233 266 300
Bus Speed (MHz) 66 66 66
L1 Cache Size 16K Instruction + 16K Data 16K Instruction + 16K Data 16K Instruction + 16K Data
L1 Cache Speed 233 266 300
L2 Size 512K 512K 512K
L2 Cache Speed 117 133 150
Manuf. Process 0.35 micron 0.35 micron 0.35 micron
Die Size 560 mils/side 560 mils/side 560 mils/side
CPU Voltage 2.8V 2.8V 2.8V
Maximum Current 11.8A 12.7A 14.2A
Power (Watts) 33.6 plate; 34.8 total  37.0 plate; 38.2 total 41.4 plate; 43.0 total

Dynamic Execution Yes
MMXTM Technology Yes
D.I.B. Architecture 64 bit System Bus w/ ECC
64 bit Cache Bus w/ optional ECC*
Internal Bus Width 300 bits
Virtual Addr. Space 64 Terabytes
Physical Addr. Space 64 Gigabytes
Math Co-Processor Built-in
Superscalar Yes
CPU Transistors ~7.5 million
Package Size 5.505 inches x 2.473 inches x 0.647 inches
Package Type Single Edge Contact Cartridge,
242 pins
Level One Cache Controller Built-in
Level Two Cache Controller Built-in

CPU-Central Scoring

Overclockability 85%
3D Performance 90%
Overall Performance 95%
Upgradability 85%
Compatibility 90%
Price 45%

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. Unfortunately, Intel has disabled the higher multipliers on it's newer Pentium II CPUs, which mean that they only way to overclock them is to use higher bus speeds.

3D Performance: As in the Pentium and Pentium MMX, Intel CPU's have strong FPU performance, which excel in FPU intense games and applications. Also, the fact that the Pentium II has MMX instructions, higher clock speeds, and an advanced FP unit, this CPU is just about the best gaming processor you can get, that is, if you can afford it.

Overall Performance: The Pentium II is the most advanced processor out there for the home user. There is simply no other processor (as yet) that is able to beat it in 3D gamimg, and most typical business applications. Pentium II's are also available in much higher clock speeds than the processor's of its' competitors, which put it ahead by far.

Upgradability: According to Intel, they will continue to design CPUs for Slot 1 motherboards, which should make it easy for Pentium II owners to upgrade to future CPU's. However, With the new BX chipset boards, and 100MHz bus CPUs, most current Pentium II users will have to buy new motherboards before they can upgrade to Pentium 350 and 400 MHz CPUs.

Compatibility: As in the Pentium and Pentium MMX, almost all PC games and applications are fine tuned for Pentium CPU's, and owners of these chips should have almost no incompatibility problems whatsoever.

Price: I'll admit that for the price you pay, you get quite a processor, however, the overall price is quite high for the average home user, and lots of people will probably have to go for something less extravagent, such as the K6, or 6x86MX.


[Back] [Home]

 Opinion Polls

  Join CPU-Central

Sign up now to be notified of updates to our archive.

Copyright 2000 CPU-Central, All rights reserved.