AMD held the spotlight for a month with the release of their "ultra-fast" K6, supposedly standing for Kryptonite...the only weakness of Superman...in this case, Intel. Fortunately, for Intel's sake, AMD's Kryptonite was fairly harmless as their newly released Pentium II took the title as world's fastest x86. What gives the Pentium II its umph? Basically the Pentium II is a more advanced Pentium Pro with its L2 cache running at 1/2 the clock speed which, although is a step down from the clock speed L2 cache of the Pro, gives it the lead over AMD's K6 and Cyrix's 6x86MX. The core of the Pentium II is much like that of the AMD K6 in that it decodes complex instructions into much smaller and easier to manage RISCops, Intel's version of a RISC86 instruction (they are essentially the same thing). The 512KB of onboard cache running at 116.5MHz, 133MHz, or 150MHz (1/2 of the 233, 266, or 300MHz clock speed) does give the Pentium II a significant lead over the competitors however its high clock speed is the main differentiating factor between it and its competitors. While AMD and Cyrix are battling to get their chips up to 266MHz Intel is already working on breaking the 300MHz barrier with its upcoming line of Pentium IIs. The Pentium II does have a few unique characteristics not shared by any other competing processor:
  • SEC Slot-1 Interface - Single Edge Connector Slot-1 Interface, this is the cartridge type interface the Pentium II uses, although a bulky design we'll begin to see much more of it in the future

  • DIB - Dual Independent Bus, this feature, originally introduced with the Pentium Pro, allows the CPU and L2 cache to operate simultaneously at equal or near equivalent clock speeds.

  • Immense heat dissipation requiring a special 1LB+ Heatsink or Heatsink/Fan combo

  • Multiprocessor support for up to 2 Pentium IIs (say that one three times fast!) =)

Lets take a look at where the Pentium II is and where its going:

First Generation Intel Klamath Series Microprocessor
Chip Name Clock Speed Bus Speed x Multiplier Fab. Size
Intel Klamath 200 200MHz 66 MHz x 3.0 0.35 micron
Intel Klamath 233 233MHz 66 MHz x 3.5 0.35 micron
Intel Klamath 266 266MHz 66 MHz x 4.0 0.35 micron

Look familiar? It should, Intel originally planned for the Pentium II, then known as the Klamath to be offered in 3 different flavors: a 200MHz, 233MHz, and 266MHz version. However early benchmarks indicated that a 200MHz Klamath would easily be overshadowed by a 200MHz Pentium Pro and even a 200MHz K6. By the time Intel realized this they had already sent the specifications for the Klamath to many motherboard manufacturers, which explains why on May 5th (the introduction of the Pentium II) we could already order chips and motherboards for our new high powered systems.

First Generation Intel Pentium II MMX Series Microprocessor
Chip Name Clock Speed Bus Speed x Multiplier Fab. Size
Intel Pentium II MMX 233 233MHz 66 MHz x 3.5 0.35 micron
Intel Pentium II MMX 266 266MHz 66 MHz x 4.0 0.35 micron
Intel Pentium II MMX 300 300MHz 66 MHz x 4.5 0.35 micron

With a bit of tweaking, Intel managed to get their Klamath up to a whopping 300MHz without dropping the fabrication size, they dropped the Pentium II MMX name on it and introduced it on May 5, 33 days after the introduction of AMD's K6. Intel didn't feel like stopping there, lets take a look at some of their plans for the future:

Second Generation Intel Pentium II MMX Series Microprocessor
Chip Name Clock Speed Bus Speed x Multiplier Fab. Size
Intel Pentium II MMX 333 333MHz 66 MHz x 5.0 0.25 micron
Intel Pentium II MMX 350 350MHz 100 MHz x 3.5 0.25 micron
Intel Pentium II MMX 400 400MHz 100 MHz x 4.0 0.25 micron
Intel Pentium II MMX 450 450MHz 100 MHz x 4.5 0.25 micron

The Pentium II will eventually die out at 450MHz, but it will not go out without a bang. The Pentium II 350, 400, and 450 will all run using the upcoming 100MHz bus speed present only on the 440BX chipset (nope, not the LX as originally expected) which, along with the 350MHz+ Pentium IIs, will be released in the first half of next year.

Also making its debut mid next year will be Intel's true successor to the Pentium Pro, a 450MHz chip, with 512KB, 1MB, or 2MB of L2 cache running AT CLOCK SPEED. This processor, when coupled with the upcoming 450NX chipset will be able to support four processors as well as the 100MHz bus speed. Along with that will be a mobile Pentium II boasting a fabrication size shrink as well as a physical shrink so it can be used in laptops. Here's a small preview of what's to come:

First Generation Intel Mobile Pentium II MMX Series Microprocessor
Chip Name Clock Speed Bus Speed x Multiplier Fab. Size
Intel Pentium II MMX 233 - "Lite" 233MHz 66 MHz x 3.5 0.25 micron
Intel Pentium II MMX 266 - "Lite" 266MHz 66 MHz x 4.0 0.25 micron
Intel Pentium II MMX 300 - "Lite" 300MHz 66 MHz x 4.5 0.25 micron
Third Generation Intel Pentium II MMX Series Microprocessor
Chip Name (Cache) Clock Speed Bus Speed x Multiplier Fab. Size
Intel Deschutes 450 (512K) 450MHz 100 MHz x 4.5 0.25 micron
Intel Deschutes 450 (1024K) 450MHz 100 MHz x 4.5 0.25 micron
Intel Deschutes 450 (2048K) 450MHz 100 MHz x 4.5 0.25 micron
Intel Deschutes 500 (512K) 500MHz 100 MHz x 5.0 0.25 micron
Intel Deschutes 500 (1024K) 500MHz 100 MHz x 5.0 0.25 micron
Intel Deschutes 500 (2048K) 500MHz 100 MHz x 5.0 0.25 micron
Intel Deschutes 550 (1024K) 550MHz 100 MHz x 5.5 0.25 micron
Intel Deschutes 550 (2048K) 550MHz 100 MHz x 5.5 0.25 micron
Intel Deschutes 600 (2048K) 600MHz 100 MHz x 6.0 ???

The Deschutes should eventually hit 900MHz with a 150MHz or 300MHz bus speed, however next year it will most likely max out at 550MHz. The 600MHz should experience a small fabrication shrink to about 0.18 micron, and it, like all of the other Deschutes processors, will use a new SEC known commonly as Slot-2. It will be longer, and have more connectors that Slot-1 so we can expect another massive heatsink design from Intel in the near future.

Benchmarks (cont)
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  • aditm - Thursday, December 18, 2003 - link

    I'm a fan of Klamath generation
    My PII works greate even with new programs.\
    It's stabile and fast specialy with Microsoft programs suite.
    Eg.- After restarting one of office suite 2000 Profesional or XP (Word,Exel,PowerPoin,etc.) it apears instantly on the screan.
    With only 32 MB of RAM office XP works greate, even multimedia (.avi,.mpg[2][3][4],.dvx,.etc).
    I don't think that an AMD or any other of it's kind can do the same job.
    :)
    Reply
  • SlyNine - Friday, May 04, 2012 - link

    Time to upgrade... I love nostalgia but seriously man, it is time to upgrade. Reply

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