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View Full Version : Happy 20th Birthday, Pentium!



JohnnyVolare
March 22nd, 2013, 12:37 PM
(From the Article):

"Twenty years ago today, Intel launched the Pentium 60 CPU and changed the computing world for ever. Believe it or not, a revision of the original Pentium core still lives on today, in Intelís bleeding-edge, 50-core Xeon Phi ó a plug-in coprocessor that ushers us towards exascale supercomputing..."

http://www.extremetech.com/computing/151379-happy-20th-birthday-pentium

orion24
March 22nd, 2013, 01:17 PM
Well happy birthday then.

BTW, a friend of mine is purchasing old CPUs for goldscraps and he agreed to let me test them before he scraps them. I'm currently looking into how far these CPUs (mainly Pentium & Pentium MMX) overclock and I've checked about 20 of them so far.

ClassicHasClass
March 22nd, 2013, 05:08 PM
Don't you mean it's Pentium's 20.0004835836930263th birthday? ;)

orion24
March 22nd, 2013, 08:33 PM
Don't you mean it's Pentium's 20.0004835836930263th birthday? ;)

I'm struggling big time to find a buggy Pentium 100 MHz. If I do, I'll look into the thing. In particular I'm interested in benchmarking the performance loss that occurred after the software workaround to the erratum.

ClassicHasClass
March 23rd, 2013, 06:17 AM
The zing was a little unfair, I'll grant. :) But Intel will never live it down.

The performance loss you mention is interesting, though. I never heard anything about that.

orion24
March 23rd, 2013, 09:41 AM
The zing was a little unfair, I'll grant. :) But Intel will never live it down.

The performance loss you mention is interesting, though. I never heard anything about that.

I speculate that there will be some performance loss because later operating systems were avoiding to call certain functions when they detected a CPU with the bug. I can't see this happening without a performance hit, yet I don't know if it is negligible or not. Surely I don't expect it to be anywhere near the Phenom B2 TLB erratum.

mbbrutman
March 23rd, 2013, 10:34 AM
It was a pretty big deal for the industry. From my hazy memory ...


It was the first dual pipeline in the x86 family. (Prior chips always had a single pipeline.)
It was the first of the family to always have floating point support.
It came in at about the same time as PCI, which was needed because existing buses were not going to be able to keep up
It was designed for dual CPU support too.



As a side note, it was also the last of the line from Intel to execute x86 instructions in a hardwired manner. Later chips (Pentium Pro, Pentium II, etc.) moved to using micro-ops.


Mike

Unknown_K
March 23rd, 2013, 10:59 AM
I havn't found a chip with the FPU bug yet (have a few P60/66/90's)

Caluser2000
March 23rd, 2013, 02:04 PM
I remember the hype at the time. Seemed it didn't affect day to day usage by the average Joe. Some, usually anti x86 folk, just haven't gotten over it even after all these years:cool:

No dought quite a collectable chip now.

twolazy
March 23rd, 2013, 05:56 PM
Surprised no one mentioned the F00F bug! Fun read though :D

gerrydoire
March 23rd, 2013, 06:13 PM
My first pentium was 233Mhz!

njroadfan
March 23rd, 2013, 06:14 PM
Someone here came across the actual computer that the FDIV bug was discovered on.

http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?24159-Pentium-Divider-Flaw

Anonymous Coward
March 24th, 2013, 03:13 AM
"It was the first of the family to always have floating point support."

I think this honour should really go to the 486. At least this was the case from April 1989 until September 1991 when intel gave us the 486SuX. Even then, at least the first batch of 486SX chips had an FPU...though it was defective and disabled.

mbbrutman
March 24th, 2013, 05:17 AM
The 486 started with good intentions regarding floating point but it was watered down later on. Intel did not make the same mistake with the Pentium. So what I wrote is accurate.

After the Pentium, floating point was here to stay.

Caluser2000
March 24th, 2013, 10:19 PM
To mark the occasion I bought a Compaq Presario 5522. Came complete with all the original cds and disks. Sports a P75.

Doug G
March 25th, 2013, 07:28 PM
Don't we have AMD to thank for the name? I was looking forward to upgrading to a 586 back in those days then along came this strange-sounding "Pentium" thingy. Makes me think of Druids dancing in the moonlight, not computers :)

Chuck(G)
March 25th, 2013, 08:10 PM
An even more significant birthday is the 50th anniversary of TTL (transistor-transistor-logic), introduced in 1963. A heckuva run for a single logic family--I can't think of one that lasted this long.

Ole Juul
March 25th, 2013, 11:50 PM
An even more significant birthday is the 50th anniversary of TTL (transistor-transistor-logic), introduced in 1963. A heckuva run for a single logic family--I can't think of one that lasted this long.

That really is amazing, but nevermind electronics - is there even anything else from 50 years ago which you can still buy? I can't even find decent string any more. ;)

Caluser2000
March 31st, 2013, 11:37 AM
My first pentium was 233Mhz!Mine was a 120 IIRC which replaced a 486 mobo which replaced a 286 mobo from my first x86 class machine with a flip top lid. Pre-used and well run in obviously. Only thing I've still got left from that system is is a Media Vision Thunderboard sound card. I'm usually a generation or three behind the times which suites me fine.

Unknown_K
March 31st, 2013, 12:22 PM
I jumped from a 486-160 (overclocked PCI motherboard) to a Cyrix PR-166 (ran too hot and returned in 2 weeks) to a Pentium 133. Huge speed increase for Quake which is why I made the jump.

Chuck(G)
March 31st, 2013, 05:24 PM
That really is amazing, but nevermind electronics - is there even anything else from 50 years ago which you can still buy? I can't even find decent string any more. ;)

I haven't thought about it very much, but I'm sure some diodes and linear ICs are pretty close--the LM709 and LM741 come to mind, as well as the LM723 voltage regulator.