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Juan Herrerías Rey

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What is... the microprocessor?


Current microprocessors

Those who incorporate the computers that sell now in the shops. Obviously, this category has "expiry date", and in this vertiginous world of the hardware it is usually too short...


A mike almost identical to the K6-2, except for the "small detail" of which it includes 256 KB of integrated secondary cache memory, running at the speed of the mike (that is to say, to 400 MHz or more), in the style of Celeron Mendocino.

This makes him much more rapid than the K6-2 (sometimes, even more rapid than Pentium III) in applications that use very much the cache memory, like the ofimáticas or almost all those of "professional" nature; nevertheless, in a lot of games the difference is not too big (and keep on needing the use of the instructions 3DNow! to squeeze all his potential).

Celeron Mendocino in format Slot 1

Celeron "A" (with cache memory)

A very interesting review of the Celeron that includes 128 KB of secondary cache memory, the fourth part of the one that has a Pentium II. But while at Pentium II the above mentioned cache memory is employed to half of the internal speed of the mike (to 150 MHz for a Pentium II to 300 MHz, for example), at the new Celeron it is employed at the same speed as the mike, or what it is the same: to 300 MHz or more!

Celeron Mendocino in format Socket 370 (later sight)

Thanks to this, his yield is almost identical to that of a Pentium II of the same speed of clock, which has motivated that it replaces it like model of entry in the market, remaining Pentium III and 4 as models of high scale.

At present it is made only of format Socket 370, a format similar to that of the ancient Pentium of cost more exact than the Slot 1. According to the review of nucleus that it uses he needs one or another variant of this socket: PPGA for the ancient nucleus Mendocino and FC-PGA for the modern ones Coppermine-128.

For a more exhaustive study of this mike, look between the Related Topics at the paragraph of articles about microprocessors.

Pentium III Coppermine in format Socket 370 FC-PGA

Pentium III

This mike would be to Pentium II what the K6-2 was to the K6; that is to say, that his only importance difference takes root in the incorporation of a few new instructions (the SSE, Streaming SIMD Extensions), which increase the mathematical and multimedia yield... but only in applications specially optimized for it.

The first models, with nucleus Katmai, made all of the same format Slot 1 of Pentium II, but the current review Coppermine of this mike uses for the most part the Socket 370 FC-PGA.

Many we name Pentium III Coppermine "Authentic Pentium III", because, on having had his 256 KB of secondary cache memory integrated into the nucleus of the mike, his yield improves in all kinds of applications (even the not optimized ones). But perhaps it is not sufficient to win to the following mike of this list...

AMD K7 Athlon

AMD Athlon (K7)

The big AMD bet: a mike with a completely new architecture, which allows him to be the most rapid in all kinds of applications. 128 KB of cache memory of the first level (four times more than Pentium III), bus of 200 ó 266 MHz (really 100 ó 133 physical MHz with double use of every sign), 512 ó 256 KB of secondary cache memory (256 integrated KB = more rapid), instructions 3DNow! for multimedia... and the best mike of all the times in mathematical calculations (the whole change, talking each other of AMD!).

His only one and inconvenient minimum takes root in that he needs basic badges specially designed for him, due to his 200 MHz novel bus or more and to his connection methods, "Slot A" (physically equal to the Slot 1 of Intel, but incompatible with him... between other things because Intel did not want to give license to AMD to use it) or "Socket A" (a square socket similar to the Socket 370, but with many other pines). The current models use the nucleus Thunderbird, with the integrated secondary cache memory.

Photo of an AMD Duron (Socket A)

AMD Duron

Shortly: a mike almost identical to Athlon Socket A (it does not exist for Slot A) but with less secondary memory (64 KB), although integrated (that is to say, more rapid, the cache memory goes at the same speed as the mike).

Of fantastic relation quality / price, the whole jewel is also an excellent candidate for the overclocking..., despite being destined supposedly to the market "of consumption".

Pentium 4

Photo of Intel Pentium 4 - Source:

The last bet of Intel, which represents the whole change of architecture; despite his name, internally little or nothing has to do with other members of the family Pentium.

It is a question of a peculiar mike: his design allows to reach major speeds of clock (more MHz... and GHz), but providing great less potency for every MHz that the previous mikes; that is to say, that a Pentium 4 to 1,3 GHz can be much slower than a Pentium III to "only 1 GHz. To be competitive, the Pentium 4 must work to 1,7 GHz or more.

On the other hand, it includes important progress: bus of 400 MHz (100 physical MHz well used cuádruplemente) and new instructions for mathematical calculations, the SSE2. These are very necessary for the Pentium 4, since his unit of floating comma is much slower than that of the Athlon; if the software is prepared specially (optimized) for the SSE2, the Pentium 4 can be very rapid, but if not... and the case is that, for the time being, there are very few optimized applications.

For not speaking about other topics, as... good, better he reads our article dedicated to the Pentium 4, the topic of this mike is complex and very polemic.


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