- A glance on the outside

- Technical characteristics

- Pentium III = Pentium II MMX-2?

- Yield: from 0 to 100 (%) in only 10 tests

- The serial number, Internet and the Big Brother

- Coppermine: authentic Pentium III?

- Conclusions

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Juan Herrerías Rey

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Pentium III: an immature mike?


Coppermine: authentic Pentium III?

We have already commented that the P3, making separate the new instructions SSE (that undoubtedly will increase the yield of the applications that use them), it does not present scarcely innovations with regard to Pentium II. But it is not that Intel is not capable of innovating, but he hopes to do it with the second version of the P3, of technical name Coppermine.

This microprocessor is waited for September; his name will not change, it will keep on being "Pentium III", but it will have many innovations with regard to the current models:

  • 600 MHz speed or more;
  • speed of 133 MHz bus;
  • technology of 0,18 microns manufacture;
  • 64 KB of cache memory L1 (probably);
  • 256 KB of cache memory L2 integrated, at the same speed as the mike.

Of these advances, the least significant is the increase of the speed to 600 MHz. The most important thing the changes are in the technology of manufacture and the cache memories; to go on from 0:25 current microns to 0,18 microns will do that the chip consumes and warms up much less, in addition to allowing speeds of approximately 800 MHz, something impossible of reaching with the current technology.

On the other hand, to increase the size of the cache memory L1 involves an increase concerning 5 ó 10 % in all kinds of applications without need to optimize, while to increase the speed of the cache memory L2 turns out to be the same way beneficial despite reducing his size, as it has been demonstrated by Celeron Mendocino, of yield practically identical to Pentium II having only the fourth part of cache memory L2. These changes in the cache memory will be evident especially in the applications ofimáticas, with which the current one P3 is not but a more expensive Pentium II.

Nevertheless, not all sound good news: to obtain these benefits we will have to use a new chipset called Way (perhaps "440JX"), successor of the current BX and the first one optimized for the P3. So I did not doubt it: it will have to change his motherboard, unless his current badge has support for the new voltage (perhaps 1,6 V?) and the new speed of 133 MHz bus (the above mentioned it is not so strange, fortunately).

Enclosed it is very probable that it has to replace the memory, due to this increase of the speed of bus to 133 MHz, excessively except for some memoirs PC100 of very high quality. It is not even clear if the new memory will be SDRAM of more speed (PC133?) or other types of memory like DDR SDRAM, SLDRAM or RDRAM. Strong good-looking Intel for the last one, for a very curious motive: the design is of his property, so the one that wants to use his debit to pay for it. Let's hope that the manufacturers, already a little full (and scared) of so much Intel monopoly should manage to gain this battle...


Official logotype of Pentium III

Do conclusions need? Well, there they go. Is Pentium III an immature mike? YES, YES, YES. But: is it a micro evil? NO, NOT, NO. Both things are true and not exclusive.

The new instructions SSE (or KNI, SIMD...) are an important advance, which will do the delights of the users of games and graphic applications in general. The idea is not original (AMD had it earlier, with his 3DNow!), but Intel has executed it frankly well; only remember that if the applications are not optimized for the new instructions, Pentium III works like a Pentium II.

Or perhaps current Pentium III we should say, since in September the combination Pentium III Coppermine + chipset Way promises a yield much major than the current one. And the fact is that, to my judgment, Intel has extracted to the market a mike almost "of tests", which lacks many advances. It is not that it is anything new in Intel; that say it to the buyers of those first Pentium 60 and 66, with incompatible sockets with the rest of Pentium, incompatible voltage, miscalculations... but at a fright price.

Ah, let's not forget that: the price. At present, a mike Pentium III to 500 MHz costs approximately 100.000 ptas: the mike only!!, the same as many computers Celeron or K6-2 finished. I dress what it offers, turns out to be an exhorbitant price, bearing in mind that a Celeron to 400 MHz with a Riva TNT or a Voodoo2 offers a yield major than a Pentium III with a videocard of lower scale... and with the money that it exceeds (because it remains) it is possible to buy a monitor of 17 ", which will last much more than Pentium III.

So I dress the panorama (incomplete services, need for optimized applications - that scarcely exist for the time being - and an exaggerated price), it is not doubt that the most intelligent option for the time being is TO WAIT. To wait for the Coppermine and Traveled the chipset, to hope that they should lower the prices, to hope that optimized applications should go out... to wait, anyway.

On the other hand, if he wants to buy right now, Pentium III be decided to 450 MHz, at least it has a more accessible price and the difference with 500 MHz that is almost insignificant. And if it is going to use neither games nor applications 3D, forget Pentium III and buy a Celeron or better an AMD K6-3... if it is that some day comes to the market, skylight.


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