Pentium II

This is a discussion on Pentium II within the Tech Board forums, part of the Community Boards category; Hey, I'm writing a report on Intel's Pentium II (in broad), specifically focusing on what sort of new technology and ...

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    Pentium II

    Hey,

    I'm writing a report on Intel's Pentium II (in broad), specifically focusing on what sort of new technology and architecture it brought to the market in 1997 and how it was improved over previous Intel chips. Other than what I've gotten off of Intel's site and what I'm not afraid to use off of Wikipedia, I am having trouble finding other sources for information on the architecture, advances, technologies, improvements, etc. of the Pentium 2. I am looking for anything - books, reports, websites, etc.. Can anyone give me some helpful links or information?
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    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    I was not under the impression that the Pentium II was a huge quantum leap from the Pentium I. The biggest change was probably the introduction of SSE/SSE2. I'm not sure the Pentium I had SSE.

    The big leap was from Pentium II to Pentium III when Intel went with the huge sandwich type design and moved away from the flat chip. After the III failed to dissipate heat and after numerous other issues they went back to the flat chip.

    There may have been chipset changes from I to II and there were probably some die changes and changes in the manufacturing process. There was certainly a change in the number of transistors on the II and L1 and L2 cache sizes changed quite a bit. L1 I believe was still used via the system bus on the II.

    I don't believe there were any major x86 instruction set changes and AFAIK SSE2 was mapped to the same registers as MMX. They both aliased the floating point registers FP(0) to FP(7) but only used 64 bits of the available 80 bits. MMX2 may have been introduced with the Pentium 2 which would have added some instructions to the MMX instruction set. One could argue that SSE2, MMX2, and the x86 set all comprise the x86 instruction set but I prefer to keep them separate.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 04-20-2008 at 08:34 PM.

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    Cat without Hat CornedBee's Avatar
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    The MMX instructions were added halfway through the Pentium I's lifecycle. The Pentium II may have had a few more instructions there, but SSE wasn't added until the Pentium III. On a side note, SSE doesn't share registers with the x87 FPU. Only MMX does that.

    The Pentium II was a rather insignificant CPU. It was basically a Pentium Pro (which has a very different design from the original Pentium) fitted into the Slot 1 package and at considerably higher clock speeds. The Slot 1 was the only real change of this CPU, and it turned out to be a dead end - it survived a mere one and a half CPU generations. The Pentium III Tualatin was again using a Socket package.
    Slot 1 is perhaps historically significant, because since then, chipsets and processor packages have been different for AMD and Intel. Before that, you could often use the same motherboard for Intel and AMD chips, as long as they used a compatible socket. But the Pentium II used Slot 1, the Athlon used Slot A, the Tualatin Socket 370 and later Athlons Socket A. Since then, motherboards differ significantly for the two producers.


    If you're looking for reliable information on this stuff, I suggest you go to a technical library and scour technical magazines of the time. The library should have a search index.
    Last edited by CornedBee; 04-21-2008 at 02:32 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CornedBee View Post
    Slot 1 is perhaps historically significant, because since then, chipsets and processor packages have been different for AMD and Intel. Before that, you could often use the same motherboard for Intel and AMD chips, as long as they used a compatible socket. But the Pentium II used Slot 1, the Athlon used Slot A, the Tualatin Socket 370 and later Athlons Socket A. Since then, motherboards differ significantly for the two producers.
    Yes, this was something that Intel forced AMD to agree to, to avoid "socket stealing" [which is when one company "steals" the business of another simply by replacing what goes into a socket because the parts are pin-compatible]. This probably actually HELPED AMD more than it did Intel, since AMD got the "fire under the but" to come up with a new processor interface - so why not make a better one...

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    and the hat of wrongness Salem's Avatar
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    As I said in my initial post, I do not want to use Wikipedia.

    Thanks for the information, it's given me some good stuff to look into.
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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    If there is one thing I seem to remember about the Pentium II (as well as its bigger brother PII Xeon) as being their major contribution to the world of computing, albeit I may be confusing events (for which I would appreciate any correction), is that it was these processors that really started the price wars.

    However the K5 was introduced around this time too. So its debatable if it wasn't this event instead; the fact AMD introduced their first X86 processor (even though the K5 wasn't really that impressive and if I remember, faired poorly when compared to the PII).

    I only suggest it was Intel, and not AMD because the PII was a real price cutter that few of us expected back then. The first from Intel.
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    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    Cat without Hat CornedBee's Avatar
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    the fact AMD introduced their first X86 processor
    AMD had been producing x86s since IBM produced the first PC and had a policy of not relying on a single vendor for any part, so they forced Intel to give AMD a license to copy any x86 design.

    The K5 was the first that differed significantly in naming from the Intel variant, though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CornedBee View Post
    AMD had been producing x86s since IBM produced the first PC and had a policy of not relying on a single vendor for any part, so they forced Intel to give AMD a license to copy any x86 design.

    The K5 was the first that differed significantly in naming from the Intel variant, though.
    The K5 was also the first to be significantly different in it's design. Previous models were essentially identical to Intel's corresponding models.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    The big leap was from Pentium II to Pentium III when Intel went with the huge sandwich type design and moved away from the flat chip.
    Pentium II was a "sandwich type", my P2 350 MHz sandwich still runs fine.

    As I said in my initial post, I do not want to use Wikipedia.
    Wikipedia has references.
    Last edited by Sang-drax : Tomorrow at 02:21 AM. Reason: Time travelling

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    Didn't MTRRs come in with the Pentium II? This made moving big chunks of (mainly video) memory faster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SMurf View Post
    Didn't MTRRs come in with the Pentium II? This made moving big chunks of (mainly video) memory faster.
    For mainstream processors, yes. Pentium Pro had MTRR before that, but only "special" systems use PPro.

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    Woof, woof! zacs7's Avatar
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    That's about the only thing I like about the PII now days is the shape

    Makes it interesting. As for the techincal side, who cares -- it's a sandwich!

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