Keep your G6; I’m in it for the P6

Honestly, I tried to fight the urge to reminisce today, but August 18th marks the day the youngest member of the Pentium Pro family turns 14 years old. Resistance is futile. The Pentium Pro 200/1M was the swan song for the original, MMX-less P6 core. The chip valiantly forged ahead, even as its Pentium II and Xeon successors washed over the computer landscape, and it happens to be my favorite CPU of all time.

While the P6 introduced many architectural enhancements that persist in CPUs today, my fascination with the Pentium Pro processor is not founded on technical merit alone. When something commits itself to your brain’s favorites table, something more than just a list of numbers and features is typically required. For instance, I have a friend whose favorite CPU award goes to be the Applebred Duron, which wasn’t chosen based on raw performance figures, I’m guessing. Indeed, if you ask an audience about their favorite chip, you’ll receive an eclectic and exhaustive list in return, with accompanying stories to boot. The story of my own personal attachment to the Pentium Pro largely boils down where I was and what I was doing at that point in my life.

Even though the first commercial Pentium Pros wandered off the production line at the tail end of 1995, it would take almost four years beyond that for one to land in my lap for the first time. As a junior in high school, I landed my teenage dream job working for a local computer merchant. The vendor purchased used corporate equipment as it came off lease and then resold it through a then-novel website called Ebay. It was also around this time that the first few batches of corporate workstations and servers sporting Pentium Pro processors were up for retirement.

After wrapping up a couple months of tedious work wiping hard drives and cataloging a huge backlog of IBM 486 PS/2 boxes, a new batch of computers was backed up to the loading dock; hidden among them lurked a Dell Optiplex GX Pro workstation sporting the Pentium Pro 180MHz/256K processor. This workstation had the misfortune of a bum motherboard, which meant it was my duty to part out any usable or resalable components. As I dismantled it, the heatsink fell by the wayside, and I knew it was love.

Up to this point, my personal frankenputers had been based on Socket 3 and Socket 7 chips. The Socket 8 CPU staring up at me was a behemoth in comparison. Removing the chip from its socket only dug the hook in deeper. The physical heft of the the thing, the gold heat spreader, and the unique pin layout on the bottom made an immediate impression. It felt as though I was holding something powerful, capable, and professional in my hand—a dangerous combination of attributes for an impressionable teenager.

Other working systems, replete with Pentium Pro chips, eventually made their way into the warehouse. Because literally everything was for sale, I had to devise a novel ploy in order to selfishly utilize one as my work system. This plan involved scrounging a 2GB hard drive, loading it with my OS and files, and then moving the drive between computers as they were sold out from under me. The scenario was far from ideal, but it allowed me to get plenty of hands-on time with my new hero. Our logistics manager eventually adopted a similar strategy.

In 2001, after the Pentium 4 had been on the market for several months, older Pentium Pro-based systems weren’t exactly flying off the shelves. It was at this time that I bit the bullet and finally purchased a one to call my own. While doing my thing at the warehouse one day, I happened upon a Compaq Proliant 850R server that was missing its hard drives but otherwise complete. 50 dollars changed hands, and a bona-fide server was mine to play with.

The Proliant was special in two ways. It was not only my first Pentium Pro-powered computer, but also my first dual-processor system. Initially, it housed a single 200MHz/256K processor and 64MB of ECC EDO RAM. Over the next few months, I managed to rummage up a second, matching CPU with an accompanying VRM module, a couple 4.3GB SCSI hard drives, and an impressive 512MB of RAM, which was the most the system could handle.

The video card in the server was an oddity. It pulled double duty as a SCSI controller, and as video performance is not a top priority for servers, the display output was limited to 256 colors with a maximum resolution of 1024×768. I wasn’t about to give up the Riva TNT2 in my home desktop just for the novelty of having dual processors, so the Proliant was relegated to *gasp* server duty.

About a year after I had my server tricked out and happily pulling double duty as a file and DHCP server, I bumped into the final piece of the puzzle. I was in college at the time, but I was still working in the computer warehouse during the summer. A faulty Proliant 6500 came through the door one day, complete with four Pentium Pro 200MHz/1M processors. I had played with Pentium Pros featuring 256K and 512K of L2 cache throughout my illustrious career, but the 1M versions had skated under my radar. As the heatsink was removed from the first 1M chip, revealing a black aluminum heat spreader, I was in love all over again. Naturally, a pair of them came home with me that night.

The 1M version of the Pentium Pro differed from the others because the die was packaged using an organic substrate material rather than a ceramic one. It was also the only version of the lot to get a black aluminum heat spreader. There is a very sensible reason for this cosmetic makeover, but it requires a little history lesson.

Prior to the Pentium Pro, Intel CPUs utilized an L2 cache that was located off package, typically soldered or snapped onto the motherboard. For instance, the Pentium P5 and P54C chips only had a paltry 16K of on-die L1 cache. When the CPU needed something that was not stored in the L1 cache, it had to reach out across the motherboard’s backside-bus and query the L2 cache for the desired instruction. In this scenario, the cache was physically distant from the CPU and ran at a fraction of the its core clock speed, which introduced some serious latency into the computation.

Even more important than where the L2 cache was located is why the cache was put there. The short answer: cache is expensive. In the mid-1990s, Intel was fabricating chips using silicon wafers 150 mm and 200 mm in diameter—not the larger 300-mm wafers commonly used today. Because the process technology of the time wasn’t as advanced as it is now, the resulting CPUs were comparable in size to many of the chips in production today even though they had much lower transistor counts. Fewer dies were etched onto each wafer, making mistakes even more costly. Adding an integrated L2 cache would have dramatically increased the overall die size of each chip, increased the likelihood of errors within it, and reduced the number of chips that could fit onto an already cramped wafer. That wasn’t exactly exactly the best-tasting recipe for success.

Back then, fabricating cache modules separately was simply a function of operational prudence. By detaching the cache from the core, you wouldn’t have to waste a perfectly good core because of an error in its cache, or vice-versa. Absolute performance took a back-seat to yield considerations until production lines with smaller lithographic processes and larger wafers came online.

The Pentium Pro was the first Intel processor that contained a L2 cache on the same package as the CPU die. It is important to note that the cache and the CPU were still physically separate dies, but they were both mounted inside the same package. The close proximity of the CPU to its L2 cache eliminated the long back-side bus ride and enabled Intel to run everything at same clock speed as the host CPU, providing a significant performance boost for cached data.

The 256K and 512K models consisted of two chips, one CPU core and one cache module, which could fit comfortably under the original gold heat spreader. In order to shoehorn 1M of cache, Intel had to add a second cache die, bringing the total up to three separate dies on a single package. The resulting row of silicon exceeded the boundaries of the gold heat spreader, necessitating a new design. Thus, the black aluminum heat spreader was born.

/End tangent.

I spent a lot of time with my pair of Pentium Pro 200/1M processors. The Proliant 850R required a little initial tweaking to work with the 1M chips, but once up and running, it stayed in service for many years. This was the server l used to experiment with Apache, MySQL, and PHP for the first time. Before my ISP wised up and blocked port 80, I used the machine to host several small websites for myself and some friends. The rig could easily handle more requests than my upstream bandwidth was capable of at the time. Many memorable nights were spent writing code and benchmarking the system against newer machines to see how well the old girl stacked up. I had great fun with it and felt like I was accomplishing something important in the process, which is why the Pentium Pro 200/1M remains my favorite processor. Happy Birthday!

Dare I ask what your favorite CPU is and why?

Comments closed
    • jackbomb
    • 8 years ago

    3 favourites:

    Opteron 185 dual core for S939:
    Still using this amazing slab of silicon in my primary desktop. It’s running at 3.2GHz/1.45v (up from 2.6GHz/1.35v) on an Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe board. But get this: With dual channel CL2 DDR1, this monster actually scores 6.2 on the Win7 memory test. Lest you say [i]meh[i], I’ve seen a few Core i3/DDR3 systems score 5.9.
    And what a ridiculously responsive machine. This box, running a 2-year-old installation of Win7, feels “snappier” than my i5-2410 based laptop!

    Pentium M 780:
    I pulled this one out of a dead Alienware and built a HTPC around it. I run it at 2.82GHz on an Asus S478/i915 board with a CT-479 adapter. Despite being a single core/thread processor, it can actually handle 34 mbps 1080/24 BD playback in software (60-90% CPU usage). And with the HD5750’s UVD, CPU usage hovers around 4-15%.

    Pentium III-S (512KB) engineering sample.
    What a cool, cool processor. I’ve always like the P-III, but the III-S was something else. This particular one was an eBay find.
    I run it at 1.8GHz (150×12) with the voltage cranked to Coppermine levels. With 2GB of PC2700 (underclocked to 300DDR), it actually runs Win7 Pro with Aero quite well.


    Also worth mentioning: the 600MHz Athlon. I remember unpacking it and thinking, gosh, it looks and feels like my old P2! It was the first AMD processor I took seriously. The K6-2s I had before it blew, especially under NT/2k.

    • tygrus
    • 8 years ago

    VIC 20 with tape
    Osbourne PC XT 4.17/8MHz turbo, 640KB RAM
    Dicksmith 486DX-33 (I think 8MHz with the turbo off), 4MB Fast Page DRAM
    Intel Pentium 166MX with 512KB L2 on the board, 64MB EDO DRAM
    AMD Duron 850MHz, 256MB SDRAM
    Intel P4 2.6GHz (before Prescott), 1GB DDR
    Intel Core2 Quad 9400 2.66GHz, 4GB DDR2

    But I still like the Pentium III-S – 1.13GHz 512KB L2 Dual processor server we had at work (Linux with SAS 8.2 then 9.1.3, SAS/IntrNet producing dynamic reports for a client portal website), Dell PE 1500SC with 1GB SDRAM.

    • moop2000
    • 8 years ago

    For me it was the Athlon T-Bird Socket A chips. It was my first 1Ghz chip, and the first time in my early computing life that I was able to get something close enough to being new that it was worth talking about! I kept that machine for many years, until one day a cable came loose without my knowledge, and when I turned my system on, the power shorted out, blew up and fried the motherboard! Combine that with one of the very unstable IBM GXP hard drives, and I decided it was time to get rid of the system completely! πŸ™‚

    • VinnyC
    • 8 years ago

    My favorite build from back in the day:

    3.06GHz Pentium 4 Northwood with Hyperthreading
    Gigabyte GA-8INXP Motherboard (first to support usb2, agp 8x, sata, 1Gb ethernet, dual channel memory on the motherboard)
    2GB of Corsair (4x 512mb)
    5900GT (or was it gtx??)
    2x Seagate SATA 120gb drives in raid 0

    This build friggin’ screamed back in the day. Unreal Tournament 2004 on FULL BLAST lol

    • Laykun
    • 8 years ago

    Duron 1.2 helped me through my early days of PC building. It was more of a love-hate relationship though.

    • ShadowEyez
    • 8 years ago

    Ahh, CPU memory lane…

    My rough order of systems:
    commodore 64
    486
    Pentium 200 mhz
    Pentium MMX
    Pentium 2 400 mhz
    Pentium 3 1 Ghz
    Pentium 4 3 Ghz laptop
    Core 2 2.4 Ghz
    Core 2 Quad

    Some where in there we’ve had some 2nday systems that were AMD, though overall I usually favor intel

    • jabro
    • 8 years ago

    Nice blog post! It certainly brings back memories.

    Like so many others, my “favorite” CPU is the one that got me into the PC enthusiast world of DIY system building and overclocking – Intel’s “Mendocino” Celeron 300a. Paired with the famous Abit BH6, I was able to get the 300a up to 450 MHz with just a bump of the FSB and voltage, and that was just an average overclock with that CPU. A year later, I upgraded to the Celeron 366a, which hit 550 MHz with even less voltage and ran even more stable. Has there ever been another CPU that offered such easy overclocking and relative value/performance? I can’t believe that the Mendocino Celerons were released back in 1999 – man, I feel old!

    In second place is the AMD Opteron 165, which I paired with the DFI LanParty NF4-UltraD. Another great CPU/MB pair that made overclocking easy and offered great value.

    I guess it’s a sign of my “maturity” and changing times that I’m typing this on a system with a Core 2 Duo E8400 running at the stock 3.0 GHz, which I never got around to overclocking. With little time for gaming in recent years, it’s been cool, quiet, and fast enough for me.

    • axeman
    • 8 years ago

    Am386DX/40. Also have a soft spot for the Celeron “A” – had a Socket 370 Celeron 333A stable at somewhere close to 600Mhz on an Abit BM6. And an honorable mention to the Duron, specifically the Morgan core because it supported SSE. Is it obvious I like cheap but capable CPUs ?

    • puppetworx
    • 8 years ago

    My favourite CPU is my current one – Core 2 Quad Q6600. I do remember being pretty excited about Barton Core Athlon XPs back in the day though.

    Still the Q6600 does it for me. The chip allowed me to do so many new things: massive overclocking, hardcore multitasking, run virtual machines, reasonably quick video conversion, watch Flash video…the list goes on. It totally changed the way I use software and my computer. By far my favourite thing about it though is that it stably overclocks by 50% without exceeding voltage limits on air – it just makes me smile.

    • FireGryphon
    • 8 years ago

    I like my old Athlon XP 2500+ (Barton) that came stock at 1.8 GHz but I overclocked it to 2.5 GHz. It still ran well when I retired the system some years later, and I built an identical system for a friend of mine that is still running to this day. The Barton core came at the peak of my overclocking days and reminds me of the exciting nights I spent drinking Coke and eating pasta while I tweaked and tested my systems.

    The processor I’m using now, a Phenom II X3 is actually my favorite processor. It’s the first processor I’ve gotten that has remained fast as the day I bought it. Back in the day I’d eventually feel the need to upgrade my CPU, but this one can keep pace with the gaming and Photoshop work I throw its way.

    • jokinin
    • 8 years ago

    It’s hard to say, i’ve had so many different cpus in different computers for over 20 years…
    Well, maybe the one i remember most was my 166 MHz pentium processor, with an asus p55t2p4, complete with 64MB EDO RAM. It was the first computer i bought with my first job, and it felt really powerful by that time. After struggling to play quake with a 100 MHz Intel 486DX4 cpu, the pentium cpu felt so much faster, I even bought a Rendition VΓ©ritΓ© V1000 graphics card with 4MB VRAM, just to play the first accelerated version of quake, and it felt so good!
    After that one, my second favourite is probably my current cpu, a 3 year old Core 2 Duo E8400 (3 GHz, dual core, 6MB L2 cache), which still feels powerful enough for my needs, in fact i don’t feel the need for an upgrade right now.

    • geekl33tgamer
    • 8 years ago

    My fav isnt all that old: AMD Athlon X2 6400+ BE (Windsor). This little champ saddled up alongside my (not so great) nForce 590i motherboard and 8800GT’s in SLI was one gaming machine at the time not to be messed with.

    • thermistor
    • 8 years ago

    I remember showing off an NEC lappy at retail and VAR stores all over the midwest. 9.5″ screen active matrix…with a 486DX2/50. Loaded up Wing Commander Privateer and played 10 hours straight!

    I was hooked on PC’s from then on, and that particular chip my fave, just because I rattled off the laptop spec’s so often.

    My second fave is C2D – the E6300. As someone else said, great performance, but without super-high GHz and heat. All the PC’s in the house ‘cept one are running a variant of C2D.

    • JMccovery
    • 8 years ago

    I actually have three favorites:

    #1 AMD Am486DX4-120 — This was the first chip I had ever overclocked. It had a slight problem, it actually ran at 4x25MHz, and I was like: “I says 120 on the chip, (with understanding of how to change the bus speed on the motherboard) so I’m going to run it at 120!” The result; 4x33MHz! Yes I actually ended up getting 13 FREE MHz! Running the bus at 33MHz actually helped a lot, since the board also made use of VLB/ISA combination slots. With a “3D” Graphics Card and a CMD Dual-Channel VLB-to-IDE controller, 25MHz made things as slow as molasses during intense gaming sessions

    #2 AMD K6-2 350AFR — This chip, along with the Asus P5A-B, later replaced by a P5A, is what cemented overclocking in my mind. The P5A and P5A-B both cost TWICE as much as the chip, yes sir, I got my K6-2 350AFR for $35, and the boards cost me $70. I gave the P5A-B away with another 350(AFX, bleh) to a friend, since they had a Baby-AT case. The P5A-B I bought allowed me to take the 350 I had all the way to 500! Incidentally, that same board allowed me to kill a 233MHz MMX Pentium, by trying to run it at 300MHz (took almost 3v to get past 266).

    #3 AMD Phenom II X2 555 — This is my current chip. It is one of my favorites, because I was able to unlock it to quad with NO voltage increase (stock 1.26v) at stock 3.2GHz clock, and only a 0.05v (1.312v) increase to get it stable at 3.6GHz. It is also the first of the K10-era chips I’ve had (only other was an Athlon II 620) that would actually allow me to run the CPU Northbridge at 2.6GHz.

      • srg86
      • 8 years ago

      That bus speed did help your Am486DX4-120 a lot but you could have done even better as the chip’s native was 3x40MHz. The 40MHz bus would have done even more wonders than the 4×33 if your VLB subsystem was up to the job (which is normally wasn’t!). DX4 never meant 4x multiplier, they actually had a 3x multiplier (you can blame intel or this weird naming).

      at 4x25MHz you was actually under clocking the CPU to 100MHz. 4x33MHz was an overclock to 133MHz though.

    • ClickClick5
    • 8 years ago

    Intel i486DX.

    Even today, while it is running Windows 3.11, it seems snappy. Just quick at doing everything it did.
    I used that system every day all the way up to 1998, doing things like scanning, faxing, the “World Wide Web”, games (DOOM, ChexQuest, Quake, StarWars, etc) and papers.

    I booted it just a few min ago just for kicks. :p
    I forgot I had installed a JPG viewer program on there…thats just funny!

    EDIT: The 16Mhz one with the 33Mhz turbo….of which I left in turbo mode.

    • colinstu
    • 8 years ago

    Processors of computers I’ve had over the years.

    1st – Celeron Mendocino
    2nd – Pentium 4 Willamette
    3rd – Celeron Northwood
    4th Pentium 4 Northwood
    5th Core 2 Duo Conroe
    6th Core i5 Sandy Bridge (mobile)

    still using that last two chips on that list.

    I’ve also had experience with a 286, numerous 386’s and 486’s, Pentium 120 and 200, Pentium II Deschutes, Pentium III Coppermine, Pentium 4 Prescott, Pentium D Presler, early 2000’s AMD stuff, Clarkdale Core i3, and a bunch of old Mac CPU’s (68000, 020, 030, 040, 603e)

    A favorite? Gotta say my Conroe. At $220 back in 2007, it has served me well at it’s OC’d 3.2GHz all the way till now and into the future.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 8 years ago

    My first PC I got when I was 6, a Commodore VIC20 that my parents got in a firesale when the C64 was running the show. It had a MOS 6502, and I learned to program in basic on that thing over the 8 years that I used it day in and day out. And so that’s why the 6502 was my favorite CPU. Now you can surpass that chip a thousandfold in performance, but those machines still don’t boot up faster than my old VIC. πŸ˜€

    • LoneWolf15
    • 8 years ago

    I still have one Pentium Pro chip around for nostalgia. We affectionately called it the “dinner plate CPU” at the time.

    I had a server for awhile that I ran with two Pentium II Overdrive chips; basically Xeons (cache ran at full clock speed) that fit in a Pentium Pro socket, with built-in fans powered off the chips themselves via built-in contacts. I had two 333MHz models, the faster of the two. They also had much better 16-bit performance than the Pentium Pros did. Good times.

    [url<]http://cpu-museum.de/?m=Intel&f=Overdrive+CPUs&pass=true#cpu0603[/url<] Another favorite is AMD's K6-233, the first chip AMD made that was truly faster than any competing Intel CPU --for all of thirty days, causing Intel to release the Pentium II early. In my young and very foolish days, I paid $400 to have bragging rights to the fastest x86 CPU in production. I keep around an oddball (and rare) K6-2+ mobile 570MHz sort of as a nostalgic reminder.

      • LiamC
      • 8 years ago

      My retro box is a K6-III AFR on a DFI mobo with a Matrox G450.

    • daddy0623
    • 8 years ago

    Intel: 8088/8086. in my BSEE/BSCoE course work we had a senior class for advanced studies in Micro Processor Architecture, we did some serious gate logic labs and assembler code in this envirnment. Never learned so much about something I never use in the real world. I would needed a master s or a PHD to do anything with it. I loved the assembler and getting all over that chip. It is cool.

    AMD: Athlon 64 3700+. I was really impressed with AMD bandwidth and troughput on that chip. Up until then I never wanted to touch an AMD processor. I tried it out of reluctance. My wife baught the cheap computer and dropped it on my desk. So I looked at it. Now I own AMD 5 Quad cores. I know that is a bit excessive but when your kids want to game and LAN/WAN party it is kind of a must. The old 64 performs well on ubuntu 10 something. It keeps ticking and takes a licking but keeps going…. I guess a little like the eveready bunny. I have some Intel’s but they are all mothballed now. I know…. I know… you Intel fans… Intel has a superior core. That is not the issue. It is all about price point and what you get in return. You try and by 5 nehlem systems and see how far that sets you back….. then AMD starts looking real good.

    • alphacheez
    • 8 years ago

    I really loved the Palomino Athlon XP which I used in the first 2 computers I built in college.

    I also owned an Applebred Dothan but would not put that in my favorites.

    Before that I would say the PPC 604e (I was a Mac-guy for quite a while) and after I’d go with the Pentium M which seemed to be sanity creeping back into intel’s designs after the insanity that was the Pentium 4.

    • mnecaise
    • 8 years ago

    Pentium Pro? You’re young. I learned on 6502 and Z80 machines

    • Synchromesh
    • 8 years ago

    I remember by AMD FX60 with warm fuzzy feelings! We spent a long time together and had great fun. I bought it used for $100 and resold it for about $300 when dismantling my computer to build a new one back in early 2009. I bet it’s still chugging along somewhere. Runner up would be Phenom II 940 I got for free from AMD after going to an event from this forum. It was a good chip even without OC.

      • VinnyC
      • 8 years ago

      Oh man, I remember my FX-60. I was so proud getting the best 939 money could buy. And I later sold it for $375 on ebay, which more than paid for my upgrade to a Core2duo haha.

    • squeeb
    • 8 years ago

    Anything SEC cause cartridges rock!! haha.

    I would have to say my favorite CPU would be the R5000, the chip from my first SGI workstation (Indy).

    • smilingcrow
    • 8 years ago

    My favourite is Bulldozer because I don’t give a **** about past CPUs and hope that the Intel hegemony gets flattened somewhat by an earth moving machine.
    And my favourite after that is Ivy Bridge because I want to see what the preeminent manufacturer can bring to the table.
    Failing that I think the original Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 X2 stick out in my mind and AMD worked some hardcore voodoo shit with their 90nm processes. They really could have been contenders you know!

    • Thorburn
    • 8 years ago

    Couple minor things:

    The cache and core were made from two separate dies, not for yields sake, but because both were physically too large to create as a single die. In fact the core and L2 cache couldn’t be tested individually, so they were joined before testing and if one was found to be faulty they both had to be binned.
    It did however mean the cache and core could be built on different process nodes, and scaled down in size independently as it became viable.

    Also, the L2 cache was still connected via the back side bus, although obviously this was far faster than the off package cache on Socket 7 boards as it ran at the same clock speed as the core. The Pentium 2 and Katmai based Pentium 3’s continued this arrangement with the L2 cache situated on the Slot 1 package and accessed via the back side bus, but running at half the core speed. Pentium 2 and 3 Xeon’s used full speed L2 on the Slot 2 package.

      • bhtooefr
      • 8 years ago

      The fun thing is when you brought a Mendocino Celeron or Dixon Mobile P2 into the fray.

      See, the Mendocino Celeron had half the L2 of Pentium IIs (128 kiB instead of 256), but it was on-die, at full speed. And, most of the lower-clocked ones could take 150% of stock clock speed – by raising their FSB to match the P2 – without doing anything to them, or at best putting a bigger heatsink on.

      And, the slowest, cheapest of the Mendocinos could match the clock speed of the fastest of the P2s, almost guaranteed.

      The Dixon Mobile P2 upped the ante, though, if you could find one that you could actually use (and I don’t think they ever made them for Slot 1 or Socket 370) – it was a Mendocino Celeron, but with the full 256k cache. Aww yeah.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        Now you’re talking about Celeron 300As and those things are still legends that are talked about in hushed tones. I was running a K6-2 in their heyday. The closest I came to that sort of awesomeness was around 2 years later when I took a Duron 600 up to 1GHz using the pencil trick.

          • bhtooefr
          • 8 years ago

          There was quite a lot of awesomeness hiding in the K6-2+ and K6-III+, though.

          The K6-2+ was a K6-III+ with less on-die L2, but it still had on-die L2, unlike the K6-2.

          And, the Plus parts were the mobile parts – lower stock voltages and clock speeds. Yet still Super Socket 7.

          I’ve heard of people getting K6-III+s up to 600 before without too much trouble, and at 600, they ran like a raped ape for the time.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 8 years ago

            That’s what I’d heard, but I never got one myself. I was ready to get off the Super 7 platform by the time I went Duron. Crazy AGP-related crashing on the ALI chipset, tried a VIA motherboard with better stability but still not totally great. I had a K6-2 400 that I got up to 485 (97MHz bus, 5x multi) and I was happy enough with that. Moving on to Socket A was a revelation.

            • srg86
            • 8 years ago

            That was the main problem with the Super Socket 7 platform (I used a K6-2 400MHz). The chipsets didn’t have the same quality, also the motherboards were never at the same standard as the Pentium II boards. Still in the U.K. they were uber popular, and quite rightly so!

        • Thorburn
        • 8 years ago

        Pentium II’s had 512KB L2 on-package, it was the later Coppermine Pentium III’s that had 256KB on the desktop (ignoring Dixon, which as you say was 256KB on-die).

    • Deanjo
    • 8 years ago

    Z80 – debuted in 1976 and is still being produced and widely used. No other processor out there has had it’s lasting power.

      • bthylafh
      • 8 years ago

      Not quite. The 6502 debuted in ’75 and you can still get them.

        • XA Hydra
        • 8 years ago

        Both great little chips. The 6502 (Well, the custom version in the 2A03) ran my NES, and my Game Boy ran a custom Z80 πŸ™‚

        Then again, my Genesis ran a 68000, Playstation and N64 ran MIPS, Game Boy Advance, DS, Toasters, and everything else under the sun run ARM…..

        I think I just like CPUs in general LOL

      • mnecaise
      • 8 years ago

      8051 is still widely available and used everywhere. It came out later but was derived from a 8085.

    • NeelyCam
    • 8 years ago

    Whatever was in the Commodore 64. It was [i<]sooooo[/i<] much better than Vic20!

      • XA Hydra
      • 8 years ago

      6502 πŸ˜‰

        • mnecaise
        • 8 years ago

        It was a 6510, wasn’t it?

          • bthylafh
          • 8 years ago

          The VIC-20 had a 6502 and the C64 a 6510, yes; the 6510 was a derivative with a few extras.

    • d0g_p00p
    • 8 years ago

    Pretty much the same. I bought a used 850R of eBay to be used as a FreeBSD box, running my email, www, FTP and DNS server. Specs were 2x PPro’s 200mhz/512K, 512MB RAM & a 2GB SCSI disk. Ran for a good 10 years before the box died.

    As far as favorite CPU it is a toss up between the PPro 200 vs the K6-200Mhz. Both of those CPU’s were amazing at the time. However the K6 is still working as it’s in my old school gaming machine so I give it up to the K6. Paired up to a VP2 chipset and a 83mhz bus speed it blew the Pentiums out of the water and was cheaper as well.

    AMD K6, amazing CPU for the time.

    • XA Hydra
    • 8 years ago

    Man this really is hard….

    Alright. Can’t help it. I have several. From newest to oldest.

    My Q9300 has been the finest CPU I’ve ever had. I’ve ran it way longer than any other CPU (being poor these days helps). It runs super cool and I don’t really have any performance issues with anything. The only reason I aim to replace it with an Ivy Bridge is for sim speed’s sake in Supreme Commander.

    I once had a 566MHz Celeron (flip-chip) that I bought on the cheap in what now seems eons ago. It was my own personal “300A” in that not once did it ever run at stock speed. As soon as I built that machine it was up and running at 790MHz (With one of those old Thermaltake Golden Orbs :)). I gave that board and CPU to a friend years and years ago and it is STILL running as his file server!

    The AMD K6/2 400 that ran at ~450 or so (83MHz bus) on the old ASUS Socket 7 board that originally ran…..
    ….My 1998 Pentium 200MMX… I was jealous of my buddies running Pentium IIs from the day I got it, but in retrospect it did pretty well. I burned through Freespace and Freespace 2 with that thing and the Riva TnT I popped in it.

    • aerst2
    • 8 years ago

    I still remember my Pentium 233 MMX, which I overclocked to a blazing 292Mhz. Between that and my Voodoo 1 graphics card, Quake used to scream.

    • flip-mode
    • 8 years ago

    I have to say my current CPU – a Phenom II X4 955 BE – is my favorite.

    It is the only CPU I’ve had that has completely removed the CPU bottleneck for me. At stock speed it does everything I ask it to do and with performance to spare. It has quad cores and virtualization tech, so running VMs goes smooth.

    I upgraded from a 1.9 GHz X2-3600 that I had overclocked to 2.9 GHz but that still wasn’t fast enough for Crysis. When I dropped in the 955 it made a remarkable difference in Crysis.

    I don’t know if it is a good or bad thing but there is absolutely no reason for me to upgrade from this processor. The 2500K is way faster and uses less power at idle, but I honestly don’t need faster – the 955 is running at stock speed and fast enough for me – and I sleep my machine all the time so it’s not spending enough time running idle for idle power consumption to matter.

      • anotherengineer
      • 8 years ago

      Same here. I have mine at stock speed and under-volted to 1.200V and it’s been great for the past 2 yrs and hopefully for a long time to come.

      I actually just ordered a gigabyte 990xa mobo to get some usb 3.0 and sata 3.0 love. My next distant future upgrade will be an SSD.

    • Dygear
    • 8 years ago

    AMD Althon 64, these were plucky little chips that was a world beater. An architecture that thumbed it’s nose at Intel’s best a brightest for a while. I had many great nights gaming with this chip at the heart of my system.

    • abw
    • 8 years ago

    Undoubtly , one of the best processors ever , i still have two 200/1MB models,
    as some “souvenir” gears..

    • Sargent Duck
    • 8 years ago

    My Celeron 1.1Ghz (Tulatin core) oc’d to 1.46Ghz. Ran cool and as it was P3 based, had a much higher IPC than the P4 Williamette.

      • smilingcrow
      • 8 years ago

      Tulatin (sic) was a very nice core but S423 (Williamette) was never a platform worth investing in as it was signposted to be short lived and replaced with S478. So better to stay with your Tualatin on the older platform and wait.

    • bhtooefr
    • 8 years ago

    So many choices, I can’t pick just one.

    The MOS 6502 and WDC 65C02. The Intel 8080 may have started the personal computer revolution, but the 6502 is what really got things going. And, my first computer had a 65C02.

    I’m a sucker for a good story, too. And the ARM2 has a great story – a relatively small company deciding that they don’t like any of the choices on the market, and designing their own CPU for the successor to their 6502-based machine. And, to cut costs, they had a low power goal… and they were under 1/10th of that goal, because they couldn’t afford to design on the edge – to the point that the first prototype of the (mostly unreleased) ARM1 (which worked, by the way) powered up on just the signal lines, no actual power lines connected. Oh, and they were as fast as 68030s and 80386s, yet priced to compete against 68000s and 286s. And, while Acorn failed, ARM sure as hell didn’t, and is actually the dominant CPU architecture, at least as far as 32-bit archs go. (Don’t think the kinds of computers that we discuss here, think everything that has a processor in it. In fact, there’s a few ARMs in your desktop and laptop. Even SD cards sometimes have an ARM core as a controller.)

    Out of x86 stuff… I also like the P6 – just in general, even, not just one specific variant. However, my favorite variant would probably have to be the Mendocino Celeron, though – get an Abit BP6, a couple Celeron 300As – some of Intel’s cheapest CPUs – bump the FSB to 100, and you had a giant-killer, something that could compete with the performance of a dual Pentium II 450 system – some of Intel’s most expensive CPUs. (I never could afford to do that, though, until even that performance was dog slow, then I could afford to get something else.)

    The Pentium M was another good P6 variant, though – one that showed that at least a few people at Intel still had clue, back when the name of the game was clock speed above all else, with the Pentium 4. I distinctly recall petitioning Intel to make one on Socket 478…

    Speaking of Intel not having clue… the AMD K8 signalled something big – that now AMD had enough power to dictate the direction of x86, and thoroughly beat the crap out of Intel on the desktop and server, at least performance-wise.

      • yuhong
      • 8 years ago

      Yea, I wondered for some time now why Intel did not make Core 2 a drop-in replacement for Pentium 4 and Pentium D.

        • bthylafh
        • 8 years ago

        If your BIOS supports it you can drop a C2D into a Socket-775 P4 system.

        I seem to recall that ASRock (who else?) made a C2D motherboard on an 865 chipset.

          • bhtooefr
          • 8 years ago

          And I recall buying an ASRock LGA775 motherboard with a VIA chipset (don’t ask, there was a very good reason that I was stuck with VIA) that advertised that it would support Conroe when it came out.

        • Krogoth
        • 8 years ago

        C2D was build around LGA775, and only boards that supported the newer voltage standards (Post-Prescott LGA775 P4s) could pull offf the drop-in upgrade.

        Most 955X and 925X boards were SOL (commanding $200+ at their heyday).

    • uksnapper
    • 8 years ago

    I also ran a dual Pentium Pro set up for my scanning and photoshop work up until 2001.Quiet and reliable I really only moved on because the memory requirements for photoshop outstripped the motherboards capacity as the cameras got bigger chips and the drum scanned image files started getting to be over 100mb

    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    There are so many interesting processors that picking just one is no trivial task. AMD made some pretty interesting silicon like the K5 and K6. The K7 also heralded a new age for AMD when they took the performance crown and title of world’s first 7th Generation x86 processor, a first for a non-Intel product.

    Cyrix also made some interesting processors, notably their early attempts at x86 such as their 486DLC. Later on they were the only viable alternative to the Pentium with their 6×86, in part because the K5 was late and under-performing, and NexGen-based PCs weren’t doing so well either, according to my issue of PC Magazine back in 1994.

    I tend to favor non-Intel alternatives because these are the ‘rarities’ which fewer people are actually using, but that doesn’t mean Intel processors aren’t interesting. My favorite in the Intel camp is the Pentium 4 (not Pentium D), which featured an interesting (and some say, ridiculous) 20-stage pipeline.

    Just because a processor isn’t faster than another one doesn’t mean it’s crap. It’s the underlying architecture and how it was etched on a piece of silicon that is of great interest. As it is, K5, K6, Cyrix 5×86, Cyrix 6x86MX, Pentium 4, Phenom II, Sandy/Ivy Bridge and Bulldozer are my favorites.

      • srg86
      • 8 years ago

      For me the most interesting of these is the Cyrix 486DRx2, a Clock doubles DLC. I have it in one machine and at 66MHz it’s interestingly not that much faster (if at all) than the 40MHz normal DLC.

        • ronch
        • 8 years ago

        If I remember correctly, the Cyrix 486DRX2 was a 386-to-486 upgrade for old (you guessed it) 386 PCs and was based on the Cyrix 486DX2, Cyrix’s ‘real’ answer to the Intel 486DX2. The Cyrix 486DX2 wasn’t a faithful clone of the Intel 486DX2 like the AMD 486DX2 was, but on paper, at least, it had 8KB of write-back cache similar to Intel’s 486DX2 (Intel’s cache was write-through, however). Unlike the Cx486DX, the DRX2 had a 386-compatible pin-out that allowed it to plug into 386 motherboards and give them a performance increase.

        On the other hand, the Cyrix 486DLC lineup is somewhat between the 386 and the 486 in terms of architecture, having a pipelined architecture but only 1KB of on-die cache. It also had a 386-compatible pin-out, suggesting that it was more of a ‘Super 386’ than a real 486. I would think there’s no reason why a 66MHz 486DRX2 (with 8KB of cache) wouldn’t deliver >65% raw performance over a 40MHz 486DLC with just 1KB of cache unless the 386 socket/bus or some other external factor was a serious bottleneck. These Cyrix processors have always interested me but people back then told me to avoid them due to compatibility problems.

        Just curious, how did you determine that a 66MHz DRX2 wasn’t much faster than the 40MHz DLC? I remember LandMark was the popular benchmarking tool back then. Was it the benchmark tool you used?

          • srg86
          • 8 years ago

          The DRX2 is definitely a 386-to-486 upgrade chip (and I love the logo!) but it is definitely a clock doubled DLC and not based on the Cx486. It also only had 1KB cache like the DLC. I’ve also noticed that as an upgrade chip, unlike the DLC, the DRX2’s cache and pipelining is off by default. A DOS utility turns it on and it can be monitored by a Win utility.

          The only DLC based 386/486 type chip that had more than 1KB cache was by Texas Instruments, they had a version of their DLC with 8KB cache.

          I think a lot of the reason for it not being much faster than a 40MHz DLC was bus speed. The 66MHz Drx2 had to wait for the 33MHz bus, while the DLC has a faster bus. The chip spent less time waiting for memory etc.

          Still it’s a LOT faster than a 33MHz or a 40MHz 386!

          For benchmarking the OS used was MS-DOS 6.22, Windows for Workgroups 3.11 with:

          Win16 Wintune 2.0 Dhrystone and Whetstone.
          Timed OpenWatcom 1.9 compile of all Win16 and Win386 examples.
          Roy Longbottom’s 32-bit DOS and 16-bit DOS Dhrystone and Whetstone.

          The OpenWatcom test, which is more real world that the others did show the DRX2 to be noticably faster, because of this I do hand the win to the DRX2.

          Microprocessors always fascinate me and I love computer history as well!

    • Misel
    • 8 years ago

    For me it is the AMD K6-2 series because those were the CPUs got into gaming with. My Dad builds computers for a living and therefor my system was gradually upgraded over time. Most notably were the changes of the CPUs from the 300MHz to the 500MHz CPU. There were higher clocked versions of the chip but after that I settled for an Athlon – a Thoroughbred slot A chip that – miraculously – worked on a VIA chipset board (something deemed impossible at that time).

    I also still have an old Pentium Pro system that I assembled from parts I got from ebay because I wanted to fool around with a Dual CPU system πŸ™‚

    • Starfalcon
    • 8 years ago

    Same here for Abit BP6 duallie, has those 300As running@450…and still going strong. Been using this system for over 10 years now lol. In spite of being as old as it is, still runs smoothly.

    • Mr Bill
    • 8 years ago

    I discovered SCSI early. So that went into all my builds. Around 1998 I loved my work and home K6-3 450 systems. Then I loved my two slot A systems built as an upgrade. But I have to say my favorite was my first dual Athlon MP system, which I still have. I started out with dual 1.2GHz MP’s in 2001 and ended up with the 2800 Barton MP’s. I bought the MSI K7D Master-L board from the Lost Circuits review. The board is unbreakable and took every bios upgrade despite being prior to Rev 1. I have dual PSU’s, one for the CPU’s, one for the 5-drive PCI-X U320 raid 10 array and the 5 drive PCI-X Sata raid 10 array, and a few more drives just as mirrors. Dual Hitachi 1600×1200 CRT’s. They whole system pulls ~600W at the wall. But the smoothness of dual cores and SCSI; that was my first and favorite.

    • raparker
    • 8 years ago

    It’s gonna have to be the 6502 for me as well. This was the first processor that I ever programmed in assembly (well, machine code actually, but that is another story…) and when I realized that the programs really were running instantaneously – instead of there just being a bug somewhere – I was hooked. Made calculating all those fractals quite a bit faster. Woulda been nice if it had a multiply instruction or floating point, but then that wouldn’t have been any fun would it?

    • Forge
    • 8 years ago

    As I look across the room, I can see a huge Compaq, with Slot A Athlon included. I can see the i815EP and P3/800EB I keep, while making excuses about using them someday. I can open my drawer and present one of several first gen Slot A Athlons.

    I have no favorites. You’re not supposed to have favorite children.

    • maasenstodt
    • 8 years ago

    My top three:

    1. K6-III+ 450 that I ran at 600Mhz (via multiplier). It was as good as Socket 7 got, and served me well until I traded up to a…
    2. Duron 700 that I ran at 933MHz (upping the bus from 100 to 133). That was a choice machine.
    3. A pair of Athlon XP Mobile 2400+, which I used for a my first dual CPU setup, running each at about 2GHz if I remember correctly. I loved this setup, until the capacitors melted…

    Fond memories, to be sure….

    • debido666
    • 8 years ago

    NexGen Nx586.

      • debido666
      • 8 years ago

      And Nx686

        • ronch
        • 8 years ago

        … which was later sold as the AMD K6.

    • srg86
    • 8 years ago

    Wow what a hard question!! I have multiple CPUs that I think are great. I assume this is just about CPUs we’ve owned.

    Z80: My fave of the 8-bit CPUs, I the flexibility of its programmers’ model.

    Motorola MC68060: Back in my Amiga days, these were the fastest CPU you could get after their launch in 1994, they were awe inspiring! Dual Issue Super-scaler with branch prediction, like the original Pentium. I so wanted one for my A1200 but couldn’t afford the accelerator cards. I’ve since, in my retro computing A1200, fitted it with a Blizzard A1260 50MHz and relatively speaking it does fly!

    Motorola MC68030 50MHz: I did get one of these for my first Amiga though, the main thing that excited me (other than the extra RAM on the board) was the novelty of hardware floating point (I also had the 68882) and an on-chip MMU. I did play around with 3rd party virtual memory managers.

    AMD K6 166MHz: This was my first PC’s CPU in Nov 1997. Clock for clock cheaper and faster (in integers) than the Pentium MMX. As we had a strict budget of Β£1000 which only got you a bottom end machine back then, the cheaper CPU meant we could afford the Multimedia package (adds sound card and speakers) and a slightly better monitor (15″ FST) upgrades onto the base spec of our machine from MESH.

    AMD Athlon TBird 1.333GHz: Super fast compared to the 500MHz K6-2 it replace, I remeber for the first time installing Win98 is just 15 mins. An excellent CPU.

    If I had to pick just one though, I think it would be the Motorola MC68060.

    • videobits
    • 8 years ago

    MOS 6502

    Powered my first computers….Atari 400 then C-64.

    But the real reason: Forget plugging a CPU into a motherboard socket. You’ll feel the love when you have that 6502 on breadboard with all the connections to the RAM and LEDs made with your bare hands. Woo-hoo! I built that!

      • srg86
      • 8 years ago

      Cool

      I’ve done this myself with a Z80 on copper strip boardm with Flash ROM, SRAM and an LCD. It’s amazing satisfaction to see a computer you made at that level run programs!

    • Krogoth
    • 8 years ago

    Q6600 for me, because of its overclockability (effortlessly handles 3.0Ghz) and longevity. My current unit is almost four years old and it still can effortlessly handle anything I can throw at it. Granted, I don’t run workstation-class tasks on a daily basis.

    Venice 3200+ as a runner-up, the sucker survived tons of abuse (pushed it hard in its heyday, 2.5Ghz 1.45 Vcore) and it still runs like a champ. (Still hovering at 2.4Ghz, 1.425 Vcore)

      • Jigar
      • 8 years ago

      I would second that, i use to like AMD’s clawhammer but Q6600 tops it. I am using it since 4.5 years and still this chip can touch 3.7GHZ whenever i am playing any demanding game.

    • evilpaul
    • 8 years ago

    I’m torn between my Palomino Athlon XP 1700+ which served me the longest of any CPU I’ve owned and my dual 500Mhz Celeron As (I’m a lowly coward) and Abit BP6.

      • bthylafh
      • 8 years ago

      I had a 533 MHz Celeron-A, which was the slowest P3-based Celery. Thing had a crazy-low TDP, something like 13W. This let me do something really stupid (run it without a heatsink – I was impatient to play with my new toy) for a short time and not kill the chip.

      Other than that it was inferior to a similarly-priced Duron, but it had a good run.

      edit: Heh, Intel’s forgotten all about this little chip. Can’t find it on Ark at all; the only 533 MHz Celeron shown is the old P2-based version.

    • bjm
    • 8 years ago

    To the CPU that put “King” in Overclocking: Celeron 300A.

    • Duck
    • 8 years ago

    A dual core P4 prescott (for the lols).

      • geekl33tgamer
      • 8 years ago

      Yeah, they made a lot of dual core Prescott CPU’s didn’t they???

        • axeman
        • 8 years ago

        Pentium D 8xx was two prescott cores in one package:

        [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentium_D#Smithfield[/url<]

    • Corrado
    • 8 years ago

    I think the Slot A Argon Athlon’s were my favorite. I had a 700mhz one with a Golden Fingers device that allowed me to over clock it to 1000mhz with an Alpha heatsink with Sanyo Denki 7000RPM fans. Loved that thing, even though it was ridiculously loud.

      • blanchjd
      • 8 years ago

      I’d have to agree. I even made the golden fingers device myself from scratch. Ah the old days.

      This one in particular is special because as a newlywed, we didn’t have much money, but stupid me decided to buy the CPU and an Asus K7M motherboard on the sly and try to install it into our computer without my wife finding out. Even though she isn’t too knowledgable about computers, she somehow managed to find out what I’d done.

      To this day she still brings it up when she thinks I’ve done something similar again. Of course, Nothing really has changed, I’ve just gotten a lot smarter and better at hiding the tech purchases.

    • TheEmrys
    • 8 years ago

    Personally, I loved my 486dx4/120. I’d had a bunch of other processors, but this was my love.

      • TaBoVilla
      • 8 years ago

      one of AMD’s finest =)

    • yokem55
    • 8 years ago

    The Celeron 366 (oc’d to 550). Running 2 of those guys on an Abit BP6 was heavenly……

      • David_Morgan
      • 8 years ago

      I had this exact setup at one point, OC’d to 550MHz and the whole bit. It was actually one of the systems I would benchmark against my Dually PPro box, and in most high-concurrency web server related tasks, the 200MHz PPros were easily able to keep up with Celerons.

      For gaming or general desktop/Windows use however, the BP6 rig was perceptibly faster.

    • TaBoVilla
    • 8 years ago

    a breed of PIII I had, a slot 1 katmai and then a 5.5x multiplier Coppermine on a different board, easily overclockable to +800Mhz, loved those.

    • bthylafh
    • 8 years ago

    MOS 6502. It powered my first few computing devices – Atari 2600, NES, Apple //c, and a whole raft of others. One interesting bit of trivia about this chip is that it had only one register, because in those days RAM was faster than the CPU.

    Walnut Creek CD-ROM’s first FTP server was a single-CPU PPro-200 running FreeBSD, which lasted for several years. I think it was capable of handling 200 FTP users simultaneously, which was virtually unheard of then.

      • bhtooefr
      • 8 years ago

      Not true – it had six registers, two of them general purpose.

      X, Y, A, SR, SP, and PC (that last one 16-bit.)

      But, zero page access was quite fast, so you in effect got 256 more registers there, and then there was another 256 bytes of stack above that.

    • RedAdmiral
    • 8 years ago

    Hitachi 68HC000 (68K) – Good times with old arcades.

    • matic
    • 8 years ago

    Duron 600MHz Spitfire, because I was young! (And it was sweetly overclockable…)

      • TheQat
      • 8 years ago

      Me too! I put a 600MHz Duron in my first self-built PC and had it OC’d to 800 MHz for at least two years. It finally blew up after I had handed it down to my sister. I still have the chip with a chunk out of its die somewhere.

      There will always be nostalgia in working with that silly heatspreader-free processor, including attaching one of Thermaltake’s solid copper heatsinks and a Delta fan. Ahh, 2000 . . .

    • Scrotos
    • 8 years ago

    DEC Alpha. Any of ’em. Just so elegant to me, designed with care and precision.

      • faramir
      • 8 years ago

      VAX architecture in general and the 100 MHz KA49-C (as one of its fastest desktop implementations) specifically. I’ve done alot of reverse engineering (ROM disassembly) on it for opensource projects. I like the extreme of CISC arhitecture that it was even though it was far from being very efficient. I still own a 4000/96 maxed up on its memory but I haven’t powered it up in a couple of years now πŸ™

      As for x86, it has to be a tie between AMD 5×86 (the first no fuss overclocking chip I ever owned, the 486/66 and 486/100 before it were much more finicky and others before those had fixed frequency oscillator onboard) and Core2 Duo, the architecture that reversed the trend of “more power, higher frequency, more noise” for me – it’s not a matter of performance anymore, it’s a matter of performance per dB and performance per W from now on. Architecture-wise x86 sucks big time, I never liked it much even though I did most of my programming for it *especially back in the DOS days).

      As for microcontrollers (I design electronics for living so microcontrollers are the cornerstone of majority of my projects) I’d have to go with Motorola’s 6801/3, a 6800 microcontroller derivative with very elegant von Neumann architecture and nice instruction set. This thing introduced me to the wonderful world of microcontrollers and was a beauty to program (in assembler, obviously).

      • tay
      • 8 years ago

      The pentium pro was the first intel chip that was a match for the Alpha (integer perf at least) and other RISC chips at the time. So while the Alpha gets much love for the balls to the wall performance, the pentium pro is the greatest chip of all time for me as well.

      Remember the PIII and every future generation barring the shitty P4 netburst chips was built on it.

        • bhtooefr
        • 8 years ago

        Although Nehalem and especially Sandy Bridge are now diverging from it significantly, as I understand. Still, damn long run for essentially one main design with tweaks.

    • dpaus
    • 8 years ago

    [eXtremeSarcasm] 386SX all the way, baby! [/eXtremeSarcasm]

    Actually, I still harbor a soft spot for the 486 combined with the QNX micro-kernal OS. You could actually load the entire kernal into on-die cache and still have a few K left over for processes – awesome!!

      • TheEmrys
      • 8 years ago

      SX was a horrible, horrible chip. The DX was sooo much better. Why reduce from 32-bit to 16-bit?

        • bhtooefr
        • 8 years ago

        The SX did, however, have the advantage that it could work with cheap 286 chipsets.

        If you consider that an advantage, of course.

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