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Intel-Compatible Processors (AMD and Cyrix

Several companies²mainly AMD and Cyrix²have developed processors that are compatible with Intel processors. These chips are fully Intel-compatible, so they emulate every processor instruction in the Intel chips. Many of the chips are pin-compatible, which means that they can be used in any system designed to accept an Intel processor; others require a custom motherboard design. Any hardware or software that works on Intel-based PCs will work on PCs made with these third-party CPU chips. A number of companies currently offer Intel-compatible chips, and I will discuss some of the most popular ones here.

AMD Processors
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has become a major player in the Pentium-compatible chip market with its own line of Intel-compatible processors. AMD ran into trouble with Intel several years ago because its 486-clone chips used actual Intel microcode. These differences have been settled and AMD now has a five-year cross-license agreement with Intel. In 1996, AMD finalized a deal to absorb NexGen, another maker of Intel-compatible CPUs. NexGen had been working on a chip it called the Nx686, which was renamed the K6 and introduced by AMD. Since then, AMD has refined the design as the K6-2 and K6-3. Its newest chips, called the Athlon and Duron, are designed similarly to the Pentium II/III and Celeron and use a similar but not identical cartridge or slot design. AMD currently offers a wide variety of CPUs, from 486 upgrades to the K6 series and the Athlon/Duron. Table 3.20 lists the basic processors offered by AMD and its Intel socket. Table 3.20 AMD CPU Summary CPU Type PActual Rating CPU Speed (MHz) 100 120 133 75 90 Clock Motherboard CPU Socket Multiplier Speed or Slot (MHz) 3x 3x 4x 1.5x 1.5x 1.5x 1.5x 1.5x 1.75x 2.5x 3x 3.5x 4x 33 40 33 50 60 66 60 66 66 66 66 66 66 Socket 1,2,3 Socket 1,2,3 Socket 1,2,3 Socket 5,7 Socket 5,7 Socket 5,7 Socket 5,7 Socket 5,7 Socket 5,7 Socket 7 Socket 7 Socket 7 Socket 7

Am486DX4-100 n/a Am486DX4-120 n/a Am5x86-133 K5 K5 K5 K5 K5 K5 K6 K6 K6 K6 75 PR75 PR90

PR100 100 PR120 90 PR133 100 PR166 116.7 PR166 166 PR200 200 PR233 233 PR266 266

CPU Type PActual Rating CPU Speed (MHz) PR300 300 PR233 233 PR266 266 PR300 300 PR300 300 PR333 333 PR333 333 PR350 350 PR366 366 PR380 380 PR400 400 PR400 400 PR450 450 PR475 475 PR500 500 PR533 533 PR550 550 PR400 400 PR450 450 PR550 550 PR600 600 PR650 650 PR700 700 PR500 500 PR550 550 PR600 600 PR650 650 PR700 700 PR750 750 PR800 800 Clock Motherboard CPU Socket Multiplier Speed or Slot (MHz) 4.5x 4x 6x 4x 4.5x 5x 5x 5.5x 5.5x 3.5x 5.5x 8x 66 66 66 66 100 66 95 100 66 95 66 100 100 95 100 97 100 100 100 100* 100* 100* 100* 100* 100* 100* 100* 100* 100* 100* Socket 7 Socket 7 Socket 7 Socket 7 Super7 Socket 7 Super7 Super7 Socket 7 Super7 Socket 7 Super7 Super7 Super7 Super7 Super7 Super7 Super7 Super7 Socket A Socket A Socket A Socket A Slot A/Socket A Slot A/Socket A Slot A/Socket A Slot A/Socket A Slot A/Socket A Slot A/Socket A Slot K6 K6-2 K6-2 K6-2 K6-2 K6-2 K6-2 K6-2 K6-2 K6-2 K6-2 K6-2 K6-2 K6-2 K6-2 K6-2 K6-2 K6-3 K6-3 Duron Duron Duron Duron Athlon Athlon Athlon Athlon Athlon Athlon A Athlon .5x 7x 7.5 6 6.5x 4x 4.5x 5.5x 6x 6.5x 4x 4.5 7 5x 5.5x 3.5x 3x 5x 3.

which is a 242-pin slot similar in appearance. National has been purchased by VIA technologies. particularly the new K6. have typically fared well in performance comparisons and usually have a much lower cost. It offers speculative and out-of-order instruction execution. unified 16KB internal cache. As you can see from the table. The 6x86MX adds MMX technology to the CPU. Super7 is an extension to the standard Socket 7 design. who still uses National to manufacture the chips. The 6x86 has dual internal pipelines and a single. More recently. Starting in 1999. This is called a PR rating instead and is further described earlier in this chapter. National Semiconductor has taken over manufacturing of the Cyrix processors. most of AMD's newer K6 series processors are designed to use the Super7 interface it pioneered with Cyrix. The model designations are meant to represent performance comparable with an equivalent Pentium-based system. allowing for increased board speeds of up to 100MHz. Prior to that it had been a fabless company.CPU Type PActual Rating CPU Speed (MHz) PR850 850 PR900 900 PR950 950 PR1000 1000 Clock Motherboard CPU Socket Multiplier Speed or Slot (MHz) A/Socket A Athlon Athlon Athlon Athlon 8.5x 9x 9. All the Cyrix chips were manufactured for Cyrix first by Texas Instruments and then mainly by IBM up through the end of 1998. The chip is Socket . meaning it had no chip-manufacturing capability. but not in the pinout. much like the Intel Pentium Pro processor. Cyrix Cyrix has become an even larger player in the market since being purchased by National Semiconductor in November 1997 and by VIA Technologies in 1999. Starting with the K6. AMD chips. the P-Rating equals the true MHz clock speed. Cyrix has begun to limit its selection of available CPUs to only the latest technology. There is more information on the respective AMD chips in the sections for each different type of processor. Cyrix is currently focusing on the Pentium market with the M1 (6x86) and M2 (6x86MX) processors.5x 10x 100* 100* 100* 100* Slot A/Socket A Slot A/Socket A Slot A/Socket A Slot A/Socket A Notice in the table that for the K5 PR120 through PR166 the model designation does not match the CPU clock speed. Like Intel. The AMD Athlon (K7) processors are designed to use Slot A. to the Intel Slot 1.

IBM Microelectronics. A longtime chip manufacturer that was better known for making SRAM (cache memory) chips. This is a low-performance cross between a 486 and a Pentium combined with a custom motherboard chipset in a two-chip package. except the Super I/O chip.6W for the mobile chips. which means it should cost significantly less to manufacture. IDT Winchip Another offering in the chip market is from Integrated Device Technology (IDT). When running at speeds of 300MHz and higher. The C6 has two large internal caches (32KB each for instructions and data) and will run at 180. it has a single high-speed pipeline instead. but some require modified chipsets and new motherboard designs. All Cyrix chips were manufactured by other companies such as IBM. the C6 Winchip is more like a 486 than a Pentium. The 6x86MX is offered in clock speeds ranging from 180 to 266MHz. SGS-Thomson Microelectronics. 225. The 6x86MX features 64KB of unified L1 cache and more than double the performance of the previous 6x86 CPUs. and make very low-cost PCs possible. only running at higher clock rates. These two chips contain everything necessary for a motherboard. which also markets the 6x86 chips under its own name. instead of the regular Pentium processor. Even so.1 to 10. It does not have the superscalar (multiple instruction pipelines) of a Pentium. It also has a much smaller die (88 mm2 ) than a typical Pentium. which actually runs at only 233MHz on a 66MHz Socket 7 motherboard. The power consumption is very low²14W maximum at 200MHz for the desktop chip. the future is unclear. and 7. Note that later versions of the 6x86MX chip have been renamed the MII to deliberately invoke comparisons with the Pentium II. and like the 6x86. it seems the C6 has little in common with other fifth. the P-Rating system was jointly developed by Cyrix. although that benchmark does not focus on multimedia performance. There is also an MII 333. they are. Cyrix also has made an attempt at capturing even more of the low-end market than it already has by introducing a processor called the MediaGX. it is Socket 7 compatible. which had designed a chip called the C6 Winchip. Later versions of these chips will include more multimedia and even network support. which shows the Cyrix processors. Featuring a very simple design. The MII chips are not redesigned. all other functions are virtually identical. the C6 processor became a reality. The first renamed 6x86MX chip is the MII 300. P-Ratings To make it easier to understand processor performance. Besides the higher speeds. and 240MHz. IDT acquired Centaur Technology. See Table 3.5 earlier in this chapter. National began manufacturing Cyrix processors during 1998. which will run at a 250MHz clock speed on newer 100MHz Super7 motherboards. and Advanced . it closely matches the performance of a Pentium MMX when running the Winstone 97 business benchmark. Now with IDT's manufacturing capability. the 686MX was renamed the MII. but now that Cyrix is selling them off. 200.and sixthgeneration x86 processors. Expect to see the MediaGX processors on the lowest end. in fact. according to Centaur. virtually disposable-type PCs.7 compatible. This processor will likely have some success in the low-end market. Internally. the same 6x86MX chips as before.

This new rating. equates delivered performance of microprocessor to that of an Intel Pentium. A single benchmark or even a group of benchmarks cannot tell the whole story on system or processor performance. instead. The idea is fine. To determine a specific P-Rating. industry-standard benchmark that runs a number of Windows-based software applications. Cyrix and AMD use benchmarks such as Winstone 9x. but in some cases it can be misleading. titled the (Performance) P-Rating. If it happens to be 166 but runs faster than most other 166 processors. I guess the idea is that it "feels" like 200MHz or compares to some Intel processor running at 200MHz (which one?). In most cases. it runs at 166MHz. I am not in favor of the P-Rating system and prefer to just report the processor's true speed in MHz. the companies selling PR-rated processors have people believing that they are really running at the speed indicated on the chip. Winstone 9x is a widely used. a Cyrix/IBM 6x86MX-PR200 does not really run at 200MHz.Micro Devices. For example. so be it²but I don't like to number it based on some comparison like that. .