CPU - Pentium MMX

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cpu_log.gif (2458 bytes)Pentium MMX

-It wasn't long ago when people were screaming about the MMX monster that Pentium had unleashed. Though the MMX processor did really make a improvement its the low end now. Kind of sad how that works. I bought a 120 MHz Pentium about 3 years or more ago and it was a speed demon compared to what I had before. It was a big improvement on the older 486 systems as discussed with in the Pentium Classic. So what was the major improvements of the MMX compared to the Classic Pentium? Mostly clock speeds, cache size, and more transistors. Not only this but better use of each clock tick.

  • 166, 200, 233 MHz

  • L1 cache of 16kb internal/16kb external vs 8/8 in older Classic

  • L2 Cache Clock Speed boasted 66Mhz

  • Two Pipelines, unchanged from the Classic

  • Data Bus unchanged from 32-bit internal/64-bit external

  • Number Of Transistors 4.4 million which was a good bit more than the 3rd generation Classic

  • Manufacturing Process was .35 Micron CMOS

  • Pin Count 296 which stayed the same from the 2nd and 3rd generation classic

More MMX

-The biggest addition to the MMX and its popularity was the instruction set. This was the first change to the instructions since the 386 processor. There were 57 new instructions added to the CPU targeted at graphics, video compression/decomp, audio, and signal processing. The new MMX could do more in one step or tick than the Classic could do in dozens of steps. This really boosted performance in the CPU. Games and even graphical programs such as Adobe PhotoShop made good use of the MMX instructions. The instructions didn't come without support from software. Software makers must write software with these instructions in mind to get the most out of it. This is just like any other processors out there, if the software doesn't go well with the processor your performance will lag. You will notice that some games are made in Direct X, this makes good use of the MMX instructions which in turn make's for a great game.

-Another important feature that was added to the MMX was what's called SIMD (Single Instructions Multiple Data) operation. This allowed for the CPU to issue a command to multiple pieces of data at one time rather than as data passes through. This makes quick easy work of image editing.

Even More MMX

-The MMX also used a lower 2.8 volt internal operation which mean that it ran cooler. Also the CPU ran at 3.3 volts on the outside to the motherboard. This meant that the motherboard had to outfitted with a voltage regulator.

-As a close to this section if you run across a MMX CPU go ahead and pick it up. They are really cheap and still pretty darn decent. I was at a trade show and seen them for around $25.00! Can you believe that the same CPU 3 years ago would have cost a pretty penny. Not only is that unreal but I also ran across some older 486DX processors that were pretty top notch in there day for $2.50 a piece, no kidding. You would be surprised that you can build a nice little internet computer for about $250.00 complete at those little shows, the same computer just a few years ago cost $3,000. If you are shopping for the newest and best in technology this should be a good indicator, wait it out for a while they get cheaper!


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