Rapid advancements in PC processor technology have resulted in a marketplace full of CPUs, each with a feature set different from the next. In this column, I provide a quick comparison of today's Top 10 x86-compatible processors.
10. Klamath Pentium II. Running at 233MHz to 300MHz, the Klamath has 32KB of Level 1 cache, 512KB of half-speed Level 2 cache, and a 0.35-micron circuit size. The Pentium II was the first Intel processor to use the Slot 1 bus connector instead of the traditional Socket 7 CPU mounting.
9. Deschutes Pentium II. Thanks to its 0.25-micron circuit size, the Deschutes supports speeds of 333MHz to 450MHz. The Deschutes has 32KB of Level 1 cache and 512KB of half-speed onboard Level 2 cache. The chip uses Slot 1 technology and supports 100MHz system bus speed.
8. K6-3D AMD-K6-2. AMD's low-cost K6-2 chip supports speeds of 350MHz to 450MHz. Built from a 0.25-micron device size, the K6-2 has 64KB of Level 1 cache and supports 1MB of Level 2 cache on the motherboard and 100MHz system bus speed. The processor uses a version of the Socket 7 technology called Super7.
7. Covington Celeron. Intel's answer to Cyrix's and AMD's low-cost chips, this Celeron is based on a Deschutes Pentium II core with the Level 2 cache removed. The chip runs at 266MHz to 300MHz. Like the Deschutes, the Covington Celeron has a 0.25-micron circuit size and 32KB of Level 1 cache, and uses Slot 1 technology.
6. Mendocino Celeron-A. The missing Level 2 cache made the original Celeron processor a performance dog, so Intel quickly replaced it with the newer 300MHz-to-500MHz Mendocino. The Mendocino processor has a 0.25-micron circuit size, 32KB of Level 1 cache, and 128KB of full-speed onboard Level 2 cache. The earlier versions used Slot 1, but later versions switched to the less-expensive Socket 370 motherboard.
5. Sharptooth AMD-K6-III. The K6-III, which AMD built to compete with the Pentium III processor, runs at 350MHz to 450MHz. The Sharptooth has a 0.25-micron circuit size, 64KB of Level 1 cache, and 256KB of full-speed onboard Level 2 cache. The processor can also utilize up to 2MB of Level 3 cache on the motherboard. Like the K6-2, the Sharptooth supports 100MHz system bus speed and uses Super7 motherboards.
4. Katmai Pentium III. The Pentium III processor runs at 450MHz to 600MHz. The processor has a 0.25-micron circuit size, 32KB of Level 1 cache, and 512KB of half-speed onboard Level 2 cache. The Pentium III processor provides 100MHz system bus speed and uses a Slot 1 motherboard.
3. Pentium III Xeon. Intel's high-end chip supports speeds of 450MHz to 500MHz. The Xeon provides 32KB of Level 1 cache, 2MB of full-speed Level 2 cache, and 133MHz system bus speed. The processor's new Slot 2 design allows multiprocessor support.
2. K7 AMD Athlon. For a while, the new AMD Athlon was the reigning speed champ at 700MHz. One vendor is even selling a 1GHz overclocked version of this chip. The standard Athlon runs at 500MHz to 700MHz. The processor has a 0.25-micron circuit size, 128KB of Level 1 cache, and 512KB of half-speed Level 2 cache. The Athlon is a Slot A processor (DEC Ev6 bus protocol) with 200MHz bus speed.
1. Coppermine Pentium III and Xeon. The 733MHz version of the Pentium III is the current 32-bit speed champ. The processor has a 0.18-micron circuit size and runs at 500MHz to 733MHz. Like the earlier Pentium III processor, the new processor has 32KB of Level 1 cache and 512KB of onboard Level 2 cache. The Xeon models support a 256KB Advanced Transfer cache with 133MHz system bus speed.