The Intel Corporation was founded in 1968. Intel produced the first widely used processor, the 8086, which was made in 1978. It was the first true 16-bit processor. It could communicate with up to 1 Mb. of RAM. It came in flavors of 5, 6, 8, and 10 Mhz.
The first popular chip was the Intel 80186, or the 186. It came in 8-bit and 16-bit. It incorperated a 1-micron core and clocked in at 25mhz. This chip never ended up in a PC, but was (and still is) heavily utilized in "embedded" systems.
The successor, the 80286, or the 286 (1982), could address 16 MB of RAM, and was the first to use virtual memory. It first used protection mode, which allowed different programs to run separately, but simultaneously. It came in 8, 10, 12.5, and 20 MHz flavors.
A major increase was the Intel 386 (1985-1990), which was the first 32-bit processor, and was in 16, 20, 25, and 33mhz flavors. It could address 4 GB of RAM and 64 Tb
of Virtual Memory. It also introduced pipelining, which allowed the processor to work on the next process before finishing the first one.
Next, the 486(1989-1994). It was 32-bit, but was twice as fast. It was the first processor to have an integrated floating point unit. It was also the first "upgradeable" processor.
Intel's first true competition was AMD, and it was the AM5x86(1995), which allowed 486 users to use the same motherboard
without having to go buy a new motherboard to use a Pentium class processor. It was significantly more powerful, pushing 133mhz, compared to the new Pentium 75. Thus, the start of the most famous line of processors in the world, the Pentium(1994). It was 32-bit, and was twice as fast as the 486.
The evolution from that was the Pentium Pro (1995-1999). It was made faster by splitting the processes instead of the Pentium's two processes.
An advance was the Pentium MMX (1997). One of the key enhancements is the MMX instruction set. The MMX instructions were an extension off the normal instructions set. The 57 additional instructions helped the processor perform certain key tasks in a streamlined fashion, allowing it to do some tasks with one instruction that it would have taken more regular instructions to do. The Pentium MMX performed up to 10-20% faster with standard software,
and higher with software optimized for the MMX instructions.
A ground-breaking processor was the Pentium II (1997). The Pentium II incorporated the Pentium Pro and the Pentium MMX all in one. It had 32kb of L1 cache, and 512kb of L2 cache. It is the first Slot 1 processor.
Intel made an entry level processor, the Celeron (1998). The Celeron was a stripped down Pentium II, with no L2 cache, no plastic cover, and no dual processor support. Intel learned
their lesson for the Celeron A. It had 128kb L2 cache, and full speed cache, performing better than the Pentium II's 512kb at half power, which made it an extremely cheap processor excellent for overclocking.
Pentium III (1999), used SSE (MMX2), which was 70 new instructions for streamlining. It included a Serial ID for security, but was seen by users as an invasion of privacy, which was later turned into an option in the BIOS. It eventually hit 1ghz.
AMD became a processor superpower with the Athlon (1999-Present). It had a super performance reputation. The system bus hit an all time high of 200mhz, cranking out raw power. The Athlon XP, which was an improved Athlon, performed more work per clock cycle than the competition, which was Intel. Therefore, the speed is slower and more efficient. An 1800+ really runs at 1.6 GHz.
Intel crushed AMD with their latest and greatest concoction,
the Pentium IV(2000-Present). According to Intel, NetBurst, Pentium IV's new technology, is made up of four new technologies: Hyper Pipelined Technology, Rapid Execution Engine, Execution Trace Cache and a 400MHz system bus. In Hyper Pipeline, the pipeline was widened from 10 to 20. Rapid execution created two arithmetic units which work at twice the processor speed, which is necessary to compensate for the Hyper pipeline's slow recovery rate.
The latest Intel and AMD processors have broken the 64-bit pipeline, and have even dabbled in the area of dual core technology, which is two processors on the same die. Intel has invented HyperThreading, which is instead of processing one at a time, HyperThreading forces the processor to think it is two processors and splits the work of two separate processes between the two halves of the processor, resulting in high-end multifuntioning.
Intel released a new technology for laptops a few years ago called Intel Centrino Mobile Technology, which incorporates 3 technologies: low-power consumption Pentium M processors, extended battery life, and increased portability as well as integrated wireless. This step put Intel in the forefront for laptop technology and user consumption ratings. Intel has just recently released their latest and greatest of all processors, the Intel Dual Core line, which includes: the Pentium D, Pentium Extreme Edition, and the Pentium Centrino Duo for Laptops. All of these processors include two cores for double processing in one step and blazing fast speeds up to 3.8 Ghz. for desktop and 2.2 Ghz. for laptop. Also, the processors come with a bonus: all are 32-bit/64-bit, which means they can run at both 32-bit and 64-bit pipeline for increased productivity and speed. Intel also recently release a new technology for desktops called Intel VIIV (pronounced "Veeve"), which incorporates a dual-core processor into a sleek case design, which is used for high-end multimedia. This new technology creates a unique visual and auditory experience.
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