Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cyrix Microprocessors

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A few years ago Cyrix had the lead in microprocessor speed at the MHz frequency according to PCTODAY.com. But when it came to new technology like migrating from Socket 7 Architecture to SLOT 1, Intel had the lead. Cyrix was targeting the lower-end PC market with inexpensive prices. At the MHz level, Cyrix outperformed Intel and AMD on the same Windows 5 or Windows NT platforms. On September , 1, National Semiconductor Corporation announced it completed the sale of the assets of the Cyrix standalone PC processor business to VIA Technologies. Soon after, there were no more Cyrix chips on the market. This paper will examine the two largest chipmakers, AMD and Intel.


AMD is a global supplier of integrated circuits for the personal and networked computer and communications markets. AMD has with manufacturing facilities in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Asia. AMD produces microprocessors, flash memory devices, and support circuitry for communications and networking applications. Since inception, they have shipped more than 175 million PC processors worldwide. Founded in 16 and based in Sunnyvale, California, AMD had revenues of $4.6 billion in 000.


The latest product offering from AMD is their Athlon XP Processor. AMD advertises that their Athlon XP processor allows users to take full advantage of the power of Windows XP. The Athlon processor are made in clock speeds of 1.6 GHz to 1. GHz.


Founded in 168 to build semiconductor memory products, Intel introduced the worlds first microprocessor in 171. Today, Intel supplies chips, boards, systems, software, networking and communications equipment, and services that comprise the ingredients of computer architecture and the Internet. Intels mission is to be the preeminent building block supplier to the worldwide Internet economy. Intel is based in Santa Clara, California and its net revenues for 001 was $.7 billion.


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Since November 001, Intel has been offering the Pentium 4 family of microprocessors with NetBurst micro-architecture at clock speeds ranging from 1.5 GHz of up to . GHz.


Both chipmakers offer low-cost microprocessors. AMD’s low cost microprocessor is called the Duron. On January 1, 00, AMD introduced their latest variant of the Duron chip, the Duron 100, and will mostly be found in systems priced at around $45. Intel’s low-cost processor is the Celeron. The Celeron processor is nothing more than a Pentium chip without an L cache. Because it lacks an L Cache, the Celeron processor is significantly slower than a Pentium processor at the same speed. When compared directly with the more expensive Intel Celeron 100, the new Duron shows significantly higher performance. We will limit the discussion of performance to the two chipmakers high performance market.


Although AMD and Intel have changed microprocessor technology and they have gone down different paths with respects to technology, AMD still offers true Pentium compatibility. AMD had to make a change to beat Intel at the chip race.


The processor is one of the main components of the computer that determines the speed at which programs run. The performance of the microprocessor directly affects how fast applications will execute commands; solely based on time. AMD states that there are now two factors that determine the performance capability of a microprocessor. First is the instructions per clock cycle (IPC), which is the amount of work the processor can accomplish in a given clock cycle. Clock speed or frequency, which is measured in gigahertz or megahertz, is the second part of the equation. Therefore performance equals IPC multiplied by frequency.


With the 86, 86 and 486 family of microprocessors, all chip manufacturers were racing to improve clock speed because the IPC was relatively equal among them. Starting with the fifth generation of microprocessors, AMD and Intel took different approaches to internal architecture and for the first time IPC is different among competitors in the chip market, although they remain compatible with the x86 chips. According to AMD, IPC is no longer the same among chip manufacturers. AMD’s new QuantiSpeed architecture makes their Athlon XP processor run with an optimum balance of IPC and frequency to achieve the highest levels of real world PC application performance.


The major differences between the AMD Athlon XP and the Pentium 4 microprocessors are in the outlined in the following table


Feature AMD Athlon XP Pentium IV


Operations per clock cycle 6


Integer Pipelines 4


Floating Point Pipelines


Full x86 Decoders 1


Graphics Instruction Set D!Now SSE


Is the AMD technology faster than the Intel? From the research conducted for this project that depends on whom you ask. According to AMD, their Athlon family of chips now beats Intel even when you compare a 1.4 GHz Athlon chip to a 1.7 GHz Pentium chip because it can conduct nine operations per clock cycle versus Intel’s six operations per clock cycle. The Intel website did not list comparative statistics, but did give links to other websites and computer test organizations.


A comprehensive test from a hardware guide web-based tester, says in the majority of performance tests, the new Pentium 4/00 is ahead. After all, the top AMD processor has to make do with a 1.6 GHz processor while its arch enemy steps in with . GHz. A closer look at the comprehensive benchmarks reveals that, despite an overall lead in processor execution time, in Microsoft Office performance as well as Linux Kernel compiling, the Athlon XP still takes a slight lead, despite its percent clock speed disadvantage!


Still another hardware tester, Ace’s Hardware says there used to be a time where it was very easy top compare Intel and AMD chips. You could simply plug them into the same motherboard and run a few benchmarks. Today, it is possible to make either chip look bad or fantastic just by using another platform. Ace’s Hardware goes on to say that the Intel chip is a bit of a failure, even at . GHz it is slightly faster than the Athlon ZP, and quite a few times, in fact, it is slower.


The biggest decision the average home user needs to make is with the price. There is a $.00 difference is price between these competitor’s best chips this month. Listed below are the average sales prices in the United States


Intel Pentium 4/00A $56


Intel Pentium 4/000A $64


Intel Pentium 4/000 $4


AMD Athlon XP 000+ $40


AMD Athlon XP 100+ $4


AMD Athlon XP 1800+ $174


So with all of the hype and most professional test organizations saying that the fastest Pentium 4 chips just barely outperform the Athlon XP chips, which chip do you buy? But wait…industry sources say that AMD will introduce the 1.8 GHz Thoroughbred, otherwise know as the Athlon XP00+, sometime in March or April, which will definitely outperform the current Pentium 4 in all categories. But what does Pentium have in store? When will they hit the GHz mark? There is no one clear answer in the microprocessor war. Either company’s leading chip will more than likely handle anything the average desktop user can throw at it.


Clearly neither microprocessor producer maintains a clear lead in the chip war. Gone are the days when you can count clock speed alone as the benchmark in your computer purchases. “Intel Vs. AMD Vs. Cyrix” PCtoday.com Dated November 17. Accessed 10 February 00.


“Understanding Microprocessor Performance” August 4, 001, AMD Online. URL www.amd.com. Accessed February 8, 00, page .


Intel Online. URL www.intel.com. Copyright 00 Intel Corporation. Accessed 14 February 00.


“Understanding Intel’s Lineup” PC Magazine July , 001. Url www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,1075,00.html. Accessed February 8, 00.


“El Cheapo Duron 100 vs. Celeron 100” January 17, 00 URL www6.tomshardware.com/cpu/0q1/0011/index.html. Dated. Accessed February 8, 00.


AMD Online. URL www.amd.com. Copyright 00 Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Accessed February 8, 00.


“Understanding Microprocessor Performance” August 4, 001 AMD Online. URL www.amd.com. Accessed February 8, 00., page .


Ibid, page .


Platt, Stephen. “What Makes a Faster Processor?,” September 6, 001. URL www.byte.com. Accessed February 11, 00.


De Galas, Johan “Intel vs. AMD GHz Northwood vs. Athlon XP 000+” January 7, 00 URL www.aceshardware.com. Accessed February , 00.


Volkel, Frank; Topelt, Bert; and Pabst, Thomas. “Pentium 4/00 vs. Athlon XP 000+ URL www.tomshardwareguide.com. , Accessed February 8, 00.


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