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P5 (586) Fifth-Generation Processors

After the fourth-generation chips such as the 486, Intel and other chip manufacturers went back to the drawing board to come up with new architectures and features that they would later incorporate into what they called fifth-generation chips. This section defines the fifth-generation processors from Intel, AMD, and others.

Pentium Processors

On October 19, 1992, Intel announced that the fifth generation of its compatible microprocessor line (codenamed P5) would be named the Pentium processor rather than the 586, as everybody had assumed. Calling the new chip the 586 would have been natural, but Intel discovered that it could not trademark a number designation, and the company wanted to prevent other manufacturers from using the same name for any clone chips they might develop. The actual Pentium chip shipped on March 22, 1993. Systems that used these chips were only a few months behind.

The Pentium is fully compatible with previous Intel processors, but it differs from them in many ways. At least one of these differences is revolutionary: The Pentium features twin data pipelines, which enable it to execute two instructions at the same time. The 486 and all preceding chips can perform only a single instruction at a time. Intel calls the capability to execute two instructions at the same time superscalar technology. This technology provides additional performance compared with the 486.

With superscalar technology, the Pentium can execute many instructions at a rate of two instructions per cycle. Superscalar architecture usually is associated with high-output RISC chips. The Pentium is one of the first CISC chips to be considered superscalar. The Pentium is almost like having two 486 chips under the hood. Table 3.25 shows the Pentium processor specifications.

Table 3.25. Pentium Processor Specifications

View Table

The two instruction pipelines within the chip are called the u- and v-pipes. The u-pipe, which is the primary pipe, can execute all integer and floating-point instructions. The v-pipe is a secondary pipe that can execute only simple integer instructions and certain floating-point instructions. The process of operating on two instructions simultaneously in the different pipes is called pairing. Not all sequentially executing instructions can be paired, and when pairing is not possible, only the u-pipe is used. To optimize the Pentium's efficiency, you can recompile software to enable more instructions to be paired.

The Pentium processor has a branch target buffer (BTB), which employs a technique called branch prediction. It minimizes stalls in one or more of the pipes caused by delays in fetching instructions that branch to nonlinear memory locations. The BTB attempts to predict whether a program branch will be taken and then fetches the appropriate instructions. The use of branch prediction enables the Pentium to keep both pipelines operating at full speed. Figure 3.38 shows the internal architecture of the Pentium processor.

03fig36.gif

Figure 3.38 Pentium processor internal architecture.

The Pentium has a 32-bit address bus width, giving it the same 4GB memory-addressing capabilities as the 386DX and 486 processors. But the Pentium expands the data bus to 64 bits, which means it can move twice as much data into or out of the CPU, compared with a 486 of the same clock speed. The 64-bit data bus requires that system memory be accessed 64 bits wide, so each bank of memory is 64 bits.

On most Pentium-based motherboards, memory is installed via SIMMs or DIMMs. SIMMs are available in 8-bit-wide and 32-bit-wide versions, whereas DIMMs are 64 bits wide. In addition, versions are available with additional bits for parity or error correcting code (ECC) data. Most Pentium systems use the 32-bit-wide SIMMs—two of these SIMMs per bank of memory. Most Pentium motherboards have at least four of these 32-bit SIMM sockets, providing for a total of two banks of memory. Later Pentium systems and most Pentium II systems still in use today use DIMMs, which are 64 bits wide—just like the processor's external data bus, so only one DIMM is used per bank. This makes installing or upgrading memory much easier because DIMMs can go in one at a time and don't have to be matched up in pairs.

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See "SIMMs, DIMMs, and RIMMs," p. 492, and "Memory Banks," p. 512.

Even though the Pentium has a 64-bit data bus that transfers information 64 bits at a time into and out of the processor, the Pentium has only 32-bit internal registers. As instructions are being processed internally, they are broken down into 32-bit instructions and data elements and processed in much the same way as in the 486. Some people thought that Intel was misleading them by calling the Pentium a 64-bit processor, but 64-bit transfers do indeed take place. Internally, however, the Pentium has 32-bit registers that are fully compatible with the 486.

The Pentium has two separate internal 8KB caches, compared with a single 8KB or 16KB cache in the 486. The cache-controller circuitry and the cache memory are embedded in the CPU chip. The cache mirrors the information in normal RAM by keeping a copy of the data and code from different memory locations. The Pentium cache also can hold information to be written to memory when the load on the CPU and other system components is less. (The 486 makes all memory writes immediately.)

The separate code and data caches are organized in a two-way set associative fashion, with each set split into lines of 32 bytes each. Each cache has a dedicated translation lookaside buffer (TLB) that translates linear addresses to physical addresses. You can configure the data cache as write-back or write-through on a line-by-line basis. When you use the write-back capability, the cache can store write operations and reads, further improving performance over read-only write-through mode. Using write-back mode results in less activity between the CPU and system memory—an important improvement because CPU access to system memory is a bottleneck on fast systems. The code cache is an inherently write-protected cache because it contains only execution instructions and not data, which is updated. Because burst cycles are used, the cache data can be read or written very quickly.

Systems based on the Pentium can benefit greatly from secondary processor caches (L2), which usually consist of up to 512KB or more of extremely fast (15ns or less) SRAM chips. When the CPU fetches data that is not already available in its internal processor (L1) cache, wait states slow the CPU. If the data already is in the secondary processor cache, however, the CPU can go ahead with its work without pausing for wait states.

The Pentium uses a Bipolar Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor (BiCMOS) process and superscalar architecture to achieve the high level of performance expected from the chip. BiCMOS adds about 10% to the complexity of the chip design, but adds about 30%–35% better performance without a size or power penalty.

All 75MHz and faster Pentium processors are SL enhanced—they incorporate the SMM to provide full control of power-management features, which helps reduce power consumption. The second-generation Pentium processors (75MHz and faster) incorporate a more advanced form of SMM that includes processor clock control. This enables you to throttle the processor up or down to control power use. You can even stop the clock with these more advanced Pentium processors, putting the processor in a state of suspension that requires very little power. The second-generation Pentium processors run on 3.3V power (instead of 5V), reducing power requirements and heat generation even further.

Many Pentium motherboards supply either 3.465V or 3.3V. The 3.465V setting is called VRE (voltage reduced extended) by Intel and is required by some versions of the Pentium, particularly some of the 100MHz versions. The standard 3.3V setting is called STD (standard), which most of the second-generation Pentiums use. STD voltage means anything in a range from 3.135V to 3.465V with 3.3V nominal. Additionally, a special 3.3V setting called VR (voltage reduced) reduces the range from 3.300V to 3.465V with 3.38V nominal. Some of the processors require this narrower specification, which most motherboards provide. Here is a summary:

Voltage Specification

Nominal

Tolerance

Minimum

Maximum

STD (standard)

3.30V

±0.165

3.135V

3.465V

VR (voltage reduced)

3.38V

±0.083

3.300V

3.465V

VRE (VR extended)

3.50V

±0.100

3.400V

3.600V

For even lower power consumption, Intel introduced special Pentium processors with voltage reduction technology in the 75 to 266MHz family; the processors were intended for mobile computer applications. They did not use a conventional chip package and were instead mounted using a new format called tape carrier packaging (TCP). The tape carrier packaging does not encase the chip in ceramic or plastic as with a conventional chip package, but instead covers the actual processor die directly with a thin, protective plastic coating. The entire processor is less than 1mm thick, or about half the thickness of a dime, and weighs less than 1 gram. They were sold to system manufacturers in a roll that looks very much like a filmstrip.

The TCP processor is directly affixed (soldered) to the motherboard by a special machine, resulting in a smaller package, lower height, better thermal transfer, and lower power consumption. Special solder plugs on the circuit board located directly under the processor draw heat away and provide better cooling in the tight confines of a typical notebook or laptop system—no cooling fans are required. For more information on mobile processors and systems, see the chapter "Portable PCs" included on the disc accompanying this book.

The Pentium, like the 486, contains an internal math coprocessor or FPU. The FPU in the Pentium was rewritten to perform significantly better than the FPU in the 486 yet still be fully compatible with the 486 and 387 math coprocessors. The Pentium FPU is estimated to be two to as much as ten times faster than the FPU in the 486. In addition, the two standard instruction pipelines in the Pentium provide two units to handle standard integer math. (The math coprocessor handles only more complex calculations.) Other processors, such as the 486, have only a single-standard execution pipe and one integer math unit. Interestingly, the Pentium FPU contains a flaw that received widespread publicity. See the discussion in the section "Pentium Defects," later in this chapter.

First-Generation Pentium Processors

The Pentium was offered in three basic designs, each with several versions. The first-generation design came in 60MHz and 66MHz processor speeds. This design used a 273-pin PGA form factor and ran on 5V power. In this design, the processor ran at the same speed as the motherboard—in other words, a 1x clock was used.

The first-generation Pentium was created through a 0.8-micron BiCMOS process. Unfortunately, this process, combined with the 3.1 million transistor count, resulted in a die that was overly large and complicated to manufacture. As a result, reduced yields kept the chip in short supply; Intel could not make them fast enough. The 0.8-micron process was criticized by other manufacturers, including Motorola and IBM, which had been using 0.6-micron technology for their most advanced chips. The huge die and 5V operating voltage caused the 66MHz versions to consume up to an incredible 3.2 amps or 16 watts of power, resulting in a tremendous amount of heat and problems in some systems that did not employ conservative design techniques. Fortunately, adding a fan to the processor solved most cooling problems, as long as the fan kept running.

Much of the criticism leveled at Intel for the first-generation Pentium was justified. Some people realized that the first-generation design was just that; they knew that new Pentium versions, made in a more advanced manufacturing process, were coming. Many of those people advised against purchasing any Pentium system until the second-generation version became available.

Those who purchased first-generation Pentiums still had a way out, however. As with previous 486 systems, Intel released OverDrive upgrade chips that effectively doubled the processor speed of the Pentium 60 or 66. These are a single-chip upgrade, meaning they replace the existing CPU. Because subsequent Pentiums are incompatible with the Pentium 60/66 Socket 4 arrangement, these OverDrive chips and comparable upgrades available from some third-party sources were the only way to upgrade an existing first-generation Pentium without replacing the motherboard.

Generally, it was better to consider a complete motherboard replacement, which would accept a newer design processor that would potentially be many times faster, than to upgrade using just an OverDrive processor, that might only be twice as fast.

Second-Generation Pentium Processors

Intel announced the second-generation Pentium on March 7, 1994. This processor was introduced in 90MHz and 100MHz versions, with a 75MHz version not far behind. Eventually, 120MHz, 133MHz, 150MHz, 166MHz, and 200MHz versions were also introduced. The second-generation Pentium uses 0.6-micron (75/90/100MHz) BiCMOS technology to shrink the die and reduce power consumption. The newer, faster 120MHz (and higher) second-generation versions incorporate an even smaller die built on a 0.35-micron BiCMOS process. These smaller dies are not changed from the 0.6-micron versions; they are basically a photographic reduction of the P54C die. The die for the Pentium is shown in Figure 3.39. Additionally, these new processors run on 3.3V power. The 100MHz version consumes a maximum of 3.25 amps of 3.3V power, which equals only 10.725 watts. Further up the scale, the 150MHz chip uses 3.5 amps of 3.3V power (11.6 watts); the 166MHz unit draws 4.4 amps (14.5 watts); and the 200MHz processor uses 4.7 amps (15.5 watts).

03fig37.jpg

Figure 3.39 Pentium processor die. Photograph used by permission of Intel Corporation.

The second-generation Pentium processors use a 296-pin SPGA form factor that is physically incompatible with the first-generation versions. The only way to upgrade from the first generation to the second was to replace the motherboard. The second-generation Pentium processors also have 3.3 million transistors—more than the earlier chips. The extra transistors exist because additional clock-control SL enhancements were added, along with an on-chip advanced programmable interrupt controller (APIC) and dual-processor interface.

The APIC and dual-processor interfaces are responsible for orchestrating dual-processor configurations in which two second-generation Pentium chips can process on the same motherboard simultaneously. Many of the Pentium motherboards designed for file servers come with dual Socket 7 specification sockets, which fully support the multiprocessing capability of the new chips. Software support for what usually is called symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) was integrated into operating systems such as Windows NT and OS/2.

The second-generation Pentium processors use clock-multiplier circuitry to run the processor at speeds faster than the bus. The 150MHz Pentium processor, for example, can run at 2.5 times the bus frequency, which normally is 60MHz. The 200MHz Pentium processor can run at a 3x clock in a system using a 66MHz bus speed.

Virtually all Pentium motherboards had three speed settings: 50MHz, 60MHz, and 66MHz. Pentium chips were available with a variety of internal clock multipliers that caused the processor to operate at various multiples of these motherboard speeds. Refer to Table 3.7 for a list of the speeds of Pentium processors and motherboards.

The core-to-bus frequency ratio or clock multiplier is controlled in a Pentium processor by two pins on the chip labeled BF1 and BF2. Table 3.26 shows how the state of the BFx pins affects the clock multiplication in the Pentium processor.

Table 3.26. Pentium BFx Pins and Clock Multipliers

BF1

BF2

Clock Multiplier

Bus Speed (MHz)

Core Speed (MHz)

0

1

3x

66

200

0

1

3x

60

180

0

1

3x

50

150

0

0

2.5x

66

166

0

0

2.5x

60

150

0

0

2.5x

50

125

1

0

2x/4x

66

133/266 [1]

1

0

2x

60

120

1

0

2x

50

100

1

1

1.5x/3.5x

66

100/233 [1]

1

1

1.5x

60

90

1

1

1.5x

50

75

Not all chips support all the bus frequency (BF) pins or combinations of settings. In other words, some of the Pentium processors operate only at specific combinations of these settings or might even be fixed at one particular setting. Many of the later Pentium motherboards included jumpers or switches that enabled you to control the BF pins and, therefore, alter the clock-multiplier ratio within the chip. In theory, you could run a 75MHz-rated Pentium chip at 133MHz by changing jumpers on the motherboard. This is called overclocking and is discussed in the section "Overclocking," earlier in this chapter. What Intel has done to discourage overclockers in its most recent Pentiums is discussed near the end of the "Processor Manufacturing" section of this chapter.

Intel also offered a single-chip OverDrive upgrade for second-generation Pentiums. These OverDrive chips are fixed at a 3x multiplier; they replace the existing Socket 5 or 7 CPU, increase processor speed up to 200MHz (with a 66MHz motherboard speed), and add MMX capability. Simply stated, a Pentium 100, 133, or 166 system equipped with the OverDrive chip has a processor speed of 200MHz. Perhaps the best feature of these Pentium OverDrive chips is that they incorporate MMX technology to improve multimedia application performance.

Pentium-MMX Processors

A third generation of Pentium processors (codenamed P55C) was released in January 1997, and incorporates what Intel calls MMX technology into the second-generation Pentium design (see Figure 3.40). These Pentium-MMX processors were manufactured in clock rates of 66/166MHz, 66/200MHz, and 66/233MHz and in a mobile-only version, which is 66/266MHz. The MMX processors have a lot in common with other second-generation Pentiums, including superscalar architecture, multiprocessor support, on-chip local APIC controller, and power-management features. New features include a pipelined MMX unit, 16KB code, write-back cache (versus 8KB in earlier Pentiums), and 4.5 million transistors. Pentium-MMX chips are produced on an enhanced 0.35-micron CMOS silicon process that allows for a lower 2.8V voltage level. The newer mobile 233MHz and 266MHz processors are built on a 0.25-micron process and run on only 1.8V. With this newer technology, the 266 processor actually uses less power than the non-MMX 133.

03fig38.jpg

Figure 3.40 Pentium MMX. The left side shows the underside of the chip with the cover plate removed exposing the processor die. Photograph used by permission of Intel Corporation.

To use the Pentium-MMX, the motherboard must be capable of supplying the lower (2.8V or less) voltage these processors use. To enable a more universal motherboard solution with respect to these changing voltages, Intel developed the Socket 7 with VRM. The VRM is a socketed module that plugs in next to the processor and supplies the correct voltage. Because the module is easily replaced, reconfiguring a motherboard to support any of the voltages required by the newer Pentium processors is easy.

Of course, lower voltage is nice, but MMX is what this chip is really all about. MMX incorporates a process Intel calls single instruction multiple data (SIMD), which enables one instruction to perform the same function on many pieces of data. Fifty-seven new instructions designed specifically to handle video, audio, and graphics data have been added to the chip.

Pentium Defects

Probably the most famous processor bug in history is the now legendary flaw in the Pentium FPU. It has often been called the FDIV bug because it affects primarily the FDIV (floating-point divide) instruction, although several other instructions that use division are also affected. Intel officially refers to this problem as Errata No. 23, titled "Slight precision loss for floating-point divides on specific operand pairs." The bug has been fixed in the D1 or later steppings of the 60/66MHz Pentium processors, as well as the B5 and later steppings of the 75/90/100MHz processors. The 120MHz and higher processors are manufactured from later steppings, which do not include this problem. Tables listing all the variations of Pentium processors and steppings and how to identify them appear later in this chapter.

This bug caused a tremendous fervor when it first was reported on the Internet by mathematician Thomas R. Nicely of Lynchburg College in Virginia in October 1994. Within a few days, news of the defect had spread nationwide, and even people who did not have computers had heard about it. The Pentium incorrectly performed floating-point division calculations with certain number combinations, with errors anywhere from the third digit on up.

By the time the bug was publicly discovered outside of Intel, the company had already incorporated the fix into the next stepping of both the 60/66MHz and the 75/90/100MHz Pentium processor, along with the other corrections Intel had made.

After the bug was made public and Intel admitted to already knowing about it, a fury erupted. As people began checking their spreadsheets and other math calculations, many discovered they had also encountered this problem and did not know it. Others who had not encountered the problem had their faith in the core of their PCs very shaken. People had come to put so much trust in the PC that they had a hard time coming to terms with the fact that it might not even be capable of doing math correctly!

One interesting result of the fervor surrounding this defect is that people are less likely to implicitly trust their PCs and are therefore doing more testing and evaluating of important results. The bottom line is that if your information and calculations are important enough, you should implement some results tests. Several math programs were found to have problems. For example, a bug was discovered in the yield function of Excel 5.0 that some were attributing to the Pentium processor. In this case, the problem turned out to be the software (which has been corrected in versions 5.0c and later).

Intel finally decided that in the best interest of the consumer and its public image, it would begin a lifetime replacement warranty on the affected processors. Therefore, if you ever encounter one of the Pentium processors with the Errata 23 floating-point bug, Intel will replace the processor with an equivalent one without this problem.

If you are still using a Pentium-based system and wonder whether you might have a system affected by this bug, visit the Intel "FDIV Replacement Program" page at http://support.intel.com/support/processors/pentium/fdiv/. Here you can find information on how to determine whether your processor is affected and how to obtain a free replacement for an affected processor. As long as Intel receives the original CPU back within a specified amount of time, there will be no charges to you. Intel has indicated that these defective processors are destroyed and will not be remarketed or resold in another form.

Testing for the FPU Bug

Testing a Pentium for this bug is relatively easy. All you have to do is execute one of the test division cases cited here and see whether your answer compares to the correct result.

The division calculation can be done in a spreadsheet (such as Lotus 1-2-3, Microsoft Excel, or any other), the Microsoft Windows built-in calculator, or any other calculating program that uses the FPU. Make sure that for the purposes of this test the FPU has not been disabled. That typically requires some special command or setting specific to the application and, of course, ensures that the test comes out correct, regardless of whether the chip is flawed.

The most severe Pentium floating-point errors occur as early as the third significant digit of the result. Here is an example of one of the more severe instances of the problem:

962,306,957,033 / 11,010,046 = 87,402.6282027341 (correct answer)

962,306,957,033 / 11,010,046 = 87,399.5805831329 (flawed Pentium)

As you can see in the previous case, the error turns up in the third most significant digit of the result. In an examination of more than 5,000 integer pairs in the 5- to 15-digit range found to produce Pentium floating-point division errors, errors beginning in the sixth significant digit were the most likely to occur.

Several workarounds are available for this bug, but they extract a performance penalty. Because Intel has agreed to replace any Pentium processor with this flaw under a lifetime warranty replacement program, the best workaround is a free replacement or an upgrade to a more modern system.

Power Management Bugs

Starting with the second-generation Pentium processors, Intel added functions that enable these CPUs to be installed in energy-efficient systems. These are usually called Energy Star systems because they meet the specifications imposed by the EPA Energy Star program, but they are also unofficially called green PCs by many users.

Unfortunately, there have been several bugs with respect to these functions, causing them to either fail or be disabled. These bugs are in some of the functions in the power-management capabilities accessed through SMM. These problems are applicable only to the second-generation 75/90/100MHz processors because the first-generation 60/66MHz processors do not have SMM or power-management capabilities, and all higher-speed (120MHz and up) processors have the bugs fixed.

Most of the problems are related to the STPCLK# pin and the HALT instruction. If this condition is invoked by the chipset, the system will hang. For most systems, the only workaround for this problem is to disable the power-saving modes, such as suspend or sleep. Unfortunately, this means that your green PC won't be so green anymore! The best way to repair the problem is to replace the processor with a later stepping version that does not have the bug. These bugs affect the B1 stepping version of the 75/90/100MHz Pentiums, and they were fixed in the B3 and later stepping versions.

Pentium Processor Models and Steppings

We know that like software, no processor is truly ever perfect. From time to time, the manufacturers gather up what problems they have found and put into production a new stepping, which consists of a new set of masks that incorporate the corrections. Each subsequent stepping is better and more refined than the previous ones. Although no microprocessor is ever perfect, they come closer to perfection with each stepping. In the life of a typical microprocessor, a manufacturer might go through half a dozen or more such steppings.

See Upgrading and Repairing PCs, Tenth Anniversary Edition, which is included on the disc, for tables showing the Pentium processor steppings and revisions. This information is also available online from Intel via its website.

To determine the specifications of a given processor, you must look up the S-spec number in the table of processor specifications. To find your S-spec number, you have to read it off the chip directly. It can be found printed on both the top and bottom of the chip. If your heatsink is glued on, remove the chip and heatsink from the socket as a unit and read the numbers from the bottom of the chip. Then, you can look up the S-spec number in the Specification Guide Intel publishes (via its website); it tells you the specifications of that particular processor. Intel is introducing new chips all the time, so visit its website and search for the Pentium processor "Quick Reference Guide" in the developer portion of its site. There you will find a complete listing of all current processor specifications by S-spec number.

One interesting item to note is that several subtly different voltages are required by different Pentium processors. Table 3.27 summarizes the various processors and their required voltages.

Table 3.27. Pentium Processor Voltages

Model

Stepping

Voltage Spec.

Voltage Range

1

Std.

4.75V–5.25V

1

5V1

4.90V–5.25V

1

5V2

4.90V–5.40V

1

5V3

5.15V–5.40V

2+

B1-B5

Std.

3.135V–3.465V

2+

C2+

Std.

3.135V–3.600V

2+

VR

3.300V–3.465V

2+

B1-B5

VRE

3.45V–3.60V

2+

C2+

VRE

3.40V–3.60V

4+

MMX

2.70V–2.90V

4

3

Mobile

2.285V–2.665V

4

3

Mobile

2.10V–2.34V

8

1

Mobile

1.850V–2.150V

8

1

Mobile

1.665V–1.935V

Many of the newer Pentium motherboards have jumpers that allow for adjustments to the different voltage ranges. If you are having problems with a particular processor, it might not be matched correctly to your motherboard voltage output.

If you are purchasing an older, used Pentium system today, I recommend using only Model 2 (second-generation) or later version processors that are available in 75MHz or faster speeds. You should definitely get stepping C2 or later. Virtually all the important bugs and problems were fixed in the C2 and later releases. The newer Pentium processors have no serious bugs to worry about.

AMD-K5

The AMD-K5 is a Pentium-compatible processor developed by AMD and available as the PR75, PR90, PR100, PR120, PR133, PR166, and PR200. Because it is designed to be physically and functionally compatible, any motherboard that properly supports the Intel Pentium should support the AMD-K5. However, a BIOS upgrade might be required to properly recognize the AMD-K5. The K5 has the following features:

  • 16KB instruction cache, 8KB write-back data cache
  • Dynamic execution—branch prediction with speculative execution
  • Five-stage, RISC-like pipeline with six parallel functional units
  • High-performance floating-point unit
  • Pin-selectable clock multiples of 1.5x, 1.75x, and 2x

The K5 is sold under the P-Rating system, which means that the number on the chip does not indicate true clock speed, only apparent speed when running certain applications.

Note that the actual clock speeds of several of these processors are not the same as their apparent rated speeds. For example, the PR-166 version actually runs at only 117 true MHz. Sometimes this can confuse the system BIOS, which might report the true speed rather than the P-Rating, which compares the chip against an Intel Pentium of that speed. AMD's assertion is that because of architecture enhancements over the Pentium, they do not need to run the same clock frequency to achieve that same performance. Even with such improvements, AMD marketed the K5 as a fifth-generation processor, just like the Pentium.

The AMD-K5 operates at 3.52V (VRE setting). Some older motherboards default to 3.3V, which is below specification for the K5 and could cause erratic operation. Because of the relatively low clock speeds and compatibility issues some users experienced with the K5, AMD replaced it with the K6 family of processors.

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