The Pentium Pro, released in 1995, was the first x86 CPU able to manage more than 4 GB of RAM using Physical Address Extension (PAE), 36-bit address size, and thus 64 GB. An interesting point is that this processor was also the first P6 (the architecture the Core 2 processors are loosely derived from) and also the first x86 to include a Level 2 cache on the processor instead of on the motherboard. In fact, between 256 KB and 1 MB of cache were placed next to the CPU, on the same socket, making the L2 cache on-package as opposed to on-chip, clocked at the same frequency as the CPU.
This processor also had a bit of a performance issue. It ran great in 32-bit applications, but was much slower with software still written in 16 bits (like Windows 95). The cause was simple: access to 16-bit registers caused problems with management of the (32-bit) registers, which canceled out the advantages of the Pentium Pro’s out-of-order architecture.
|Data bus||64 bits|
|Address bus||36 bits|
|Maximum memory||64 GB|
|L1 cache||8 KB + 8 KB|
|L2 cache||external, 256-1024 KB (CPU frequency)|
|Clock frequency||150-200 MHz|
|Fabrication process||600-350 nm|
|Number of transistors||5,500,000 + cache|
|Power consumption||29-47 W|
|Die surface area||306-196 mm² + cache|
The cache measured 202 mm² (256 KB at 500 nm), 242 mm² (512 KB at 350 nm), or 484 mm² (1 MB at 350 nm). The number of transistors in the cache was 15.5 million (256 KB), 31 million (512 KB), or 62 million (1 MB).
- 8086: The First PC processor
- 80286: 16 MB Of Memory, But Still 16 Bits
- 386: 32-Bit and Cache Memory
- The 486: An FPU And Multipliers Too
- Intel Pentium: A Bothersome Bug
- Pentium Pro: The First To Handle Over 4 GB Of Memory
- Pentium II and III: Brothers
- Celeron and Xeon: Intel Aims At The High/Low End
- The Pentium III Hits 1 GHz
- The Pentium 4: A Lot Of Noise Over Very Little
- Pentium M: Laptops Flex Their Muscles
- Pentium 4 Gets 64-bit And Another Core
- The First Mobile Dual-Core
- Today's Hotness: The Core 2 Duo
- The Future: Nehalem, Atom, Etc.