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Technical Considerations

Outline:

Quick Notes

We currently suggest the Pentium II processor for all new systems. The Pentium Pro CPU has been discontinued and there are severe shortages on replacement parts for Pentium Pro computers. Pentium Classic processors are discontinued. Pentium MMX processors are being phased out and will be discontinued in early 1998. Therefore your best investment is in a Pentium II based system. If you can not afford a Pentium II you may wish to wait until the next official Intel CPU price cut (See below for details).

*Be aware that due to shortages in Pentium Pro and Pentium Classic processors many chip brokers are selling remarked processors. Used processors are also on the market. Buy with care. We guarantee all our processors are new and not remarked.

Please read => Pentium II Systems require extra power and cooling. Therefore we only sell Pentium II systems with California PC Products 300W, 25A power supplies, extra 80mm cooling fans and specific qualified chassises, such as the California PC Products 8-bay Steel Chassis. These designs will prevent damage from gray-outs and overheating.

Many vendors are currently selling less expensive Pentium II systems in standard Pentium Class Chassises and power supplies. These are completely inadequate and inappropriate. You should not build a Pentium II system like a Pentium. We are getting *many* reports of system instability and permanent failures caused by overheating and inadequate power when Pentium class chassises and power supplies are implemented with the Pentium II. If you buy a Pentium II system specify a qualified chassis, power supply and fans.

For more information on chassises and power supplies see our tower chassis page, rack mount chassis page and power supply page.

Intel Wholesale CPU Prices for 1997-1998

Traditionally each quarter (every three months) Intel drops CPU prices from 2-48%. These price drops occur on the 28th day of January, April, July and October. Frequently you'll see these drops referred to by quarter as Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4 respectively. The press generally calls the January 28th, April 28th, July 28th and October 28th price drops February, May, August and November price drops for unknown reasons.

In 1996, the November price drop was temporarily discontinued due to protests from Compaq that it interfered with Christmas sales. However, in March 1997, Intel re-instated the November price drop this year.

In an effort to push Pentium II sales Intel announced that it would add even more price cut dates. The price of the 233MHz Pentium II CPU was cut early on December 28th, 1997, instead of the normal January 28th date. Moreover, additional price cuts were scheduled for April 15th, 1998 and July 7th, 1998, making for a very aggressive year. We have yet to hear from Intel if they plan to add additional price cuts later this year above and beyond the Q3 and Q4 price cuts.

In 1999 price cuts have been rescheduled. The Q1 '99 price cut will be on February 28th. The Q2 price cut will come on March 11. The specific dates of other price drops for 1999 have not been released yet.  

Following a price drop, prices take from three to ten days to occur because Intel brokers must amortize their stocks. Quick drops indicate that the brokers are holding a smaller stock of CPU's. Frequently prices actually rise just before a price drop because brokers and distributors stock less CPU's. Other times the prices may erode a week or two before a price drop as over stocked brokers get nervous and sell off excess inventory. This leads to volatility in both the RAM and CPU market around the time of a CPU price drop.

Below we have tabulated Intel's estimated pricing for 1997-1999. However, these plans are subject to change without notice. The price estimates reflect orders in quantities of at least 10,000 for first tier brokers. Internet prices will vary from a point or two below these prices up to twenty percent higher than these prices for most CPU's. However, due to shortages of some processors street prices may be significantly higher. In order to not encourage more demand for the Pentium Pro processors, Intel plans to keep current Pentium Pro wholesale prices close to their current values until they are effectively replaced by the Deschutes processors in early 1998.

Note that Pentium Pro and Pentium CPU's have been discontinued. 

Intel RoadMap for Pentium II, Celeron, Xeon, Tanner, Katmai, Merced for 1999
Source: CRW Sources
(Yellow = Not released yet, Aqua = discontinued)

CPU Description

Q1 '99 Feb 28

Q2 '99 April 11

Q2 '99 May 16 

Q2 '99 July 18 

Q3 Sept '99

Q4 '99

Celeron 300Mhz, 128K, 66MHz bus, Slot 1 SEPP

02/07/99 $60

RIP

RIP

RIP

RIP

RIP

Celeron 333Mhz, 128K, 66MHz bus, Slot 1 SEPP

02/07/99 $70

$71 April $61 July

RIP

RIP

RIP

RIP

Celeron 366Mhz, 128K, 66MHz bus, Slot 1 PGA/SEPP

02/07/99 $90/100

$81 April $71 July

$73

$73

$73

RIP

Celeron 400Mhz, 128K, 66MHz bus, Slot 1 PGA/SEPP

02/07/99 $130/140

$103

$103

$93

$83

-

Celeron 433Mhz, 128K, 66MHz bus, Slot 1 PGA/SEPP

03/21/99 $169/175

$143

$143

$133

$113

-

Celeron 466Mhz, 128K, 66MHz bus, Slot 1 PGA/SEPP

N/R

$169

$169

$157

$147

-

Celeron 500Mhz, 128K, 66MHz bus, Slot 1 PGA/SEPP

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/R

$185

-

Pentium II 350Mhz 512K (Deschutes) MMX 100MHz Bus, Slot 1

$192

$163

$163

RIP

RIP

RIP

Pentium II 400Mhz 512K (Deschutes) MMX 100MHz Bus, Slot 1

$284

$234

$193

$183

$163

RIP

Pentium II 450Mhz 512K (Deschutes) MMX 100MHz Bus, Slot 1

$475

$396

$268

$230

$213

RIP

Pentium III 450Mhz-512K (Katmai) MMX2 100MHz Bus, Slot 1

$530

$411

$268

$230

$213

-

Pentium III 500Mhz 512K (Katmai) MMX2 100MHz Bus, Slot 1

$764

$625

$482

$423

$299

-

Pentium III 533Mhz 256K Integrated Cache (Katmai) MMX2 133MHz Bus, Slot 1

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/R

$415

-

Pentium III 550Mhz 512K (Katmai) MMX2 100MHz Bus, Slot 1

N/R

N/R

$730

$658

$520

-

Pentium III 600Mhz 256K Integrated Cache (Katmai) MMX2 133MHz Bus, Slot 1

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/R

$761

-

Xeon 450MHz 512K (Deschutes) MMX 100MHz Bus, Slot 2

$824

RIP

RIP

RIP

RIP

RIP

Xeon 450MHz 1MB (Deschutes) MMX 100MHz Bus, Slot 2

$1980

RIP

RIP

RIP

RIP

RIP

Xeon 450MHz 2MB (Deschutes) MMX 100MHz Bus, Slot 2

$3692

RIP

RIP

RIP

RIP

RIP

Xeon 500MHz  512K (Tanner) MMX2 100MHz Bus, Slot 2

$931

$824

$824

$824

RIP

RIP

Xeon 500MHz  1MB (Tanner) MMX2 100MHz Bus, Slot 2

N/R

$1980

$1980

$1980

RIP

RIP

Xeon 500MHz  2MB (Tanner) MMX2 100MHz Bus, Slot 2

N/R

$3692

$3692

$3692

RIP

RIP

Xeon 550MHz 512K (Tanner) MMX2 100MHz Bus, Slot 2

N/R

~$1200

$1200

$1200

$1200

-

Xeon 550MHz 1MB (Tanner) MMX2 Slot 2

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/R

$1980

-

Xeon 550MHz 2MB (Tanner) MMX2 Slot 2

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/R

$3692

-

Xeon 600MHz 256K integrated (Coppermine) MMX2 Slot 2 and Slot M

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/R

$829

-

Xeon 667Mhz 256K Integrated cache (Coppermine) MMX2 Slot 2 and Slot M

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/R

$1040

-

Celeron 300Mhz MMO Notebook

$187

$106

-

-

RIP

RIP

Pentium II (r) (Deschutes) 300Mhz MMO Notebook

$321

$187

-

-

RIP

RIP

Pentium II (r) (Deschutes) 333Mhz MMO Notebook

$465

$316

-

-

-

-

Pentium II (r) (Deschutes) 366Mhz MMO Notebook

$696

$530

-

-

-

-

Pentium III (r) Geyerville 450Mhz 256K integrated cache MMO Notebook 1.3v

N/R

N/R

$341

$341

$341

-

Pentium III (r) Geyerville 500Mhz 256K integrated cache MMO Notebook 1.3v

N/R

N/R

$520

$520

$520

-

Pentium III (r) Geyerville 600Mhz 256K integrated cache MMO Notebook 1.6v

N/R

N/R

$761

$761

$761

-

Merced, Slot M

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/R

N/R

-

 

Intel Wholesale Pentium II, Celeron and Xeon Prices for 1997 and 1998
(Pricing in 10,000 unit quantities)
Source: CRW Sources
(Yellow = Not released yet, Aqua = discontinued)

CPU Description

Q2 '97 March 28

Q3 '97 July 28

Q4 '97 Oct 28

Q1 '98 Jan 28

Q2 '98 April 15

Q2B '98 June 7/29

Q3 '98 July 28

Q3B '98 Sept 13

Q4 '98 Oct 25

Celeron 266Mhz-0K, 66MHz bus, Slot 1

-

-

-

-

$160

$110

$86

RIP

RIP

Celeron 300Mhz-0K, 66MHz bus, Slot 1

-

-

-

-

-

$160

$112

$112

RIP

Celeron (Mendecino) 333Mhz-128K, 66MHz bus, Slot 1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

$210

$155

Pentium II (r) 233Mhz-512K, 66MHz bus, Slot 1

$654

$575

$401

$260 Dec 28

$195

$195

RIP

RIP

RIP

Pentium II (r) 266Mhz-512K, 66MHz bus, Slot 1

$790

$712

$530

$370

$250

$200

$160

RIP

RIP

Pentium II (r) 300Mhz-512K, 66MHz bus, Slot 1

$1980

$830

$738

$520

$370

$300

$210

$210

RIP

Pentium II (r) (Deschutes) 333Mhz-512K, 66MHz bus, Slot 1

-

-

-

$710 ($570 on March 16th)

$480

$400

$315

$280

$181

Pentium II (r) (Deschutes) 350Mhz-512K, 100MHz Bus, Slot 1

-

-

-

-

$610

$510

$420

$370

$202

Pentium II (r) (Deschutes) 400Mhz-512K, 100MHz Bus, Slot 1

-

-

-

-

$810

$710

$585

$570

$353

Pentium II (r) (Deschutes) 450Mhz-512K, 100MHz Bus, Slot 1

-

-

-

-

-

-

$655

$655

$562

Xeon (Deschutes) 400Mhz 512KB, 100MHz Bus, Slot 2

-

-

-

-

-

$1124

$1059

$1059

$825

Xeon (Deschutes) 400Mhz-1MB, 100MHz Bus, Slot 2

-

-

-

-

-

$2836

$2675

$2675

$1990

Xeon (Deschutes) 450Mhz 512KB, 100MHz Bus, Slot 2

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

$825

Xeon (Deschutes) 450Mhz 1MB, 100MHz Bus, Slot 2

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1999

$825

Xeon (Deschutes) 450Mhz 2MB, 100MHz Bus, Slot 2

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1999

$1990

Pentium II (r) (Deschutes) 233Mhz MMO Notebook

-

-

-

$466 LX $542 BX

$390

$390

$233

$205

RIP

Pentium II (r) (Deschutes) 266Mhz MMO Notebook

-

-

-

$696 LX $772 BX

$630

$630

$444

$371

$209

Pentium II (r) (Deschutes) 300Mhz MMO Notebook

-

-

-

-

-

-

$637

$371

$371

 

Intel Wholesale Pentium and Pentium Pro CPU Prices for 1997 and 1998
For Historical Purposes - RIP

(Pricing in 10,000 unit quantities)
Source: CRW Sources
(Yellow = Not released yet, Aqua = discontinued)

CPU Description

Q4 '96 Nov Price

Q1 '97 Feb Price

Q2 '97 May Price

Q3 '97 August Price

Q4 '97 Nov Price

Q1 '98 Feb Price

Q2 '98 April 15 to June 29

Pentium (r) 133 MHz

$198

$131

RIP

RIP

RIP

RIP

RIP

Pentium (r) 133 MHz
For Notebooks

$238

$174

$162

RIP

RIP

RIP

RIP

Pentium (r) Classic 150 MHz

$280

$158

$147

$89

$78

RIP

RIP

Pentium (r) Classic 166 MHz

$396

$289

$205

$102

$80

RIP

RIP

Pentium (r) 166 MHz MMX

$400

$349

$265

$138

$110

$95

RIP

Pentium (r) 166 MHz MMX
For Notebooks

$550

$539

$487

$240

$174

$162

RIP

Pentium (r) Classic 200Mhz

$550

$488

$252

$119

$95

RIP

RIP

Pentium (r) MMX 200Mhz

$550

$528

$482

$247

$209

$123

$95

Pentium (r) MMX 233Mhz

N/R

N/R

$583

$367

$290

$193

$140

Pentium Pro (r) 180Mhz-256K

$410

$410

$390

$380

RIP

RIP

RIP

Pentium Pro (r) 200Mhz-256K

$515

$515

$515

$478

RIP

RIP

RIP

Pentium Pro (r) 200Mhz-512K

$1014

$1014

$1014

$1014

RIP

RIP

RIP

Pentium Pro (r) 200Mhz-1MB

N/R

$2650

$2650

$2650

$2650

RIP

RIP

 

CPU Functional Design

This is an introductory document regarding the nature of Modern CPU's

Introduction to the Von-Neumann computer
and the Von-Neumann bottleneck

The design of modern computers is based on the Von-Neumann computer. The Von-Neumann design separates the CPU, main memory and Input/Output into three discrete components connected by two buses, the data bus and the address bus. The Input/Output component includes the console or display, the keyboard, mouse as well as mass storage devices such as disk drives and floppy drives. Data must move from slower devices such as a disk drive, into main memory. The CPU reads data either from main memory or from a memory cache.

In the 1970's when slower scalar CPU's where state of the art, the main memory could feed data to the CPU as fast as the CPU could accept it for processing. But now CPU's have become much faster for reasons we will discuss below. As a consequence the main challenge of modern engineers is to find ways to feed data and instructions to the CPU fast enough so that the CPU does not waste time in an idle state. Hence the current focus on things like faster RAM (like SDRAM and RAMBus), faster data bus speeds (moving from 66MHz to 100MHz), faster and larger cache sizes, and most importantly new ingenious technologies incorporated into the CPU and its associated code compiler as discussed below. This lag of memory access speeds behind CPU speeds is sometimes referred to as the Von-Neumann bottleneck.

What is a CPU and how is it manufactured?
(VHSIC, VLSI, CMOS and BiCMOS)

A little history will help our understanding of modern CPU's. In 1948, Bell Laboratories invented a solid state digital switch which soon replaced vacuum tubes used in very early computers. This solid state digital switch is known as a transistor. A transistor conducts variable amounts of electricity depending on the input current that is applied to it. It can act as a switch which can be switched off or on, symbolically storing a 0 or 1 respectively. This property is due to the use of a semiconductor material in the transistor, like doped Silicon. Solid state merely means that it has no moving parts. In 1959 Texas Instruments demonstrated that many transistors can be manufactured on a single surface making what is collectively called an integrated circuit (IC). Soon thousands of small components were integrated onto a single miniature wafer in a process called large scale integration (LSI). Many discrete LSI's were used in a single computer. Eventually millions of transistors were implemented in chips categorized as very large scale integrated circuits (VLSI). In 1971, Intel, then a memory manufacturer, made the 4004 CPU. It was the first microprocessor and integrated all the logic chips into a single 4-bit CPU.

CPU's can be implemented with very fast and very expensive technology categorized as very high speed integrated circuits (VHSIC) which includes technology such as emitter-coupled logic (ECL) and GaAs based designs used in vector computers. However, this technology is very expensive to implement. Instead most modern CPU's use a VLSI design implemented in CMOS and BiCMOS designs such as the Intel x86 processors and the DEC Alpha. While these designs offer slower clock rates they are inexpensive to produce and hence larger numbers of transistors can be unutilized to add more intelligence and greater parallel performance and pipelining (See below).

CPU's are manufactured in a complex process. Silicon is extracted from Silicon Dioxide and grown into giant crystals 8 inches in diameter. Thousands of processors can be made from a single crystal. These crystals are cut with a saw into hundreds of wafers 8 inches across and less than one millimeter thick. The wafers are carefully polished and chemically treated with a photosensitive material. Meanwhile a giant 3D map of the processor design is created. This map details the placement of each transistor and all devices and connecting conductors. Specific software packages are used which logically take this 3D map and convert it into discrete layers called masks. This is just like representing a building with a series of floor plans, each representing a story of the building. A mask is like a photographic negative. In a process called photolithography light is passed through the mask and projected onto the silicon just like light in an enlarger is passed through a photographic negative to create an image on a print substrate. The photosensitive material reacts to the light. Exposed material may be etched away with solvents and unexposed material may remain. The surface may be coated with new materials. The process is repeated for each of the series of masks until all layers of the processor based on the 3D map have been laid down. There are typically eight or more layers. Finally the 8 inch wafer is cut into separate processors. Each processor is about a third of an inch across. The final processor is packaged in a ceramic material or Plexiglas.

The process of etching a layering used in most CPU's is called complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) process. All Intel CPU's use the CMOS process except very early 8088's and 8086's which used a non-metal oxide semiconductor (NMOS) process and Pentium classic, Pentium overdrives and the Pentium Pro CPU's which used a bipolar CMOS process (BiCMOS).

The detail of the channels etched into the wafers is as precise as 0.25 microns. Each generation of chips uses a smaller micron process packing more channels and hence more transistors into a smaller square area. Indeed, if each transistor is shrunk to one half the size on each side, then four transistors can fit in the same square area. Thus cutting the size in half will increase the number of transistors by a factor of four in the same square area of silicon.

CPU Architecture

Bus Unit:
The Bus Unit is the place where instructions flow in and out of the microprocessor from the computer's main memory.

Instruction Cache:
The Instruction Cache is a warehouse of instructions right on the chip, so that the microprocessor doesn't have to stop and look in the computer's main memory for instructions. This quick access makes processing fast as instructions are 'fetched' to the Prefetch Unit where they are put in the proper order for processing.

Prefetch Unit:
The Prefetch Unit decides when to order data and instructions from the Instruction Cache or the computer's main memory based on commands or the task at hand. When the instructions come in, the most important task for the Prefetch Unit is to be sure all the instructions are lined up correctly to send off to the Decode Unit.

Decode Unit:
The Decode Unit does just that - it decodes or translates complex machine language instructions into a simple format understood by the Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) and the Registers. This makes processing more efficient.

Control Unit:
The Control Unit is one of the most important parts of the microprocessor because it is in charge of the entire process. Based on instructions from the Decode Unit, it creates control signals that tell the Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) and the Registers how to operate, what to operate on, and what to do with the result. The Control Unit makes sure everything happens in the right place at the right time.

Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU):
The ALU is the last stage of processing in the chip. The ALU is the smart part of the chip that performs commands like adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. It also knows how to read logic commands like OR, AND, or NOT. Messages from the Control Unit tell the ALU what it should do and then it takes data from its close companion, the Registers, to complete the task. This is really where 2 finally gets added to 3 in our example.

Registers:
The Registers are a mini-storage area for data used by the Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) to complete the tasks the Control Unit has requested. The data can come from the data cache, main memory or the control unit and are all stored at special locations within the Registers. This makes retrieval for the ALU quick and efficient.

Data Cache:
The Data Cache works very closely with the "processing partners," the ALU and Registers, and the Decode Unit. This is where specially labeled data from the Decode Unit are stored for later use by the ALU and where final results are prepared for distribution to different parts of the computer.

Main Memory:
This is the big store house of data located within the main computer outside of the microprocessor. At times the Main Memory may send in data or instructions for the Prefetch Unit, which often get stored at an address in the Instruction Cache to be used later.

Pipelining and instruction reordering

Pipelining is an architectural feature analogous to an assembly line. Data and instructions can be passed through a multi-staged pipe. Each stage of the pipe performs a different task. In this way several pieces of data and their instructions can travel down the pipe like cars on an assembly line. Thus many sets of operations can be run in parallel. As one operation is coming to completion with results being returned, another operation is in the middle of processing and yet another operation is just getting started. Pipelining can increase performance three fold.

Input or output registers may be added to the various stages in the pipeline so that one set of registers can start to read new data while current data can be written. The register loading slows down the execution a little but this is more than offset by the ability to overlap the processing at each stage in the pipeline.

Instruction reordering (or out-of-order execution as it is sometimes called) can substantially increase performance when combined with pipelining and a load-and-store architecture (See below). For example, instructions may be reordered such a command to fetch data from main memory and store these data in registers are executed long before subsequent instructions that requires these data. By doing this all the data required for several commands can be stored into the CPU's registers. Next the commands that use the data can be executed consecutively without stalling while waiting for data to be loaded. Instruction reordering along with pipelining can increase performance five fold.

Scalar and Superscalar CPU's

A simple processor is called scalar when it contains a single functional unit for processing instructions. This single functional unit can be a single stage device or it may be pipelined as discussed above. A superscalar processor has more than one functional unit for executing commands that can run in parallel. superscalar processors are sometimes referred to as being implicitly parallel. This is like having two CPU's running simultaneously as in symmetric multiprocessor systems (SMP). SMP systems are said to be explicitly parallel. Superscalar pipelined architectures implement more than one pipelined functional unit. This offers the best of both worlds.

Speculative execution and branch prediction

Branch prediction (also called jump optimization) is useful in situations where the execution of code may take one of two or more mutually exclusive paths. For example, "IF" statements can be used to choose between two alternate possibilities referred to as branches. Branch prediction uses a special algorithm to make the best guess as to which branch will be selected. Then that branch is executed before the selection is even made (This is referred to as speculative execution). This can be very useful in superscalar processors that can use one functional unit to process the main block of code while another functional unit speculatively executes the predicted subsequent branch.

RISC, CISC, Registers and Load-and-Store

Intel's x86 family, which dates back to 1978 is based on a complex instruction set computer (CISC) design. CISC designs typically include well over 200 instructions and more than 10 indirect addressing modes. Instructions size is heterogeneous ranging from 8 to 108 bits long in x86 CPU's. Early model CISC based CPU's tend to take more than one cycle to accomplish an instruction. CISC designs are also characterized by support for high level languages and the ability to perform operations on data in the main memory.

In the mid 1980's an alternate design called reduced instruction set computer (RISC), became common in processors like the HP PA-RISC chips (1986). The philosophy of the RISC chip was to strip down the functionality of the CPU and focus on speeding up core instructions. Superfluous instructions are removed from the CPU resulting in smaller instruction set (frequently under 100 instructions) less than five addressing modes and no micro programming. Generally instruction length is uniform, 32-bits in many systems. Moreover, all operations in RISC chips are performed on registers in a load-and-store architecture.

Registers are small storage cells in the CPU that can be used to hold data. Registers are the fastest form on storage, much faster than the cache memory or RAM. However, register space is valuable as only a few registers are available. In many modern chips 32 floating point registers and 32 fixed point registers are available. Once data is loaded into the registers operations can be executed on these data rapidly.

Part of the brilliance of RISC is the decoupling of data access functions from data manipulation functions (execution of instructions). Data can be preloaded into the registers before an instruction even requests the data. This allows for greater optimization via out-of-order execution resulting in parallel execution. This can greatly increase the number of instructions per second.

However, the lack of available instructions in RISC processors can have its toll on performance and in most cases the lines between RISC and CISC processors has not been clearly defined. Modern CISC processors are called RISC-like because they have implemented many optimizations used in RISC processors at their core. Conversely most so called RISC processors are far from the RISC ideal and incorporate many instructions like a CISC design

The Merced (IA-64) EPIC and LIW

In 1999 Intel and HP will jointly release a new type of 64-bit processor called the Merced (also known as the IA-64) based on a novel explicitly parallel instruction computing (EPIC) design. EPIC is an alternative to both CISC and RISC architectures. This new architecture is a synthesis of and extension of both the Intel x86 family and the HP PA-RISC family that promises to be backward compatible with software from both. It also includes many new technologies.

The Merced is not planned to be a replacement for the 32-bit x86 family. The Merced will be a very high end and very expensive processor aimed at the high end server market. The Initially the Merced family will include CPU's with tens of millions of transistors. Eventually, later models will include hundreds of millions of transistors. It will probably be based on a new 0.18 micron process. It will include 128 fixed point general purpose registers and 128 floating point registers. In addition, 64 new predicate registers will be added. The function of the predicate registers will be explained below.

With the advent of inexpensive CMOS processors has come the promise of hundreds of millions of transistors per processor. The question is how to use all of that power. As we've seen so far, superscalar pipelined CPU's have increased performance more than five fold over scalar models. However, to utilize several powerful pipelines in parallel the processor must allocate tremendous resources to the task of optimizing code on the fly. It must seek out hidden parallelism and redirect chucks of code to each pipeline through branch prediction and speculative execution, out-of-order execution and caching of data. This already ties up a tremendous amount of processor logic. To make use of even more transistors available in the Merced one can not merely add more pipelines. To do so would cause the CPU to spend tremendous amounts of time optimizing the code on the fly and it would create a processor that would far outperform even the fastest data bus. The CPU would become data starved.

To solve these issues Intel and HP have implemented a new architecture called EPIC based on long instruction words (LIW). This new technology will off load much of the task of optimizing code to the compiler. The compiler will implement many of the tasks related to seeking for hidden parallelism in code. The compiler will create binaries based on 128-bit EPIC bundles which include a template, predicate definition, data register definitions and three instructions. The information stored in the EPIC bundle will instruct the processor how to process the instructions for optimum performance.

A CPU is intrinsically linked to its associated compiler and software libraries. The processor, its compiler and its libraries are a cohesive unit that must be intimately balanced. Modern code is written in high level procedural languages like Java, C and C++. These languages are then compiled into machine language and combined with libraries to form a binary that is specifically optimized for a specific processor. The compiler and libraries must be carefully designed to complement the CPU. A optimization function may be integrated into the CPU or the compiler. What Intel and HP have opted to do is move much of the task of optimization out of the processor and into the compiler. This means the CPU will have less work to do on the fly. It also means that compilation will take much longer, code will grow bigger and code will have to be recompiled to be optimized for different version of the Merced. In more complex cases both the CPU and the compiler work together synergistically to achieve remarkable results.

EPIC bundles are created by the compiler at compile time so the burden of optimization is no longer on the processor. Moreover all bundles are of equal size like many RISC instruction sets. EPIC compilers bundle three 40-bit instructions flanked by one 8-bit template into one larger, 128-bit EPIC (LIW) bundle. The flanking 8-bit template instructs the CPU which instructions can be executed in parallel. Each 40-bit instruction includes a the 6-bit address of one of the 64 predicate registers and three 7-bit addresses for three of the 128 floating point or fixed point registers.

When a branch is encountered in the code, the compiler assigns one predicate value to each instruction on one side of the branch and another predicate value to each instruction on the other side of the branch. When the processor executes the code it speculatively executes both branches. When the results are returned it checks the respective predicate registers for a value of 1 or 0. The branch with a predicate value of 1 is returned. The results of the alternate branch are discarded. Note this is very different from current processors that use branch prediction followed by speculative execution of only one of the branches. The Merced will speculatively execute all branches. It will then use the predicate register to determine which results should be eliminated. If for some reason the Merced can not speculatively execute both branches its behavior will default back to a normal Pentium with branch prediction followed by speculative execution of only one of the branches. This may sound like a lot of extra work. However, the Merced has pipelines to spare and in actual tests performance has been doubled using this method.

Moreover, the instructions are re-ordered by the compiler. If a branch is encountered the first instruction of each of the two branches may be packaged into the same EPIC bundle. The next set of instructions from each branch are put into the next bundle and so forth. (Actually there is some overlapping as three instructions are included in each bundle). The processor can then open the bundles and toss instructions from separate branches into separate pipes in parallel, respectively.

The Merced also utilizes out-of-order execution for speculative loading. With speculative loading the compiler arranges code so that instructions to fetch data are speculatively executed long before the instructions that use the data. It then includes a speculative check instruction to check for the data before actually attempting to use these data. This helps to overcome the Von-Neumann bottleneck.

See also:

http://patent.womplex.ibm.com/details?patent_number=5638525

http://www.intel.com/pressroom/archive/releases/sp100997.HTM

MIPS and Clock Rate

Processor performance is generally given by a clock rate. For example a 300MHz Pentium II is faster than a 266MHz Pentium II. Each megahertz (MHz) represents one million switching operations per second. However, we must also account for how many instructions a given processor can process per cycle. If we multiply the instructions per cycle by the clock rate we get a measurement of the number of Millions of Instructions per Second (MIPS). The MIPS value is a more accurate measurement for comparing CPU' of different architectures. The term cycles per instruction (CPI) is also used as the inverse of the instructions per cycle.

MMX Processors and their design enhancements

Originally dubbed the Matrix Math Extensions (MMX) this new technology was renamed to Multi-Media Extensions (MMX) for marketing reasons. Pentium, Pentium II, K6 and M2 CPU's that implement MMX include 57 new instructions that assist the processor in doing Matrix Math used in many graphics packages. This is not the first attempt to implement a MMX-like instruction set. TI and others have attempted this before but failed due to lack of industry clout.

Probably more important than the 57 new instructions are the actual design changes made with the introduction of MMX. The Pentium Pro was given a face lift as the Pentium II (a Pentium Pro with MMX). Along with MMX and much higher clock rates, the Pentium II L1 cache was doubled in size from 16KB in the Pentium Pro to 32KB in the Pentium II. Segment register caches were added to boost 16-bit code performance in the Pentium II and Deeper write buffers were implemented. The transactional L2 cache is still attached to a backside bus. However, the clock speeds was set to one half the internal clock rate. In total the Pentium II is much faster than its ancestor, the Pentium Pro.

The new Pentium MMX CPU's sport an internal 32 KB quad-associative L1 cache which is double the size of the 2-way set associative cache in non-MMX Pentium CPU's. (See the RAM page for a discussion of cache architectures). The Pentium MMX CPU's have also implemented some technology previously only found in the Pentium Pro and Pentium II CPU's. The new MMX will send out up to 16 requests before it must have a response back. In contrast non-MMX Pentiums and Pentium Pro's allow one request and up to 8 requests respectively before the processor receives a response. In addition, many other improvements were made to the Pentium MMX including better branch prediction, an improved instruction decoder, improved use of the second pipeline and deepening of the internal pipelines.

Non-MMX Pentium and Pentium Pro's are no longer in production. If you are buying a new CPU you should certainly buy one with the MMX extensions. The improvements are well worth the expense.

For more information see: http://www.intel.com/drg/mmx/index.htm

The Future for the Intel CPU Family

Over the coarse of a year Intel will be barraging the market with an arsenal of no less than six chip families. These chip families are code named after six U.S. Pacific coast rivers from California to Alaska. These include the Klamath, Merced, Deschutes, Tillamook, Katmai, and Willamette. They will be introduced at speeds ranging from 233 - 600MHz+.

In 1998, Intel plans to mass market the Pentium II (Klamath) to occupy the low end desktop market. A 266MHz Pentium II with 0MB of L2 cache is planned for under $100. While higher performance models will be released at least up to 450MHz in 1998. The Klamath supports dual processing but not quad processing.

Moving beyond Pin Grid Array (PGA - see motherboard page) packaging used in older Pentium and Pentium Pro's, these chips sport the Single Edge Contact (SEC) and the MMO packaging systems. The Desktop Pentium II uses SEC technology. SEC includes a plug in card the CPU and 0-512K of cache. The card plugs into a socket called "slot one." The cache runs at one half the internal CPU clock speed.

The Deschutes will be a very expensive chip aimed at the server market. The Deschutes will support dual and quad processing at speeds up to 450MHz. The Desk top Deschutes uses a "slot two" SEC cartridge with up to 1MB of L2 cache running at the full internal clock speed.

The MMO package, will be used mainly in mobile applications. A mobile version of the Deschutes CPU will be the first CPU to use MMO packaging. The MMO package includes the processor, up to 512K of L2 cache and the chip set. This allows the use of an nearly passive back plane.

The processors still use the Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) process whereby doped silicon will provide the basis of manufacture. The Pentium II uses a lower lithography resolution of 0.35 micron while the Deschutes uses a higher 0.25 micron resolution in order to increase clock speeds. Later Deschutes processors are already in the works based on a 0.18 micron process.

Current Road Map Summery (This will probably change!):

Q1 1998:

Q2 1998:

Q3 1998:

Q1 1999:

Q2 1999:

Q3 1999

Q4 1999

Q1 2000

2004

Below we have outlined the six new processors per Intel's current specs:

Six New Intel Processors

Processor

Klamath (Pentium II)

Deschutes (Xeon)

Tillamook (Mobile Pentium MMX)

Katmai

Willamette

Merced (HP/Intel P7)

Speed

233-333MHz

333-450MHz SEC and 233-266 MMO

200-233MHz

450 - 750MHz

800 - 1200MHz

800MHz-1GHz

Architecture

P6 MMX1

P6 MMX1

P5 MMX1

P6 MMX2

P6 MMX2

P7 IA-64bit

Availability

May 1997

Jan 1998

Q3 1997

Q1 1999

Q1 1999

Aug 1999

Packaging

SEC (Slot 1)

SEC (Slot 1 and 2) or MMO

MMO

SEC (Slot 1 and 2) or MMO

N/A

N/A

Cache

0K-512K L2, 32K L1

512K-2MB

512K L2, 32K L1

N/A

N/A

N/A

Bus Speed

66MHz

100MHz

66MHz

100MHz

100MHz

N/A

CMOS Process
(Microns)

.35

.25

.35

.25 - .18

.18 - .13

.21 - .18

See also:

http://www.techweb.com/wire/story/TWB19971202S0012

http://www.techweb.com/se/directlink.cgi?CRN19971124S0002

http://www.techweb.com/se/directlink.cgi?WIR1997111910

The AMD K7

The AMD Athlon (K7) has been released. In quantities of 1,000 pieces the Athlon are $324 for the 500MHz , $479 for the 550MHz , and $699 600MHz model. The CPU uses a 0.25 micron process.  This is the first AMD CPU to use a Slot A design. The Slot A  is EV6 Alpha Compatible which will support up to a 400MHz bus speed eventually. It is physically but not electrically compatible with Intel's Slot 1, See Specs. Motherboards are available from Asus, Biostar, FIC, Microstar, and Gigabyte using chip sets from  Via, ALi and SiS. The first Athlon motherboards are available from Microstar (release date Aug 7th). The performance is on par with an Intel Pentium III of equal clock speeds.

We will be selling the Athlon after a long period of refusing to sell AMD CPUs. We had a bad experience with AMD over the K6 CPUs and decided to drop AMD entirely for over two years.  The reasons are complex. First there is the issue of performance. Results from the AMD K6 have been disappointing. The K6 is a mediocre performer. Its performance characteristics are in between a Pentium Classic and a Pentium MMX (See below for a comparison based on over 100 benchmarks). Had it been released a year earlier it could have made a dent in the market. But it is now too little too late.

AMD has been plagued by production problems, the CEO in charge of production resigned as AMD shouldered heavy losses and production delays.

The K6 can not be used in dual processor symmetric multi-processing (SMP) systems. This is because the Intel Advanced Peripheral Interrupt Controller (APIC) standard used in current SMP systems is proprietary and may only be used by Intel. AMD and Cyrix are working on implementing OpenPIC as an open alternative to APIC. If they succeed new boards will be released based on Via or AMD brand chip sets that will support SMP using the K6 and M2 CPU's.

Moreover, there is the issue of the AMD K6 CPU bug and more importantly how AMD has handled this issue. The bug affects systems using more than 32MB’s of RAM. During heavy use of these systems, data may be corrupted and segmentation faults may occur. The problem occurs under all operating systems. AMD was singularly unhelpful in letting us know which CPU’s were actually fixed and which are not. Based on empirical data we have concluded that these errata may be fixed in all AMD CPU’s of stepping B 9731 and later. However, AMD will not confirm nor deny this. Rev C has already been released. It is assumed that rev C chips are fixed as well. Observations appear to confirm this.

AMD did not take the bug seriously. They first trivialized the matter. They claimed that the bug must only affect the Linux operating system and since Linux was unimportant that this was an unimportant issue. However, subsequent analysis showed that the bug affected all operating systems. AMD did not take appropriate action to correct the bug. In the case of the Intel Pentium Pro bug, Intel cross shipped replacement processors using the customers credit card for security. In contrast AMD has offered to replace buggy chips only after running end users through a maze. They continue to insist that end users with the buggy CPU’s must send in their CPU’s. Replacements may take over a month to receive. They are also asking end users to agree to void their warranties if they do an exchange.

The AMD K6 uses the Socket 7 Pin Grid Array (PGA) packaging and is compatible with most 430TX motherboards. A voltage adapter may also be necessary for some brands. The K6 is 3.3 volt with versions with core available in 2.9 and 3 volts. The Socket 8 and SEC sockets used by Intel's P6 CPU's are proprietary and therefore are not available to AMD processors. Unfortunately Intel has not incorporated high performance features in the 430TX chip set used in the latest socket 7 boards. The resulting combination is a poor performer.

To compensate for this AMD worked with Via to release the Via/AMD-640 Chipset. However, to date only three vendors use this chip sets and the boards have been less than stellar. The AMD 640 chipset is sold under the name VIA Apollo 590VP2/97. There are at least three boards based on this chip set. The FIC PA-2011 and Shuttle 603 are two of them. The FIC does not allow bus speeds greater than 75MHz. At 75MHz it is slower than the equivalent Intel 430VX and 430TX boards. But it's fairly fast when running with a bus speed of 66MHz. It uses a linear voltage regulator instead of a switching one. That's actually a poor design and can contribute to overheating problems. Overall we are not really impressed. AMD and Via have not been able to work successfully on the development of chip set. Arguments between the two companies have caused them to part ways.

AMD is currently now challenging Intel for the right to use a SEC compatible cartridge design.

Benchmarks

The SPEC CPU95 benchmark is probably the most authoritative cross-platform CPU benchmark. Their work is considered unbiased and their benchmarks are very specific avoiding the pitfalls of most "synthetic" benchmarks. The SPEC CPU95 benchmark measures CPU performance, not system performance. Specifically the SPECint95 measures integer performance and the SPECfp95 measures floating point performance. For more information visit The Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC).

SPEC CPU95 Results

CPU

SPECint95

SPECfp95

DEC Alpha 21264 667MHz 64/64K L2

44.0

66.0

Pentium III 733MHz 256K L2 840

35.6

30.4

Xeon 733MHz 256K L2

35.6

30.4

Sun Sprac Ultra III 600MHz

35.0

60.0

Pentium III 700MHz 256K L2 BX

33.8

23.5

Pentium III 667MHz 256K L2 840

33.0

29.0

Xeon 667MHz 256K L2

33.0

29.0

Athlon K7 700Hz 64/64K L2

31.7

24.0

Pentium III 650MHz 256K L2 BX

31.6

22.9

DEC Alpha 21264 575MHz 64/64K L2

30.3

47.7

Athlon K7 650Hz 64/64K L2

29.7

23.2

Athlon K7 600Hz 64/64K L2

27.5

22.2

Pentium III 600MHz 512K L2 BX

24.0

15.9

Athlon K7 550Hz 64/64K L2

23.6

20.6

Pentium III 550MHz 512K L2 BX

22.2

15.0

Xeon 550MHz 512K L2

22.2

15.0

Power PC G3 750 466MHz 32/32K L2

21.8

12.6

Power PC G4 7400 450MHz 32/32K L2

21.4

20.4

Power PC G3 750 450MHz 32/32K L2

21.4

13.8

Pentium III 500MHz 512K L2 BX

20.6

14.7

Xeon 500MHz 512K L2

20.6

14.7

Sun Sprac Ultra II 450MHz

19.6

27.1

Power PC G3 750 400MHz 32/32K L2

19.2

13.1

Xeon 450MHz 512K L2

18.9

14.7

Pentium III 450MHz 512K L2

18.7

13.7

Pentium III 450MHz 512K L2

18.7

14.7

MIPS (SGI) R12000 300MHz

18.4

34.4

DEC Alpha 21164A 600MHz 1MB L2

18.4

21.3

DEC Alpha 21164PC 600MHz 1MB L2

17.9

19.9

Celeron Processor 500Hz 128K L2

17.9

12.9

Power PC G3 750 375MHz 32/32K L2

17.8

11.5

HP C240

17.3

25.4

Celeron 66Hz 128K L2

17.0

12.7

Xeon 400MHz 1M L2

16.5

13.7

Xeon 400MHz 512K L2

16.3

13.2

Sun Sprac Ultra II 360MHz

16.1

23.5

DEC Alpha 21164PC 533MHz 1MB L2

16.1

18.8

Power PC G3 750 366MHz 32/32K L2

16.1

9.9

Sun Sprac Ultra 60 360MHz

16.1

23.5

Celeron 433Hz 128K L2

16.1

12.1

Power PC G3 750 333MHz 32/32K L2

16.0

10.9

MIPS (SGI) R12000 270MHz

15.8

25.2

Pentium II 400MHz 512K L2

15.8

12.4

HP PA-RISC 8200 220MHz

15.5

25

Sun Sprac Ultra IIi 360MHz

15.2

19.9

Celeron 400Hz 128K L2

15.1

11.8

DEC Alpha 21164a 500MHz 1MB L2

15.0

20.4

MIPS (SGI) R10000 250MHz

14.7

24.5

DEC Alpha 21164PC 466MHz 1MB L2

14.6

17.4

Sun Sprac Ultra IIi 333MHz

14.2

16.9

Celeron 366Hz 128K L2

14.1

11.4

Power PC G3 750 300MHz 32/32K L2

14.0

9.4

Pentium II 350MHz 512K L2

13.9

11.2

Power3 200MHz 32/64K L2

13.2

30.1

Celeron 333Hz 128K L2

13.1

10.4

Pentium II 333MHz 512K L2

13.0

9.6

Sun Sprac Ultra II 300MHz

12.1

18.8

Sun Sprac Ultra IIi 300MHz

12.1

12.9

Celeron 300MHz 128K L2

12.0

9.7

Pentium II 300MHz 512K L2

11.9

8.8

Celeron 300MHz 0K L2

11.9

8.6

HP PA-RISC 8000 180MHz

11.8

20.2

Power PC G3 750 250MHz 32/32K L2

11.8

8.7

MIPS (SGI) R10000 195MHz

11.4

19.1

Power PC G3 750 233MHz 32/32K L2

11.0

8.1

Pentium II 266MHz 512K L2

10.8

8.17

Celeron 266MHz 0K L2

10.8

6.9

Sun Sprac Ultra II 250MHz

10.4

15

MIPS (SGI) R10000 180MHz

10.3

15.6

DEC Alpha 21164 333MHz 1MB L2

9.8

13.4

Pentium II 233MHz 512K L2

9.5

7.4

Pentium Pro 200MHz 256K L2

8.7

6.8

Power P2SC 160MHz 32/128K L2

8.6

26.6

DEC Alpha 21164 300MHz 1MB L2

8.5

12.7

HP PA-RISC 7300LC 160MHz

7.8

7.6

Pentium Pro 180MHz 256K L2

7.3

6.1

Pentium MMX 233MHz

7.1

5.2

AMD K6 233MHz

6.8

3.4

Pentium MMX 200MHz

6.4

4.7

AMD K6 200MHz

6.2

3.1

Pentium Pro 150MHz 256K L2

6.1

5.4

Cyrix 6x86MX 233MHz

5.9

2.6

Pentium MMX 166MHz

5.6

4.3

Pentium Classic 200MHz

5.5

4.2

MIPS (SGI) R5000 200MHz

5.5

5.5

Cyrix 6x86MX 166MHz

5.1

2.2

MIPS (SGI) R5000 180MHz

4.8

5.4

Pentium Classic 166MHz

4.8

3.7

Pentium Classic 100MHz

3.3

2.8

Pentium Classic 75MHz

2.4

2.1

For Xeon Benchmarks See:

http://www.intel.com/businesscomputing/wrkstn/techfocus/benchmarks.htm

http://www.intel.com/businesscomputing/wrkstn/techfocus/benchmarks.htm

iCOMP® Index 2.0

iCOMP® Index 2.0
Performance Comparison

Processor Type Pentium® Processor Pentium Processor with MMX™ Technology
Processor Speed 75MHz 100MHz 120MHz 133MHz 150MHz 166MHz 200MHz 166MHz 200MHz 233MHz
iCOMP Index 2.0 67 90 100 111 114 127 142 160 182 203
Processor Type Pentium® Pro Processor Pentium® II Processor
Processor Speed 180MHz 200MHz 233MHz 266MHz 300MHz
iCOMP Index 2.0 197 220 267 303 332

 

Relative CPU Comparisons

Processors

CPU mark32 Win95

Norton SI32 Win95

SPECint *95 UNIX WARE

SPECfp *95 UNIX WARE

Intel Media Benchmark

iCOMP(r)
Index 2.0

SYSmark *32 Windows NT 4.0
Pentium II Processor 300MHz 512K L2 746 141.3 11.70 8.15 393.69 332 360
Pentium II Processor 266MHz 512K L2 692 127.8 10.80 7.68 356.38 303 345
Pentium II Processor 233MHz 512K L2 608 112.2 9.47 7.04 314.13 267 312
Pentium(r) Pro Processor 200MHz 256K L2 551 87.2 8.20 6.21 197.17 220 277
Pentium Processor 200MHz MMX 512K L2 437 58.4 6.44 4.87 257.30 182 234
Pentium Processor 200MHz 512K L2 392 45.9 5.17 4.32 157.29 142 198

 

Intel Media Benchmark Performance Comparison

  Pentium processor
200MHz
Pentium processor
200MHz -- MMX™ Technology
Pentium Pro processor
200MHz -- 256KB L2
Pentium II processor
233MHz -- 512KB L2
Pentium II processor
266MHz -- 512KB L2
Pentium II processor
300MHz -- 512KB L2
Overall 157.29 257.30 197.17 314.13 356.38 393.69
Video 154.14 270.01 160.18 274.90 311.55 344.40
Image Processing 159.33 747.95 221.86 1,075.90 1,201.43 1,300.15
3D Geometry* 159.35 164.49 213.59 248.49 282.02 310.22
Audio 159.54 329.20 243.96 402.76 458.91 511.11

 

Weights used in the iCOMP Index:

iCOMP(r) Index Weightings

%

iCOMP(r) Index 2.0 Weightings

%

PC Bench* 7.0.1

68

Norton SI32*

15

SPECint92*

25

CPUmark32*

40

SPECfp92*

5

SPECint_base95*

20

Whetstone

2

SPECfp_base95*

5

   

Intel Media Benchmark

20

 

The following two tables were constructed to compare the relative performance of the AMD K6 to the Intel family of microprocessors under both Windows 95 and Windows NT respectively. These data indicate that the AMD K6 is by no means a Pentium II competitor. It is a Pentium class processor with performance characteristics somewhere between the Pentium Classic and the Pentium with MMX. Its performance is no where near the Pentium Pro nor Pentium II. To obtain these measurements results from over 100 different benchmarks were normalized and averaged giving the Pentium Classic an arbitrary value of one. All CPU's were clocked to 200MHz to give a fair comparison. Note that the Pentium II is much faster than indicated in real life as the low end Pentium II starts at 233MHz. Hence the Pentium II was under clocked.

Comparing the AMD K6 to the Intel CPU family under Windows 95

Processor

At 200MHz Mean Value of 100Benchmarks

Pentium II 1.27
Pentium Pro 1.27
Pentium MMX 1.10
AMD K6 1.08
Pentium Classic 1.00

 

Comparing the AMD K6 to the Intel CPU family under Windows NT

Processor

At 200MHz Mean Value of 100Benchmarks

Pentium II 1.53
Pentium Pro 1.60
Pentium MMX 1.18
AMD K6 1.11
Pentium Classic 1.00

 

Pentium F0 Bug

There has been much confusion about the new "F0 Pentium bug." This bug only affects the Pentium Classic and Pentium MMX socket 7 CPU's. It does not affect the Pentium II nor does it affect the Pentium Pro. We have tested our Pentium II and the Pentium Pro Systems using the offending op codes:

unsigned char x[] = { 0xf0, 0x0f, 0xc7, 0xc8 };

main ()

{

void (*f)(void) = (void (*)())x;

f();

}

Both the Pentium II and Pentium Pro systems responded properly with "Illegal instruction" (as this is an illegal instruction) with no ill effects. No crashes occur. Moreover, this bug does not affect the use of software on the Pentium. The only concern is that this code could be used to crash a Pentium Classic or Pentium MMX system (Not Pentium Pro nor Pentium II) by a malicious user who logs into a Pentium system. It is merely a security risk. Comments are welcome.

 

Book to Bill Ratio

Demand for CPU's is measured best by the book to bill ratio which is the ratio of the number of units shipped per month to the number of orders received. A value of less than one means the PC market is contracting while a value of greater than one means the PC market is expanding again. When you see values greater than one prices often rise and shortages occur. Traditionally September marks the beginning of the peak demand season which lasts until January. During this period the book to bill ration is frequently greater than one.

AMD 1,000 unit volume wholesale prices for 1997-98

 

K6 CPU Prices 8/1/97 Prices 11/1/97 Prices 1/27/97
166MHz $109 $82 $82
200MHz $189 $150 $92
233MHz $284 $215 $145

 

Some interesting CPU related Links


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