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Name: Kevin
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 1995


Question:
I am inquiring about the new Pentium chip. I have heard that is not "perfected" yet. I have also heard, through the grape vine, that it may never be perfected. Could you please explain how it works, what its drawbacks are, and whether or not it can be fixed? I would also like to know if that is the only 586 processor in the making.



Replies:
I do not know about being perfected - as far as I know they are currently working fine in many computers already out there in the marketplace. It turns out, though, that Intel is not going to make nearly as much money selling Pentium as it did selling the 486 chips - basically, the speed increase is only a factor of 2 for integer operations, and 4 for floating point (at 66 MHz), which is not nearly as big as the jump was going from 386 to 486. Those clock speeds are also kind of nearing a limit, I think (the fastest clock around is for the Digital Alpha chip, which runs at up to 200 MHz, but that was pretty hard to achieve, I hear, so I do not believe Pentium is ever going to run at that kind of speed (which may be what you were hearing about "perfection"). I do not know of any other "586"-style processors around (I assume you mean made by somebody besides Intel?) but there are a lot of competing chips of similar or better performance already in the market: DEC's Alpha, IBM and Motorola's PowerPC, etc. Intel is planning to come out to successors to the Pentium pretty soon too, I believe (e.g. 686 or whatever).

A Smith


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