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July 24, 2002
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A CPU History
Channel: Processors

Author: David Risley
Last Updated June 25, 2002
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Page: 11

Well, I have brought you through a summarized history of the modern processor. I started with the very first personal computer processor and took you all the way up to the very latest (as of now) processors. I have touched on the key aspects of the history. There have, for sure, been a few wild cards on that history - processors that were a bit of a fluke and never caught on anywhere worth mentioning. Even today, we have Via, the chipset maker, trying to make something out of its acquisition of the otherwise failing IDT and Cyrix. In June of 2000, they released the Via C3 Samuel I, a Socket 370, 0.18 micron chip running between 500 and 750 MHz. The chip suffered from a lack of L2 cache, and it lagged way behind anything else on the market, so it was all but forgotten. Other editions of C3 suffered the same fate, but in early 2002, it received a shot in the arm with a switch to 0.13 micron design and SSE support, but it is still way behind the times in terms of performance and, as a result, it doesn't get much attention.

This summarized history demonstrates Moore's law with remarkable accuracy. As defined by Webopedia.com, Moore's law is:

The observation made in 1965 by Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since the integrated circuit was invented. Moore predicted that this trend would continue for the foreseeable future. In subsequent years, the pace slowed down a bit, but data density has doubled approximately every 18 months, and this is the current definition of Moore's Law, which Moore himself has blessed. Most experts, including Moore himself, expect Moore's Law to hold for at least another two decades.

We can easily see that the pace of CPU development picked up remarkably in the last few years. Intel and AMD took turns being in the lead. Intel was no longer the de facto leader of the processor industry. The fierce competition quickly saw us from a few hundred megahertz to well over 2 gigahertz. It drive speeds upwards and price downwards, and today the consumer has a myriad of high-performance choices to choose from without putting a major dent in the old wallet.

The future, no doubt, will be just as full of competition. Intel's Pentium IV core has a lot of room for expansion, and AMD's upcoming ClawHammer should prove quite exciting. When this all happens, I'll have to plan another update to this ever-evolving historical account. Until then...

Pages (11): « 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 [11]

COMMENTS:
Pretty good history lesson. Tim04-19-2001
Lesson could add some AMD also... Cheang Wai Keong05-11-2001
CPU history Karen Lay05-21-2001



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