Karbosguide.com - Module 3e.02

The Pentium II


The second 6th generation CPU was Intel's Pentium II from 1997.
The contents:

  • Pentium II
  • L2 cache out of chip
  • The SEC module
  • L2 cache speeds compared
  • Next page
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  • Pentium II

    Pentium Pro "Klamath" was the code name for Intel's top processor. It ended up as a partially reduced and partially improved Pentium Pro model.

    Introduced May 7, 1997, the construction of Pentium II was a little controversial. The features include:

  • A CPU mounted together with 512 KB L2 in a SECC (Single Edge Contact Cartridge) module
  • Connection to the motherboard using the slot one connector and the P6 GTL+ bus.
  • MMX instructions.
  • Improved 16 bit program execution (joy for Windows 3.11 users).
  • Doubled and improved L1 cache (16 KB + 16 KB).
  • New increased internal speed: from 233 MHz to 300 MHz (later version much higher).
  • L2 cache working at half CPU speed.


    L2 cache out of chip

    The most interesting change was the separation of CPU and L2 cache. Intel found it too costly to combine them in one chip as in Pentium Pro. To facilitate mass production, cache RAM of a different brand (Toshiba) was used. The cache RAM is marked 7 ns allowing a clock frequency of maximum 150 MHz.


    The SEC module

    Pentium II is a large rectangular plastic box, which contains the CPU and cache. There is also a small controller (S82459AB) and a well dimensioned cooling fan. All are mounted on a card. This card with chips weighs about 380 g (13 ounces). It fits in a new 242 pin Single Edge Connector on the motherboard:

    Here you see the SEC module mounted in my ASUS board. Note the cooling elements on the cache RAM chips on both sides of the CPU:


    L2 cache speeds compared

    With its special design, the L2 cache has its own bus. It runs at half the CPU speed, like 133 MHz or 150 MHz. This is clearly a retrogression from the Pentium Pro, which can run at 200 MHz between the CPU and L2 cache. It is countered by the improved L1 cache, which really zips along! Here you see a comparison:

    CPU L1 transfer rate L2 clock speed L2 transfer rate
    Pentium 200 777 MB/sec. 66 MHz 67 MB/sec.
    Pentium 200 MMX 790 MB/sec. 66 MHz 74 MB/sec.
    Pentium Pro 200 957 MB/sec. 200 MHz 316 MB/sec,
    Pentium II 266 MHz 1,175 MB/sec. 133 MHz 221 MB/sec.

    Pentium II is and has been available in 233, 266, 300, 333, 350, 400, 450, and 500 MHz editions. With the 82440BX and i810 chip sets Pentium II was an excellent performer. Read on for more information on Pentium III.


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    Learn more

    Read about chip sets on the motherboard in module 2d

    Read more about RAM in module 2e

    Read module 5a about expansion cards, where we evaluate the I/O buses from the port side.

    Read module 5b about AGP and module 5c about Firewire.

    Read module 7a about monitors, and 7b on graphics card.

    Read module 7c about sound cards, and 7d on digital sound and music.

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