Intel Pentium I

Intel introduced the Pentium in 1993. The chip was named the Pentium rather than 80586 to better differentiate the processor from products from the other processor manufacturers. The name 'Pentium' is based on the Greek word for five.

There are 3.1 million transistors in the chip. The Pentium uses a 64-bit data path and comes in speeds from ranging from 60MHz to 200MHz. The Pentium processor can process up to four instructions per clock cycle, two on each of the separate paths.

One of the factors affecting the Pentium's increased performance compared to the 80486 is that Intel took many processor features previously handled by software and made them part of the chip hardware.

Another factor affecting the speed of the Pentium is the cache. The Pentium has two 8-KB caches, one for data and one for program code.

The Pentium chip is also a combination of two chips inside one; this is called parallel processing. Since the Pentium is also designed to be fault-tolerant, one chip does the work while the other one monitors. If an error occurs, the second chip takes over.

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