Intel Pentium Processor Overview

Intel Pentium processor was introduced in 1992 after Intel stopped using numerical nomenclature for x86 processors. Intel gave the name “Pentium” first for their fifth generation micro architecture called P5.

Since 1993 Intel released several versions of processors under this name which incorporate different features and technologies.
This article discusses about the major Pentium processor types and their specification.

The P5 (586) processor that was released under the Pentium trademark came with 3.1 million transistors and initial 66MHz clock speed. It also executes 112 million instructions per second.

In addition, this processor introduced a new technology called superscalar technology. Superscalar technology enables a processor to execute two instructions at the same time.

Major versions of Intel Pentium processor

After the introduction of the first Pentium processor, Intel came up with various Pentium processor brands. The following are the major versions.

Pentium Pro Processor

In 1995 Intel introduced Pentium Pro processor that was designed based on P6 processor architecture. New features such as Dynamic Execution and Dual Independent Bus Architecture are built in the P6 or sixth generation processor family. Dynamic execution enables the processor to have advanced 3D visualization and interactive capabilities.
Pentium Pro CPU specifications

  • Speed ranges 100MHz– 200MHz
  • Features Dynamic Execution
  • Front Side Bus speed 60MHz and 66MHz
  • 256KB, 512KB or 1MB L2 cache built in directly on the processor
  • Dual Independent Bus Architecture
  • 64-bit data bus capability

Pentium II processor

Pentium II is the other type of Intel Pentium processor. This processor type is an extension of Pentium Pro processor which added MMX technology (multimedia extension) for multimedia applications.

Introduced in 1997, it has 7.5 million transistors and 300MHz initial speed.
Pentium Pro CPU General Specifications

  • Up to 450MHz CPU Speed
  • Up to 100MHz motherboard speed
  • 512KB L2 cache
  • Multimedia Extension Technology (MMX)
  • Dual Independent Bus Architecture
  • Addressing 4GB main memory capability

Pentium III processor

The Pentium III processor was released in 1999. Initially, it has 9.5 million transistors with 300MHz speed. This Intel Pentium processor came with new additional features that were not found in the previous processors. These newly added features such as Streaming SIMD have benefited specifically advanced imaging, 3D video and audio applications.
Pentium III General Specifications

  • Available up to 1.4GHz CPU Speed
  • Motherboard speed ranges from 100MHz to 133MHz
  • 32KB L1 and 256KB or 512KB L2 cache
  • Streaming SIMD (Single Instruction and Multiple Data) extensions
  • Processor serial number
  • ideal for manageability and security purpose
  • Addressing 4GB main memory capability

Pentium 4 Processor

In 2000 Intel introduced breakthrough processor that runs at 1GHz speed. In addition, a new micro architecture called NetBurst is introduced by Intel. The NetBurst micro architecture incorporated features such as hyper pipelined technology, hyper threading technology, high speed system bus and cache.

Pentium 4 processor is designed based on NetBurst micro architecture.Pentium 4 processor initially built in with 42 million transistors and 1.5GHz speed.

Pentium 4 General Specifications

  • Front Side Bus Speed runs at 400MHz, 533MHz, 800MHz, or 1,066MHz
  • 1.3GHz to 3.8GHZ speed ranges
  • Hyper-threading technology
  • Hyper-pipelined technology
  • 256KB, 512KB, 1MB and 2MB L2 cache
  • Streaming SIMD (Single Instruction and Multiple Data) instructions (MMX)

Pentium 4 Extreme Edition Processor

Pentium 4EE is the other Intel Pentium processor introduced in 2003. It is similar to Pentium 4 micro architecture but came with the highest clock speed and newly added L3 cache. It has 51KB L2 and 2MB L3 cache. Pentium 4EE speed ranges from 3.2GHz to 3.73GHz. This processor was specifically designed for the Gaming industry.

Pentium D Processor

In 2005, Intel released its first desktop dual-core processor (two independent processor cores in a single package) called Pentium D. The number of transistors in Pentium D processor is 291 million and 3.2GHz initial speed. Pentium extreme edition is also the other dual-core processor, referred as the high-end version of Pentium D CPU. Unlike Pentium D it supports Hyper-threading technology and over clocking.

Pentium D Specifications

  • Speed ranges from 2.66GHZ to 3.60GHz
  • Bus speed is 533MHz or 800MHz
  • 2MB and 4MB L2 cache
  • Hyper-threading technology (supported in Extreme editions)
  • Enhanced Intel Speed Step Technology supported (not in Extreme edition)

Intel Pentium M Processor

Intel Pentium M is a processor designed based on P6 micro architecture. This Intel Pentium processor family is for portable computing. Intel mobile processors incorporate several new features and technologies comparing to desktop processors.

Intel Pentium Dual Core and Quad Core processor

Both Pentium dual core and Quad core processors are designed based on Intel’s new and highly efficient core micro architecture technology. Energy consumption is significantly reduced in core micro architecture while better performance is achieved.
Pentium Dual Core and Quad core Major Specifications

  • Speed ranges from 1.6GHz to 1.33GHz
  • Up to 12MB L2 cache
  • Front Side Speed 800MHZ to 1,600MHz
  • Improved memory access
  • Wide dynamic execution
  • Support 64-bit extensions
  • Support Enhanced Intel Speed step Technology (EIST)
  • Virtualization technology
  • New SIMD instructions
  • Intelligent power management

Since 2009, Intel introduced new processors under Pentium name both in single and dual-core versions. These processors are economical (low budget) and meant for bask computing.

The Intel Pentium Desktop processor has the following features:

  • System bus speed, 800MHz and 1066MHz
  • Dual-core processing
  • built in with two independent processors
  • Enhanced Smart Cache and shared L3 Cache
  • Virtualization technology
  • Intel HD graphics and memory controller directly integrated into the processor


As we have discussed in the above article, Intel Pentium processor has several versions which differs both in technology and performance.

This is an overview on one of the most prominent processor we find in computer systems. Therefore, before purchasing any type of processor it is always recommended to understand the features and the technology incorporated with the processor.

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