Chronology of Microprocessors

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Last updated: 2017 April 29.


  • Motorola formally announces the 32-bit 25 MHz 68040 microprocessor. It incorporates 1.2 million transistors, integrates the FPU, and includes instruction and data caches. [13] [338]
  • Intel releases the 80387SX math coprocessor. [511.319]
  • Intel releases the 10 MHz 287XL and 287XTL (designed for laptop computers) math coprocessors. These coprocessors operate faster than previously released versions. [511.319]
  • Cyrix introduces the FasMath 83S87 math coprocessor, pin-compatible with Intel's 387SX. [511.329]
  • In a patent-infringement suit between Motorola and Hitachi, the judge imposes a temporary sales ban on Motorola's 68030 processor. [558.17]
  • Intel introduces the 33 MHz 486 microprocessor. Speed is 27 MIPS. [62]
(month unknown)
  • The INMOS T-9000 processor, designed for parallel computing in the Transputer architecture, appears. [32]
  • A judge rules that competitors to Intel can use the x86 designation for their processors. Intel decides to find another name for its new processors. [477.130]
  • Motorola and Hitachi reach an agreement on their lawsuits, allowing Motorola to resume sales of the 68030 processor. [659.5]
  • Advanced Micro Devices announces the Am286LX and Am286ZX processors, containing 80286 compatibility and most chips required to build a basic AT-compatible computer. Speeds are 12.5 to 16 MHz. Prices are US$69 to 89 in 1000 unit quantities. [1095.19]
  • Gilbert Hyatt is granted a patent for a "single-chip integrated-circuit computer architecture", 20 years after his first application for the patent. [23] [162] [185.193] [729.41] [1038.148] (July [556.30] [590.5] [597.53])
  • Motorola announces it has begun general sampling of the 68040 processor to system manufacturers. [338]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Motorola announces a new line of single-chip RISC processors, the first of which is to be the 88110. [205.81] [2038] [1073]
  • Intel introduces the 20 MHz 80386SL microprocessor, designed for use in portable and laptop computers. It uses 855,000 transistors (1-micron), a 32-bit internal data path, and a 16-bit external data path. Price is US$150 each, in quantities of 1000. Speed is 4.21 MIPS. [477.126] [540.64] [62]
  • Advanced Micro Devices officially acknowledges that it is working on cloning Intel's 386 processor. [163.14]
  • An arbitrator between Intel and Advanced Micro Devices rules that Intel breached its agreement with Advanced Micro Devices by refusing to share designs of the 386 CPU. However, the ruling also states that Advanced Micro Devices is not entitled to Intel's 386 because it did not contribute any accepted designs for it. [659.7] [735.7] [1067.28]
  • Intel releases new versions of the 16, 20, and 25 MHz 80387 math coprocessor chips. These versions use the new, faster technology employed on the 33 MHz chip. [511.319]
(month unknown)
  • Apple Computer, VLSI Technology, and Acorn Computer create the Advanced RISC Machines company, to work on processor designs. [660.1]
  • LSI Logic announces the availability of SparcKIT, a SPARC chipset at speeds of 20 MHz and 25 MHz. [171.80]
  • Motorola begins volume shipments of the 25 MHz 68040 processor. [559.17] [338] (January 1991 [20])


  • NexGen makes the first fabrication of its F86 multi-chip 386 compatible processor. [659.9]
  • Cyrix and Texas Instruments sign an agreement licensing Texas Instruments to manufacture and sell Cyrix-designed x86 compatible processors. [1073]
  • MIPS Computer Systems introduces the industry's first 64-bit microprocessor, the R4000 RISC chip. [167.13] [2357.D6]
(month unknown)
  • At the International Solid-State Circuits Conference, Intel demonstrates a 100 MHz 486 processor. [276]
  • Advanced Micro Devices introduces the Am386DX, its first clone chips of Intel's i386DX, at speeds of 20 to 40 MHz. [19] [141] [176.75] [477.127] [540.64] [696.118]
  • Advanced Micro Devices ships the 1-millionth Am386 microprocessor. [141]
  • Intel files a lawsuit in an attempt to stop Cyrix from selling its FasMath math coprocessor chips, claiming that parts manufactured for Cyrix by SGS-Thompson violate an agreement between Intel and SGS-Thompson. [704.23]
  • At the Comdex show, Intel introduces the 20 MHz i486SX microprocessor. The i486SX is like the 486DX, but without the math coprocessor. Price is US$527. Speed is 16.5 MIPS. [26] [177.103] [296] [477.127] [540.64] [62] [879.117] [900] [1522.78]
  • Motorola announces that 33 MHz 68040 processors should be shipping in September. [338]
  • Intel introduces the 50 MHz 486 microprocessor. Speed is 41 MIPS. This new 486 employs 0.8-micron technology. [62] [36] [152]
(month unknown)
  • Advanced Micro Devices introduces the 16 MHz Am386SX. [1093.216]
  • Advanced Micro Devices introduces the 25 MHz Am386SX processor. [477.127] [540.64]
August 27
  • Intel announces a temporary halt to production of the 50 MHz 486DX processor, due to problems in manufacturing and testing. [477.126] [2359.D4]
  • MIPS Technologies begins shipping samples of the R4000 processor. [660.9]
  • Intel introduces the 16 MHz i486SX microprocessor. Speed is 13 MIPS. [62]
  • Intel introduces the 25 MHz i486SX microprocessor. Speed is 20 MIPS. [62]
  • Intel introduces the 25 MHz 80386SL microprocessor. Speed is 5.3 MIPS. [62]
  • Chips & Technologies introduces the F8680 PC/Chip microprocessor. It is designed for use in notebook and handheld computers. The CPU is compatible with the Intel 8086 and Intel 80186. The chip also includes a universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter, CGA-compatible display controller, and PCMCIA support, making it the most integrated chip ever produced to date. Price is US$45. [477.128]
  • Sun Microsystems begins licensing the new chipset used in the SPARCstation 2. [2034.81]
  • MIPS Technologies officially introduces the 100 MHz R4000, its 64-bit RISC processor. [44] [2040]
  • Intel files a copyright infringement claim against Advanced Micro Devices, claiming the programmed logic array in the 386 is a program, thus protected by copyright. [659.7]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, IBM and Motorola outline a four year road map of PowerPC processors, starting with a low-cost desktop processor, and culminating in a high performance processor for servers and workstations. [1021]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Advanced RISC Machines presents the 32-bit ARM600 processor. It incorporates 33,494 transistors. [963.1] [1058.134]
  • Chips & Technologies announces its Super386 line of processors, and SuperMath math coprocessor. Both are compatible with Intel chips. [955.4] (September [1067.28])
  • Intel decides against licensing Digital Equipment's technology in the Alpha architecture. [636.24]
  • IBM and Intel sign a 10-year joint development agreement to create a series of integrated processors. [48] [1080.37]
  • IBM announces the PowerPC 601 microprocessor. [746.72]
(month unknown)
  • Intel begins the design process of its sixth-generation processor, to follow the Pentium processor. Code-name is "P6". (This processor will debut in November 1995 as the PentiumPro.) [519.108] [669]
  • IBM introduces the 20 MHz 386SLC microprocessor. It is an enhanced Intel 386SX, including an 8 kB cache, and extra instructions. It is the first chip produced under an agreement between Intel and IBM, for IBM to use in their own systems. [477.128] [606.64]
  • Shipments of Advanced Micro Devices 386 processors for the past three months: 1 million. [737.3]
  • Market share of 386 microprocessors for the period October to December: Advanced Micro Devices 30%. [1300.D1]
  • Shipments of Advanced Micro Devices 386 processors for the year: over 2 million. [737.3]


January 9
  • Advanced Micro Devices announces it sold 30% of the 386 microprocessor market in the fourth quarter of 1991. Sales of US$145 million in quarter, US$250 million for the year. [1300.D1]
  • Chips and Technologies withdraws its M/PAX multiprocessor chip set from the market, due to lack of interest from systems makers. [659.5]
  • Ross Technology publicly previews its Pinnacle-1 SPARC processor. [735]
  • Advanced Micro Devices announces plans to enter the 486 processor market later in the year. Products pre-announced are 5.0 volt Am486DX and Am486SX, and 3.3 volt Am486DXLV and Am486SXLV. [660.5]
  • Advanced Micro Devices announces the availability of the 40 MHz Am386DX processor, for US$114 in 1000 unit quantities. [660.5]
  • Advanced Micro Devices announces the 33 MHz Am386SX processor, priced at US$76 in 1000 unit quantities. [660.5]
  • Intel announces the 25 MHz 386SX processor, for US$82.50 in 1000 unit quantities. [660.5]
  • Intel sues Chips and Technologies for patent infringement, regarding Chips and Technologies' Super386 and SuperMath chips. [735.11] [1067.28]
  • Five years of arbitration with Intel ends, with Advanced Micro Devices being awarded full rights to produce and sell its Am386 line of processors. Advanced Micro Devices is also awarded US$15 million in damages, though it had asked for US$2.2 billion. [141] [735.7] [1067.28]
  • Intel announces 3.3 volt versions of the 486SX processor. [736.5] [751.5]
February 25
  • Digital Equipment unveils the 64-bit Alpha processor architecture, with speed estimates of 150 million instructions per second. [2042.38] [1367.63]
  • MIPS Technologies ships the 100 MHz R4000 processor. [557.134] [2038]
  • Motorola cancels plans for a 68050 processor, to concentrate work on products that were to follow the 68050, including the "Q" project (likely to emerge as the 68060), and a LP040, a low-power 68040 processor. [735.5]
  • Intel introduces the i486DX2 microprocessor, with clock speeds of 25/50 MHz (external/internal). For the most part, the DX2 acts like a 25 MHz 486 that internally runs twice as fast. Price is US$550 each in quantities of 1000. Performance is 41 MIPS, 25.4 SPECint89, and 15.9 SPECfp89. Code-name during development was P24. [152] [177.103] [477.128] [540.64] [62] [661.19] [879.117] [955.4]
  • Three-month Advanced Micro Devices shipments of 386 processors: 2 million. [737.3]
  • Cyrix introduces the 25 MHz Cx486SLC microprocessor. It features an internal 32-bit data path (with 486 integer instruction set), but with a 16-bit external data path (386SX interface). It includes a 1 kB cache, but no coprocessor. It uses 0.8 micron CMOS technology, incorporating 600,000 transistors. Price is US$119 each in quantities of 1000. [477.129] [402.65] [540.64] [736.1] [1067.37] (March [759.251])
  • Ross Technologies announces the hyperSPARC processor. [1100] [1073]
  • Intel produces the first test Pentium processor. [1100]
(month unknown)
  • Intel announces availability of the 3.3 volt 386SL processor. Pricing is US$102 for 20 MHz with cache, US$84 without cache, and US$60 for 10 MHz without cache. [751.5]
  • Motorola begins volume shipments of the 33 MHz 68040 processor. A 40 MHz version is scheduled to ship in September. [338]
  • Cyrix introduces the Cx486DLC microprocessor. It is a 32-bit bus version of the Cx486SLC, pin-compatible with the Intel 386DX. It incorporates a 1 kB cache, and incorporates 600,000 transistors. Price for 25 MHz is US$99, 33 MHz is US$119; 40 MHz is US$159. [477.129] [540.64] [751.1]
  • A jury rules that Advanced Micro Devices cannot use Intel microcode used in the Intel 80287 for AMD's 287. [752.1] [965]
(month unknown)
  • IBM introduces the 486SLC processor. [606.64]
  • Intel ships the OverDrive processor. Prices for 16 MHz and 20 MHz systems: US$549; for 25 MHz systems: US$699. [751.7]
  • Advanced Micro Devices begins work on a fifth-generation x86 processor (in the class of Intel's Pentium chip). [206.96]
  • Intel first demonstrates a system running its P5 processor. [954.4]
  • Intel introduces the 33/66 MHz i486DX2 microprocessor. Performance is 54 MIPS, or 34.0 SPECint89. [62] [955.4]
  • U.S. District Court Judge Paul Brown rules that Cyrix is immune from Intel's patent infringement claims, because the Cyrix FasMath math coprocessor is manufactured by SGS-Thompson, which has a patent cross-license agreement with Intel. [955.1] [969]
(month unknown)
  • Chips & Technologies announces it is abandoning further development of x86 microprocessors, but it will continue to market its Super386DX processor. [955.4]
  • At IBM, the first silicon copy of the PowerPC 601 processor is made. [746.72] (August [957])
  • Intel announces OverDrive processors for 486DX systems. The OverDrive processor is the same as a clock-doubled processor (486DX2-50 or 486DX2-66) but with a heat sink, retail packaging, and list of systems certified upgradeable. Price for 25 MHz systems is US$599; price for 33 MHz is US$799. [696.36] [956]
  • IBM delivers first working prototypes of the PowerPC 601 processor. [881.81]
  • IBM introduces the 20/40 MHz and 25/50 MHz 486SLC2 microprocessors. They feature a 16 kB cache and optimized instruction set, but no internal math coprocessor, and only a 16-bit data path. [477.129] (October, 486SLC [696.125])
  • Intel introduces the 33 MHz i486SX microprocessor. Speed is 27 MIPS Price is US$189 each for 1000. [62] [696.36,125] [957]
(month unknown)
  • Advanced Micro Devices releases its 40 MHz 386SX processor. Price is US$43 in 1000 unit quantities. [957]
October 14
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, AT&T Microelectronics unveils its Hobbit processor, implementing the CRISP architecture. Formal name of the processor is ATT92010. Processor speed is 20-30 MHz, depending on voltage. Price is US$35 in quantities of 10,000. [963.1]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Texas Instruments and Sun Microsystems formally unveil the 50 MHz microSPARC processor. The processor includes integer and floating-point units, and 4 kB instruction and 2 kB data caches. It incorporates 800,000 transistors, using a 0.8-micron CMOS process. Development names during development were Tsunami and TMS390S10. Performance is about 40 MIPS. [557.134] [963.1] [696.36] [1100]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Advanced RISC Machines introduces the ARM250 chip, combining the core ARM processor with memory controller, video controller, and I/O interface. CPU speed is 12 to 16 MHz. The chip uses under 100,000 transistors, built in a 1-micron CMOS process. Price is US$25 in 100,000 unit quantities. [963.1]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, IBM and Motorola formally announce the beginning of production of PowerPC 601 microprocessors, in 50 MHz and 66 MHz versions. PowerPC stands for "Power Performance Chip", and incorporates an integer unit, a floating-point unit, and 32 MB cache. IBM produces the processor using 0.6-micron CMOS technology, with 2.8 million transistors per chip. [540.64] [671.2] [963.1]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Motorola gives details of its next processor, the 68060. It will feature two integer units, 8 kB instruction and data caches, over 2 million transistors, 0.5-micron CMOS process, clock rates of 50-66 MHz. [964.1]
  • Intel introduces the 33 MHz 80386SX microprocessor. Speed is 2.9 MIPS. [62]
  • Cyrix begins shipping the Cx486SLC/e processor, which incorporates a system-management mode. Pricing is 25 MHz (5.0V) US$75, 25 MHz (3.3V) US$89, 33 MHz US$99. [540.64] [696.125] [964]
  • Cyrix introduces the clock-doubled Cx486DRu2 microprocessor. Price is US$399. [477.130]
  • Hewlett-Packard announces the PA-7100LC processor. [1073]
(month unknown)
  • Texas Instruments announces availability of its 486SLC processor at 20 and 25 MHz, and the 486DLC at 25 and 33 MHz. The processor design is licensed from Cyrix. Prices, for 1000 unit quantities, are: 20 MHz 486SLC US$59, 25 MHz US$69, 25 MHz 486DLC US$89, 33 MHz US$99. [963]
  • Advanced Micro Devices introduces the 25 MHz Am386SXLV processor, operating at 3.3-volts, for use in portable computers. [1264.29]
  • Intel announces that it will not call its 486 processor successor the 586, but will choose a name that can be registered as a trademark. [879.108]
  • Intel announces that the name "Pentium" has been chosen for its next processor, currently referred to as P5. [964] [963]
  • Advanced Micro Devices chairman Jerry Sanders calls the name Pentium better suited as "a name for toothpaste". [748.95] [963]
  • John Dvorak quote on Intel's naming the P5 "Pentium": "One thing's for sure, *nobody* is going to call it the Pentium.". [748.95]
  • Cyrix announces the Cx486S2/50 processor, its first 486-pin-compatible chip. It includes a 2 kB cache and internal clock-doubler, providing 50 MHz operation on 25 MHz systems. Initial pricing is US$249 in 1000 unit quantities. Code-name during development was M6. Production availability is expected for the first quarter of 1993. [964]
  • Intel introduces the 486SL processor, designed for notebook computers. The processor takes the core of the 486DX with 8 kB cache, and adds system management mode, DRAM controller, and ISA bus interface. Speeds include 20 MHz (15.4 MIPS), 25 MHz (19 MIPS) and 33 MHz (25 MIPS). The processors can address 64 MB of physical memory, and 64 terabytes of virtual memory. They use 1.4 million transistors, employing 0.8-micron technology. Price for 25 MHz is US$269 in 1,000 unit quantities. Code-name during development was H4C. [62] [964.1] [969] [1264.29] (June 1993 [540.64])
November 16
  • At COMDEX, IBM demonstrates its "Blue Lightning" 486 processor, running at 100 MHz internally. It is like a 486SLC2 with 16 kB cache, 386DX-compatible 32-bit bus interface, and clock tripler. [965]
  • Digital Equipment unveils the 150 MHz DECchip 21064 microprocessor, implementing the Alpha AXP 64-bit architecture. Development name was EV-4. [32] [2043.15] [2027.61] [540.64] [557.134] [964.1] [821]
  • MIPS Technologies (division of Silicon Graphics) announces the R4400 microprocessor, previously called the R4000A. It is an R4000 processor with double on-chip cache, implemented in 0.6-micron CMOS. Clock rates of up to 150 MHz (75 MHz internal) will be available. The chip incorporates 2.2 million transistors. [964.1] [1100]
December 2
  • A US federal court rules that Advanced Micro Devices does not have the right to use Intel's 486 microcode in its microprocessors. [477.92] [879.127] [965]
  • Motorola begins volume shipments of the 40 MHz 68040 processor. [338]
  • During the year, 18% of Intel-based PC sales contain a 486 processor. [509.36]
  • Market share of x86 processor shipments: Advanced Micro Devices 30%. [1092.70]
  • Shipments of Advanced Micro Devices 386 processor chips for the year: 9.5 million. [981]

End of 1990-1992. Next: 1993.

1958-1979 1980-1989 1990-1992 1993 1994 1995 1996-1997 1998-1999 2000 2001
2002 2003 2004-2005 2006-end

A list of references to all source material is available.

Other web pages of interest:

  • Chronology of Personal Computers
  • This Day in Personal Computer and Video Game History
  • This Day in History

  • Last updated: 2017 April 29.
    Copyright © 2006-2017 Ken Polsson (email: ).
    Link to Ken P's home page.