Chronology of Microprocessors

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Last updated: 2017 April 29.


  • Cyrix announces the 486S processor. [540.64]
  • Motorola begins shipping the 88110 processor, over two years since its initial announcement. Initial speed is 40 MHz, for US$360 in 1000 unit quantities. A 50 MHz version will cost US$495. [1073] [1107] (about August [541])
  • Digital Equipment announces the 200 MHz Alpha 21064 processor. [540.64]
  • Sun Microsystems ships the 50 MHz Sun SuperSPARC processor. [557.134]
  • Intel introduces details of the Pentium processor. It uses 32-bit registers, with a 64-bit (60 MHz) data bus, giving it an address space of 4 GB. It incorporates 3.1 million transistors, using 0.8-micron BiCMOS technology. Speeds are 60 MHz (100 MIPS) and 66 MHz (112 MIPS). Prices are US$878 (60 MHz) and US$964 (66 MHz). [54] [75] [177.103] [212.191] [220.6] [376.29] [540.64] [62] [557.134] [575.147] [620.131] [690.94] [691.191] [755.308] [900] [940.106] [947.102] [980] [1279.39] [1635.52] [1897.130]
  • From January to March, Advanced Micro Devices ships 3.15 million 386 processor chips. [981]
  • Motorola begins shipping its PowerPC 601 processors, in 50 MHz and 66 MHz speeds. The processors feature 32 kB cache, and incorporate 2.8 million transistors in a 0.65-micron CMOS process. Pricing is about US$350 and US$470, respectively, in 1000 unit quantities. [57] [428.209] [981] [1597.86]
  • Advanced Micro Devices ships its first Am486 processors, the 40 MHz Am486DX, and the 25/50 MHz Am486DX2. [141] [540.64] [981] [1199.76]
(month unknown)
  • In Japan, Intel announces the 486SXJ processor. It is like a 486SX only with a 16 bit bus instead of 32 bit. [367]
  • MIPS Technologies announces availability of the 150 MHz 64-bit R4400 RISC microprocessor. [2040] (June [557.134])
  • Texas Instruments announces availability of the SuperSPARC+ processor. It is manufactured using a 0.7 micron BiCMOS process. Price is US$1199 for 50 MHz and US$899 for 40 MHz parts, in 1000 unit quantities. [981] [987]
May 20
  • Intel announces availability of the Pentium processor. Prices are US$878 for 60 MHz, and US$965 for 66 MHz. [1100] [1107] [985]
  • Cyrix announces and ships the Cx486S/33 and Cx486S/40 processors. The processors are based on the Cx486SLC/DLC 486-compatible core, with 486SX pinout, 2 kB cache, and power-management features. Prices are US$139 (33 MHz), and US$179 (40 MHz) in 1000 unit quantities. Code-name during development was M6. [985]
  • Cyrix announces the Cx486S2/40 and Cx486S2/50 clock-doubled processors. Prices are US$179 (40 MHz), and US$199 (50 MHz) in 1000 unit quantities. [985]
  • Cyrix announces the Cx486SV/25 and Cx486SV/33 3.3 volt processors. Prices are US$139 (25 MHz), and US$159 (33 MHz) in 1000 unit quantities. [985]
  • Motorola announces availability of 40 MHz 68040 processor. price is US$393 in 1000 unit quantities. [985]
(month unknown)
  • MIPS Technologies announces the R4200 processor. It is designed to run Windows NT at twice the speed of an Intel 486 processor. NEC will produce the chip, which should be available for sale by mid-1994. [985]
  • Intel begins production of the SL-Enhanced Intel 486 CPU line, adding power management features to all Intel 486 processors for no additional cost. Code-name during development was S-Series. [746.38] [986]
  • Intel adds more 3.3 volt 486 processors to its line: 33 MHz i486SX (US$171), 33 MHz i486DX (US$324), and 20/40 MHz i486DX2 (US$406). Prices are in quantities of 1000. [986]
  • Digital Equipment ships the 200 MHz Alpha 21064 processor. [557.134]
  • The California Court of Appeals overturns Advanced Micro Devices' 1992 win against Intel, claiming that the arbitrator had exceeded his jurisdiction. Advanced Micro Devices loses its license to Intel's 386 processor technology. [141] [986]
(month unknown)
  • Weitek announces the 80 MHz clock-doubled SPARC Power upgrade processor for SPARCstation 2 systems. Price is US$1500 each. [987]
  • Zilog introduces the 32-bit Z380 processor in Japan. [824]
  • Advanced Micro Devices announces the Am486SX and Am486SXLV processors. Speed of the Am486SX is 33 or 40 MHz, operating at 5 volts. Speed of the Am486SXLV is up to 33 MHz, operating at 3.3 volts. Price of either is US$185 in 1000 unit quantities. [988]
  • Texas Instruments begins shipping the 60 MHz SuperSPARC+ processor. Price is about US$1000 in 1000 unit quantities. [1073] [987]
  • IBM Technology Products formally unveils the Blue Lightning processor, a 486 without floating point support but with 16 kB cache and 386DX compatible pin-out packaging. Internal clock rate is up to 75 MHz, using clock doubling or tripling. [65] [988]
July 26
  • Cyrix terminates Texas Instruments' license to manufacture and produce Cyrix-designed x86 compatible processors. [1073]
(month unknown)
  • Cyrix introduces the 486DRx2 processor, like the Cyrix 486DLC but packaged in a 386-compatible pin-out. The processor uses clock-doubling, includes a 1 kB cache, but has no math coprocessor. The processor is intended as a user-upgrade in low-end 386 systems. Speeds and prices available are 16/32, 20/40, and 25/50 MHz, for US$300, US$350, and US$400, respectively, [535.40] [689.52] [988] [1071]
  • Digital Equipment begins volume shipments of the 200 MHz Alpha processor. [1100]
  • Sun Microsystems ships the 60 MHz Sun SuperSPARC processor. [557.134]
  • Ross Technology begins shipping 55 MHz and 66 MHz hyperSPARC processors. Price in 1000 unit quantities is US$895 and US$1595, respectively. [1100] [1073]
  • IBM Electronics begins manufacturing x86 processors for Cyrix. [367]
  • IBM announces the Power2 processor, at clock speeds of up to 71.5 MHz. It incorporates over 23 million transistors in eight separate chips for integer unit, floating point unit, 32 kB instruction cache unit, and four 64 kB data cache units. Performance is 126 SPECint92, 260 SPECfp92. [2049.2] [1812]
  • Digital Equipment announces the 166 MHz DECchip 21066 processor. It features 64 bit superscalar CPU and FPU, 8 kB instruction cache, 8 kB data cache, memory interface for SRAM, DRAM, and VRAM, and PCI bus interface. Price is US$424 in 1000 unit quantities. Performance is estimated at 70 SPECint92 and 105 SPECfp92. [1071]
  • VLSI Technology and Intel announce the Polar processor chip set for handheld computers. The VI86C300 integrated processor controller incorporates a 386 processor core with 2 kB cache, memory controller, LCD controller, andgraphics accelerator. The VI86C100 multiple peripheral controller includes support for peripherals typically used in handheld systems. Speed is 33 MHz. Price is US$50 in quantities of 10,000. [1812]
(month unknown)
  • At the Hot Chips conference, Hitachi unveils its HARP-1 processor (Hitachi Advanced RISC Processor). It is designed to run at 120 MHz. It was created using a 0.5 micron BiCMOS process, incorporating 2.8 million transistors. Approximate performance: 70 SPECint92 and 110 SPECfp92. It follows the PA-RISC architecture, licensed from Hewlett-Packard. [1070]
  • IBM and Motorola announce the 80 MHz PowerPC 601 processor. Motorola's price is US$500 in 20,000 unit quantities. IBM's price is US$490 in 25,000 unit quantities. [540.64] [557.134] [1074] [1597.186]
  • IBM announces the 80 MHz PowerPC 604 processor. [1597.186]
  • Cyrix begins shipping the Cx486DX and Cx386DX2 microprocessors. [520] (September [507.26])
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Advanced RISC Machines unveils the ARM7 processor family. Features are 0.8 micron technology, 3-5 volt operation, 20-33 MHz. [1100]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, AT&T Microelectronics announces the Hobbit 92020S processor, compatible with the 92010 processor. The 92020S doubles the instruction cache to 6 kB, and operates at 20 MHz. Price is US$37 in 10,000 unit quantities. [1074]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Advanced Micro Devices announces the Am386SC processor for handheld computers. Operating speed is up to 33 MHz, operating at 3.3 Volts. Price is US$49 in 10,000 unit quantities. [1074]
  • Sun Microsystems ships the 85 MHz and 110 MHz MicroSPARC II processors. [557.134]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Digital Equipment announces the 21064A Alpha processor, capable of 275 MHz. It is manufactured using a 0.5 micron CMOS process. Dual cache sizes are 16 kB for data and instructions. Pricing is US$965 for 225 MHz, and US$1586 for 275 MHz, in 1000 unit quantities. [1074]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, IDT and Toshiba announce the R4600 processor. Initial version is 100 MHz, at a cost of US$240 in 10,000 unit quantities. Code name during development was Orion. [1074]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Motorola and IBM unveil initial samples of the PowerPC 603 processor, the second in the PowerPC processor series. It features separate 8 kB instruction and data caches, fabrication in a 0.5 micron four-layer-metal CMOS process incorporating 1.6 million transistors Production versions should be 66 and 80 MHz in about one year's time. [46] [71] [1074] [540.64]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Texas Instruments introduces four 486 processors, based on the Cyrix 486SLC, adding an 8 kB cache and clock-doubler. The processors are TI486SXLC-33, TI486SXL-40, TI486SXLC2-50, TI486SXL2-50, with prices in 1000 unit quantities are, respectively, US$79, US$89, US$110, US$149. [1100]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Advanced RISC Machines unveils the ARM7 processor family. Features are 0.8 micron technology, 3-5 volt operation, 20-33 MHz. [1100]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Cyrix gives first details of an x86-compatible processor code named M1. [1074] (November 1994 [211.78])
  • Advanced Micro Devices announces the 66 MHz Am486DX2, for US$463 in 1000 unit quantities. [540.64] [1100]
(month unknown)
  • Sun Microsystems announces the microSPARC-2 processor. Speed is 70 MHz. 0.5 micron CMOS process is used. 24 kB cache. 2 million transistors. [1100]
  • Advanced Micro Devices announces the 40 MHz 486DXL processor, for US$283 in 1000 unit quantities. [1100]
  • At the Comdex trade show, Cyrix formally announces the 486SLC2 processor, a clock-doubled version of its 486SLC. [1099]
  • At the Comdex trade show, IBM demonstrates a system running a 95 MHz PowerPC 601 processor. [1099]
  • At Comdex, MIPS Technologies demonstrates a system running a 200 MHz R4400 processor. [1099]
  • At Comdex, Digital Equipment demonstrates a system running a 320 MHz 21064A Alpha processor. [1099]
  • Cyrix introduces the 486SRx2 processor, as an upgrade to systems running 16-25 MHz 386SX processors. The 486SRx2 clips onto the 386SX and disables it. The 20 MHz part sells for US$269, and the 25 MHz part sells for US$299. [1073]
December 13
  • Cyrix and Texas Instruments file lawsuits against each other over Cyrix's 486 processor design databases. Texas Instruments is demanding that Cyrix deliver the design databases, and Cyrix is demanding that Texas Instruments cease manufacturing and distributing Cyrix licensed products. [1073]
  • Hewlett-Packard announces the 125 MHz PA-7150 processor. [1073] [1073]
  • Unit shipments of Advanced Micro Devices 486 processors during the year: 350,000. [1054]
  • Shipments of Zilog Z80 processors for the year: 30 million. [824]
  • Shipments of Motorola 68000 processors for the year: 36 million. [824]
  • Shipments of x86 processors by Texas Instruments for the year: over 1 million. [245]

End of 1993. Next: 1994.

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.