Chronology of Microprocessors

Copyright © 2006-2017 Ken Polsson
internet e-mail:
All rights reserved. Permission is granted to create web links
to this site, not to copy these pages to other web sites.

References are numbered in [brackets], which are listed here. A number after the dot gives the page in the source.

Last updated: 2017 April 29.


  • The first test versions of the 100 MHz PowerPC 604 processor are created by IBM and Motorola. [338]
  • Digital Equipment produces the first test version of the 21164 processor. [856]
  • At the International Solid-State Circuits Conference Intel demonstrates a 150 MHz Pentium processor. [276] [541]
(month unknown)
  • Hewlett-Packard unveils its PA-7200 processor design. It is manufactureed with a 0.55 micron CMOS process, allowing up to 140 MHz clock speeds. [276]
  • Cyrix ships the 33/66 MHz Cx486DRx2 processor. Price is US$399. [538.160] [689.52]
  • Advanced Micro Devices officially announces availability of the 486SX2 processor, offering clock-doubling to low clock rate systems. Price in 1000 unit quantities is US$165 (25/50 MHz) and US$137 (20/40 MHz). [276]
  • IBM announces that it has produced more than 250,000 PowerPC chips to date. [276]
  • Sun Technology Business announces initial samples of the 85 MHz and 100 MHz MicroSparc-2 processor. [337]
  • Cyrix revises its 486DX and 486DX2 processors. [520]
  • Cyrix begins new shipments of the Cx486DX microprocessor, after fixing a flaw in the 32-bit floating-point code. [507.26] [509.217]
  • MIPS Technologies ships the 100 MHz R4600 RISC microprocessor. [557.134]
  • Digital Equipment ships the 66 MHz Alpha 21068 processor. [557.134]
  • Digital Equipment ships the 166 MHz Alpha 21066 processor. Performance is rated at 70 SPECint92. [557.134] [520]
  • Intel introduces and ships the IntelDX4 processor. The processor can run its internal clock at 2x, 2.5x, or 3x the external clock rate. Combined with a 0.6 micron BiCMOS manufacturing process, this allows operation at up to 100 MHz. The internal cache is doubled from previous 486 chips to 16 kB. The processor incorporates 1.6 million transistors, and operates on 3.3 volts. Code-name during development was P24C. The 25/75 MHz IntelDX 319 processor is rated at 53 MIPS, and is priced at US$475 in 1000 unit quantities. The 33/100 MHz IntelDX 435 processor is rated at 70.7 MIPS, and is priced at US$580 in 1000 unit quantities. The "486" designation was dropped in favor of a name that can be protected as a trademark. [78] [177.103] [62] [551.259] [584.43] [602.4] [1054] (US$649 for 100 MHz [276])
  • Intel announces a 25/50 MHz IntelSX2 clock-doubled 486 processor. The processor can be used in a 25 MHz 386 processor socket. Price is US$189 in 1000 unit quantities. [79] [337]
  • Intel introduces and ships faster Pentium chips, based on 0.6 micron BiCMOS manufacturing. The processor now includes clock-doubling of 1.5 or 2 time the external clock rate, allowing processor speeds of up to 100 MHz on a 50-66 MHz system bus. The processor also includes power management capabilities to allow stopping and restarting the processor. Code-name during development was P54C. The 60/90 MHz Pentium 735 processor is rated at 149.8 MIPS, and is priced at US$849 in 1000 unit quantities. The 66/100 MHz Pentium 815 processor is rated at 166.3 MIPS, and is priced at US$995 in 1000 unit quantities. [205.98] [265] [62] [550.29] [551.168,259] [557.134] [584.43] [689.115] [276] [337] [968]
  • IBM and Motorola announce the 100 MHz PowerPC 601 processor. [265] (April [665.41])
  • NexGen introduces the Nx586 processor. It includes two integer units, 16 kB instruction cache, 16 kB data cache, Level 2 cache controller, support for external floating point unit. IBM has manufactured initial samples using a 0.5 micron CMOS process. Pricing is US$506 (66 MHz) and US$460 (60 MHz). [337] [557.134]
  • A court rules in favor of Advanced Micro Devices against Intel in the 287 microcode infringement case. The ruling lets Advanced Micro Devices continue to use Intel microcode on its current 486 processors. [337]
(month unknown)
  • Intel announces the 486SX2 processor. It can replace the 486SX in 16-25 MHz systems with a clock-doubled processor. Price is US$249. [338]
  • Motorola formally introduces the 50 MHz 68060 processor. Price is US$263 in 10,000 unit quantities. A 66 MHz version is scheduled to ship near the end of the year. [83] [338]
  • IBM and Motorola announce the 100 MHz PowerPC 604 processor. It features 16 kB data cache, 16 kB instruction cache, one floating-point unit, and three integer units. Two of the integer units perform single clock cycle instruction, while the other is used for integer multiplication and division. The processor uses 3.6 million transistors. [84.33] [265] [428.209] [665.41] [338] (March [205.316]) (six execution units [428.209])
  • IBM introduces the PowerPC 403, a microcontroller version of the PowerPC processor. [740.59]
(month unknown)
  • IBM and Cyrix sign a five-year agreement for IBM to manufacture x86 processors for Cyrix, and for IBM to sell the processors as well as Cyrix. [367]
  • Ross Technology announces 80, 90, and 100 MHz HyperSparc processors, using Fujitsu's 0.5 micron CS-50 process. Internal cache is 128 or 256 kB. [367]
  • International Meta Systems files a patent application for technology that enables a RISC processor to emulate other instruction sets. [694.38]
  • The IEEE Computer Society officially adopts SPARC as a standard, labelled 1754-1994. This is the first microprocessor architecture standard adopted by the IEEE, and took four years. [520]
  • Motorola ships sample copies of the PowerPC 603 processor. Volume pricing is set at US$160 (66 MHz) and US$199 (80 MHz) in 20,000 unit quantities. [85] [520]
  • MIPS Technologies announces availability of samples of the 200 MHz 64-bit R4400 RISC microprocessor. [2040]
(month unknown)
  • United Microelectronics announces the U5S microprocessor family, compatible with the Intel 486SX. Clock rates of 25, 33, and 40 MHz are announced. The processor design was created by Meridian Semiconductor. The processors offer 20-50% faster performance than equivalent Intel processors, and consume less power. Marketing of the processors is likely to be limited to Europe and Asia. [520] [621]
  • IBM and Motorola show a 120 MHz PowerPC 601 processor running in a prototype Power Macintosh. [588.33] [244]
  • Cyrix begins volume shipments of its 66MHz 486DX2 processor. Price is US$249 in 1000 unit quantities. [244]
  • Cyrix announces an 80 MHz 486DX2 processor, to be available in a few months. Price is to be US$294 in 1000 unit quantities. [244]
  • IBM announces that it will resell the Cyrix DX2 processors under its Blue Lightning label. Pricing is US$270 for 66 MHz and $320 for 80 MHz. [244]
  • Intel and Hewlett-Packard announce a partnership to develop a 64-bit CPU architecture designed to replace the current x86 and PA-RISC architectuures. [244]
  • Digital Equipment introduces the 233 MHz Alpha 21064A processor. Price is US$867 in 1000 unit quantities. It replaces the 225 MHz version. [244]
  • Hal Computer Systems achieves first working prototype of a 64-bit SPARC-based processor. [667]
  • MIPS Technologies ships the 75 MHz R8000 RISC microprocessor. [557.134]
  • MIPS Technologies ships the 133 MHz R4600 RISC microprocessor. [557.134]
  • MIPS Technologies ships the 200 MHz 64-bit R4400 RISC microprocessor. [557.134]
  • Dr. Thomas R. Nicely of Lynchburg College notes that the Pentium processor sometimes produces flawed floating-point results, yielding only 4-8 decimals of precision. [265]
  • Intel discovers a flaw in the Pentium processor's floating-point operations. [856] [1259]
(month unknown)
  • Zilog introduces the 32-bit Z380 processor in the USA. Operating speeds are 18 MHz at 5 volts and 10 MHz at 3.3 volts. The processor is fully Z80 and Z180 compatible, as well as offering 4 GB addressing. Price is US$11.75 in 1000 unit quantities. [824]
  • IDT announces sample availability of the 150 MHz R4600 processor. Performance is 104 SPECint92 and 81 SPECfp92. Price is US$325 in 1000 unit quantities. [824]
  • IBM reports that it has shipped 1 million PowerPC 601 processors in the first 10 months of production. [87] [206.149] [504.44] [824] [856]
  • IBM makes available sample quantities of the PowerPC 603 processor. High quantity pricing is US$165 for the 66 MHz chip, and US$195 for the 80 MHz version. [87] (June [212.191])
  • Digital Equipment ships its AXP 21064A 64-bit 275 MHz Alpha RISC processor in volume quantities, for US$1192 in 1000 unit quantities. The processor features dual 16 kB internal caches. [2050] [551.261] [557.134] [895]
  • Digital Equipment ships the 225 MHz Alpha 21064A processor. [557.134]
  • IBM produces the first test version of the PowerPC 620 processor. [856]
(month unknown)
  • AT&T closes subsidiary Eo, ending life for the Hobbit processor, and the PenPoint operating system. [895]
  • At the Hot Chips conference, Digital unveils the 21164 Alpha processor. It features two integer units, a floating-point addition logic unit, a floating point multiplier, 8 kB data cache, 8 kB instruction cache, and 96 kB secondary cache. Target operating frequency is 300 MHz. Code name during development was EV-5. [895] [898]
  • Advanced Micro Devices ships its Am486DX2-80 40/80 MHz processor. Price is US$266 in 1000 unit quantities. [91] [898]
  • Sun Microsystems announces the 64-bit UltraSparc processor. Target clock speed is 167 MHz. The chip is the first to implement the SPARC v9 architecture, and incorporates two integer units, and five units for floating point and graphics calculations. [2021] [979]
  • Digital Equipment Corporation formally introduces its next-generation Alpha AXP processors, including a 300 MHz version that can execute 1 billion instructions per second. [92] [265]
  • NexGen introduces its Nx586 microprocessor. With the processor comes a new naming scheme, with s suffix indicating the equivalent Pentium clock speed. Names, speeds, and prices (in 10,000 unit quantities) are: Nx586-P75, 70 MHz, US$404; Nx586-P80, 75 MHz, US$477; Nx586-P90, 84 MHz, US$539; Nx586-P100, 93 MHz, US$777. [177.103] [505.37] [557.135] [979]
(month unknown)
  • Texas Instruments abandons its Rio Grande project to create an integrated 486SX processor with memory controller and PCI interface. [1021]
  • Sun Microsystems produces the first test version of the UltraSparc processor. [856]
  • IBM and Motorola begin shipping samples of the 100 MHz PowerPC 601 processor. Price is US$399 from IBM, and US$439 from Motorola, both in 1000 unit quantities. The processor is produced using a 0.33 micron process. [95.39] [557.135] [1021] [621]
  • IBM and Motorola begin sample shipping the PowerPC 604 processor. IBM's price is US$549 for the 100 MHz chip. Motorola's pricing is US$599 for 100 MHz, and US$499 for 90 MHz. All prices are in 1000 unit quantities. [94.39] [211.78] [1021]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, MIPS Technologies announces the R10000 RISC microprocessor. [2040] [1021]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Advanced Micro Devices unveils details of the K86 family, with the first chip being code named K5. The processor is projected to be 30% faster than Pentium with same closk rate, and 2.5 times the 486. Volume production is expected for mid-1995. [188.3] [211.78] [1021]
  • IBM and Motorola announce the 64-bit PowerPC 620 processor, to operate at 133 MHz. Performance is expected to be 225 SPECint92, and 300 SPECfp92. Virtual address space is 1 heptabyte (2^80 bytes). [95.39] [207.33] [211.78] [1021]
  • Intel introduces the 75 MHz Pentium processor, with 50 MHz memory bus. Performance is 126.5 MIPS. It uses 3.2 million transistors, employing 0.6-micron BiCMOS technology. [265] [62] [557.135] [968]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Intel pre-announces the Pentium OverDrive processor. Code-name of the part is P24T. It is designed to be plugged into 486 systems which have an OverDrive socket. Speeds to be available are 83.3 MHz for 33 MHz systems, and 63.25 MHz for 50 MHz systems. [968]
  • Virginia math professor Dr. Nicely reports his discovery of the Pentium floating point divide instruction flaw to Intel, and his report is made public on CompuServe. [265] [1529.258]
  • Motorola announces availability of the PowerPC 603 processor, at US$175 for the 66 MHz chip, and US$199 for the 80 MHz version. [145]
  • Motorola announces availability of the PowerPC 601 processor, at US$189 for the 66 MHz chip, and US$299 for the 80 MHz version. [145]
  • IBM introduces the 66 MHz and 80 MHz PowerPC 603 processors. [95.39]
  • Intel produces the first test samples of the P6 processor. (The processor will be introduced as the Pentium Pro.) [936]
(month unknown)
  • Intel announces the Write-Back Enhanced IntelDX2 processor, a 486DX2 with support of write-back cache operation, making it feasible to implement in systems without a second level cache. Prices are US$149 for 50 MHz and US$199 for 66 MHz, in 1000 unit quantities. [968]
  • Intel announces and ships the DX4 OverDrive processor. Prices are US$549 for 75 MHz (for 486DX-25 systems), and US$699 for 100 MHz (for 486DX-33 systems), for single chips. [968]
  • SPARC Technology Business (a subsidiary of Sun Microsystems) begins shipment of samples of the 75 MHz SuperSparc-2 processor. Price is US$999 in 1000 unit quantities. [968]
  • Advanced Micro Devices creates the first test version of the K5 processor. [936]
  • IBM and Motorola begin production of the PowerPC 601+ processor. [810.35]
  • IBM ships the 100 MHz PowerPC 601 processors. [211.78]
  • IBM ships the 66 MHz and 80 MHz PowerPC 603 processors. [211.78]
  • At Comdex, Digital Equipment announces the 21066A processor, a 0.5-micron version of the Alpha 21066 processor, operating 40% faster than the previous version. Speeds announced are 166 MHz and 233 MHz. Price is US$396 in 1000 unit quantities. [936]
  • Intel confirms that about 2 million Pentium processor chips have been shipped with a defective floating-point unit. [100]
(month unknown)
  • IBM temporarily suspends shipments of Pentium-based systems, pending a review of the chip's floating-point divide bug. [856]
  • IBM begins shipping its Blue Lightning 486DX2 processor. The chip is a repackaged Cyrix 486DX2, manufactured by IBM. [821]
  • IBM and Motorola begin production of the PowerPC 604 processor, but soon halt production, due to several problems. [211.78] [557.135] [810.35] [622]
  • NexGen announces sample availability of its 133 MHz Nx586 microprocessor. [211.78]
  • Intel President Andy Grove admits the company mishandled the Pentium processor division problem, and apologizes for the resulting situation. [265] [1529.258]
  • Shipments of NexGen Nx586 processors during the year: 4000. [821]
  • Shipments of Advanced Micro Devices 486 processors during the year: 4.8 million. [821]

End of 1994. Next: 1995.

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.