Chronology of Microprocessors

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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.


January 4
  • Intel announces the immediate availability of the 150 MHz (60 MHz bus) and 166 MHz (66 MHz bus) Pentium processors. Pricing is US$547 (150 MHz) and US$749 (166 MHz) each in quantities of 1000. The processor operates on 3.3-volts of power, and utilizes Intel's 0.35 micron BiCMOS manufacturing technology. Project name during development was P54CS. [62] [242][265] [283.8] [411] [473.10] [523.6] [557.135] [598.4] [821] [1559]
  • Advanced Micro Devices and Intel sign a five-year patent cross-license agreement. This includes Intel's MMX processor multimedia extensions, and royalty payments to Intel. [141] [62] [411] [408] [814.122]
  • United Microelectronics settles its dispute with Intel over its 486 processor family. United Microelectronics agrees to terminate its 486 processor business, and pay Intel for legal expenses. [411]
  • Intel changes the project name for the P7 processor to Merced. [450.3] [411]
(month unknown)
  • Intel begins shipping the 200 MHz Pentium Pro processor. [590.1]
  • Cyrix announces availability of the 133 MHz 6x86-P166+, 120 MHz 6x86-P150+, and 110 MHz 6x86-P133+ processors. Prices, for 1000 unit quantities, are US$621 (133 MHz), US$451 (120 MHz), US$326 (110 MHz). All chips operate at twice the bus speed. The processors are manufactured by IBM for Cyrix. [457.42] [460] [473.10] [557.136] [408]
  • IBM announces availability of 6x86 processors, manufactured for sale under a license from Cyrix. Prices, for 1000 unit quantities, are US$590 (6x86-P166+), US$400 (6x86-P150+), US$300 (6x86-P133+), US$185 (6x86-P120+). [408]
  • Motorola ships samples of the 64-bit PowerPC 620 processor. [298.40]
  • MIPS Technologies ships the 200 MHz R5000 RISC microprocessor. [557.136]
(month unknown)
  • Advanced Micro Devices discontinues the NexGen Nx586 processor. [434.36] [386]
  • Intel releases the 120 MHz Pentium OverDrive processor for 60 MHz systems, with the 133 MHz version for 66 MHz systems, and the 125 MHz version for 75 MHz systems. Price for any of the chips is US$400. [474.60] [62] [406]
  • Intel introduces the Pentium-133 VRT processor, a 133 MHz Mobile Pentium with 66 MHz system bus designed for portable computers. Price is US$371 in quantities of 1000. [62] [406]
  • Intel introduces two 100 MHz Pentium-100 VRT processors for portable computer use. One is manufactured in a 0.6 micron process, dissipating 3.0 Watts, and sells for US$218 in 1000 unit quantities. The other uses a 0.35 micron process, dissipates 2.25 Watts and sells for US$271. [406]
  • Digital Equipment unveils 366 MHz and 400 MHz versions of its Alpha microprocessor. [458.8]
  • MIPS Technologies ships the 200 MHz R10000 RISC microprocessor. [557.136]
  • Intel gives first details about MMX, multimedia extensions for the Pentium processor, at Intermedia World in San Francisco. MMX will add 57 new instructions to the processor. The instructions accelerate calculations by up to 8 times in audio, graphics, speech, and data communications. [822.18] [406]
  • Advanced Micro Devices begins shipping the AMD5K86 microprocessor, compatible with the Intel Pentium processor. Prices are US$75 for 75 MHz AMD5K86-P75, and US$99 for 90 MHz AMD5K86-P90, in quantities of 1000. Former name of the chip was SSA/5. [141] [557.136] [386]
  • IBM announces volume shipments of 166 and 180 MHz PowerPC 604 processors. Prices are US$499 and US$693, respectively, in 1000-unit quantities. [557.136] [294] [1597.87]
  • At Apple Computer's Worldwide Developers Conference, IBM and Motorola announce sampling of 200 MHz PowerPC 603e and 604e processors. Both employ an 0.35 micron CMOS process. Motorola announces pricing for the PowerPC 603e at US$224 (166 MHz), US$256 (180 MHz), and US$360 (200 MHz). [572.20] [292]
  • Digital Equipment ships 366 MHz and 400 MHz versions of its Alpha 21164 microprocessor. [458.8] [557.136]
  • Intel introduces and begins volume shipments of the 200 MHz Pentium processor. It incorporates 3.3 million transistors in a 0.35 micron BiCMOS process, with a 66 MHz system bus. Price is US$599 in quantities of 1000. [523.6] [62] [557.136] [609.108] [943.180] [242]
  • Cyrix announces the 150 MHz 6x86-P200+ processor, with 75 MHz system bus, making it faster than Intel's 200 MHz Pentium. The processor is manufactured by IBM in a 0.44 micron CMOS-5S2 process. Price is US$499 in 1000 unit quantities. [523.6] [242]
  • IBM announces limited availability of the 150 MHz 6x86-P200+ processor. The chip is sold under a license from Cyrix. Price is US$479 in 1000 unit quantities. [495.32] [242]
  • Advanced Micro Devices begins shipping the K5-PR100 microprocessor. It is a 100 MHz Pentium-compatible plug-in replacement. Price is US$84 in 1000 unit quantities. Former name was 5K86. [141] [494.16] [524.131] [525.65] [242]
(month unknown)
  • NEC Electronics begins shipping its R4101 processor for personal digital assistants. The chip includes a 33 MHz 4100 processor core, 2 kB instruction cache, 1 kB data cache, real-time clock, DMA controller, audio driver, and interfaces for serial port, keyboard, infrared, and touch-screen interfaces. [590.5]
  • Digital Equipment announces availability of the 500 MHz Alpha 21164 processor. The chip uses a 0.35-micron die. [590.1]
  • Digital Equipment begins shipping the 433 MHz Alpha 21164 processor. [2056.16]
  • IBM ships the 225 MHz PowerPC 604e processor. [572.20]
(month unknown)
  • IBM produces a single processor chip version of its 8-chip Power2 architecture. Dubbed the P2SC, the processor contains 15 million transistors, of which 9.3 million are for cache arrays. The 135 MHz processor is made with IBM's 0.29-micron CMOS-6S process. [598.14]
August 5
  • Intel releases the 150 MHz mobile Pentium processor, designed for use in portable computers. The processor uses 0.35 micron technology, and operates on 3.3 volts of power externally, while its internal core only requires 3.1 volts. Price is US$341 in quantities of 1000. [62] [503.8] [1559]
October 21
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Motorola and IBM announce the 240 MHz PowerPC 603e microprocessor. [1559]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Exponential Technology debuts the 533 MHz X704 PowerPC compatible processor for the Macintosh OS and Windows NT microcomputers. [619.30] [1559] [1671.D7]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Advanced Micro Devices announces the K6 processor, optimized for 16 and 32-bit code, supporting MMX, and including 32 kB cache memory. The chip will plug into a standard Pentium socket. [619.30]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Cyrix announces the M2 processor, optimized for 16 and 32-bit code, supporting MMX, and including 64 kB cache memory. The chip will plug into a standard Pentium socket. [619.30]
October 23
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Digital Equipment demonstrates the Digital 21264 Alpha processor operating at 500 MHz. [1559]
November 13
  • Advanced Micro Devices begins limited shipments of its K6 processor with MMX instructions, at speeds of 166 to 200 MHz. [1559]
November 18
  • At the Comdex show, Intel CEO and President Andrew Grove predicts that by 2011, Intel processors will integrate one billion transistors and operate at 10 GHz and 100,000 MIPS. [1559]
  • IBM shows a 300 MHz version of the PowerPC processor at Fall COMDEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. [605.3]
(month unknown)
  • Cyrix ships the 133 MHz Media GX processor, integrating SVGA graphics, DRAM controller, and PCI controller. [1092.64]
  • Digital Equipment begins shipping 500 MHz Alpha 21164 processors. [834.76]
  • Market share of computer microprocessors, by revenue: Intel 88%, Advanced Micro Devices 12%. [1559] [1752.116]
  • Market share of computer microprocessors, by unit shipments: Intel 77%. [1559]
  • Market share of x86 computer microprocessors: Intel 93.9-95%. [1559] [1575.52] [1627.33]


January 8
  • Intel releases the 166 MHz and 200 MHz Pentium processors with MMX multimedia extension instructions. Bus speed is 66 MHz. They incorporate 4.5 million transistors. Performance of the 200 MHz version is 350 MIPS. Code-name during development was P55C. MMX originally stood for "matrix-multiplication extensions". [848.25] [886.56] [938.74] [940.106] [943.180] [952.46] [1009.19] [1179.69] [1252.30] [1887.D1]
  • Intel releases the 150 MHz and 166 MHz Pentium processors for notebook computers, with MMX multimedia extension instructions. [886.56] [938.74]
January 15
  • Texas Instruments announces it will withdraw from the Intel-compatible processor business. [1559]
February 7
  • In San Francisco, California, the International Solid-State Circuits Conference is held. Intel previews a next-generation Pentium processor (code-named Deschutes) running at 433 MHz. [1010.26] [1559]
February 14
  • Intel announces the release name of the P6 processor code-named Klamath: Pentium II. [1559]
March 3
  • Intel begins shipping Pentium OverDrive processors with MMX technology. Prices are US$399 for 125 MHz and 150 MHz processors, and US$499 for 166 MHz processors. [1559]
March 14
  • Intel begins shipping samples of the 300 MHz Pentium II processor to computer manufacturers. [1559]
  • Intel files a lawsuit against Cyrix and Advanced Micro Devices accusing the companies of infringing Intel's "MMX" trademark. (Both companies agree to settlements within about a month.) [1489.142] [1559] [1960.D4]
  • Hewlett-Packard announces the PA-RISC 8500 processor. [1559]
March 17
  • Digital Equipment introduces the 64-bit Alpha 21164PC processor. It features 16 kB instruction cache, dual integer units, dual floating point units, L2 cache controller, and 8 kB data cache. The processor was co-designed by Digital and Mitsubishi, and incorporates 3.5 million transistors in a 0.35 CMOS process. Speed and price in 1000-unit quantities are 400 MHz (US$295), 533 MHz (US$495). Performance of the 533 MHz processor is 1066 MFLOPS, 2133 MIPS. [1010.59] [1559]
March 31
  • Digital Equipment begins shipping the 600 MHz 21164 Alpha processor. [1559]
(month unknown)
  • Intel releases the Pentium OverDrive processor with MMX, with 32 kB cache. 75 MHz systems can be upgraded to 125 MHz for US$399, 90 MHz systems can be upgraded to 150 MHz for US$399, 100 MHz systems can be upgraded to 166 MHz for US$499. [1077.30]
April 2
  • Advanced Micro Devices introduces the K6 processor, featuring MMX instructions and dual 32 kB on-chip caches. Speeds and prices in 1000-unit quantities are 166 MHz (US$244), 200 MHz (US$349), 233 MHz (US$469). The processor incorporates 8.8 million transistors in a 0.35 micron process, and is based on the NexGen Nx686. [876.250] [938.74] [1009.68] [1010.27] [1077.27] [1559] [2363.D3]
  • Motorola introduces the 300 MHz PowerPC 603e processor. [1597.87]
April 7
  • NEC Electronics announces the 66 MHz 64-bit VR4102 processor for Windows CE devices. It features 4 kB instruction cache, 1 kB data cache, modem emulation, advanced power management, support for many peripherals. Price will be about US$25 in 10,000-unit quantities when shipping in volume in July. [1559]
April 21
  • In the lawsuit of Intel versus Advanced Micro Devices, Advanced Micro Devices agrees to a settlement, agreeing to acknowledge the term "MMX" as an Intel trademark, and receives the right to use it for marketing its K6 processors as "MMX(R) Enhanced". [1559] [2393.D4] (April 22 [504.142])
April 24
  • Advanced Micro Devices announces that Digital Equipment will use the K6 processor in a business desktop computer line. [1559]
May 7
  • Intel releases the Pentium II processor. It features a new 66 MHz bus interface called Slot 1, 200 MHz 32 kB Level 1 cache, MMX instructions, 512 kB Level 2 external cache. CPU speeds available are 233, 266, and 300 MHz. The processor incorporates 7.5 million transistors using 0.35 micron process technology, and performs at 613 MIPS (300 MHz). Prices are US$636 (233 MHz), US$775 (266 MHz), and US$1981 (300 MHz) in 1000 unit quantities. Code-name during development was Klamath. [940.106] [974.105] [943.180] [946.56] [1029.73] [1077.26] [1233.131] [1263.60] [1635.52] [1639.28] [1897.131] [2394.D2]
May 13
  • Digital Equipment files a lawsuit against Intel, claiming infringement in Intel's Pentium Pro and Pentium II processors of ten Digital Equipment patents related to the Alpha RISC processor. [636.3] [672.6] [1559] (May 12 [1489.142])
  • Cyrix files a lawsuit against Intel, alleging Intel copied power management and pipeline techniques protected by Cyrix patents. [1489.142] [1559]
May 15
  • Exponential Technologies ceases development of PowerPC processors. [1559]
May 19
  • Intel announces the 133 MHz Pentium processor with MMX technology for notebook computers. Price is US$284 in 1000-unit quantities. [1559]
May 20
  • Centaur Technology shows first samples of its IDT-C6 Pentium-class microprocessor. [1011.51] [1559]
May 30
  • Cyrix introduces the Cyrix 6x86MX processor with MMX instructions. Price is US$190 to US$320 in 1000-unit quantities. Code-name during development was M2. [1559]
June 2
  • Intel announces the 233 MHz Pentium MMX processor. Price us US$594 in 1000-unit quantities. [1559]
  • Motorola launches the 250MHz PowerPC 604e processor. [739.97] [1597.87]
August 4
  • Motorola and IBM introduce the PowerPC 740 and 750 processors, available in 233 and 266 MHz speeds. Price is about US$550-570 in 1000-unit quantities. [1559] (1996 [1597.87])
  • Intel introduces the 300 MHz Pentium II. [1009.19]
  • Sematech (research consortium for chip makers) announces the successful manufacture of copper-based chips, rather than traditional aluminum. This will allow future processors to be smaller, faster, and cheaper. [941.61]
August 18
  • Advanced Micro Devices announces that IBM will use the K6 processor in low-end models of the Aptiva line. [1559]
  • Intel announces availability of a 200 MHz Pentium Pro processor with 1 MB of cache memory. Price is US$2675 in 1000-unit quantities. [1029.72] [1559]
August 19
  • Advanced Micro Devices announces it has ceased manufacturing the K5 processor. [1559]
September 8
  • Intel introduces the Mobile Pentium MMX processor, at speeds of 200 and 233 MHz. The chip is manufactured using 0.25 micron process. Code-name during development was Tillamook. [1130] [1147.35] [1559]
October 14
  • Integrated Device Technology unveils the IDT WinChip C6 processor, designed by Centaur Technology. The processor incorporates 5.4 million transistors in a 0.35-micron process. Prices are US$90 (180 MHz) and US$135 (200 MHz) each in 1000 unit quantities. [907.68] [1131.58] [1559]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Advanced Micro Devices, Cyrix, and Centaur announce independent plans to extend the x86 architecture with new 3-D graphics extensions. [1102.26]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Intel announces details of the Merced processor, to use a new IA-64 64-bit instruction set, employing 0.18 micron technology, and to be released in 1999. [1131.9]
October 22
  • Intel releases a 120 MHz mobile Pentium with MMX technology, designed for very small notebook computers. Price is US$177. [1559]
October 27
  • Intel and Digital Equipment settle the lawsuit launched by Digital in May. Intel will purchase Digital's chipmaking plants for about US$700 million. Intel will fabricate Alpha processors for Digital, and will take over development of Digital's StrongARM embedded processors. Digital will begin making servers and workstations based on Intel's IA-64 architecture. Both companies will enter into a ten-year cross-licensing agreement. [674.1] [1559] [1741.112]
November 10
  • Hitachi announces the SuperH SH-4 200 MHz processor. Performance is reported to be 360 MIPS. Price is US$40 in quantities of 10,000. Volume production is expected for summer 1998. [1559]
November 14
  • Intel releases a software work-around for operating systems to avoid hanging when encountering the "F0" bug. The bug affects Pentium processors with and without MMX. [1559]
(month unknown)
  • IBM's Austin Research Lab runs the world's first 1 GHz microprocessor. [1143.10]
December 5
  • Texas Instruments announces that it has created a manufacturing technique to create integrated circuits using copper wiring. This approach could lead to processors that are 10 times faster than today's chips, while using less power. [1000.1]
  • Intel-compatible microprocessor market share during October to December: Intel 87%. [1444.9]
  • Market share of Intel-compatible personal computer processors in the US during October to December: Intel 91.1%, Advanced Micro Devices 4.4%, Cyrix 2.7%, IBM 1.8%. [1575.52] [1627]
  • Market share of x86 processor shipments: Advanced Micro Devices 7.5-10%. [1092.70] [1752.116]

End of 1996-1997. Next: 1998.

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.