Pentium turns 14 today

Written by Wil Harris

March 22, 2007 // 1:23 p.m.

Tags: #greek #intel #p60 #pentium #processor

On March 22 1993, Intel shipped the very first Pentium processor, the 60MHz model imaginitively dubbed the 'P60'.

14 years later, the Pentium brand may be dead, but it lives on in our hearts. Right?

Pentium was the successor to the 486 processor. Intel had originally wanted to call the chip the 586, but couldn't get a trademark on the number. Rather than let AMD use the 586 name too, the company decided to switch to a word. Pentium is obviously based on the Greek pent, which is the word for five (hence pentathalon, pentagram etc).

The brand went through a number of iterations - Pentium II, III and IV, amazingly - before being killed off in favour of the Core brand that came into play in January 2006, after years of mediocre Pentium IV performance.

Many of this writer's best PC experiences took place on a Pentium. My first ever PC was a Pentium 90, with a hefty 8MB of RAM - I was then significantly cheesed off when my best mate bought a P100 with 16MB of RAM a month later. My first 3D card, a 4MB Canopus 3Dfx first gen card, was installed in my trusty P200, which I had upgraded to; but I, like many other enthusiasts, defected to AMD Athlons when it came to hitting the 1GHz+ mark. bit-tech created an awesome case mod for the launch of the Pentium 4 3GHz.

So Happy Birthday to Pentium. Your 14 year life is almost at an end, although you may live on in under-funded libraries around the world for many years yet. Come eat some birthday cake over in the forums, and reminisce about the heady days of Pentium past.
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