IDT WinChip C6: update his Pentium
To more informed of between my readership it will surprise them that he writes in this moment an article about this microprocessor; is it an innovation, chance? Is it that it threatens the power of Pentium II? Since not, not neither one nor other. It is a mike which first versions take slightly more than one year on the market and whose yield it walks far from that of modern Pentium II or AMD K6-2.
Then: why to speak about him now? Simply, because it is the most economic and simple option to update a classic Pentium not MMX, apart from the fact that it is a question of a relatively well-known mike of heard, but whose presence in Spain till not long ago had been almost nonexistent; it turns out to be useless to comment on the excellences of something if to buy it we have to go abroad...
We all know that the computers depreciate every day; what today costs us an eye of the face, tomorrow will be obsolete and past will not even be made. The buyers of computers Pentium have seen as they were overcome by the Pentium MMX and immediately by Pentium II, what it forces them to extend his computers. But although the memory is cheap (while it exists, since the EDO is about to becoming extinct as it did the FPM) and the hard disks have an accessible price, to replace the motherboard and the microprocessor keeps on being excessively expensive; for these persons the WinChip has been born.
Brief description of the WinChip
First of all, to clarify that it is a question of a mike Socket 7, what means that it is compatible with most of the badges for Pentium from 75 MHz and Pentium MMX, although not for those who use the most ancient Socket 5 not for the designed ones for the first Pentium (those 60 and 66 MHz, to 5 Volts). Another thing is that the BIOS is or not compatible, but this is another topic about which we will speak further on...
The internal design of the chip is quite simple, but that does not prevent him from having technology MMX and 64 KB of internal cache memory (the double that the Pentium MMX). Since we will see, this qualifies him for an acceptable yield in most of the applications, although his principal defect is in the unit of floating comma, therefore it does not turn out to be advisable for games.
Finally, the fundamental advantage of the WinChip opposite to all his contenders on the market Socket 7 takes root in his very low consumption. The simplicity and efficacy of the design does that the chip, really very small, removes a maximum of only 10,5 Watios to 200 MHz, 50 % less than the Pentium MMX, what turns out to be much more impressive if it is born in mind that 3,52 V works to 3,3 ó, while the Pentium MMX limits this voltage to only 2,8 V for the nucleus of the chip.
This only and relatively high voltage is precisely the one that he allows to say that the WinChip is perfect to update a classic Pentium, since the voltage of this one is precisely of 3,3 or 3,52 V; the lack of low voltages is in fact the principal impediment that many Pentium users find to install in his basic badges a Pentium MMX or a K6 or one Cyrix M2.
Models of WinChip and configuration
Up to the date there have appeared four models of WinChip, whose characteristics he gathers the following table:
Of them, the most interesting models turn out to be, undoubtedly, the models to 200 and 225 MHz, since the model to 180 MHz is not easily encontrable not especially fast and the model to 240 MHz can be even slower than 225 MHz that (due to his different bus speed) being more expensive.
In absolute terms we might say that the model to 225 MHz is the absolute winner in quality / price, but unfortunately he needs that the badge could select a speed of 75 MHz bus, what is not very common in ancient badges; this way, if the badge allows a 66 MHz maximum the mike will work to 200 MHz, therefore he is worth informing us before buying it.
With the model something similar goes on to 240 MHz, since although the 60 MHz bus is absolutely common (it is the one that the Pentium use to 90, 120 and 150 MHz), he it is not so much the multiplier 4x; most of the basic badges indicates only how to come even 2,5x ó 3x, although in many it can go so far as to be selected if the configuration realizes by means of jumpers that there control the pines BF as the following table of combinations:
According to the previous thing, the configuration of the model to 200 MHz (3x66) should be the same than for a Pentium 200; that of the model to 225 MHz (75x3) would be like this one but with the bus to 75 MHz, or with the bus to 50 MHz and a multiplier 5x, although the above mentioned it is not advisable because such a low bus influences the yield; and finally, the configuration of the model of the model to 240 MHz would be curiously the same one that for a Pentium 90 (since the multiplier 1,5x of the Pentium corresponds to 4x for the WinChip).
Certainly, if someone was thinking of using a combination of the style of 2,5x75 ó 3,5x60, that he forgets it. It is a pity, but fractional multipliers do not admit the WinChip, but only them 2x, 3x, 4x and 5x, although on the other hand these two last ones are not contemptible at all if we can select them and have a fan the sufficiently effective thing...
Yield and applications
First of all, let's not call to trick: the WinChip is not a champion as for speed; the same manufacturers recognize it openly, since this is not his intention. It is a cheap and effective, perfect mike for the average clerk who realizes tasks ofimáticas or sails along Internet under Windows 9x (hence that thing about WinChip).
His yield in these paragraphs is practically equivalent to that of the Pentium MMX, being even superior in case of the models to 225 and 240 MHz, as they indicate the tests WinStone 97, based on applications as Word, Excel or CorelDRAW!:
Nevertheless, these numbers go down very much in games and other applications that use intensively the mathematical unit of the mike (CAD, digital image treatment...). In this case the yield stays far from that of a Pentium MMX at the same clock speed, although this difference is evident less in the model to 225 MHz thanks to the 75 MHz bus and in the model to 240 MHz for his big speed top.
He should not also alarm us, since nevertheless we will be able to play the Quake a little more rapid than earlier, what is not badly either, and enclosed more rapid enough if we install a card 3D of certain quality. It is not all forms slightly strange: in fact a Pentium MMX to 233 MHz with card 3D there are the minimal requisites of the games of last batch... whole, not at all.
Compatibility and BIOS
As for programs, the WinChip is absolutely compatible with 99,999 % of the software for PC. It has been proved without problems with several hundreds of programs, between them the most common operating systems (it takes certification of Microsoft as a product compatible with Windows 95, 98 and NT).
The only snag can arise with some (small) games prepared not to work with mikes that are not identified like Pentium, but this is a mistake of the proper designers of the game, not of the mike in itself. On the other hand, it is not also a question of a very important problem, since it works with most of the games (Flight Simulator and included Quake) and a mike is not also designed specially to play ceiling.
What yes can give us some headaches is the BIOS of the computer. Although the simple design of the chip avoids to us most of the incompatibilities that arise on having updated with other mikes (like the very same OverDrive MMX of Intel), IDT warns that some BIOS can prove to be shy to accept the WinChip, between them:
In general, any BIOS which date is later to September of 1.997 should not give any problem, or as very much it will confuse the identity of the chip, without other consequences. Those who possess a BIOS AMI or one that is quite previous to this date, should think of realizing an update of happiness BIOS, although this only is possible in case flash is of the type-BIOS and the badge of a well-known mark.
In such a case it can be interesting to realize the above mentioned update, although it bears in mind that to update the BIOS is a dangerous process, which if it is realized badly can to give like turned out a useless motherboard. Read well the instructions (in English, almost sure) and if they indicate that it should be realized by means of a boot disk with new BIOS (the most common thing) verify that the above mentioned disc is of quality and is free of errors.
Prices, future and conclusions
The first thing, to repeat what we said to the beginning: we are not before a yield monster, but yes before a mike with any valuable characteristics at very good price. In particular, the 240 MHz models they can find for approximately 10.000 pts VAT included; if we have occasion to form the badge with a 75 MHz bus, the model to 225 MHz turns out to be a more intelligent buy, since we will save approximately 1.500 pts.
If also our computer had only 8 ó 16 MB of memory RAM, adding another 16 ó 32 MB and the WinChip the yield can increase spectacularly, even 50 %, for an entire invoice of less than 20.000 pts, more or less what costs a motherboard for Pentium II normalita... and without mike!!
As for the difficulty of the update, it is not excessive, although big mitts turn out to be suitable for much either; if also we do not know English and it has us to fight with the BIOS, it can be better to put ourselves in hands of some specializing shop. The ideal profile for the update would be a computer Pentium at least of 166 MHz, with less than two years and whose BIOS is not AMI, although everything depends on the case in particular and on our own skill.
In any case, bear in mind that if Windows 95 uses the minimal quantity of advisable memory there are 16 MB, and an increase of this one to 32 ó 48 MB can suppose of for itself a giant jump in the yield without need to change the microprocessor. Be useful now when it can, there begins being evident already the scarcity of memory EDO or Fast Page; inside a pair of months it is possible that it is almost impossible to find.
Otherwise, the above mentioned: it is a good chip, it is cheap, it is MMX and it is not the more adapted for games but yes for office computerization. The future IDT bets turn out to be more ambitious, and include a mike with technology 3DNow! and bus to 100 MHz (the WinChip2) and other with 128 KB of cache memory of the first level (the WinChip3), both with a very low consumption, therefore it is possible that they are successful on the market of portable, especially if versions of double voltage appear.
The WinChip2 brings in in production this autumn, but the question is when it will come here... if it comes. It is possible that it is late so much like the WinChip C6, or it is possible that it never comes; Spain is Intel Inside up to the marrow, and although it is already known that the absence of competition raises the prices, almost nobody pays attention when he buys...: anyway!
To end, and since it is a question of a mike relatively difficult of finding, we are going to give a few directions where perhaps it could be, although regrettably the three are from Madrid:
If someone knows some another place out of Madrid or cheaper or knows if they have stopped having it in the previous ones, he would be grateful for the information. A lot of luck and: happy update!