Intel launches MMX-enabled Pentiums

Intel formally launched their first line of MMX-enabled Pentium CPUs today with ringing endorsements from all major desktop and notebook PC makers. The new CPUs, which feature built-in multimedia extensions, have been eagerly anticipated since they were announced last March. The first CPUs in the MMX line include 166 and 200Mhz versions for desktop users and 150 and 166Mhz versions for notebook users. Intel's Pentium MMX chips are designed to boost multimedia performance, offering users better built-in audio, video, and graphics quality in applications that are written to take advantage of the new technology. Performance increases vary: in applications that don't take advantage of the MMX extensions, CPUs with the same speed perform 10-20% faster. If an application does support MMX, the speed increase rises to about 60%. Windows 97 and NT take advantage of MMX extensions, as do some application programs like PhotoShop 4.0, Macromedia Director 5.0, 3D Studio MAX, and games like Rebel Moon Rising. The MMX CPU's addition 32K of onboard cache explains the speed increase in older applications. Interestingly, modem users can benefit from MMX as well. Motorola demonstrated software modems running on MMX CPUs that allow simultaneous voice and data transmission. MMX CPUs have special extensions for this use and the technology is expected to be used primarily as a way for modem manufacturers to create easy speed upgrades to modem purchasers: you still have to stick the phone cord into something and as of today no motherboard vendors are offering modem ports on the board, though this could change

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