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RIP Pentium II, 1997 - 2006 418

zorn writes "The Register has the scoop that 'this week Intel told its customers that it is to formally discontinue production of the Pentium II at 266, 333, 366 and 466MHz. Documentation seen by The Register reveals that you'll be able to continue ordering the part for a year, with the last trays leaving the chip giant's Pentium II warehouse on 1 June 2006.'"
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RIP Pentium II, 1997 - 2006

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @12:17PM (#11019120)
    In related news, global warming started to
    decline, as temperatures in Oregon
    returned to normal.
  • by stoolpigeon ( 454276 ) <bittercode@gmail> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @12:17PM (#11019126) Homepage Journal
    they are going to be cheaper or more expensive?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @12:17PM (#11019127)
    "Rest In Pentium"

  • by feldkamp ( 146657 )
    That this made me a little sad?
  • by mazevedo ( 117804 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @12:17PM (#11019129)
    That means I can't buy parts for my old HP Netserver??
  • Really warranted? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by REBloomfield ( 550182 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @12:17PM (#11019130)
    Does this really warrant a death knell? A processor that has been considered slow for the last few years is still going to be around for another two?

    I was really impressed when we first got our first 450Mhz, but god, does it seem like a dog now... I do remember thinking at the time, 1998 iirc, who the hell needs that much?!?

    • by DaHat ( 247651 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @12:23PM (#11019226) Homepage
      For desktop use, yes, they are horribly slow by today's standards. But for simple embedded solutions, they can at times be considered overkill. Ex: When I get around to putting a mediapc under my drivers seat... I have no need or desire for a chip whose clock is measured in Ghz, simply because it's far more power (heat and draw) than I need to play mp3's and basic custom software.
    • I was really impressed when we first got our first 450Mhz, but god, does it seem like a dog now...

      Actually, a 450Mhz box is quite fast if you provide the ram and hard drive to make it competitive. I threw a 7200rpm hard drive and 512 megs of ram into a 350mhz box and it is quite usable with Windows XP (especially if I turn off the swap file).
      • How may I ask did you turn off the swap file? I've tried doing this and XP was nice enough to turn it back on, informing me it has done it for performance reason or some other such bs. I even tried to make it a small fixed size, and XP resized it for me [].
      • I agree... You can even do with less if you're just surfing. I'm posting this from a P-II 400Mhz that is used as a dial-up test machine at work. It has only 128Meg RAM and runs Firefox just fine on WinXP Pro (all visual effects disabled). The Task Manager indicates 170MB used, which means that it would run waaaay better with much more RAM, but it's good enough to do the testing of our webapp (and gives us some humility towards our customers with less snappy machines)
    • Depends on what you are doing it. As my web/mail/database/servlet server. Mine works fast enough.

      As my simulation server, it's crap. I run things on my 900mhz mac.

    • by eno2001 ( 527078 )
      It's funny about that. Depending on your application and OS, it seems that there are different experiences of "slow". When I used to run Windows and I made the jump from a 486 DX2 66 to a Pentium 100, I thought the 486 was slow as hell. At work (where we use Windows as well) I've also seen the performance degradation in Windows boxes as the registry gets junked over time. So, a PC that started out "fast" eventually seems "slow" artificially unless you do a re-install. The other factor also is additiona
    • by Tux2000 ( 523259 ) <> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @12:35PM (#11019447) Homepage Journal

      Do you remember the story of NASA searching i8086 CPUs [] for their space shuttles just two years ago? There are other stories, I remember some companies paying a lot of money for ancient Toshiba 386 laptops that was the only computer certified to "remote control" a certian pacemaker. A re-certification of a new system would have cost much more than buying a few 386 laptops at pentium-class prices.

      Some systems (not only NASA shuttles) are designed around a randomly selected CPU, and they run with software that needs the exact behaviour and timing of that special CPU. Say hello to the world of embedded systems.

      This message from intel is just a warning for designers of embedded systems that there will be a day when there is no spare P-II left.


    • ``I was really impressed when we first got our first 450Mhz, but god, does it seem like a dog now... I do remember thinking at the time, 1998 iirc, who the hell needs that much?!?''

      I still think that. I just got myself a VIA EPIA with a 533 MHz Samuel (which is probably slower than your 450 MHz PII), and I am very satisfied with the performance. It would even run KDE happily; not the lighteset software by any measure. And all of this silently and without consuming nearly as much power as todays GHz monster
  • Cute, but... (Score:5, Informative)

    by syrinx ( 106469 ) * on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @12:18PM (#11019141) Homepage
    from the still-waiting-on-my-sexium dept.

    "Pent" is based on the Greek prefix, which include "tetra", "penta", "hexa", and "hepta". "Sex" is from Latin, which include "quad(ri)" "quint" (or "quinque"), "sexa" and "septa".

    So, the logical next step after Pentium would be Hexium, not Sexium.
    • by nomadic ( 141991 ) <> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @12:19PM (#11019164) Homepage
      Come on, they're slashdot editors, they have trouble enough with English. Don't torment them with Latin or Greek...
    • I do think it's wierd that rather than calling the first i686 chips hexium, they called them P-II. Why? to prevent confusion? and why arent PIII's i786 and P4's i886? i mean, why rename more i686s? am I missing something?
      • Re:Cute, but... (Score:3, Informative)

        by captnitro ( 160231 )
        The (rough) order is like this, not entirely chronological, but you get a feel for the scheme:

        Pentium Pro
        Pentium II ...

        If you're wondering why we're still using a line of naming from 1971, just think about how Intel makes chips -- just add voltage!
  • In other news.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Geek_3.3 ( 768699 )
    naah, too easy.

    On a real note, how many PII's *DID* Intel produce in the past couple of years?

    Gah, this was about as surprising to me as when that /. article on Sony phasing out Betamax...
    • Gah, this was about as surprising to me as when that /. article on Sony phasing out Betamax...

      That's a strikingly similar comparison, as both products are still being used by businesses long after they had been abandoned by consumers. It's getting harder to find betamax stuff these days, but up until a few years ago it was THE thing to be using for a lot of professional video editing. It's almost been completely usurped by digital technologies.

      • by bsd4me ( 759597 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:05PM (#11019958)

        Betamax is the consumer version, and is pretty much dead. The professional version, Betacam SP, is still used, and in some places, it is still the most popular video format. The main reason is that it works well, the Sony Beta decks will not die, the newer professional digital decks are really expensive.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Computer prices don't follow rational pricing. You would think if you could buy a P4 2GHz for 75 bucks that a P2 333MHz would be like, 5 bucks, if that. But chances are it's probably $35, if not more.

    Why in the Lord's name would you buy such outdated crap at such a high price? Reminds me of my first PC when the HDD drive died. It was 1 gig back in the days when BIOS limitations on the board would allow about 1.8 gigs, I believe. At the time, I couldn't even FIND a 1 gig HDD in retailers. I looked online, a
  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @12:23PM (#11019233)
    Marketers find that more than five generations in series can make your product seem stale (especially if it is really getting stale). So there is often a name/numbering change.

    I considered the original Pentium to be like a x576, the PII a x686, PIV a x886, then lost count.
  • 300 MHz, you are the survivor! Fear is obviously not a factor for you. You're hired!

    Seriously though, what about the 300 MHz P2? Or 400 for that matter? Were they both canned earlier? Intel hatin' on 100 MHz FSB P2s?

    • Maybe they're still around, or, from what I heard, a faster FSB consumes more power (at least on the P-M, which jumps to 27W on a 533 (133) FSB, and it's a P6 also), and more power consumption is NOT something one would want in embedded.

      My money's on they've been phased out a LONG time ago.

      Also, (flame me if you like - OT part begins here), I marked you as a foe just now. Nothing personal, I just do that with all free X sigs and all who have a shock site as their web site or in their sig.
  • by tiktok ( 147569 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @12:24PM (#11019247) Homepage
    The Pentium 2 chip's light may be waning, but I still have two fileservers that will continue to defy Moore's Law.

    I guess now could be the time to publish that book "101 Uses For An Obsolete Pentium 2 Chip". Bathroom tiles? Floor mosaic? Xmas ornaments?
    • The Pentium 2 chip's light may be waning, but I still have two fileservers that will continue to defy Moore's Law.

      My firewall is [and will continue to be] a Pentium 75 MHz machine, with 40 Mb of RAM. It just doesn't need to be any bigger/better/faster.

      My Mail machine is a dual 75 MHz sun sparcserver 20. Again, fast enough for the job.

      I guess now could be the time to publish that book "101 Uses For An Obsolete Pentium 2 Chip". Bathroom tiles? Floor mosaic? Xmas ornaments?

      Neckerchief slides for the
  • by JaF893 ( 745419 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @12:29PM (#11019330) Journal
    The original Press Release [] is still on the Intel website. Its hard to believe that this was cutting edge back in 1997.
  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @12:29PM (#11019343) Homepage
    They're formally not making any more PII's???

    Are they still informally making PII's and I just missed it?

    Or is this just like saying the 90's are officially over?

    I'm confused.
  • Since those chips are made on an old process, is Intel going to upgrade the fab, close it, or manufacture something that can still make use of it. Licensing DMD from TI would be a nice replacement for the failed LCOS initiative and it doesn't require state of the art chip geometry. Not that I've ever heard of TI licensing that stuff.
  • One may ask, why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Staplerh ( 806722 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @12:31PM (#11019374) Homepage
    This trend to move away from old technology such as the Pentium II that still serves a valid purpose is silly, part of a push to always be bigger and better.

    Now I'm not saying that the Pentium II is viable for any new programmes, heck, I find my Pentium 4 a little slow at times. I first started questioning this push over the summer, when I worked at a Canadian government office. The workers there ALL had brand-new Pentium 4 Dells (and it wasn't just our office, the entire facility had been upgraded), with full sound cards, video, you name it. Of course, sound was all deactivated as it was a cubicle farm.

    Needless to say, what did the people use these Pentium 4's for? Word Processing. Perhaps a bit of Excel, and some random surfing of the web. I wasn't complaining, because I was underworked and could take advantage of the Pentium 4's spectacular Solitaire and Minesweeper processing, but it wasn't necessary.

    The Pentium II can run Office applications fine, and heck, that's waht the majority of work force productivity is? Now you'll have to buy a better model to use Word.. wow.

    I don't know the cost difference in terms of productivity between the P2 and the P4, and I'm sure they can concentrate on just producting the P4 even more on masse, but this is simply going to give procurement departments an excuse to connive themselves better equipment.

    Well, that devolved into a rant, but hopefully my point can still come across clear! Cheers.
    • You are forced to get new versions of Windows (security holes, Microsoft and other vendors refusing to support or write software for old versions, needing new windows versions to run new Office versions to read files your customers/coworkers/clients sent using the new version of Office) almost all the time, and they need more memory and CPU, or else performance becomes dreadful.

      So you need to upgrade just to stay in place (performance wise).

      That is, unless you are lucky enough to be free of Microsoft.
    • by g0hare ( 565322 )
      Bran new Dell, WInodws XP Pro, under $400. Better than ATA 33, faster ram access, faster hard drives, etc, etc. If you get more than $134 a year in inreaseed productivity PLUS you can get rid of 98, it's a no-=brainer. Upgrade.
      • increased productivity? my 98se has never been infected by spyware. my XP laptop lasted less than a month and I installed all security patches. The one piece of adware/spyware I couldn't remove had installed itself as a kernel dll with registry entries, so file was always locked. Putting the drive on another machine and removing the file resulted in a nonbootable sytem. Good thing the gig I was on that required XP was winding down so I blew away XP and installed SuSE linux and VMware workstation with W
    • You may not need p4s over p2s for their processing power, but the power management features on more modern pcs will help an upgrade now pay off for many businesses in power cost savings.
    • Sure Intel could continue to make P2 like Seagate could continue to make 500 MB hard disk drives or like Ford can continue to make Model-Ts. The problem is the profit returns on these are horrible due to a number of problems. Even at sub $10 Intel would be hard pressed to find buyers. Technology has marched on so trying to integrate a P2 or a 500 MB drive into a "modern" system is much harder than buying "modern" components.

      In the end it is about the money. Intel doesn't see any more profit coming from
    • I'd be shocked if Windows XP ran (acceptably) well on a P2. Don't run XP you say? Problem is, depending on your licensing agreement with MS, you might not have much of a choice. Linux might be an option of course, then again, it might not be.

      Added into this is the fact that sometimes you have money you have to spend on upgrading computers whether it makes sense or not, because of budget reasons. "You had $15k in your budget set aside to upgrade your office machines and you didn't do it, here's a nice fat
    • But this is typical in all walks of life.

      I've recently gotten into shooting, and as I've researched handguns it's amazing the "requirement" for personal defense was often the fairly low-powered .25 ACP and .32 ACP. Even police officers only carried .32 caliber revolvers around 75 years ago.

      Now the requirement is considered *at minimum* to be 9 mm, and even that at +P or the ill-defined +P+ pressure loadings, which are usually at the outer edge of modern firearm pressure design parameters. Many others con
    • Re:One may ask, why? (Score:3, Informative)

      by jensend ( 71114 )
      The PII was designed for processes (.35 and .25 if I remember correctly) which Intel has since (for good reasons) scrapped. With the troubles with .09 and smaller processes, the .13 process may last a good bit longer, and so the P3 Tualatin may last a good long time.
  • The 8088 (the processor used in the original IBM PC) is still current production. (Not made by IBM but by others, remember second-sourcing? Seems like a quant concept today.)
    • IBM never made the 8088 - back in the day, their fabs were used for mainframe chips.

      Intel made the 8088. Harris, AMD, and NEC were second-sourcers (there were others). Yes, THAT AMD. AMD and Harris went on to second source the 286 (and got it to 20 and 25MHz, respectively - as opposed to Intel's 16MHz), and AMD fought Intel for the right to second source the 386 (Harris was sick of making Intel's chips, I guess) - after that, it was AMD (or NexGen) design (although before the K6, they used large portions o
  • by SeaDour ( 704727 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @12:43PM (#11019556) Homepage
    The Compy Corporation has announced that they are restarting production of their Lappy 486 [] due to an unusual surge in popularity and demand.
  • betamax is dead. Sort of.
    Nothing else to see here, move along :P
  • by mczak ( 575986 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @12:47PM (#11019624)
    I don't know how they can claim it's discontinued if it never existed in the first place...
    the P2 switched to 100Mhz FSB at 350Mhz, thus a P2 366 and 466 never existed. Since those are for embedded, they might be talking about mobile P2 - 366 mobile P2 indeed exists, but a mobile P2 466 does not (fastest P2 ever was 450Mhz, fastest mobile 400 Mhz).
    And btw, the register gets it wrong: that it is available so long has nothing to do with power consumption and the like, it's simply because certain industry applications require that a chip is available for a long time - embedded chips are still in use after 20 years or so, and it's good if you can still get replacement parts.
  • I knew him well. It replaced my Intel Pentium running at 100MHz. He stood tall at a massive 350MHz. He ran with the games I played the most, even the Legendary Final Fantasy 7 for the PC, of course with the asstance of Mr. Voodoo. Pentium II you will be missed. *trys to flush chip down toilet*
  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:01PM (#11019885) Homepage Journal
    For normal garden variety desktop office type usage. With W2K and 288MB RAM I see no reason to ever get rid of it.

    I also have a P2-350 that runs absolutely fine for a single peripheral and application, a digital drawing tablet and image scanning. And with an even older W92OSR2 and only a 160MB RAM there is probably no reason to ever change it. When the peripherals fail and I have to replace them with devices that are not supported by the OS I be forced to but that will require only another 100-200MB RAM and an installation of W2K.

    I think this almost biological urge to constantly upgrade CPU power is like a sickness.
  • Still using them... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wayward_son ( 146338 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:08PM (#11020002)
    I am the proud owner of 3 Pentium II based systems. I still use all of them on a regular basis.

    Gateway Solo 9100 (PII-266) running Fedora Core 3

    Back in 1998, this was the ultimate laptop. My college roommate spent a small fortune on his. I got mine from e-bay in 2001. I was working on this laptop when I first heard about 9/11. It's taken a beating, the battery is toast, and the DVD-decoder and video-in features are useless in anything but Windows 98, but it's still chugging along. 320MB RAM helps.

    Dell Inspiron 3200 (PII-266) running Win2k Pro.

    Free from company surplus with a good battery! Unfortunately, it can only do 16 bit color on the 1024x768 display. It's still good for basic office uses and web browsing/e-mail, especially with a wireless card.

    Also, the first generation PII-Mobile processors really cut down on our home heating bill :-)

    Gateway G6-300 (PII-300 upgraded to PII-350) running Fedora Core 3

    I bought this cheap from my roommate who said it "only ran Linux". (I much later found out that the processor was defective, which caused 3D video acceleration to be FOOBAR. Since the Riva 128 video card wasn't DRI supported, Linux worked great) The defective processor was replaced with a good PII-350 when a friend upgraded to a PIII. It is still a great fileserver.

    With enough RAM and the right OS, PII systems can do most of what most people use a computer for. They are still great for the web and for office uses, but are lacking for more processor intensive application.

    So to all you PII fans out there, keep on partying like it's 1999!

  • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:09PM (#11020014) Journal
    The PII certainly can't be hanging on this long for power-consumption reasons. For one thing, PIIIs were much more power-thrifty. In fact, some of the PIIIs were the lowest power processors since Intel made 486s...

    PIII-500E 13.2W
    Cel-533A 11.2W
    PIII-933 11.61W

    Compare that to the fastest PII:

    PII-450 27.1W
  • by mogrify ( 828588 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:16PM (#11020125) Homepage
    GM will soon discontinue all models based on wheels carved from solid blocks of stone. AT&T has begun phasing out its line of telegraph equipment in favor of more versatile communications technology. Bed Bath and Beyond will no longer carry Black & Decker's butter churns or bellows, and the US NIST Division of Weights and Measures has recommended that hogsheads, cubits, and ells no longer be used in official government documents.
  • by zerofoo ( 262795 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:22PM (#11020205)
    I've got PIX firewalls built around socket 370 Celeron variants of the Pentium II. The slowest of these PIX firewalls can handle 100 times the amount of internet traffic we could ever think about affording.

    Recently Cisco moved to a 133 MHz AMD cpu in their PIX 501. Their higher end PIXes use Socket 370 Celeron and Pentium III chips.


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