There’s no doubt that most people are familiar with Intel and AMD, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and even via – but there’s another pioneer chipmaker you should be familiar with. For most of the past decade, Cyrix has successfully brought personal computers to ordinary people’s homes in the form of cheap products. However, Cyrix’s best products and its inability to run a popular game have led to its collapse. What’s more, Cyrix has been acquired by a larger partner. < / P > < p > despite the fierce competition in the field of processors, it seems that Intel is still the winner. At that time, apple switched to IBM’s PowerPC, Motorola’s 68K chip was slowly dragging Commodore’s Amiga PC family to a dead end, and arm was just a small flame ignited by apple, VLSI technology and acorn computer company, which was almost completely focused on developing suitable processors for the notorious Newton. < / P > < p > at about the same time, amd took the first step and got rid of the negative aura of being considered a second supplier. After cloning several generations of Intel CPU, amd launched its own architecture. By the end of 1990s, the system was well recognized in terms of price and performance. < / P > < p > this success can be attributed at least in part to Cyrix, which had the opportunity to occupy the home PC market and kick Intel and AMD out, but unfortunately, Cyrix failed and quickly disappeared among a number of technology companies. < / P > < p > they are excellent talents from Texas Instruments, and they have great ambition to fight Intel and intend to beat Intel in their own track. Rogers began to actively look for the best engineers in the United States, but later became a notorious and tough leader, leading a team of 30 people, undertaking impossible tasks. < / P > < p > at the beginning, the company’s first batch of math coprocessors outperformed Intel’s similar products by about 50% and were cheaper. This makes the combination of AMD 386 CPU and Cyrix fastmath coprocessor possible, and obtains the performance similar to 486 at a lower price, which has attracted the attention of the industry, and encourages Rogers to take the next step and enter the CPU market. In 1992, Cyrix launched the first CPUs, namely 486slc and 486dlc, to compete with Intel’s 486sx and 486dx. They are also compatible with 386SX and 386DX pins, which means that they can be used as embedded upgrades to old 386 motherboards, and manufacturers also use them to sell cheap laptops. < / P > < p > the performance of both products is slightly worse than that of Intel 486 CPU, but much better than that of 386 CPU. Cyrix 486 DLC can’t compete with Intel 486sx clock rhythm, but it’s a full 32-bit chip with 1KB L1 cache and much lower cost. < / P > < p > at that time, enthusiasts liked the fact that they could run 486dlc at 33 MHz to achieve performance comparable to that of Intel 486sx at 25 MHz. < / P > < p > but this does not mean that it is not without problems, because it may cause stability problems for some old motherboards, because these motherboards do not have additional cache control lines or CPU register control to enable or disable on-board caching. < / P > < p > Cyrix also developed a new “direct replacement” version called cx486dru2, and then released a “clock multiplication” version called cx486drx2 in 1994, which integrates the cache synchronization circuit into the CPU itself. However, at that time, Intel had already released its first Pentium processor. The price of 486dx2 began to decline, and Cyrix gradually lost its attraction, because it was cheaper to upgrade to 486 motherboard than to buy Cyrix upgrade processor for the old 386 motherboard. < / P > < p > when the “clock tripled” 486dx4 came out in 1995, it was too small and too late. Big PC makers such as Acer and Compaq are not optimistic about Cyrix’s 486 CPU, but choose AMD’s 486 processor. But that didn’t stop Intel from spending years accusing the conn486 of infringing its patents, never winning a lawsuit. < / P > < p > Cyrix and Intel finally reached an out of court settlement, and Intel agreed that Cyrix has the right to produce its own x86 designs in factories with Intel cross license, such as Texas Instruments, IBM and SGS Thomson (later Italian semiconductor). < / P > < p > in 1993, Intel launched the original Pentium processor based on P5 micro architecture, and finally became famous for its market friendly name. It raises the threshold of personal computing, but it opens up a new era of performance. < / P > < p > superscalar architecture allows it to complete two instructions per clock, a 64 bit external data bus enables each memory access to read and write more data, and the faster floating-point unit can achieve 15 times the throughput of 486 FPU. There are other advantages. < / P > < p > Cyrix is once again facing the challenge of creating a middle ground for the socket 3 motherboard of the new Intel Pentium CPU before the model is ready for shipment. The middle point is the Cyrix 5×86, which has many of the features of the fifth generation processors such as Pentium and AMD K5 at 75 MHz. < / P > < p > the company even makes 100 MHz and 133 MHz versions, but they don’t really have all the performance enhancing features mentioned in the promotion, because if they are enabled, it will cause instability and the overclocking potential is limited. All of these products are short-lived, and six months later Cyrix decided to stop selling them and switch to other processor designs. In 1996, Cyrix introduced the 6×86 (M1) processor, which is expected to replace the old Intel CPU on the socket 5 and socket 7 motherboards with good performance. But it’s not only a way to upgrade the budget system, it actually makes CPU design a miracle, which was considered impossible at that time – it combines many aspects of RISC core and CISC design. < / P > < p > at the same time, it continues to use native x86 execution and plain microcode, while Intel’s Pentium pro and AMD K5 rely on dynamic conversion to micro operations. Cyrix 6×86 is compatible with Intel p54c pins, and has six variants and confusing naming schemes, which should indicate the expected performance level, but not the actual indicator of clock speed. < / P > < p > for example, 6×86 pr166 + only runs on 133 MHz and is marketed to be the same or better than Pentium running on 166 MHz, which is the strategy AMD will adopt in the future. < / P > < p > however, the problem is that 6×86 actually identifies itself as a 486 CPU because it does not support the full Intel P5 instruction set. This will soon become a serious problem, as most application development is slowly migrating to P5 Pentium specific optimizations to take advantage of the new instructions to compress more performance. < / P > < p > Cyrix finally improved its compatibility with Pentium and Pentium Pro through 6x86mx and 6x86mii. A big selling point of 6×86 is that its integer performance is significantly better than that of Pentium, which is a good advantage when most applications and games rely on integer operations. < / P > < p > to be fair, it’s still two to four times faster than the Intel 80486 FPU, and Cyrix 6×86 outperforms Intel’s overall performance. However, when many software developers, especially those who make 3D games, see Pentium becoming more and more popular and choose to optimize their code with assembly language around the advantages of P5 FPU, the whole balance collapses. < / P > < p > when id software released quake in 1996, gamers with 6×86 processors found that they could only get a standard frame rate of up to 15 frames per second and could not play unless they wanted to reduce the resolution to 320 x 200. Only the most advanced Cyrix 6x86mx PR2 / 200 CPU can achieve 29.7 frames per second playability. But it’s OK for gamers using Intel systems to run games at 640 x 480 playable frame rates. < / P > < p > John Carmack found that he can overlap integer and floating-point operations on Pentium chips, because all operations on the P5 core use different parts except instruction loading. This technology does not work on the Cyrix kernel, exposing the weakness of its FPU. < / P > < p > the reviewers at that time found that 6×86 CPU would be 30% to 40% higher than Pentium in all other benchmarks or performance tests. As early as the mid-1990s, no one knew the exact direction of computing. Cyrix thought that it was best to give priority to integer performance, so it produced a processor without instruction pipeline. This feature will become a basic part of any processor. < / P > < p > instruction pipelining is a technology used to divide tasks into a set of smaller operations, which are then executed simultaneously by different parts of the processor in a more efficient way. The FPU of Pentium processor is pipelined, which makes the delay of floating-point processing seismic graph very low. The problem itself is easy to solve, and software developers have released patches for their applications and games. < / P > < p > but id software spent too much time designing quake around P5 micro architecture, and never provided such a fix. AMD’s K5 and K6 CPUs perform slightly better than Cyrix’s, but they are still not as good as Intel’s on quake. < / P > < p > thunderbolt is a very popular game and the flagship of the new generation of 3D games. This makes the performance gap of Cyrix CPU very harsh, and the company almost lost its reputation in the eyes of many enthusiasts. Since the company is unable to contract with large pcoems, it is a particularly heavy blow when Cyrix’s fierce customer base is made up of these enthusiasts. < / P > < p > to make matters worse, Cyrix is a fabless chipmaker that relies on third parties to make its processors, and these companies use the most advanced product lines for their products. < / P > < p > as a result, Cyrix processors are manufactured on 600 nm process nodes, while Intel processors are manufactured on 300 nm. Efficiency is greatly affected, which is why the Cyrix CPU becomes so hot that enthusiasts are designing hot plates as heating elements. They are too sensitive to low-quality power supply, and the potential for overclocking is limited, but this does not prevent people like the author of this article (his second PC has a Cyrix 6×86-p166 + CPU inside) from pushing them a little bit and slowly leading to their demise. < / P > < p > by 1997, Cyrix was making every effort to build partnerships with companies such as Compaq and HP, because integrating its CPU into the system would generate a stable source of revenue. < / P > < p > it also tried to sue Intel for infringement of its patents on power management and registration renaming technology, but the matter was soon resolved through cross licensing agreements so that the two companies could continue to focus on producing better CPUs. < / P > < p > the lawsuit against the famous national semiconductor advertising in the United States has caused losses to a company that is already short of funds. Faced with the prospect of bankruptcy, Cyrix agreed to merge into national semiconductor. It’s really a blessing because it will eventually be able to use the right manufacturing plants and a strong marketing team to get a lot of orders. < / P > < p > however, it turns out that this acquisition will block Cyrix’s fate. National semiconductor is not interested in manufacturing high-performance PC components, but hopes to use low-power SOC (system on chip).

By ibmwl