The Top 5 Worst CPUs of All Time @ [H]

Discussion in 'Intel Processors' started by FrgMstr, Aug 17, 2017.

  1. heretic

    heretic n00b

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    I'm sitting here cracking up over the picture of a dumpster.

    FREAKING. HILARIOUS. And I don't even know why.
     
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  2. thebufenator

    thebufenator [H]ard|Gawd

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    Wow I forgot about those.

    Yes they were aweful........
     
  3. triwolf

    triwolf Gawd

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    Anything VIA (applies to their CPUs, chipsets, "graphics" adapters, ...really anything they touch) - Do you hate stability? performance? compatibility? driver updates? future OS support? sanity?! VIA is there to help!!!

    LOL!

    Preach it brother! I am amazed they could even get it working, they had a few halfway decent chipsets, except you knew you would get into trouble at some point, one motherboard I had used a chipset that was way behind on USB, I had to find a registry tweak to get Win XP to stop telling me how crappy and slow the port was! Thanks SOYO and VIA!
     
  4. NamelessPFG

    NamelessPFG Gawd

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    Another CPU list with no mention of architecture, another largely x86-centric list (IA-64 Itanium aside).

    I don't feel like it's complete without the PowerPC 970 "G5", at the very least. IBM basically NetBursted it when Motorola/Freescale couldn't deliver a suitable "G5" design, and that's why the dual-core versions needed closed-loop liquid cooling to keep from toasting themselves. Then Intel dropped NetBurst, revisited P6 with Core Solo/Duo, and the rest is history.

    Never touched an AMD Geode, but I really feel like this NVIDIA Tegra 4 is hamstringing my Wacom Cintiq Companion Hybrid in ways beyond a lack of updates beyond Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean.

    -Occasional inexplicable UI freezes, which have been mentioned on other Tegra-based tablets.
    -NVIDIA doesn't provide Tegra 4 driver/software support for Marshmallow or later, so developers are on their own. At least they're nice enough to offer up kernel sources.
    -The GPU core is a far sight short of the later Tegra K1 and X1, based on Kepler and Maxwell respectively.

    Oh god, I remember hearing about these! The Compaq TC1000 Tablet PC (a "hybrid" slate with a cool detachable keyboard and docking station that today's hybrids should consider shamelessly ripping off) used a Transmeta Crusoe and a FinePoint pen digitizer, and they hamstrung what was otherwise a really ahead-of-its-time design.

    The succeeding HP TC1100 fixed that by moving to a Pentium M and Wacom Penabled digitizer. I still maintain that the TC1100 is one of the best all-time tablet computers to this day, even if it's certainly not the first of the hybrids (a title that most likely belongs to the GRiD Systems Convertible)

    Maybe we can work something out there; I've got a BP6, dual Celeron 533s and at least 512 MB of SDRAM boxed up in storage, and the last time I gave it a run, it worked. Capacitors showed no apparent signs of failure.
     
  5. N4CR

    N4CR [H]ardness Supreme

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    Was more of a future wishlist when I have the dosh for it, thank you very much for the heads up - noted and will be in touch should this need further fester :)
     
  6. WhoBeDaPlaya

    WhoBeDaPlaya 2[H]4U

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    Didn't IBM have a 486 SLC2 66 as well? I actually had one of those and it sucked compared to my old AMD 386 DX40.
     
  7. ecktt

    ecktt Limp Gawd

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    Man. I still have some HP Integrity Servers packing Itainums in production. They just won't die. They are still fast. They Rock!
     
  8. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ard as it Gets

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    The Itanium was good at specific tasks. I didn't list the Itanium over raw performance, but rather it's lack of versatility and market penetration.
     
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  9. PhaseNoise

    PhaseNoise 2[H]4U

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    You're spot on. If your task lends itself well to the compiler spotting parallelism, you were golden. The designers really believed (and probably still do) that the best way to make a modern CPU was to hoist all the "ugly" out of the processor and shove it in the compiler. The chip would be lean and efficient, as god intended!

    And it is, assuming you can actually fill the instruction word with meaningful work. In practice, this was really hard to do with normal tasks, so the chip didn't really hit its full potential much or easily.
    The more traditional designs may have less raw power, but it is much easier to get their top performance from them. So lower but more attainable peak versus higher but difficult to achieve peak.

    The chip itself was/is really slick.
     
  10. Keljian

    Keljian Gawd

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    The K5, in its original iteration (pre PR ratings and other shite) was actually a very decent processor. The K5-75 model was faster than the competing 6x86-133 most of the time for the stuff I was doing - sounds crazy but it actually was. Few people compared them side by side. The upper range models were not quite as good.

    The pentium 60/66 wasn't as bad as people make out. It only affected users who needed .00001 scale precision in floating point stuff when doing divides. Most software was integer based at the time, so unless you were doing financial stuff (which you probably had a pentium pro for anyhow) it really didn't hit you.

    Missing from the list is the 286 (intel/AMD) - The 286 actually has protected mode. The problem is that in order to do a switch out to protected mode you need to either:
    1. Do full processor reset
    2. Use an undocumented, sketchy function to enter/exit. - Basically a test function that resets all registers

    What this meant is that memory management and multitasking were hard on a 286. Most users didn't see this though as most software was single task based at the time, and windows hadn't really evolved to the point where it was usable for much.

    Chips & Tech actually released a version of the 286 with this fixed 386 style, before the 386 did it.

    The mediagx was a flop, for lots of reasons. As was the crusoe (which is unfortunate as I thought it was actually pretty nifty at the time).

    The WinChip (IDT) - is largely unknown as another contender - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WinChip - They were actually quite nifty from an engineering perspective as they had much much fewer transistors than competing designs, and ran cooler as a result while doing integer math really quickly. Unfortunately they had worse FPUs than Cyrix chips of the same generation and Centaur was absorbed by VIA (where it festered and rotted into designs like the C3/C7 and nano).

    I suppose it depends on your definition of worst - worst in terms of market placement/performance? worst in terms of engineering? worst in terms of support? buggiest?
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
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  11. acascianelli

    acascianelli [H]ardness Supreme

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    K6-2’s and 3’s. I’ve never seen a system using either of those processors that was 100% stable.
     
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  12. auntjemima

    auntjemima [H]ardness Supreme

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    One of my retro PC's was running a k6-2 450 for a while and I ended up swapping it out for p3 450. The stability just wasn't there. Opening certain apps would just crash the system. It was weird.
     
  13. acascianelli

    acascianelli [H]ardness Supreme

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    Yup. Very similar experiences from me too.

    Me and a friend built 2 Systems at the same time. He went with a K6-2 450 and I went with a Celeron 433 on a 440BX. His ran unstable and mine over locked to 590mhz 24x7 stable. I chose wisely. :)

    He had me kinda beat on GPU though. I had a TNT2 Ultra and he had an ATI Rage Fury Maxx.
     
  14. Keljian

    Keljian Gawd

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    The issue with these wasn't the processor - it was the chipset. Often these were paired with via chipsets which, quite frankly, were full of bugs. ALI chipsets weren't that much better, but they worked.
     
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  15. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ard as it Gets

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    That was largely due to the shitty Super-7 motherboards. They were often based on VIA and SIS chipsets which weren't worth a shit. They had cut rate electrical implementations and horrendous BIOS support. The FIC VA503+ stands out as one of, if not the worst motherboard of all time and many a K6 sat on top of it.
     
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  16. auntjemima

    auntjemima [H]ardness Supreme

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    Mine was definitely a VIA chipset. Have an Intel one now, stable.
     
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  17. auntjemima

    auntjemima [H]ardness Supreme

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    I had never heard of the MAXX before. Found some benchmarks on toms hardware and wow, that thing was pretty snazzy. Above a 256mb SDR Geforce but short of the DDR one. Higher than the voodoo3 3500 and the tnt2 ultra.
     
  18. Keljian

    Keljian Gawd

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    I had a K6-2 450 system on an Epox board using a via chipset (from memory) The system was fast, but it was buggy as all get out

    I swore off via at that point, which lead to me having an athlon 600 on an irongate chipset, and a dual athlon 1200MP setup on a tyan thunder k7 board - absolutely refused to have via during those generations.
     
  19. Keljian

    Keljian Gawd

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    BTW I rather like Ryzen, I think it's extremely impressive as a cpu and it's a great compromise for about 80% of desktop users (does this mean I'm a zealot?)
     
  20. auntjemima

    auntjemima [H]ardness Supreme

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    I ran an ECS K7S5A board for my 1.4ghz thunderbird. I loved it and could overclock fairly well, considering the shitty cooling in those days. Come nearly 15 years later and I was reading a post somewhere that said it was one of the worst boards of all time. Even if you check speed fan it's in there with a warning lol..
     
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  21. Keljian

    Keljian Gawd

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    Getting off topic, but I managed to pop two 1800XP chips on that board after I accidentally crushed one of the 1200 cores. I had to cut one of the bridges on the top of the chip to make them work, used a power supply with a pair of dressmaker pins to burn them. Watching them vaporise in a flash of light scared the bejeezus out of me (expensive chips at the time)
     
  22. /dev/null

    /dev/null [H]ardForum Junkie

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  23. Keljian

    Keljian Gawd

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  24. Trimlock

    Trimlock [H]ardForum Junkie

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    The MAXX’s were awesome! But largely were held back by the fact they were dual chip designs and the ATI driver team was complete horse shit back then.
     
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  25. Khahhblaab

    Khahhblaab Limp Gawd

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    Good question. I'm just impressed that someone remembers those chips and their "personalities".

    Mucho props to you man.(y)
     
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  26. Keljian

    Keljian Gawd

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    Hey thanks - I could talk about chips architectures and personalities all day and night, it's kinda something that I have an interest in - should have studied CE ....
     
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  27. NamelessPFG

    NamelessPFG Gawd

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    I'm just gonna respond to all three of you at once, given my own K6-2 350 experiences:

    So, wait - there's boards that make that PC-Chips M598 with its SiS 530, WTF-inducing header layout (who the hell puts AT port headers between expansion card slots?) and apparent inability to run 100 MHz FSB with any stability whatsoever that I had to suffer with as a kid whose father built this for him not look like a total piece of shit by comparison? Cripes... I know there's a lot of retro hardware people want to salvage, but there was nothing about that system that warranted salvation from a recycler save nostalgia, which wasn't strong enough for my liking.

    Meanwhile, I hear that Super Socket 7's going up in value all of a sudden, along with every other vintage piece of computer hardware. I don't really see why when it's not that hard to cobble together a nice Socket 370 build for Win9x gaming, or you could go the crazy route like me and go Socket 478 with an industrial board to keep a real ISA slot or two handy.

    If anything, half the reason motherboards are kinda boring now is that modern CPUs took up a lot of the old northbridge functionality (memory controller and PCIe lanes in particular), and they're generally stable platforms. There was much more variation back then between the cream of the crap and a solid platform like the famed Intel 440BX that even Intel couldn't provide a worthy successor to for ages. Hell, it wasn't just an IBM PC-compatible problem, either; Performa 52xx/53xx/62xx/63xx, anyone?

    At least things turned out better for AMD going into the Athlon age and nVidia's nForce chipsets. Remember when those were good, especially nForce2 with SoundStorm?
     
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  28. Keljian

    Keljian Gawd

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    A curiosity for those following - one of, if not, the best (most recent) processor that has been made imo is the i7-5775C. On the desktop, when compared with anything of the same clock it is more efficient in terms of performance/watt (except maybe Ryzen at low clocks). That includes all the Lakes. It was also Intel's least buggy chip released in the last 10 years. Wasn't very overclockable, but it was seriously fast and efficient for what it was.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2018
  29. Keljian

    Keljian Gawd

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    Obviously you never tried to run a real soundblaster on one! - They had issues running anything that was slightly out of spec, and the drivers weren't updated regularly enough - which meant that the sound was perpetually glitchy. One particular MSI board (which was called one of the best) had overheating issues, and the heatsink on the chipset had really poor thermal paste. In the case of my dad's pc it nuked one of the memory slots as a result of an overheat, and literally left burn marks on the board ...

    "Hey dad, what's that burning smell?"
     
  30. Keljian

    Keljian Gawd

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    For the sake of those here and based on the feedback - I've messaged Kyle re me potentially writing some articles about older hardware in the forums (cause tbh I don't know where they'd fit). just want to share the love.
     
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  31. defaultluser

    defaultluser [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Even without the crappy protected mode, the chip had other merits.

    It was about twice as fast as the 8086, and several times faster than the castrated 8088.


    The independent memory bus lines and no-longer shared adder meant the chip could do a lot more processing in a single cycle, and could bump up the clocks.

    The 6 MHz 286 that shipped in the PC AT could do 0.9 MIPS.

    The 8086 at 4.77 MHz (IBM PC clocks) could only do 0.33 MIPS! The 8088 was even slower!


    CLOCK-FOR-CLOCK, the 286 was TWICE AS FAST. That was a much bigger performance improvement than we saw with the 386! WE didn't see that level of performance improvement again until the Pentium Pro!


    The protected mode was just a checkbox. It still used indexed addressing just like it's predecessor. Intel didn't get that right until the 386.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2018
  32. NamelessPFG

    NamelessPFG Gawd

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    Cripes, you really had it bad... there was a system I had with an Asus A7N8X-E Deluxe for a brief while that worked more or less fine, though, barring a certain set of RAM that needed a modded BIOS to set command rate 2T on the RAM in order to remain stable. Two 1 GB DDR-400 DIMMs, to be specific.

    Needless to say, it didn't kill any components from overheating - not that I ever pushed it as hard as I would have if it were my best board, but it was literally a freebie given to me around the time I was building up my Q6600 system a decade ago.

    That said, my Sound Blaster cards went to other systems; my Q6600 box ran an Auzentech X-Fi Prelude, Auzentech X-Fi Forte and Creative X-Fi Titanium HD in that order. Let's just say I'm fully aware of the driver jank along the way, and despite that, I still keep the X-Fi Titanium HD in my 4770K build because I do actually have a use for hardware OpenAL and ALchemy. I also had a Sound Blaster Live! Value as a holdover from the K6-2 350 system, but that thing was showing its age at the time and wouldn't be of much use at this point unless someone really wants to use kX Project drivers.
     
  33. Keljian

    Keljian Gawd

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    First - Do not yell at me.

    Second - Protected mode is the foundation of all modern computing. It fundamentally underpins multitasking in all x86/64 operating systems. If you think it was "just a checkbox" then maybe you think vector instructions are just a checkbox too :)
     
  34. Keljian

    Keljian Gawd

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    I've built so many systems.. and made so many stuffups and seen so much weird stuff... I should really write a book :)

    I've used the kX project drivers. I've had issues getting a new model X-Fi working on a z97 board. I've had a passively cooled q6600 at 3.2ghz (that was really interesting...) ..

    I've cooked a 486dx2-66 in a store by user error - not to mention watched a hard drive go up in flames because a family member shaved a molex plug with a knife to make it fit the wrong way...
     
  35. Dadebraafsie

    Dadebraafsie n00b

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    other than the 6x86 being slow in games , it was stable and could run without a cooler :D
    could never compete in games with intel P1 , just as K6-2/3 did with P2 . Never had stability issues with them also
     
  36. PhaseNoise

    PhaseNoise 2[H]4U

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    I think he's getting at the fact that on a 286 it was pretty badly broken, not that the idea itself was bad or useless.
     
  37. Stoly

    Stoly [H]ardness Supreme

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    How about a top Five best and worst chipsets of all time? nforce would be on top best of the list and SiS/Ali battling for worst ever.
     
  38. defaultluser

    defaultluser [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Sorry, I'll stop shouting.

    Fair, but the "broken" protected mode switch didn't matter for consumers, who couldn't scrounge the memory for a multi-tasking protected mode operating system until the 1990s. And that point, the antiquated 16MB memory limit and the lack of virtual x86 mode made it tough to use.

    The first *successful* use of the 286 MMU was Novell Netware in 1986, a system that would not be affected by the switch issues (being a server and all). Consumer experiences using OS/2 were poor because memory was too expensive for consumers.

    I'm just saying, it was mostly a check-box. By the time memory prices tumbled, there were better second-generation processors for cheaper and better third-generation operating systems.

    if the 286 had not been twice as fast as it's predecessor, it would have been a failure even if they had protected mode working perfectly. That massive performance increase is half the reason companies started to build servers around the 286! To me that's the very definition of a "check box" feature - useable enough for developers to get their feet wet (and start moving the industry forward), but not useful for the mainstream.

    I'd put the 286 protected mode in the same class as Haswell's AVX2 Gather. the (future accelerated) instruction has the potential to revolutionize auto-vectorizing compilers everywhere, but the first generation has no hardware support.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2018
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  39. mvmiller12

    mvmiller12 Gawd

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    I was a Super 7 enthusiast, and I loved my K6-2 and K6-3 processors. But working in a computer store, I also learned fairly quickly which boards to avoid (like the FIC-503 garbage). Personally at the time, I preferred the Tyan S1598 Super 7 ATX boards. Those were as stable as you could get on Super 7 and made for smooth sailing. You still had to regularly update the VIA chipset drivers, but otherwise fine. Shuttle also had some decent boards (back when they made motherboards...)

    It should also be noted that some K6 and K6-2 (the ones with the 66MHz bus speed) processors would work on Intel Socket 7 mainboards, and they were rock solid there as well. As has been said, the problem was NOT the CPUs...
     
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  40. athenian200

    athenian200 Gawd

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