The WinChip series was a low-power Socket 7-based x86 processor designed by Centaur Technology and marketed by its parent company IDT.


The design of the WinChip was quite different from other processors of the time. Instead of a large gate count and die area, IDT, using experience from the RISC processor market, created a small and electrically efficient processor similar to the 80486, because of its single pipeline and in-order execution architecture. It was of much simpler design than that of its competition, such as AMD K5/K6 and Intel Pentium II, which were superscalar and based on dynamic translation to buffered micro-operations with advanced instruction reordering (out of order execution).

WinChip was, in general, designed to perform well with popular applications that didn't do much (if any) floating point calculations. This included operating systems of the time and the majority of software used in businesses. It was also designed to be a drop-in replacement for the more complex, and thus more expensive, processors it was competing with. This allowed IDT/Centaur to take advantage of an established system platform (Intel's Socket 7).

WinChip 2A added fractional multipliers and adopted a 100 MHz front side bus to improve memory access and L2 cache performance. It also adopted the performance rating concept, similar to how AMD and Cyrix marketed their processors. This method of specifying processor performance helped consumers understand where the WinChip's performance fit in against Intel's competing products. Another revision (2B) was also planned, with a die shrink to 0.25 μm, but was shipped in limited numbers. A third WinChip was planned as well, this one receiving a doubled L1 cache, but that CPU never made it to market.

The industry's move away from Socket 7 and the release of the Intel Celeron processor signalled the end of the WinChip. In 1999, the Centaur Technology division of IDT was sold to VIA. Although VIA initially branded processors as "Cyrix," the company initially used technology similar to WinChip with its Cyrix III line.


Although the small die size and low power-usage made the processor notably inexpensive to manufacture, it never gained much market share. WinChip C6 was a competitor to the Intel Pentium and Pentium MMX, Cyrix 6x86, and AMD K5/K6. It performed adequately, but only in applications that used little floating point math. Its floating point performance was well below that of the Pentium, being similar to the Cyrix 6x86. The WinChip 2 added a 3DNow! processing unit to strengthen floating point performance. Unfortunately its 3DNow! unit was not as fast as that in AMD K6-2. This successor targeted the Intel Pentium II, Cyrix MII, and AMD K6-2 processors as competitors.

WinChip Data

Processor Speed


SIMD Pipeline
Max TDP Core
WinChip C6 180 - 240 60 - 75 64 0 MMX 4 13.1 W at 240 MHz 3.52 350
WinChip 2 200, 225, 240 60 - 75 64 0 3DNow!, MMX 4 14.0 W at 240 MHz 3.52 350
WinChip 2A 200, 233, 250
PR200, PR233, PR300
66 / 100 64 0 3DNow!, MMX 4 16.0 W at 250 MHz 3.52 350
WinChip 2B 200, 200
PR200, PR233
66 / 100 64 0 3DNow!, MMX 4 6.3 W at 200 MHz 2.80 250
WinChip 3 unreleased 66 / 100 128 0 3DNow!, MMX 4 2.80 250

See also


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