This spring, Pentium III processor-based systems began shipping. The chip was designed with today’s floating-point-intensive multimedia, Internet, and 3D applications in mind, but of course gamers won’t buy the processor to marvel at its new registers and instructions. Consumers just want to play better games on their new systems.
To make the most of your game on Pentium III processor based systems, you have to know how to optimize you game for the new processor, and that in turn requires that you understand the processor's architecture. The Pentium III processor is based on the same well-known foundation as the Pentium II processor, and as such, many of the software design principles and optimization techniques still apply. With this in mind, the best optimization tool with which to arm yourself is a basic understanding of how the processor executes code (see Sidebar 1, "Understanding the Pentium II Processor"). Beyond that though, you need to learn about the Pentium III processor’s new registers and new instructions, and decide how to design your next title to make the most of these features. This article explains some of the features of the Pentium III processor, and shows how they can be used by game developers.