Intel 80387SX

Last updated
An Intel i387SX (16 MHz - 25 MHz). KL Intel i387SX.jpg
An Intel i387SX (16 MHz - 25 MHz).

The Intel 80387SX (387SX or i387SX) is the math coprocessor, also called an FPU, for the Intel 80386SX microprocessor. Introduced in 1986, it was used to perform floating point arithmetic operations directly in hardware. The coprocessor was designed only to work with the 386SX, rather than the standard 386DX. This was because the original 80387 could not communicate with the altered 16 bit data bus of the 386SX, which was modified from the original 386DX's 32 bit data bus. The 387SX uses a 68-pin PLCC socket, just like some variants of the 80286 and the less common 80186 CPU, and was made in speeds ranging from 16 MHz to 33 MHz, matching the clock speed range of the Intel manufactured 386SX. Some chips like the IIT 3C87SX could get up to 40 MHz, matching the clock speeds of the fastest 386SX CPUs.

Related Research Articles

Intel 8086 16-bit microprocessor

The 8086 is a 16-bit microprocessor chip designed by Intel between early 1976 and June 8, 1978, when it was released. The Intel 8088, released July 1, 1979, is a slightly modified chip with an external 8-bit data bus, and is notable as the processor used in the original IBM PC design.

Intel 8088

The Intel 8088 microprocessor is a variant of the Intel 8086. Introduced on June 1, 1979, the 8088 has an eight-bit external data bus instead of the 16-bit bus of the 8086. The 16-bit registers and the one megabyte address range are unchanged, however. In fact, according to the Intel documentation, the 8086 and 8088 have the same execution unit (EU)—only the bus interface unit (BIU) is different. The original IBM PC is based on the 8088, as are its clones. The Wang PC from Wang Laboratories uses the Intel 8086.

i386 32-bit microprocessor by Intel

The Intel 386, originally released as 80386 and later renamed into i386, is a 32-bit microprocessor introduced in 1985. The first versions had 275,000 transistors and were the CPU of many workstations and high-end personal computers of the time. As the original implementation of the 32-bit extension of the 80286 architecture, the i386 instruction set, programming model, and binary encodings are still the common denominator for all 32-bit x86 processors, which is termed the i386-architecture, x86, or IA-32, depending on context.

i486 Successor to the Intel 386

The Intel 486, officially named i486 and also known as 80486, is a higher-performance follow-up to the Intel 386 microprocessor. The i486 was introduced in 1989 and was the first tightly pipelined x86 design as well as the first x86 chip to use more than a million transistors, due to a large on-chip cache and an integrated floating-point unit. It represents a fourth generation of binary compatible CPUs since the original 8086 of 1978.

Floating-point unit

A floating-point unit is a part of a computer system specially designed to carry out operations on floating-point numbers. Typical operations are addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and square root. Some FPUs can also perform various transcendental functions such as exponential or trigonometric calculations, but the accuracy can be very low, so that some systems prefer to compute these functions in software.

Cyrix American microprocessor developer

Cyrix Corporation was a microprocessor developer that was founded in 1988 in Richardson, Texas, as a specialist supplier of math coprocessors for 286 and 386 microprocessors. The company was founded by Tom Brightman and Jerry Rogers. Cyrix founder, president, and CEO Jerry Rogers aggressively recruited engineers and pushed them, eventually assembling a design team of 30 people.

IBM PS/2 Third generation of personal computers by IBM

The Personal System/2 or PS/2 is IBM's third generation of personal computers. Released in 1987, it officially replaced the IBM PC, XT, AT, and PC Convertible in IBM's lineup. Many of the PS/2's innovations, such as the 16550 UART, 1440 KB 3.5-inch floppy disk format, Model M keyboard layout, 72-pin SIMMs, the PS/2 port, and the VGA video standard, went on to become standards in the broader PC market.

Coprocessor Type of computer processor

A coprocessor is a computer processor used to supplement the functions of the primary processor. Operations performed by the coprocessor may be floating point arithmetic, graphics, signal processing, string processing, cryptography or I/O interfacing with peripheral devices. By offloading processor-intensive tasks from the main processor, coprocessors can accelerate system performance. Coprocessors allow a line of computers to be customized, so that customers who do not need the extra performance do not need to pay for it.

Am386

The Am386 CPU is a 100%-compatible clone of the Intel 80386 design released by AMD in March 1991. It sold millions of units, positioning AMD as a legitimate competitor to Intel, rather than being merely a second source for x86 CPUs.

Chips and Technologies

Chips and Technologies (C&T), founded in Milpitas, California in December 1984 by Gordon A. Campbell and Dado Banatao, was an early fabless semiconductor company.

Intel 8087

The Intel 8087, announced in 1980, was the first x87 floating-point coprocessor for the 8086 line of microprocessors.

Cyrix Cx486SLC

The Cyrix Cx486SLC was Cyrix's first CPU offering, released after years of selling coprocessors that competed with Intel's units and offered better performance at a comparable or lower price.

Cyrix Cx486DLC

The Cyrix Cx486DLC was an early 486 CPU from Cyrix, intended to compete with the Intel 486SX and DX. Texas Instruments, who manufactured the 486DLC for Cyrix, later released its own version of the chip, the TI486SXL, with 8 kB internal cache vs 1 kB of the original Cyrix design. The similarly named IBM 486DLC, 486DLC2, 486DLC3 are often confused with the Cyrix chips, but are not related and are instead based on Intel's i486 design.

RapidCAD

RapidCAD is a specially packaged Intel 486DX and a dummy floating point unit (FPU) designed as pin-compatible replacements for an Intel 80386 processor and 80387 FPU. Because the i486DX has a working on-chip FPU, a dummy FPU package is supplied to go in the Intel 387 FPU socket. The dummy FPU is used to provide the FERR signal, necessary for compatibility purposes.

Hauppauge Computer Works

Hauppauge Computer Works is a US manufacturer and marketer of electronic video hardware for personal computers. Although it is most widely known for its WinTV line of TV tuner cards for PCs, Hauppauge also produces personal video recorders, digital video editors, digital media players, hybrid video recorders and digital television products for both Windows and Mac. The company is named after the hamlet of Hauppauge, New York, in which it is based.

x87 is a floating-point-related subset of the x86 architecture instruction set. It originated as an extension of the 8086 instruction set in the form of optional floating-point coprocessors that worked in tandem with corresponding x86 CPUs. These microchips had names ending in "87". This was also known as the NPX. Like other extensions to the basic instruction set, x87 instructions are not strictly needed to construct working programs, but provide hardware and microcode implementations of common numerical tasks, allowing these tasks to be performed much faster than corresponding machine code routines can. The x87 instruction set includes instructions for basic floating-point operations such as addition, subtraction and comparison, but also for more complex numerical operations, such as the computation of the tangent function and its inverse, for example.

The 386SLC was an Intel-licensed version of the 386SX, developed and manufactured by IBM in 1991. It included power-management capabilities and an 8KB internal CPU cache, which enabled it to yield comparable performance to 386DX processors of the same clock speed, which were considerably more expensive. Known inside IBM as "Super Little Chip" for its initials, it was used in the IBM PS/2 35, 40 and 56 Series and in the IBM PS/ValuePoint 325T, but never gained much market share. This was mainly due to an agreement with Intel, in which IBM was not allowed to sell their CPUs if they were not part of a system or upgrade board. It was also marketed as an optional upgrade for 8086-equipped IBM PS/2 25 Series computers.

Cyrix Cx486

The Cyrix Cx486 was an x86 microprocessor designed by Cyrix. It primarily competed with the Intel 486 with which it was software compatible, would operate in the same motherboards provided proper support by the BIOS was available and generally showed comparable performance. The chip also competed with parts from AMD and UMC.

The Intel 8231 and 8232 were early designs of floating-point maths coprocessors (FPUs), marketed for use with their i8080 line of primary CPUs. They were licensed versions of AMD's Am9511 and Am9512 FPUs, from 1977 and 1979, themselves claimed by AMD as the world's first single-chip FPU solutions.