Intel's i486SX was a modified Intel 486DX microprocessor with its floating-point unit (FPU) disabled. It was intended as a lower-cost CPU for use in low-end systems. Computer manufacturers that used these processors include Packard Bell, Compaq, ZEOS and IBM.
In the early 1990s, common applications did not need or benefit from an FPU. Among the rare exceptions were CAD applications, which could often simulate floating point operations in software, but benefited from a hardware floating point unit immensely. AMD had begun manufacturing its 386DX clone which was faster than Intel's. To respond to this new situation Intel wanted to provide a lower cost i486 CPU for system integrators, but without sacrificing the better profit margins of a "full" i486. This was accomplished through a debug feature called Disable Floating Point (DFP), by grounding a certain bond wire in the CPU package. The i486SX was introduced in mid-1991 at 20 MHz in a PGA package. Later (1992) versions of the i486SX had the FPU entirely removed for cost-cutting reasons and comes in surface-mount packages as well.
Many systems allowed the user to upgrade the i486SX to a CPU with the FPU enabled. The upgrade was shipped as the i487, which was a full-blown i486DX chip with an extra pin. The extra pin prevents the chip from being installed incorrectly. The NC# pin, one of the standard 168 pins, was used to shut off the i486SX.Although i486SX devices were not used at all when the i487 was installed, they were hard to remove because the i486SX was typically installed in non-ZIF sockets or in a plastic package that was surface mounted on the motherboard. Later OverDrive processors also plugged into the socket and offered performance enhancements as well.
The Intel 80386, also known as i386 or just 386, 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 80386 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.
The Intel 80486, also known as the i486 or 486, is a higher performance follow-up to the Intel 80386 microprocessor. The 80486 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.
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.
The Pentium Pro is a sixth-generation x86 microprocessor developed and manufactured by Intel and introduced on November 1, 1995. It introduced the P6 microarchitecture and was originally intended to replace the original Pentium in a full range of applications. While the Pentium and Pentium MMX had 3.1 and 4.5 million transistors, respectively, the Pentium Pro contained 5.5 million transistors. Later, it was reduced to a more narrow role as a server and high-end desktop processor and was used in supercomputers like ASCI Red, the first computer to reach the teraFLOPS performance mark. The Pentium Pro was capable of both dual- and quad-processor configurations. It only came in one form factor, the relatively large rectangular Socket 8. The Pentium Pro was succeeded by the Pentium II Xeon in 1998.
The Am5x86 processor is an x86-compatible CPU introduced in 1995 by AMD for use in 486-class computer systems. It was one of the fastest, and most universally compatible upgrade paths for users of 486 systems.
The Pentium OverDrive was a microprocessor marketing brand name used by Intel, to cover a variety of consumer upgrade products sold in the mid-1990s. It was originally released for 486 motherboards, and later some Pentium sockets. Intel dropped the brand, as it failed to appeal to corporate buyers, and discouraged new system sales.
Intel's i486 OverDrive processors are a category of various Intel 80486s that were produced with the designated purpose of being used to upgrade personal computers. The OverDrives typically possessed qualities different from 'standard' i486s with the same speed steppings. Those included built-in voltage regulators, different pin-outs, write-back cache instead of write-through cache, built-in heatsinks, and fanless operation — features that made them more able to work where an ordinary edition of a particular model would not.
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.
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.
Weitek Corporation was an American chip-design company that originally focused on floating-point units for a number of commercial CPU designs. During the early to mid-1980s, Weitek designs could be found powering a number of high-end designs and parallel-processing supercomputers.
The Intel 8087, announced in 1980, was the first x87 floating-point coprocessor for the 8086 line of microprocessors.
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.
Socket 3 was a series of CPU Sockets for various x86 microprocessors. It was sometimes found alongside a secondary socket designed for a math coprocessor chip, in this case the 487. Socket 3 resulted from Intel's creation of lower voltage microprocessors. An upgrade to Socket 2, it rearranged the pin layout.
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.
Socket 1, originally called the "OverDrive" socket, was the second of a series of standard CPU sockets created by Intel into which various x86 microprocessors were inserted. It was an upgrade to Intel's first standard 168-pin pin grid array (PGA) socket and the first with an official designation. Socket 1 was intended as a 486 upgrade socket, and added one extra pin to prevent upgrade chips from being inserted incorrectly.
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.
The Vortex86 is a computing system-on-a-chip (SoC) based on a core compatible with the x86 microprocessor family. It is produced by DM&P Electronics, but originated with Rise Technology.
The UMC Green CPU was an x86-compatible microprocessor produced by UMC, a Taiwanese semiconductor company, in the early- to mid-1990s. It was offered as an alternative to the Intel 80486 with which it was pin compatible, enabling it to be installed in most 80486 motherboards. All models had power management features intended to reduce electricity consumption.
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.