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Thread: A Brief History of CPUs: 31 Awesome Years of x86

  1. #1
    SonsOfLiberty's Avatar The Lonely Wanderer
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    Believe it or not, your terrifically fast Core i7 fresh off Intel's assembly line contains DNA that dates back over three decades. The same is true if you roll with AMD's latest silicon, the Phenom II X4. We're of course referring to the longstanding x86 microprocessor architecture that has dominated the desktop and mobile scene since before some of you were even born, and will probably be a mainstay still yet for many more years to come.

    Invented by Intel in 1978, the x86 architecture has evolved through the ages, not only getting faster, but increasingly flexible as more and more extensions and instruction sets accompany each new release. It's been a wild ride the past 30 years, and whether you lived through it all or have only recently picked up your first processor, we invite you to join as we look back at not only the most popular x86 CPUs in its history, but ones you may never even have heard of.

    Read the rest here:
    http://maximumpc.com/article/feature..._and_times_x86
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  2. Software & Hardware   -   #2
    lynx's Avatar .
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    IMO that should read "Awful".

    When they first came up with the idea of building their own PC, IBM made 2 disastrous decisions.

    One was to give a company called Microsoft royalties based on each PC sold. That deal effectively scuppered other potential operating systems since the PC buyer still had to pay for MS-DOS in the form of this royalty. It would almost certainly be deemed illegal under anti-competition rules these days.

    The other was to design the PC around the Intel chip. Intel had made a mess of the design of their previous chip, the 8080. The people who knew what was wrong with it (and were ignored) left to form a company called Zylog and develop the instruction compatible Z80 which ruled its class for years. Did IBM think they were going to do any better this time? I can't see why, since all their really bright people had already left. If they did, they must have been badly disappointed. Intel didn't get anything like a decent chip design until they brought out the 386.

    Meanwhile the Zylog people were working on a super little chip that they called the Z8000. Effectively they were doing the same thing to the Motorola 68000 chip as the Z80 had done to the Intel 8080. That said, the 68000 chip wasn't a bad design in the first place. Early personal computers based on the Z8000 chip could walk all over the initial offerings from IBM, but unfortunately the marketing power of IBM and the blindness of the US market to anything that wasn't made in the US forced these manufacturers onto the Intel road.

    We can only wonder what might have happened if the might of IBM had chosen a better starting point. If they only realised that the PC was going to overwhelm the market they might have looked at the technology a little harder. By the time they realised their mistake it was all over.
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    Political correctness is based on the principle that it's possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

  3. Software & Hardware   -   #3
    j2k4's Avatar en(un)lightened
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx View Post
    IMO that should read "Awful".

    When they first came up with the idea of building their own PC, IBM made 2 disastrous decisions.

    One was to give a company called Microsoft royalties based on each PC sold. That deal effectively scuppered other potential operating systems since the PC buyer still had to pay for MS-DOS in the form of this royalty. It would almost certainly be deemed illegal under anti-competition rules these days.

    The other was to design the PC around the Intel chip. Intel had made a mess of the design of their previous chip, the 8080. The people who knew what was wrong with it (and were ignored) left to form a company called Zylog and develop the instruction compatible Z80 which ruled its class for years. Did IBM think they were going to do any better this time? I can't see why, since all their really bright people had already left. If they did, they must have been badly disappointed. Intel didn't get anything like a decent chip design until they brought out the 386.

    Meanwhile the Zylog people were working on a super little chip that they called the Z8000. Effectively they were doing the same thing to the Motorola 68000 chip as the Z80 had done to the Intel 8080. That said, the 68000 chip wasn't a bad design in the first place. Early personal computers based on the Z8000 chip could walk all over the initial offerings from IBM, but unfortunately the marketing power of IBM and the blindness of the US market to anything that wasn't made in the US forced these manufacturers onto the Intel road.

    We can only wonder what might have happened if the might of IBM had chosen a better starting point. If they only realised that the PC was going to overwhelm the market they might have looked at the technology a little harder. By the time they realised their mistake it was all over.
    The awful truth.


























    That's it - I'm off PCs.
    “Think about how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that.” -George Carlin

  4. Software & Hardware   -   #4
    peat moss's Avatar Software Farmer BT Rep: +15BT Rep +15BT Rep +15
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    Watch the movie Pirates of the Silicon Valley to really see the awful truth . Actualy not a bad movie if you like computers .

  5. Software & Hardware   -   #5
    tesco's Avatar woowoo
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    Quote Originally Posted by peat moss View Post
    Watch the movie Pirates of the Silicon Valley to really see the awful truth . Actualy not a bad movie if you like computers .
    That's about software though not hardware.
    Go back to software world.

  6. Software & Hardware   -   #6
    peat moss's Avatar Software Farmer BT Rep: +15BT Rep +15BT Rep +15
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    Ross , they stole the idea for a better mouse from IBM .

  7. Software & Hardware   -   #7
    tesco's Avatar woowoo
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    xerox.

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