Retro Computer Cpu Alphabet Soup

Retro Computer Cpu Alphabet Soup



Retro Computer CPU Alphabet Soup
It may seem to​ some vintage computer newcomers that the​ plethora of​ numbers in​ the​ designation of​ early pc CPU and model types is​ just too confusing .​
After all isn’t Pentium,​ Pentium III and IV self explanatory? After all what do the​ numbers and terms 8088,​ 8086,​ 286,​ 286 and 486 represent anyway and what is​ the​ difference among them all?
To begin with the​ 8088 is​ the​ oldest of​ the​ early PC central Processing Unit (CPU) variant models .​
which means a​ rectangular case with two rows of​ 20 pins .​
DIP stands for Dual In-Line Package .​
Older 80800 CPUs are called 8088-2 .​
As they can only run at​ lower speeds (believe it​ not 5 MHz or​ slower compared to​ a​ now 4000 MHz computer) .​
The faster models – the​ Turbo PC/XT clones ran at​ faster rates of​ 6.6,​ 7.16 or​ even 8.0 MHz .​
IBM function with the​ PC was so shut the​ market down to​ protect their lucrative central core of​ their business- mainframe computers .​
You can imagine upper brass at​ IBM was not too thrilled at​ the​ competitive upkill from Clone manufacturers such as​ Compaq or​ later Dell .​
By the​ way the​ 8088 had the​ equivalent of​ approximately 27,​000 transistors.
Next in​ line along the​ route of​ vintage computer evolution was the​ 80286 chip .​
Designed by Intel in​ 1981 its package is​ a​ square of​ plastic called a​ PGA which stood not for professional golf association but rather Pin Grid Array Package .​
The 286 Vintage Computer CPU also came in​ a​ cheaper version (the Celeron of​ its time) called the​ PLCC or​ Plastic Leaderless Chip Carrier .​
The PGA Package had an​ inner and outer square of​ solid pins whereas the​ PLCC arranges thin tinfoil- like legs around its perimeter .​
The 286 packed a​ wallop of​ more power that the​ 8088 did .​
The 80286 is​ the​ equivalent of​ about 130,​000 transistors in​ the​ actual similar volume of​ the​ 8088’s 29,​000 transistors .​
Not unexpectedly similar to​ the​ heat production problem of​ todays Pentium type computers extra cooling requirement is​ needed .​
We are left today in​ our modern computers with the​ benefits of​ the​ foresight of​ the​ electronic engineers of​ the​ day with the​ inventions of​ various types of​ heat sinks .​
Heat sinks one way or​ another are in​ effect radiators to​ dispel heat in​ a​ similar means and manner to​ you might have in​ your car .​
Small metal caps were first developed or​ metal cooling fins were added on​ top of​ the​ CPU chip to​ better dissipate the​ heat especially in​ both higher end products,​ CPUs in​ intensive work situations and CPU operating in​ severe hot climates or​ in​ hot workplace settings .​
It must be appreciated that it​ was always the​ higher or​ leading edge products that were under the​ most pressure and scrutiny both as​ for the​ heat they produce,​ their performance work and environmental pressures and for customer expectations of​ reliability and performance for these most expensive flagship products of​ the​ computer industry of​ its day.
Lastly came the​ 386 chipset which is​ the​ direct predecessor of​ our modern Pentiums.
The chip is​ properly called the​ 80386 by the​ still leading chip manufacture Intel .​
Introduced in​ 1985,​ the​ 80386 comes in​ a​ PGA package and is​ the​ equivalent of​ about 250,​000 transistors .​
The 386 variants a​ wealth of​ programming features including the​ core vital ability to​ multitask DOS programs with the​ help of​ hyerpervisor programs like DesqView /386 or​ VRM/386 .​
Its 32 bit data path speeds data access .​
Interestingly it​ took later hardware in​ the​ next 486 era chips to​ fully take broad scale advantage of​ these built in​ innovations.
Interestingly enough similar to​ the​ Intel Celeron marketing example there was also a​ downsized less costly and powerful example sporting a​ similar moniker called the​ 386SX .​
You have to​ remember this was pre internet when computer purchasers were much more at​ the​ mercy of​ both computer marketers and high pressure salespeople and were more easily fooled by similar marketing terms and descriptions .​
The 386SX was identical except to​ the​ real 386 version – the​ 386DX except for the​ vital fact that it​ had a​ 16 bit data path which it​ was said allowed it​ be more easily incorporated into earlier and less costly AT type 286 16 bit computer hardware.
The more things change the​ more they stay the​ same.




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