Info

The 80486 wasn't as radical a departure from the 80386 as was the 80386 from the 80286. The 80486 provided speed improvements over the 80386, so if you run both an 80386 and an 80486 at the same clock speed, the 80486 will perform more computations per second. Another feature of the 80486 is that it uses an internal memory cache—an 8KB section of very fast memory on the CPU itself that can greatly speed CPU operation when working on data that fits inside the cache. Intel also introduced a new pinout for the 80486 (see Figure 1.1), so it was impossible to use 80386 motherboards with 80486 CPUs. (Cyrix, one of Intel's competitors at the time, introduced a series of CPUs called the 80486SLC and 80486DLC that did fit on 80386 motherboards, and that provided performance in-between those of an Intel 80386 and 80486 CPU.)

Like the 80386, the 80486 came in both SX and DX varieties. The 80486DX, however, differed from the 80486SX in that the DX included a built-in FPU, whereas the SX did not. Placing the FPU on the CPU wafer greatly improved the speed of the FPU, as compared to placing it on a separate chip.

Many Linux distributions today run on 80486 CPUs. As with the 80386, some distributions include optimizations that make it impossible to install or run the OS on an 80486. By today's standards, the 80486 is pretty old, and it doesn't perform well with many modern programs, particularly those that are graphics intensive. If you've got an old 80486, you might still be able to use it with Linux in certain capacities, including

• Small network router or firewall Set up an 80486 running Linux as a gateway between a small home or office network and a cable modem or digital subscriber line (DSL) system, in order to protect your network or attach several computers to one IP address. (For more on this type of configuration, see my book Linux: Networking for Your Office, from Sams Publishing.)

Part i

• Dedicated X terminal Two people can use a single Linux computer simultaneously if you have a computer to function as an X server for the main system. An old 80486 can perform this task reasonably well.

• Light use If your needs are modest, an 80486 can perform adequately. You might not like the way a huge package like StarOffice (http://www.sun.com) performs, but you can run an older or smaller word processor, text editors, and so on just fine on an 80486.

Figure 1.1

An 80486 CPU, shown here with a heat sink attached, has 168pins.

Figure 1.1

An 80486 CPU, shown here with a heat sink attached, has 168pins.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
The Ultimate Computer Repair Guide

The Ultimate Computer Repair Guide

Read how to maintain and repair any desktop and laptop computer. This Ebook has articles with photos and videos that show detailed step by step pc repair and maintenance procedures. There are many links to online videos that explain how you can build, maintain, speed up, clean, and repair your computer yourself. Put the money that you were going to pay the PC Tech in your own pocket.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment