!!In article <1993Jan25.090410.12066 at gserv1.dl.ac.uk>,
!!schnorr at tournesol.versailles.inra.fr (Kirk Schnorr) writes:
!!|> I was wondering if anyone out there could inform me about the relative
[ much good discussion deleted to which John Penniston aptly replied]
!Chip Internal External Floating
!Designation Data Path Data Path Point Unit?
!----------- --------- --------- -----------
!386DX 32 bits 32 bits No
!386SX 32 bits 16 bits No
!486DX 32 bits 32 bits Yes
!486SX 32 bits 32 bits No
! As you can see, Intel changed the meaning of "SX" between the 386
!and 486 chips.
I'd just like to add a bit more to the pot.
Run @ 2X
Chip Internal External Floating 8K Internal speed
Designation Data Path Data Path Point Unit? Cache internally?
----------- --------- --------- ----------- ----------- ----------
386SX 32 bits 16 bits No No No
386DX 32 bits 32 bits No No No
486SX 32 bits 32 bits No Yes No
486DX 32 bits 32 bits Yes Yes No
486DX2 32 bits 32 bits Yes Yes Yes
additional speed boosts
Does any of this speak to the point of which processor you should buy? Not
really. Most software (90%) is written to run on 16 bit processors. I think
windows 3.1 now incorporates a little 32 bit code but not much. Some of the
newest windows programs incorporate 32 bit code but again not much. NO
software, to my knowledge, have been written that REQUIRE the 486 chip. A 386
machine with a 387 math coprocessor is identically functional (as far as
software is concerned, though you might notice a slight speed difference) to a
486 chip. Furthermore, currently very few programs utilize the math
coprocessor portion of the 486, though this may change rapidly. The primary
advantage of a 486 over a 386 is SPEED.
SO... what should you do? As always, the decision boils down to dollars.
Buy the most powerfull machine you can comfortably afford. I'd shy from 386SX
but other than that, 32 bits is 32 bits. You may opt to buy a (slightly)
cheaper 386 but purchase more RAM so you can multitask in Windows more easily
or you could add a tape drive to facilitate backups. Certainly, if you can
afford it, you would want to buy a MEGA PC with 80486, 32 MB RAM, 600 MB hard
drive, tape backup, etc, but, for most, the decision is a big balancing act.
I hope I haven't complicated things too much. :) Just my 2c.
Molecular Biology Institute
University of California, Los Angeles