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Old 01-13-2009, 04:33 AM   #1
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Could somebody explain computer architectures to me?

I was wondering if someone could explain all those architectures to me? Here is what I know:
  • i386: The Intel processor I think. There are so many types of it, i368, x86 and x64... I don't know really, I find it confusing.
  • amd: I don't know what that is, just know that it's supposed to be close to the Intel one?
  • PowerPC- used by Macintosh (presumably just to make my life more difficult :P I tried to find a live CD for a PPC which was a pain in the ass)
  • and that's about all I know

Could someone explain these better to me, and maybe even tell me why they don't work with each other, and what has to be done to port OSs (like say Ubuntu) from i386 to a PowerPC. They don't have to write it all over again right, that would just be silly? Oh, and I also keep seeing some Sun architecture.. for Solaris? I dunno that's why I'm asking

Last edited by baldurpet; 01-13-2009 at 04:36 AM.
Old 01-13-2009, 04:38 AM   #2
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A good place to start would be:
Old 01-13-2009, 04:42 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by repo View Post
A good place to start would be:
The problem is that Wikipedia and Google don't come close to people who are very knowledgeable about the subject. That's why I go to forums and ask questions there because I like getting laconic answers which are straight to the point.

Also, at forums people give their personal opinion which is very helpful for learning (like "VFAT is a shitty file system" or "that's pointless!" or something), which isn't something found on Wikipedia.

Last edited by baldurpet; 01-13-2009 at 04:56 AM. Reason: Editing out rude answer
Old 01-13-2009, 05:29 AM   #4
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History 101

In a nutshell AMD was a second source for Intel X86 microprocessors and then developed there own PC compatable line.

Where as the PC used Intel, Apple used the Motorola microprocessors until they switched to Intel in 2006.

And then Sun used Sparc.

In a nutshell different architectures i.e. Intel vs Motrola etc use different instruction sets so what is written for one will not run on the other.

Aint google wonderful?
Old 01-13-2009, 05:33 AM   #5
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But apparently wikipedia isn't any good for this sort of query - hmmmm.
A little less snide remarks and a bit of effort from the OP may have got similar results.
Old 01-13-2009, 05:36 AM   #6
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Well, here's a good layout of the x86 and x86_64 architectures:
AMD and Intel have been competing for a long time making processors for this architecture, and x86 in general is by far the most popular architecture ... found in all PCs. x86_64 is an extension or 64-bit version of x86, all processors of this type retain backwards compatibility with x86, and for good reason. Note that Intel's implementation of x86_64 is called EM64T or Intel 64 is slightly different from AMD's implementation called AMD64, see the wiki for more on the differences. They are however, generally compatible with each other under the name x86_64.

As for PowerPC, it is a RISC architecture (reduced instruction set), it is well known as being used by Mac, until Mac switched to x86 in 2006. There exist many comparisons as to cost and benefits of each. For more read the wikis:


amd64, architecture, i386, intel, powerpc, x86

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