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Old 04-29-2003, 09:01 PM   #1
CodeWarrior
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General Question on CPU architecture


I need some clarification of the Intel architecture. Why is it that some people call the Intel architecture i386 or x86 etc. Are they the one and the same? Is there more than one type of modern Intel CPU architecture? And if so is Linux ported to each one? Also what is the Pentium 4 series of chip refered to as? Answers to these questions will also help me make sure that when I am buying a Linux distro, I am buying it for the right Architecture. All the PCs I have are running some version of the Pentium chip.
 
Old 04-29-2003, 09:08 PM   #2
Tinkster
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Here's a quite good overview ... :)

Just look around on the main page if it's not enough info.
Guess you'll find most of your questions answered there.

Cheers,
Tink

Last edited by Tinkster; 04-29-2003 at 09:10 PM.
 
Old 04-29-2003, 09:11 PM   #3
wapcaplet
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x86 generally refers to the 286/386/486/Pentium etc. instruction set as a whole. i386 is just what it sounds like (386), same for i486. The 486 has a few more instructions than the 386 does, so i486 code will not run on a 386.

586 is Pentium 1, 686 is Pentium 2/3 (I think?) and beyond that is P4. Of course there are AMD equivalents for each of them. It gets really hairy when you get into all the different variations that each company released.

The long and the short of it is, Linux will work on basically all of them (except a 286, since they do not have protected mode).

A nice description of all of them is available on Wikipedia
 
Old 04-29-2003, 09:15 PM   #4
CodeWarrior
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SO if I buy a Linux distribution that says it will work for x86 archtecture, I should be able to install it on my 166MHZ Pentium as well as my Pentium 4, correct?
 
Old 04-29-2003, 09:41 PM   #5
wapcaplet
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Yep, ought to.

And the best part is, if it's not compiled for your architecture, you can usually get the source and compile it yourself
 
Old 04-29-2003, 10:28 PM   #6
whansard
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the x86 chips are all backwards compatible.
when you see something made for i386 it means
it will run on i386 and later.
 
Old 04-30-2003, 08:39 PM   #7
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ok that helps, thanks!
 
  


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