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Who needs the Intel i7 chip?

Posted by Karl Sharman on July 14, 2014 – 1:44 am

Here is a question that I recently uncovered. I didn’t find the answer with the question though. For big bonus points, and a gold star – When was the question written?

The Intel clock-doubled 486DX2-66 CPU chip operates by executing a certain fraction x of instructions totally on chip at a doubled rate (66 MHz), while the remaining 1-x are executed at the normal rate (33 MHz). It’s observed that the 486DX2-66 is 76% faster than the 486DX-33 (which executes all instructions at 33 MHz). Given this and making some reasonable assumptions, estimate how much faster a clock-tripled 486DX3-99 (on chip 99 MHz; off chip 33 MHz) is than the 486DX2-66.

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  1. 1. Chris Said:

    Hi Karl. This takes me back a ways. I remember having to do a zipped backup of a database, for a project I was managing at Eastern Electricity. Initially I tried it with a 16MHz 286 (I think). I’d have been there all night. So I came back the next day with a 386DX 33MHz PC. That only took an hour to do the job. I remember calculating and trying to justify why the 386 was about 16 times faster than the 286. At that time the 386 33MHz was the most powerful retail offering. If you gave me one now, I’d either try to auction it, else I’d bin it. It is a complete joke compared to today’s processors.

    I think my calcs were, x2 for clock, x2 for being a bigger brother in the x86 family, x2 for improved engineering of the microcode hardware, x2 for the larger amount of RAM (might have had a whopping great 4 MB, this was the days of MS-DOS) on the better PC. May even have been before DR-DOS.

    I probably had 4MB on the 386. I used QEMM (Quarterdeck Expanded Memory Manager). It let you effectively multitask under DOS using a proggy called DESQView. I’ve still got a copy in my software museum.

  2. 2. Karl Sharman Said:

    Wow – QEMM – me too! Those were the days! Still have my copy of Windows 3.11 and MS-DOS on floppy, and my first game – Side Meier’s Civilization (1)
    If you really want some nostalgia, check out this site: http://www.michaelv.org/ It is strangely difficult to remember how it worked in the olden days!!

  3. 3. Chris Said:

    I seem to have lost my Win 3.x installers. I’ve got just about every DOS from 3.3 up.

    I’ve only got a link to my old slide rule (slipstick) though: http://www.antiquark.com/sliderule/sim/n4es/virtual-n4es.html
    You can actually operate the cursor and slide on that picture. I bought it when I was about 13 or 14 years old. I never finished paying for it (I’m sorry, Mr. Dunwoodie). It turns out it was Pickett and Eckel’s flagship model. It forced me to learn logarithms. I used it when sitting my ‘O’-levels (you added (SR) after your calculations way back then).

    I might even still have an Otis King Model K, 66 inch cylindrical rule somewhere. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otis_King

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