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Imitation To Innovation: AMD's Best CPUs

Am386: A 40-MHz 386

In 1991, AMD released its 386 processor. Like its predecessors, this model was identical to the Intel versions. AMD was licensed to produce clones of Intel products, right down to the microcode (the CPU’s firmware). This processor had two notable features. First, it was faster than the Intel model—40 MHz compared to a top speed of 33 MHz at Intel—and it was the first to sport the Windows Compatible logo on the package.

Code name?
Date released1991
Architecture32-bits
Data bus32-bits
Address bus32-bits
Maximum memory4,096 MB
L1 cacheno
L2 cacheno
Clock frequency12-40 MHz
FSBsame as clock frequency
FPU80387
SIMDno
Fabrication process1,500 - 1,000 nm
Number of transistors275,000
Power consumption2 W (33 MHz)
Voltage5 V
Die surface area42 mm²
Connector132 pins
  • Ryun
    Nice article, thanks for another trip-down-memory-lane.
    Reply
  • randomizer
    I swear I had a Clawhammer with 512MB L2 cache.
    Reply
  • cpuTweaker
    Lackluster article...a lot of backround on the chips were left out, fact that make thier acomplishments truely impressive. To THG's credit, their was at least some mention of the impact Alpha had on some of the chip designs, but no where near being complete.

    Where the intel article seemed to overshadow intel's little victories, this article seems to gloss over AMD innovation (though i'll admit that i didn't recall the bit about the Intel chip, either the pentium or pentium pro, that gave incorrect values for mathmatical equations)

    Both articles really need alot more detail added. As i've actually ranted about the history i'm reffering to in the comments section of the intel article as well as many other's i won't re-hash it.
    Reply
  • neiroatopelcc
    Despite not being terribly detailed, I still like these recaps. Good articles really, all of them. Now all we need is one on alpha, and on how the mac stuff went before it was called intel
    Reply
  • neiroatopelcc
    Oh and on ati I suppose, seeing we've already had nvidia :9 ... or even matrox, 3dfx and others that have vanished in a combo article...

    This is like viasat history - only more specific and technical
    Reply
  • AMD 386 SX @25 MHz was powering my first personal computer. The whole computer costed ~4000$ and it wasn't even top performance.
    AMD 486 @120 Mhz was making my friends that bought an early Pentium red with envy.

    Reply
  • jj463rd
    I had several systems with the AMD 486 X5 processor at 133 Mhz.I also have 2 K6-2 systems,1 Athlon a Athlon 64 and a Phenom X4 9850 BE system.Actually most of my systems are Intel basedthough.When I first heard that AMD was in pretty big trouble I still wouldn't get a B2 Phenom but when they fixed the bug I decided to help them out by building the Phenom X4 9850BE system which runs very well.Plus I've just ordered some new ATI graphics cards too.
    Someone gave me a AMD K5 system.
    Thanks for the article.
    Reply
  • Malovane
    Heh, owned one AMD processor of every line, starting with the 8086 and ending with the Phenom. Wasn't even intentional for the first decade, but I'm glad I did. Liked the article, though it could have gone into a bit more detail and back story.
    Reply
  • Minerva
    I enjoy these articles as well, as I collect old hardware...
    I have quite a few chips from both makers, including the AMD 40MHz 386, and an Intel 386 & 387 33MHz cpu's, which are quite scarce...
    Reply
  • NightLight
    I too collect old hardware Minerva, in fact, I still have a lot of them still in running order on a mainboard ! Good Review, I just loved to see that windows 3 series again :)Altough a little bit biased...
    Reply