On Thu, Oct 14, 2004 at 02:45:38PM +0100, Walker, Michael wrote:

> [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] Behalf Of Subhro

> >Yeh, I forgot to mention about the FPU. Thanks for adding up.
> Just on a side note here, could someone explain to me what a 'FPU-less'
> system actually is?

Ancient history.  FPU means 'Floating Point Unit' -- ie. the bit of
the CPU that handles arithmetic etc. on floading point numbers.  Way
back in the mists of processor pre-history, the original 8086 was an
integer-only CPU.  The same applied to the 80186, 80286 and 80386,
although by that time it had grown a companion chip the 80n87 which
held the FPU.  By the time the 80486 came along, the FPU was
incorporated into the main CPU silicon, although there were some
cheapo 486 chips where the FPU had failed during manufacturing, sold
as integer only processors.

In order to run Unix on such systems, it was necessary to provide a
software library to emulate the FPU system.  FreeBSD actually came
with a choice of two.  All obsolete now.

All other IA32 architecture CPUs have had a built in FPU as standard,
as do all modern general purpose CPU chips.  



Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                       26 The Paddocks
                                                      Savill Way
PGP: http://www.infracaninophile.co.uk/pgpkey         Marlow
Tel: +44 1628 476614                                  Bucks., SL7 1TH UK

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