Intel 8087

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The intel 8087 was a floating point co-processor to intel's 8088 and 8086 models of single chip computer.[1] Both the 8088 and 8086 implemented the 8086 instruction set, which included a subset of instructions for floating point operations -- arithmetic operations that might include fractions.

Integer arithmetic requires much less silicon real estate to implement than calculations on values that had a fractional component.[2] Intel off-loaded the hardware to perform those instructions to a co-processor -- a support chip devoted solely to that task.[3] Computers could be equipped with an 8088 or 8086, and without an 8087. If the 8087 were present floating point instructions would be off-loaded and executed relatively quickly, by the 8087.

Later chips, lineal descendants to the 8086, the 80186, 80286 and 80386 had a companion floating point co-processor manufactured to accompany them. Intel was to market an intel 80487. But it was not a separate chip, different from the 80486.

References

  1. Intel 8087 family, CPU World. Retrieved on 2008-11-28. mirror
  2. Omar Alvarado, Thomas J. Fellers, Michael W. Davidson. Intel 387 Math Coprocessor, Olympus Micro. Retrieved on 2008-11-27. mirror
  3. Intel and Floating Point: Updating One of the Industry’s Most Successful Standards, intel. Retrieved on 2008-11-28.