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What is your Favorite CPU and Why ?

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First post, by Intel486dx33

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This is NOT a poll. I just would like to hear about what is your favorite CPU from your builder experience and why.

For me it’s the 486. I hate it and like it because it challenges me every time I build one of these computers.
BIOS settings , jumpers , drivers, etc....
It keeps my mind working....
Pentium are too easy to build.

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Reply 1 of 31, by Garrett W

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The one that's most important to me is the Pentium 133. I simply would not be here typing this if it were not for that CPU.

However, my favorite in terms of how it performed at the time and how efficient it was and all that, has to be one from the original lineup of Core2Duo processors on desktops. I'm gonna go with the E6400, it was affordable and a massive leap from my Pentium 4.

Reply 2 of 31, by Zup

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Z80A. A simpler CPU for simpler times. But I might be cheating because at that times people didn't build their own rigs (and still they were proud of having a Spectrum and not a C64).

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Reply 3 of 31, by brostenen

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Most favorite of all....
Motorola 68000, because it is found in everything from consoles to computers such as AtariST, Macintosh and Amiga.

The second most favorite....
Amd 80486dx2-80, because it is in that right sweetspot of decent Doom performance and yet still able to run older software without issues.

Third most favorite....
MOS 6510, because it is in my favorite 8bit computer of all times, namely the Commodore64.

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Reply 4 of 31, by Jo22

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It's the iAPX286. Or i80286.

Why? Hm. It has a clean design, no V86. Has no issues with memory managers and virtual stuff, thus.

It has virtual memory (1GB), a ring scheme and a memory management unit, but doesn't allow for flat-mode.
Thus, programmers are not tempted to write code that flows all over the memory.

The CPU has segment/offset arimethics, but also allows the use of "pointers".
It also has variable segment size (1 to 64KB)
and can execute real-mode programs in protected-mode, if they are playing by the rules.
Unlike the i8086, the processor has a real ALU (real adder and real multiplier), also.

Also, it was the foundation of the AT-Bus, which was later standardized as ISA (with a lousy 8MHz clock rate).

In addition, it allowes for 16MB of continuing memory (Extended Memory) and has a better FPU interface. And not only was it made in CMOS, but also NMOS technology.

Last, but not least, it can run Windows 3.x applications "natively" without being V86 involved.

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Reply 5 of 31, by cyclone3d

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The Athlon 64 was my favorite CPU when it was released. Why? Because of the on-die memory controller. Completely changed the game. Intel didn't have on-die memory controllers until the first gen Core-I CPUs came out.

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Reply 6 of 31, by Repo Man11

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They K6-2+ will always be my favorite. In the spring of 2001 I read Oldie Tuning and realized that I could affordably (I was very broke) upgrade from the Biostar MB8500TVX with a 200 MHz IDT Winchip to a P55T2P4 with a K6-2+ @500 MHz. So I did, and was very pleased with the result.

Reply 7 of 31, by Joseph_Joestar

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AthlonXP for me. It has enough power to run Win9x games with ease and can be slowed down to either early Pentium or late 386 levels using Throttle or SetMul, respectively.

It's a solid performer in early WinXP games as well. Back in the day, I used my AthlonXP 1700+ paired with a GeForce 3 Ti200 all the way up to 2004. Performance was decent in most games, until stuff like FarCry and Doom 3 came along.

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Reply 9 of 31, by DeathAdderSF

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Favorite: 486-class. I'm a DOS gamer first and foremost, and none of my favorites require anything more powerful than a 486 to run smoothly. Added to which, some of the "quirkier" hardware I'm into -- certain older sound cards, the Trackstar Apple II clones, etc. -- don't always play nice with more powerful CPUs.

Runner-up: 65C02. My first computer was an Apple IIc. Wonderful little machine, that. 😀

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Reply 10 of 31, by Cyberdyne

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For all in one DOS gaming machine Pentium III (Overall good framerates.). For all in one retro OS testing machine and voodoo machine, and more period correct Pentium MMX. For very retro tinkering and old operating systems and pre 1992 games 486. Thats about it. If i have to choose just one, than Pentium III, because i can insert an older videocard in there, and in reality could run older operating systems, and throttle and disable cache, and ofcourse easy ATX.

I am aroused about any X86 motherboard that has full functional ISA slot. I think i have problem. Not really into that original (Turbo) XT,286,386 and CGA/EGA stuff. So just a DOS nut.

Reply 11 of 31, by gerry

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I bought a PC in 1997, it had a Pentium 166mmx. I'd had a P75 before that, but the 166 seemed like a real powerhouse - everything at the time just worked, any RTS at full speed seemed to cope with 100+ units all following their own paths etc, any media file ran, windows applications ran smoothly. I still have it, it's still a powerhouse!

Reply 13 of 31, by Oetker

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Garrett W wrote on 2020-08-13, 17:20:

However, my favorite in terms of how it performed at the time and how efficient it was and all that, has to be one from the original lineup of Core2Duo processors on desktops. I'm gonna go with the E6400, it was affordable and a massive leap from my Pentium 4.

The original C2D was a huge step up from its competitors, however I think that within a year I upgraded from an e6600 to a q6600. It was a short period of major upgrades being released, after which things settled down again; that q6600 lasted me 8 years (at 3GHz). However, it wasn't always free from issues, I've had multiple dead motherboards and PSUs in that system, for some reason. Still, the q6600 might be my favorite CPU.

My current i7 4790k has only been in use for 6 years that that system really has been trouble-free since I've had it.

When it comes to retro gaming, it's the Pentium 3 for me. Back in the day I had a Coppermine P3-667 with an SB Live, and I played through some of my favorite games on that, such as Deus Ex and Morrowind. Even after two video card upgrades (TNT2 M64 -> Kyro 2 -> GF3) it did get too slow in ~2003 but that's how it was back then. Those games I would now just play on a modern system, but the P3 is great as an overpowered DOS/Win98 machine. With newer platforms ISA starts to become problematic, while the P3 is rock solid, doesn't draw much power or generate much heat, and there's just something about the Tualatin: lots of cache is always good and it was able to undermine the P4.

Before the P3 I had a P166, see no reason to build one as it won't do anything better than a P3. After the P3 came an Athlon XP, great CPU at the time but it's too similar to a modern machine and too power-hungry. I can see the appeal of messing around with 486 and earlier machines though.

Reply 15 of 31, by Cyberdyne

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Yes Core2Duo brougt relief to us all! I did hold to my Athlon XP as long.

I am aroused about any X86 motherboard that has full functional ISA slot. I think i have problem. Not really into that original (Turbo) XT,286,386 and CGA/EGA stuff. So just a DOS nut.

Reply 16 of 31, by chrismeyer6

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That's a tough question. It's kind of a tie between the Athlon XP and the core 2 duo. I still have both my systems and use them as often as I can. Hell my C2D E8600 based system is still my daily driver and it still performs beautifully.

Reply 17 of 31, by Intel486dx33

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Well if you ask what CPU made the BIGGEST impact on the computer market it would have had to have been the first gen. Pentium.
It was a Wrecking ball that dominated the computer industry. Putting many UNIX workstations And servers out of commission.
Married with WinNT 4.0 workstation and server or Win95/98 desktop with internet browser.
This combination was a Wrecking ball that took the computer industry by storm.

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Last edited by Stiletto on 2020-08-16, 06:13. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 18 of 31, by Malik

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I have a fondness for the intel Pentium 133 and Intel 486DX2-66.

(Though I grew up with XTs and ATs, I was not much aware of the CPUs at that time, and all I cared about was the games running on it, from Zaxxon, Lode Runner to Karateka and Pit Stop.)

I bought (actually asked to get for me, after many trials) a 286 at the wrong time - when 386SX were about to be released and my greedy self couldn't wait.

I had great nostalgic moments with the 286 with almost all the classic adventure games from Sierra and Lucasarts running on it. And simulations from Microprose and. "Gold Box" RPGs from SSI. Not to mention played Wing Commander 1 to death in this 286 along with Ultimate VI and Martian Dreams. And also had the opportunity to play Access Software classics and Accolade games on this too.

And some time later, the 486DX2-66 were deemed king of the 1st class computing at that time, and I wowed and wondered about it and dreamt ever since of having it. It ran all the "most demanding" games as smooth as butter when released. (Of course. DOOM and later Quake seriously challenged it's power.) But by that time I was about to go to college and I didn't have chance to get it.

And when I came back for a big break during college, I had the opportunity to get the legendary (for me) Pentium 133. With it came the CD-ROM drive, which totally immersed me in the speech and animation enhanced versions of previously played games. I couldn't have gotten it at a better time than that, since it was the era of "multimedia" explosion. Windows 3.x had many "multimedia" CD-ROM applications, utilities and games.

I had lots of memorable moments with it, even though it was just a Socket 5 system.

After started working, I built my first 486DX2-66 system with parts from EBay. And continued to keep the same Pentium 133 system till this dday.

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Reply 19 of 31, by Almoststew1990

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I7 860. Still relevant today, 11 years later. Old 'values' such as overclocking on non-K variant chips and support for old PCI but modern enough to use e.g. USB 3 and SATA 3.

I can't think of another CPU that has offered value like that.

At the time most people (everyone except keen gamers) would be upgrading from a dual core or even a single core CPU to 4c 8t and windows 7. A huge jump!

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