Intel 486 and Pentium microprocesors, 1989 and 1992.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The Intel 486 microprocesor (left) was introduced in 1989 and marked a significant improvement in the procesing capacity of computers over that of the previous Intel 386 (introduced in 1985). In addition, the 486 procesor was the first to offer a built-in 'math co-procesor'. This increased computing speeds because complex mathematical functions could be procesed away from the central procesor. The Intel Pentium (right) was first introduced in 1993 and was the most complex microprocesor of its time. It allowed computers to incorporate 'real' data - like speech, sound, handwriting and photographic images - more easily. Its rapid adoption by all sectors of the industry made Pentium a household name.