AM9511-1 arithmetic coprocessor
i8087 and i80287 microarchitecture
i80387 microarchitecture
Intel 80386DX CPU with 80387DX math coprocessor

Computer processor used to supplement the functions of the primary processor .

- Coprocessor

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Floating-point unit

Part of a computer system specially designed to carry out operations on floating-point numbers.


Historically, some systems implemented floating point with a coprocessor rather than as an integrated unit (but now in addition to the CPU, e.g. GPUs – that are coprocessors not always built into the CPU – have FPUs as a rule, while first generations of GPUs didn't).

Atari 8-bit family

Series of 8-bit home computers introduced by Atari, Inc. in 1979 as the Atari 400 and Atari 800 and manufactured until 1992.

The Atari 800's nameplate is on the dual-width cartridge slot cover
Atari 400 (1979) with a membrane keyboard and a door covering the single cartridge slot.
Atari 800 with the cover removed, showing expansion cards and two cartridge slots. The slots are molded into the cast aluminum RF shield.
The Atari 800 uses expansion cards for the RAM, ROM, and processor. It eventually shipped with three of these 16KB RAM cards, for a total of 48KB.
Atari 1200XL
The 800XL was the best-selling model in the Atari 8-bit line.
The 600XL has a slightly shallower case than the 800XL, as it lacks one row of RAM chips.
The 800XL main circuit board
Atari 130XE
Atari XE Game System
The processor board for the Atari 800, showing the 6502, ANTIC and CTIA chips
Atari 1020 four-color plotter
The Atari 400/800 boots into the Memo Pad text editor when no program is loaded.
Moiré pattern in 320 horizontal pixel graphics mode. The colors are artifacts of displaying hi-res pixels which are half the size of the NTSC color clock.

They are based on the MOS Technology 6502 CPU running at 1.79 MHz, and were the first home computers designed with custom coprocessor chips.

Vector processor

Central processing unit that implements an instruction set where its instructions are designed to operate efficiently and effectively on large one-dimensional arrays of data called vectors.

Cray J90 processor module with four scalar/vector processors

Solomon's goal was to dramatically increase math performance by using a large number of simple math co-processors under the control of a single master CPU.

Channel I/O

High-performance input/output architecture that is implemented in various forms on a number of computer architectures, especially on mainframe computers.

Computer simulation, one of the main cross-computing methodologies.

Some are powerful or flexible enough to be used as a computer on their own and can be construed as a form of coprocessor, for example, the 7909 Data Channel on an IBM 7090 or IBM 7094; however, most are not.

Intel 8086

16-bit microprocessor chip designed by Intel between early 1976 and June 8, 1978, when it was released.

A rare Intel C8086 processor in purple ceramic DIP package with side-brazed pins
Intel 8086 CPU die image
The 8086 pin assignments in min and max mode
Simplified block diagram over Intel 8088 (a variant of 8086); 1=main & index registers; 2=segment registers and IP; 3=address adder; 4=internal address bus; 5=instruction queue; 6=control unit (very simplified!); 7=bus interface; 8=internal databus; 9=ALU; 10/11/12=external address/data/control bus.

Designers also anticipated coprocessors, such as 8087 and 8089, so the bus structure was designed to be flexible.

Video display controller

Integrated circuit which is the main component in a video-signal generator, a device responsible for the production of a TV video signal in a computing or game system.

Block diagram of a NEC µPD7220 graphics display controller
ATi R300 chip block diagram. The display controller is labelled "display interface".

Most often the VDC chip is completely integrated in the logic of the main computer system, (its video RAM appears in the memory map of the main CPU), but sometimes it functions as a coprocessor that can manipulate the video RAM contents independently.

Floating-point arithmetic

Arithmetic using formulaic representation of real numbers as an approximation to support a trade-off between range and precision.

An early electromechanical programmable computer, the Z3, included floating-point arithmetic (replica on display at Deutsches Museum in Munich).
Single-precision floating point numbers on a number line: the green lines mark representable values.
Augmented version above showing both signs of representable values
Leonardo Torres y Quevedo, who proposed a form of floating point in 1914
William Kahan. A primary architect of the Intel 80x87 floating-point coprocessor and IEEE 754 floating-point standard.

A floating-point unit (FPU, colloquially a math coprocessor) is a part of a computer system specially designed to carry out operations on floating-point numbers.

Cell (microprocessor)

Cell BE as it appears in the PS3 on the motherboard
Peter Hofstee, one of the chief architects of the Cell microprocessor
The 90 nm Cell/B.E. that shipped with the first PlayStation 3. The usual way one would see it is with its lid on, as it is glued on and not easily removed.
The 90 nm Cell/B.E. that shipped with the first PlayStation 3. It has its lid removed to show the size of the processor die underneath.
The underside of the 90 nm Cell/B.E. processor showing its 1242 solder balls, each 0.6 mm in diameter, and its array of 35 capacitors.
The 65 nm Cell/B.E. that shipped with updated PlayStation 3s. It has its lid removed to show the size of the processor die underneath.
The 45 nm Cell/B.E. that shipped with updated PlayStation 3s such as the Slim and Super Slim versions. It has its lid removed to show the size of the processor die underneath.
The 65 nm high-performance PowerXCell 8i with extra capacitors on top due to decoupling needed for noise introduced by the DDR2 interface.

Cell is a multi-core microprocessor microarchitecture that combines a general-purpose PowerPC core of modest performance with streamlined coprocessing elements which greatly accelerate multimedia and vector processing applications, as well as many other forms of dedicated computation.

Cryptographic accelerator

Sun Microsystems PCI cryptographiphic accelerator (2002)

In computing, a cryptographic accelerator is a co-processor designed specifically to perform computationally intensive cryptographic operations, doing so far more efficiently than the general-purpose CPU.

Graphics processing unit

Specialized electronic circuit designed to manipulate and alter memory to accelerate the creation of images in a frame buffer intended for output to a display device.

Components of a GPU
Atari ANTIC microprocessor on an Atari 130XE motherboard
NEC μPD7220A
The IBM 8514 Micro Channel adapter, with memory add-on.
VGA section on the motherboard in IBM PS/55
Tseng Labs ET4000/W32p
S3 Graphics ViRGE
Voodoo3 2000 AGP card
The ATI HD5470 GPU (above) features UVD 2.1 which enables it to decode AVC and VC-1 video formats
The position of an integrated GPU in a northbridge/southbridge system layout
An ASRock motherboard with integrated graphics, which has HDMI, VGA and DVI outs.

Also included is a coprocessor with its own simple instruction set, capable of manipulating graphics hardware registers in sync with the video beam (e.g. for per-scanline palette switches, sprite multiplexing, and hardware windowing), or driving the blitter.